10 Pictures of Food in Albania That’ll Make Your Mouth Water

I had zero expectations when it came to food in Albania, so I was pleasantly surprised on my trip. Like most of the Balkans, the food in Albania is heavy. Meats, cheese, bread and soup dominate the cuisine and we got a good taste of it during our seven day trip through the country.

As with most places, the food in Albania varies a lot depending on where you are. Our travels took us to the small town of Theth in the mountains, the medium-sized city of Shkoder on a lake, and the large capital city of Tirana. All three have their own personalities and their own foods to go along with them.

So, if you’re curious about what you might be eating when you travel through Albania, these 10 pictures, restaurant recommendations, and dishes to try will give you a small taste of what’s to come!


Restaurants & Dishes to Try at Shkoder Lake

Shkoder Lake was our first stop, and if you go to Theth you’ll definitely find yourself passing through here as well because it has the only road to the mountain town.

In Shkoder, the traditional dishes contain a lot of seafood and meats, but there’s still a good amount of cafes and fusion restaurants as well in the city. Because this is a medium-sized city, I found the Albanian food in Shkoder had more variety than Theth but less than Tirana, which makes sense due to each one’s size.


lunch on Shkoder Lake in Albania


This was my favorite meal in Shkoder. Rent a bike to ride around the southern part of the lake and you can go all the way to the border of Montenegro. Right before we arrived, we stopped at B7 Zogaj for lunch and a break. We enjoyed this light salad, fresh bread, seafood soup, and rice with vegetables while we cooled down and prepared for the ride home.



traditional Albanian food at Elita in Shkoder


Another delicious find in Shkoder was at the restaurant Elita. It’s also a bit on the fancier side but like a said, the cost of living is so low in Albania that many travelers and backpackers can afford it still.

I had the beef cooked in a traditional way in the clay pot for 5 to 6 hours. It was tender, it was juicy, and it was a LOT of meat. I still enjoyed it though, and a 1/2 liter of wine, an appetizer, and two main dishes cost us about 2400 lek / 22 usd.



traditional Albanian food in Shkoder


Our second and final dinner in Shkoder was at the amazing Hotel Tradita. This is built into an old home and inn from the 1600’s and dinner is served in the large courtyard. It’s so nice and peaceful and I deifnitely recommend it.

These are Albanian stuffed potatoes with cheese and bacon, a recipe that comes from a nearby village. We also had the homemade pasta with chicken, fish soup, traditional Albanian bread that was almost exactly like nan (and just as good) a honey dessert, homemade ice cream, and 2 liters of wine. This meal cost about 4,300 lek / 40 usd.



Home-Cooked & Traditional Albanian Food in Theth

Theth was the second stop on our trip through Albania. This remote national park is nestled in the mountains and the small town is the perfect base for beautiful hikes through the Albanian Alps.

Here there are no markets or restaurants. Instead, everyone eats their meals at the guest house they’re staying in. The meat we ate was raised on the farms, the vegetables were grown in the gardens, and everything was cooked with care.

If you want to try food in Albania that’s truly traditional, the guest houses in Theth are the place to go. Here, breakfast was included with our stay and lunch was 6 euros and dinner was 7 euros.


home-cooked meal in Albania


We enjoyed this amazing lunch our first day in Theth. It includes pickled eggplant, french fries, fresh cheese, tomato and pepper salad, home-cooked bread, sheep sausages, and byrek, an Albanian pastry made with filo dough and filled with spinach.



tree-house cafe at the Blue Eye in Theth


Ok, this isn’t a meal but how cute is this little tree-house cafe? The hike to the “Blue Eye” is one of the main attractions in Theth and shouldn’t be missed. While you’re there, relax with a drink being cooled in the stream (can you spot them in the photo) and order a home-cooked meal from the guest house on the water. Little tables are built all up the rock-face and into the surrounding trees for a totally unique dining experience in Albania.



home-cooked Albanian food at the guest house in Theth


Hey, it’s me ūüôā Dinner on night number two in Theth included roasted lamb, noodle soup, a traditional pepper and vegetable spread called “ajvar,” fresh olives, cantaloupe, and of course fresh baked bread to wash it all down.



cafe on the trek from Theth to Valbona


These mini Nescafe coffees will become such a staple to your trip through the Balkans that I feel I have to include them. This small cafe with a beautiful view isn’t accessible by any roads. Instead, we trekked over 2 hours to reach it on our climb to Valbona Peak. It’s one of the most popular hikes in Theth and we stopped at the cafe for coffee and pastries with a view to refuel before the final push to the top.



traditional food in Albania at a guest house in Theth


Dinner on our last night may have been the best of the three. This traditional meal included stuffed peppers and fried pork along with the typical side dishes shown above. So tasty.



International Cuisine in Tirana

Last but not least on our trip through Albania was 24 hours in Tirana. The city really surprised me and I enjoyed our time there far more than I thought I would.

Because we had our fill of heavy Albanian cuisine in Theth, I was ready to explore the international food scene in Tirana. This city of over 1 million people definitely didn’t leave me disappointed.


Sushi at Salt restaurant in Tirana


I spotted a sushi restaurant on our bus ride from Theth to Tirana and mentioned absently that it sounded good. Little did I know that Salt, a sushi restaurant in Tirana, is one of the best in the city!

It had a modern and chic atmosphere, creative cocktail options, and delicious food that was a bit expensive for the city but oh-so-welcome after three days in the mountains.



bagel sandwich in Tirana


Is there anything better than waking up to fresh bagels? The American in me firmly believes that there isn’t. So, when¬†New York Bagels popped up on Google during my search for nearby breakfast restaurants, I was immediately convinced.

These bagel sandwiches are only 120 to 350 lek / 1 to 3.50 usd and so fresh and tasty. Saying that bagels in the Balkans are rare is an understatement, so if you’re going to be traveling in the area for awhile definitely stop here to get your fill.


10 Pictures of Food in Albania

So, what do you think about the food in Albania? I was pleasantly surprised by how many great meals we had while traveling through the country. Our itinerary to Shkoder, Theth, and Tirana lent itself perfectly to a variety of meals from ultra-traditional and home-grown to international restaurants in the big city.

Hopefully, these pictures of our experience help you have a bit of a better idea on what to expect on your travels, and hopefully you enjoy the food and your trip just as much as I did!


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How to Ride the Dayton Donut Trail & Visit 7 Bakeries

Do you know about the Dayton Donut Trail?

When my dad told me that he was riding it last weekend I knew I had to get all the details to share them with you. Our family friend, Brent Devitt, runs Dayton Cycles (a site that puts together themed rides through Dayton) and the Dayton Donut Trail is one of the first featured routes.

Brent and my dad rode it together this weekend and loved it (I mean, who wouldn’t?) and now that it’s been thoroughly tested and approved it’s time to share it with the world.

So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know to ride the Dayton Donut Trail!


Dayton bike trails


Dayton Donut Trail Stats

Distance: 16.1 miles

Time: 5 Р6 hours

Starting Point: 2nd Street Market (Webster Market)

Loop: Yes

Donut Shops Visited: 7


Where to Start the Dayton Donut Trail

The Dayton Donut Trail is a loop, so you can start at any of the shops on the route that’s most convenient for you. However, Brent recommends the 2nd Street Market as the start and end point for a few reasons. First, there’s parking and bathrooms, and second, there’s a bike share station as well. So, if you don’t have a bike or don’t want to lug yours through the city, don’t fear: you can still ride the Dayton Donut Trail.


Duck Donuts in Dayton, Ohio


The Dayton Donut Trail Route

Ready to hit the road? The Dayton Donut Trail will take you to the seven bakeries listed below. You can see the full route already planned out, get specific directions, and even upload it into your GPS at the Dayton Donut Cycle Ride with GPS page.¬†Just keep in mind you’ll need the Ride with GPS free app to access it.

After you have it downloaded, you’ll be ready to go. Here’s a brief overview of the route and what you can expect on the Dayton Donut Trail…


Start: 2nd Street Market 0 mile mark


Stop 1: Evans Bakery 1.3 mile mark

Evans Bakery was opened in 1969 and ran until 2004, when the Evans family sold it. In 2011 their daughter quit her job as a civil engineer, returned to Dayton to reopen the family business, and Evans Bakery has been going strong ever since. The shop has a selection of bite sized treats for 25 to 40 cents each, and they even got first place for “Best Cinnamon Glazed Twist” during the Dayton Municipal Court Donut Day Celebration in 2016.


Stop 2: American Classic Donuts 7.5 mile mark

In 2018 this shop won the “Best Blueberry Donut in the Miami Valley” award during the Dayton Municipal Court Donut Day Celebration. Also, American Classic Donuts supplies donuts to nearby schools like St. Helen’s so it may just taste like your childhood as well.


Stop 3: Dunkin’ Donuts 7.6 mile mark

Always good to calibrate your palette with a chain donut tasting. For research of course.


Stop 4: Tim Horton’s 10.4 mile mark

Maybe try two chains, just to be sure.


Stop 5: Stan the Donut Man 10.7 mile mark

This donut shop has a classic old-school vibe, which isn’t surprising. Stan the Donut Man been open and operating in Dayton for 45 years.


Stop 6: Ashley’s Pastry Shop 12.6 mile mark

Ashley’s Pastry Shop is located in Oakwood and has been open since 1982. They have plenty of donuts on the menu and an array of other desserts like pastries, cookies, coffee cake, fresh baked breads and more to tempt your sweet tooth.


Stop 7: Duck Donuts 14.3 mile mark

Duck Donuts is one of the newest donut shops in Dayton, and also one of my favorites. Build your own donut with an array of topping choices, and then watch it get made fresh right in front of you. Is there anything in this world more heavenly than a hot donut? Plus, it’s co-owned by former UD Flyer and NBA player Chris Wright which is pretty cool as well.


Bonus Stop: Twist Cupcakery

If you haven’t had enough sugar yet, you can also stop for an artisanal cupcake on the Dayton Donut Trail.¬†Twist Cupcakery is on the route from Duck Donuts to the finish and is located .6 miles before you reach the 2nd Street Market.


Finish: 2nd Street Market 16.1 mile mark


Evans Bakery in Dayton, Ohio


Dayton Donut Trail FAQ

Why isn’t Bill’s Donuts included on the Dayton Donut Trail?

Despite being a classic Dayton staple, Bill’s Donuts is not on the list because the location is so far out of the way. It’s possible to extend your route to add it to your Dayton Donut Trail, but it will require an extra 13 miles of cycling.

Is the Dayton Donut Trail on roads or bike trails?

Most of it takes place on roads. However, they’re often in quiet neighborhoods and some have bike lanes as well.

Does this count as exersice?

Sure, but you will probably gain weight instead of losing it.


American Classic Donuts in Dayton, Ohio


Try The Dayton Donut Trail

The Dayton Donut Trail is perfect for a weekend ride through the Gem City. Hop on your bike and pound out 16 miles, and you’ll be rewarded with 7 donuts for your efforts.

Try some of the best donuts that Dayton has to offer, support local business, and see a little more of our wonderful city as you go!


PS if that’s not enough exercise for you, you may also like the DIY Dayton Brewery Walking Tour to visit 6 of the 7 breweries in downtown Dayton!

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Is Tirana Worth Visiting? Thoughts On 24 Hours in the City

Is Tirana worth visiting? When I was planning my trip to Theth, it required me to pass through Tirana. I did a bit of research and saw some mixed reviews on the city, with one blogger even claiming it’s the least visited capital in Europe.

However, I was passing through anyway so I decided to spend 24 hours in Tirana to check it out.

What I found is that Tirana is definitely worth a visit! The cpaital city seriously surprised me and I actually wish I had more time there.

During my trip in Albania I also visited Theth (which is beyond amazing and should definitely be added to your itinerary) and the lakeside town of Shkoder. To my surprise, I found I strongly preferred Tirana over the more popular destination of Shkoder and if I could do it again, I would happily trade my time there for extra time in the capital.

Is Tirana worth visiting? After 24 hours in the city I can answer with a resounding YES. If you’re curious to learn more about it, here’s how we filled out time in the city and what you can expect when you’re passing though.


street art in Tirana


How to Spend 24 Hours in Tirana

There are plenty of great ways to spend 24 hours in the capital of Albania. Use this list to explore some of the best things to eat, drink, and do during your visit to the city.


Where to Eat in Tirana

I didn’t eat traditional Albanian food in Tirana (we go more than enough of that in Theth) but I did have some delicious meals. Check them out below and visit these three places for good eats in Tirana.



I had a sushi craving and Salt hit the spot. It’s super modern and chic, has a great cocktail menu, and the food was on point. Salt is definitely a bit expensive for the cost of living in Tirana but after three days of heavy meat and cheese meals in the mountains, I was so ready for some variety. They deliver on flavor, service, and ambiance and the restaurant is worth a visit if you’re looking for good food in Tirana.


Salt sushi restaurant in Tirana


Mon Amour Bakery

This bakery is heavenly. I got the gelato but there are sooo many different options to tempt you. There was baklava, macaroons, mini tarts and cheesecaks, and so much more. Plus, the outdoor seating area is really nice to sit in and people watch while you chow down.


New York Bagels

I never knew that bagels are an American food until I traveled abroad. They’re almost nowhere to be found in the rest of the world so when I saw a New York bagel place in Tirana stopping in was a no brainer. The place is both budget friendly and delicious with bagel sandwiches starting at only 120 lek / 1.30 usd.

Daniel and I actually got four… two for lunch and two more to pack up for dinner on our bus ride to Skopje. The salmon and the caprese were my favorite but the BLT and turkey sandwiches are both great as well. I was pretty skeptical, but the bagels do not disappoint and this place is perfect for a quick and cheap breakfast, lunch, or dinner in Tirana.


New York Bagels in Tirana


Where to Drink in Tirana

Looking for somewhere to grab a drink? Tirana definitely delivers. I visited on a Saturday in the summer and the music, lights, and people spilling out of the restaurants and bars in the Blloku district definitely set the stage for a great night.


Explore the Blloku Neighborhood

I was beyond surprised to see how hipster and artsy Tirana is. I didn’t really expect much from the city and because of that I was blown away. There are so many colorful bars and cool restaurants to explore and the Blloku neighborhood is the best place to see them. If you want to get a drink in the evening or grab dinner somewhere, this is definitely the nicest and liveliest area in Tirana.


Smoke Shisha From the Future

The Shisha Room is pretty expensive, but worth a stop if you’re trying to unwind from a day of traveling and have more coming up soon. I liked it because the hookah was so futuristic, with a cold ice block in the handle to cool it down, flashing lights, and a totally unique design. I enjoyed it, and if you’re into shisha consider spending a couple hours here on your trip to Tirana.


shisha in Tirana


Take in the View at the Sky Club Rotating Restaurant

Seriously, who doesn’t love drinks with a view? The Panoramic Bar & Restaurant even spins slowly, so you can get a full 360 degree view of the city. Plus, it’s in easy walking distance from the Blloku neighborhood, the Pyramid of Tirana, and Bunk’Art 2, so you can easily combine them into one afternoon.


What to Do in Tirana

Check out these three attractions for a good mix of history and activity during your time in Tirana.


Climb Up the Tirana Pyramid

The Pyramid of Tirana is a really strange building. Basically, it was originally built as a museum to honor the dictator, and when the communist regime ended it was closed down. After serving a few other purposes it has now fallen into disrepair, but Wikipedia reports there are plans to turn it into tech center.

Despite the barbed wire, broken glass, and dilapidated appearance, people still stop by to climb to the top. I amused myself watching the tourists slowly sliding back down on their butts, imagining how this would never, ever fly in the US. Even if you don’t want to climb to the top, this interesting piece of history is worth a stop.


Tirana Pyramid


Take the Cable Car to the Top of Mount Dajti

Just like my 24 hours in Skopje, Tirana was horrifically hot during our visit in July. Due to that we had to give the cable car a miss, unfortunately. However, if you visit in another season and the temperatures are on your side, this is a great way to see the city from above and get some beautiful photos as well. There’s also a restaurant, hiking trails, and more to explore if you have the time.


Visit Bunk’Art or Bunk’Art 2

Daniel and I opted to visit the smaller location, Bunk’Art 2, because it’s in the city center, while the original (and much larger) museum is out in the suburbs. The museum is built into an old bunker (there are more than 100,000 built by the paranoid dictator throughout Albania) and this one is worth a visit.

The cost is 500 lek / 4.50 usd and the museum covers basically the entire 1900’s through the wars, dictatorship, and to almost present day. I learned a lot, and there are also recreated bunker rooms, art installations, and more to check out.


Bunk Art 2 Museum in Tirana


Suggested Itinerary for 24 Hours in Tirana

If you prefer to explore cities by foot, like I do, and are staying near the city center, this suggested itinerary groups together the best activities for 24 hours in Tirana. Check them out in this order to see the sites more efficiently and avoid taking unnecessary taxis.

Morning: Take a cable car to Mount Dajti.

Afternoon: Eat lunch at New York Bagels, climb the Tirana Pyramid, and visit Bunk’Art 2.

Evening: Have dinner at Salt, explore the Blloku neighborhood, grab dessert at Mon Amour, and finish the night by smoking shisha or enjoying the view the Sky Club.


Is Tirana Worth Visiting?

Without a doubt. If I could go back and do my Albanian vacation again, I would spend at least two nights in the city or maybe even three.

There’s a big difference between a city being nicer than you expected, and being objectively nice. Surprisingly, I found Tirana was in the latter category. The city is hip and young, the vibe feels very alive, and I can totally tell that Tirana is going to emerge as a real tourist destination in Eastern Europe in the future.

Definitely make the time to stop in Tirana on your trip to Albania, and I’m sure you won’t regret it!

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How to Spend 24 Hours in Skopje, The Strangest City in the Balkans

I spent 24 hours in Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia, during my vacation in the country. If you have plans to visit the Balkans, chances are you’ll also find yourself in this city at some point on your trip.

I had no idea what to expect when we arrived, and Skopje was even stranger than I could have imagined. Seriously, what’s going on here guys?

The mix of run-down soviet apartment blocks, ultra-ornate government buildings, and memorials and statues strewn haphazardly throughout Skopje is disorienting to say the least. I kind of felt like I was walking through a Disney recreation of Greece at points, if Disney didn’t do any research about what Greece actually looks like. Honestly, the word strange sums it up perfectly.

That being said, I still really enjoyed my time here. I travel so much that sometimes the joy and wonder of it wear off for me for a bit, but in Skopje that’s not possible. Around every corner was something new and interesting to discover, and I felt out of my element again just like I did the first time I left the US.

If you’re passing through Macedonia, definitely schedule the time to spend 24 hours in Skopje. It’s certainly worth exploring, and here’s everything you should do while you’re there!


Check Out the Skopje Free Walking Tour

Countries are supposed to be hundreds of years old, right? With Macedonia, that’s not the case. In fact, we’re almost exactly the same age and our birthdays are less than a month apart in 1991. I think this recent history also contributed to the unique vibe I got from Skopje.

Their story is interesting, but not one I remember learning a lot about in our history classes. In the Cold War era Macedonia was part of Yugoslavia, and even more recently in 2018 the country agreed to a name change to appease Greece. Soon they will officially be known as the Republic of North Macedonia (Northern Greece is also called Macedonia and they wanted the country to distinguish themselves from Greek history and territory) and they will also drop the lengthy “Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia” from their name.

Basically, there’s a lot going on here but¬†the free Skopje walking tour every day at 10am will help catch you up to speed.


Old Bazaar in Skopje, Macedonia


Wander Through the Old Bazaar

Ok, the Old Bazaar is cooler than I expected. Skopje and all of Macedonia found themselves under Ottoman rule for 500 years, so there is a heavy Turkish influence in their architecture and culture. One of the ways that shows itself is in the Old Bazaar. The cobblestone streets take you back in time immediately, and it’s fun to sample Turkish delights, stop for a coffee, and browse the colorful dresses and gold jewelry on display.


Old Bazaar in Skopje, Macedonia


Cool Down With Lunch and a Smoothie at Squeeze Me

If you’re only in the Balkans for a short time, you might not like my restaurant recommendations for 24 hours in Skopje. After months in the area, I’m less on the hunt for traditional cuisine and more on the hunt for good cuisine, no matter what it may be.

In Skopje, Squeeze Me is one of the best restaurants. They have grilled sandwiches, salads, and tons of fresh juice and smoothie options to cool down if¬† you’re visiting in the summer like I did. Just like most other places in the Balkans, prices are cheap. A smoked salmon panini, berry smoothie, and americano coffee ran me 400 mkd / 7.50 usd.


sandwiches at Squeeze Me in Skopje, Macedonia


Drink Coffee on the Riverside

A walk along the riverside is one of the best things to do during your 24 hours in Skopje. The architecture is fascinating and it honestly just feels like buildings, statues, and monuments were dropped out of the sky with no thought at all about how they’d fit together.

Oh, and did I mention the two giant, old fashioned ships docked in the river as well? Idk man. Skopje is a strange place and if you take a walk on the water and grab a coffee on the riverside, you’ll see exactly what I mean.


walking along the riverside in Skopje, Macedonia


Visit the Memorial House of Mother Theresa

Did you know Mother Theresa is from Skopje? This little house is a small museum that tells the story of her life and work. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit due to their weekend schedule, but if you have 24 hours in Skopje it’s certainly worth a quick stop!


Grab Tex-Mex for Dinner at Amigos

I’m a simple woman. When I see a tex-mex restaurant, I visit the tex-mex restaurant. I’ve been in the Balkans for months now and was feeling severely deprived of my favorite cuisine, so this was a welcome discovery.

At Amigos we had the chips with nacho cheese, pico de gallo, salsa, and cream cheese (kind of like sour cream I guess?) dips and split a plate of chimichangas as well. Both were better than I expected, and I liked the modern and colorful vibe of the restaurant as well. The patio also has a nice view of this absolutely beautiful new gold and geometric church being built across the street. My only advice is that even through the cocktails were pretty, both the margarita and the mojito were a bit disappointing. If I went back, I’d probably stick to a Corona.


Amigos Mexican Restaurant in Skopje


Watch the Sunset at Hotel Arka

When traveling in cities, finding a bar or restaurant with a view is one of my top priorities. To be honest, even though I took a screenshot of the TripAdvisor page and had the address written down, we still ended up missing it! Don’t make my mistake.

Hotel Arka looks like it has an awesome view of the city from their 7th floor bar and restaurant, and it has a pool in the middle of it so I just know great Insta pics can be had by all up here. Grab a drink at sunset, and then comment below to tell me how dumb I am for missing out!


Visit the First Brewery in Skopje

I love trying new beers, and exploring craft beer in Skopje was no different. The industry is still in its infancy, but a stop at the first (and only) brewery in Skopje is a great way to start or end a night in the city. The Old Town Brewery has a beer garden in the Old Bazaar and serves pub food as well. If the night is still young, you can also visit two more bars on my list of the best places to drink craft beer in Skopje.


Old Town Brewery in Skopje


Have more time to fill? If you’re visiting for more than 24 hours in Skopje or have better weather than the unbearable heat we were stuck with, you can also take the cable car to the Millennium Cross for a panoramic view or go kayaking in Matka Canyon, both of which I would love to do if I ever return to the city.

I’m a bit of a lazy traveler and like to enjoy my time rather than run around and see everything. Of course, there’s more to do and see in 24 hours in Skopje, but I felt like with this list I got a great feel of the city without stretching myself too thin while we explored.

I hope this guide gives you a little taste of what’s in store in Skopje, and you enjoy your time in the capital of Macedonia!

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Where to Drink Craft Beer in Skopje

Daniel and I visited Skopje in mid-July. They sun was shining and the city was hot, so we decided to do what we do best: spend the day drinking craft beer in Skopje.

As you can probably guess, there isn’t a booming craft beer scene in Skopje yet, but there are still some great breweries and bars to try. If you’re passing through the city here are the top three places to drink craft beer in Skopje.


The Old Town Brewery

Location: Str. Gradishte 1, Skoplje 1000, Republika Makedonija
More Info Here

The Old Town Brewery is the best place for craft beer in Skopje because not only is it the first craft beer brewery in the city, but also the only one! The place is called the Old Town Brewery, and the beer brand made here is called Temov.

It was opened in 2009 and is located in the Old Bazaar, which means it’s perfect for a refreshing stop in the beer garden while you explore the cobblestone streets and colorful shops.

When we visited, the Old Town Brewery had six different beers on tap and covered all the basics, including an IPA, a lager, a pilsner, and more. I had a hazy wheat beer, which was refreshing in the summer heat, and Daniel tried the seasonal smoked IPA. We enjoyed the shaded outdoor beer garden, and prices started at 120 mkd / 2 euros per pint.


Old Town Brewery in Skopje



Location: 11th October, Square Macedonia, Skopje 1000, Macedonia (FYROM)
More Info Here

I was a little confused about this craft beer bar at first, so let me explain. Kolective is a second location for the Old Town Brewery. You may also see it called the Pvinica Temov (and the Old Town Brewery shows up as Pivnica Star Grad) on Google maps when you’re searching for craft beer in Skopje, but they are one in the same.

Kolective doesn’t brew the own beer, but they serve the Temov craft beer that’s made in the Old Town Brewery. So… why should you visit both?

Honestly, Kolective and the Old Town Brewery are totally different experiences. Where Old Town Brewery is kind of rustic and ramshakle in the winding streets of the bazaar, Kolective is new, modern, and chic, located right in the main square. Interestingly, they even had completely different beer menus and options to try.

Best of all, Kolective also has flights… kind of. The sampler is 650 mkd / 10.5 euros and comes with six beers. They’re each .3 liters though (basically, the size of a beer can) so it’s a lot of beer. Definitely plan to split this with a partner or you’ll be very drunk, drinking super warm beer, or both.

In our flight we tried a Double IPA, a melon beer, the wheat beer, a strawberry beer, the milky way vanilla beer, and a porter. We enjoyed the porter and IPA the most, but the others were interesting to try as well. Because Kolective offers more variety with their craft beer options, I recommend a stop here if you can only visit one place while in Skopje.


Kolective Craft Beer in Skopje


Special Beer Bar Cosy

Location:  Kosturski Heroi 4, Skopje 1000, Macedonia (FYROM)
More Info Here

If you’ve had your fill of Macedonian brews but still want to drink more craft beer in Skopje, the Special Beer Bar Cosy is the place. True to it’s name, this place is cosy and has the feel of a local dive.

The extensive beer list is mostly bottles from different craft breweries and we enjoyed everything that we tried. If you’re going to be in the city for awhile, you can also check their Facebook page for upcoming events hosted here or catch the Trivia Night every Wednesday.

No crowds, awesome music, and the location outside of the city center (but still in a lively area of town) make the Special Beer Bar Cosy worth exploring. It was nice to see more of Skopje during our short stay and of course enjoy a few more craft beers as well!


Special Beer Bar Cosy in Skopje


If you’re looking for craft beer in Skopje, this list has you covered. The Old Town Brewery, Kolective, and the Special Beer Bar Cosy all offer different experiences to cater to whatever kind of night (or day) that you have in mind.

Enjoy sampling the craft beer in Skopje, and have a drink for me while you do!


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How to Spend 24 Lazy Hours in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Our 24 hours in Plovdiv were pretty chill. It’s our last weekend in the country, so I wasn’t trying to do anything crazy.

I had heard for all seven weeks leading up to our visit, from every Bulgarian that I met, that Plovdiv was better and more beautiful than Sofia. Safe to say, I was dying to see if the hype was true (spoiler alert: it was).

Want to spend 24 hours in Plovdiv without breaking a sweat? If so, you’ve come to the right place. For a quick, lazy, thoroughly enjoyable visit to Bulgaria’s capital of culture, use this guide below!


How to Get to Plovdiv From Sofia

Traveling to Plovdiv was the easiest of all three weekend trips that I took during my stay here. Busses run every hour at least (but actually more) so you can show up to the Central Bus Station and grab one pretty much whenever you decide to roll out of bed. The ride is only 2 hours, so there’s no need for an early morning in my opinion.

One-way tickets from Sofia to Plovdiv cost 14 lev / 8 usd per person and you can see the exact timetable here. Just a quick tip: the Plovdiv ticket booth isn’t with the rest of them. Instead, you have to buy your ticket from Sofia to Plovdiv at the counter next to the INFO booth by the doors.


Old Town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria


What to Do for 24 Hours in Plovdiv

So, Daniel and I arrived in Plovdiv around 2 pm and it was HOT. We walked to our hostel in the center and dropped off our bags, and then got to exploring. Check out this list of everything we got up to during our 24 hours in Plovdiv.


Walk Through the Garden of Tsar Simeon and Sit by the Fountains

One thing I really love about Bulgaria is how green the cities are. Every one we’ve visited has had really nice parks, and Plovdiv is no different. Stretch your legs after being cramped on the bus with a walk through the Garden of Tsar Simeon.

The park is large and shaded, and you can sit and enjoy the Singing Fountains. I’m guessing they’re called this because there’s some type of show that happens here at night, but like I said, this is a lazy 24 hours in Plovdiv and I couldn’t be bothered to figure it out.


Visit the Kapana District & Try Some Street Food

I love street food, so when I spied fried dough (funnel cakes for you Americans out there) in a bakery case on the main pedestrian street, I wasn’t about to pass it up. After filling up, we walked around the adorable and totally insta-worthy Kapana District.

This artsy hipster area used to be completely trashed in 2011, but now it’s going through a revival for Plovdiv European Capital of Culture in 2019. There are tons of galleries, shops, cafes, bars, and more to peek your head inside and snap a few pics of. Here we stopped for smoothies and a raw, vegan, sugar-free snickers bar… that was actually delicious. I know, I was surprised too.

There were also bubble waffles, gelato, and so many other places that looked great, so wander through here and stop for a snack at whatever looks good to you!


Kapana District in Plovdiv, Bulgaria


Walk Up the Danov Hill

Ok, I only did this because it was like three steps from my hostel and you can definitely skip it. However, I did get a couple nice pictures from the top of this short climb, so check it out if you have time.

It takes only a couple minutes to get to the top and there are a lot of places to sit and chill with a view of the city. If you have some snacks (see above) this is also a great place for a picnic!



Take the Free Walking Tour

The free walking tour is great because you can pretty much cross everything off your Plovdiv to-do list at once. Daniel and I met up with Maria from the Bulgarian Mermaid blog and did the 6 pm summer tour. (Oct. to April the tour is at 2 pm). The 2 hour tour is ideal in the evening when the weather is cooler and we saw the Kapana District again, the Old Town, and even climbed to the Nebet Tepe viewpoint for photos over the city in the evening light.


Visit the Nebet Tepe View Point

If you DON’T do the tour, you should still climb up this hill at sunset. You can see the surrounding Rhodope Mountains, three hills, and the city of Plovdiv laid out below you. Everyone knows climbing to a viewpoint is a staple for any 24 hour trip in Europe, and when you’re in Plovdiv, Nebet Tepe is the place.


Nebet Tepe viewpoint in Plovdiv


Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

I only spent 24 hours in Plovdiv so I didn’t try everything, but the food we did eat was consistently delicious.

If you like Turkish food, definitely get dinner at Sofra. The platters come with chicken, beef, lamb, or sausage, thin tortillas, veggies, and rice. I got the wings and it was seriously some of the best meat I’ve ever had. Plus the giant plate was only 10 lev / 6 usd so it was a great deal too. Sofra doesn’t serve alcohol but reviews say you can BYOB, so this is a perfect place to save money and enjoy a great dinner outside in the Kapana District.

Afterward, some of the cutest and coziest bars in Plovdiv are the the Cat and Mouse craft beer bar, the Barber & Cat Bar¬† and the The Reading Room. However, you really can’t go wrong just wandering through the Kapana District and sitting down wherever strikes your fancy.


Smoke Shisha

When in Bulgaria, do as the Bulgarians do. And the Bulgarians love to smoke shisha. When I don’t want a pounding hangover the next day but also don’t want to head back to a hostel early, I like to stop and smoke shisha for an hour or two.

We went to the Kaya Shisha Place on the main pedestrian road. Here they have a rooftop balcony with a great view of the city at night and pretty good shisha too. We paid 25 lev / 15 usd for a hookah and two 500 ml Stella beers.


Finish Your 24 Hours in Plovdiv with Breakfast

So, the night ends, go home, sleep in, and then it’s time for breakfast. I don’t know if you know, but Americans are in love with breakfast. Unfortunately, many cultures don’t share the same affinity with us, so when we’re traveling a great breakfast place is hard to come by. Luckily, in Plovdiv that isn’t the case.

If you want to end your lazy 24 hours in Plovdiv with a tasty breakfast, Eddy’s Cafe is the place. We had two giant crepes with cheddar, eggs, bacon, tomato, and chive, two coffees, and a fresh orange juice for 25 lev / 15 usd. The cafe also has shaded outdoor seating and a cozy and quiet ambiance. Perfect.


How to Get from Plovdiv to Sofia

Ready to head back home?

The walk from Eddy’s Cafe to the South Bus Station is 25 minutes, so we opted to skip the taxi and work off our breakfast crepes. Just like the way here, the busses from Plovdiv to Sofia run every hour and even on the half hour at busy times. We showed up at 12:26 and snagged the last two seats on the 12:30 bus home. Total score.

Just keep in mind when you’re looking for the ticket booth, walk in the front doors, straight through the station, and out the back. Then the ticket office will be on your right – it looks like they sell international trips to Istanbul, but they have ’em to Sofia too.


What Else Should You do in 24 Hours in Plovdiv?

If you’re looking for more to do in the city, here’s some extra stuff you can easily add to your trip to Plovdiv.

Stop in and take moment to walk around the Church of St. Constantine and Helena in the Old Town, and the Dzhumaya Mosque on the pedestrian street. This is right by the ruins of the Roman Stadium, so take a few minutes to walk down into this reconstructed piece of history as well. You can also see more that were discovered in the basement  of the H&M on the main street, which they preserved to take a peek at while shopping!

If I had more time in Plovdiv, I definitely would have gone hiking in the Rhodope Mountains or even visited the Valley of the Thracian Kings. You can also see a show at the ancient Roman Theater, climb up to the Alyosha Monument, visit the Devil’s Bridge for nice pictures, or just walk through the Old Town more, enjoying the quiet streets, colorful homes, and history of the city!


old town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria


Plovdiv is a perfect weekend trip from Sofia. It’s only 2 hours away by bus and such a different experience than the capital city. Plovdiv is more beautiful and more walkable. There are plenty of view points for picturesque shots of the city and lots of great food and drinks to try.

If you don’t have much time in Bulgaria, use this guide to spend a lazy 24 hours chilling in the city. It’s going to be the European Cultural Capital in 2019 and is undergoing some serious changes for the better. Because of that, I had an awesome time in Plovdiv and definitely recommend a quick trip to the city next time you pass through!


PS Looking for more to see and do in Bulgaria? Go hiking at the 7 Rila Lakes, visit the charming cliffside town of Veliko Tarnovo, or take a trip to Sozopol Beach on the Black Sea! 

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