Tirane, Albania / February 16, 2016, updated April 2019
Velipoja (Velipoje) is a commune located in the Shkoder county in the northwestern part of Albania, famous for its beaches and for the quality of its curative sand.
This small municipality which covers the area of 72.4 square km borders in the northwest with Montenegro along the river Buna, in the east with Lezha county, and in the south with the Adriatic Sea.
The favorable location where the sea and river intertwine, the lush greenery fields, swamps and forests, hills, and mountains give this commune the big possibility for the development of the tourism in the sea and mountain and fishing. It includes the Velipoja beach which is 14 km long, the Velipoja reservoir, the Island of Franc Joseph (in Albanian: ‘Franc Jozef’) and the beach of Baks-Rrjoll.
The name ‘Velipoja’ comes from old Slavic ‘Velikopoje’ which means ‘Big field’ in Albanian, is 25 km far from the city of Shkodra and 119 km far from the capital city, Tirana where the International Airport “Mother Theresa” is located.
Viluni Lagoon/Credit: Velipoja
How to get there
The best ways to go from Tirana to Velipoja is:
By bus which costs €5 and takes almost three hours
By renting a car which costs €15-25 and takes only two hours
Where to eat
The two most famous restaurants to eat traditional local food, also known as slow food in the area are:
Mrizi i Zanave
They are both located 50 km far from Velipoja, in the county and town of Lezha.
Also, you could eat at smaller Albanian taverns where you could try the tasty and seasonal dishes from the chefs.
Mrizi i Zanave restaurant/Credit Bridget Nurre Jennions
Where to stay
There are 56 hotels found in Velipoja, with a very good rating on the website of Booking.com (where you could make reservations online). To mention some of those:
Hotel Princi i Vogel etc.
Also, you could find villas and apartments for rent in the area, for the period staying there if you prefer the aforementioned.
In the meantime, Airbnb is also an option. A search for Velipoja in Airbnb showed 174 results.
Camping in Velipoja and its surroundings
Camping Clandestino, Baks-Rrjolle Velipoja: “Amazing beach near to the camp with the most exciting bridge I ever saw. The owners are super friendly and the food was priceless.”
Camping Riviera 2, Rana e Hedhun Shengjin
Electro House & Camping, Velipoja
Also Read: Best Camping Experience in Albania
Must visit in the area
“Rana e Hedhun”, Shengjin, Lezha
If you have extra time, not too far from Velipoje it would be of great interest to go to the nearby beach “Rana e Hedhun” which literally means “thrown sand” in Gheg Albanian and is located in Shengjin, Lezha county.
It offers a great experience to see the sand dunes on the slopes of the mountainside. Until July 2017 it was difficult to access the area due to the lack of road infrastructure. Local businesses constructed a 3.6 km long road segment and the beach is now easily accessible.
‘Velipoja beach’ where it takes its name from the commune of the same name has a shoreline of 14.5 km from the river mouth of Buna river to the ‘Rana e Hedhun’, where tourists can indulge either in soaking the sun on the hot sand or taking a refreshing dip in the shallow sea.
The sand, which is very rich in iodine especially on the two extremes of the beach adds curative values to the beach. The clear blue water, the tides and refluxes, the hunting reservoir and Viluni lagoon offer spectacular views.
The pine trees surrounding the area make it an ideal spot for camping or picnics, but also for intermittently enjoying the rays of the generous Albanian sun.
While it is mainly visited from the local inhabitants of Shkodra county and surrounding areas and counties, the commune of Velipoja welcomes tourists from the neighboring countries of Montenegro and Kosovo as well.
In recent years, it has caught the attention of tourists from Europe because Velipoja is a great spot for everyone, whether you prefer sea or mountain tourism. By choosing Velipoja, for your vacation, it means you are doing a great healthy gift to yourself, because of the curative sand, fresh air and green area that surrounds its shore.
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