Dan working on balcony, Vlora, Albania

Spending A Month As A Digital Nomad in Vlora, Albania

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Vlora had been on my list of places to visit for a while. Since my first trip to Albania, where I visited Saranda, I knew I wanted to see a bit more of the country and Vlora seemed like the perfect place for me.

On the coast, with some mountains near by, but not too touristy, but still big enough to have everything. Vlora seemed to tick all of my boxes.

But for some reason… it didn’t.

I’m not going to slate Vlora or say its bad, but my experience there wasn’t what I was expecting. And I don’t know why…

This is one of the few blog posts on here that is just from the heart, explaining what I did and how I felt. I’m not going to make it into a full digital nomad guide to Vlora (even though that was my intention before I went), but more of what I felt when I was there.

Beach from rooftop hotel, Vlora, Albania

Digital Nomad Guide to Vlora

As mentioned, Vlora should tick all of the boxes I look for when visiting a destination.

I got off my bus after spending a month in Ohrid (which I loved) and walked down the streets to my apartment.

“All the apartment buildings here look the same,” I thought as I walked along.

The place I rented on AirBnB was fantastic, even if it was a bit quirky. The large lounge and two bedrooms had some interesting decorations. I later found out that it belonged to the mother of the guy I rented off as she was staying in Italy. It definitely had the vibe of being decorated by someone older…

But the balcony and sea views were incredible. I was very happy with where I would be staying for the next five and a bit weeks.

I met friends on the second day there, people I had first met in Langkawi the year before.

On the first Monday I joined Vlora Coworking, a simple yet functional space where I could work from.

I was often along in the coworking. It was low season and there weren’t many remote workers in town. And the few that I knew about decided to work from coffee shops instead.

On my first weekend in Vlora I explored the town. Not that there is much to explore. The old town has recently been redesigned and rebuilt and now feels a cross between Disney world and Bicester Village, an outdoor shopping centre in the UK.

Old town, Vlora, Albania
Vlora Old Town

The few statues and parks around were interesting, but nothing to be amazed by.

The beach was good, but far from the most beautiful in the country.

And then, in my second week, I just kind of felt…. meh.

Friends and family I spoke to asked me how Vlora is. And I didn’t know what to say.

There is nothing wrong with Vlora, there is nothing to dislike about it. There is a beach, beautiful sunsets and an abundance of bars and restaurants serving good coffee, good beer and good food along the sea front.

But nothing grabbed me to make me fall in love with the place. I’ve written before how sometimes I don’t like a place and that it’s ok. But I didn’t dislike it either.

If a friend would tell me they are going to Vlora, I’d respond with “Great! Glad you’re going!” but if they followed that up with, “what should I do there?” I’d be at a loss to list things they should experience.

Getting into the routine

Over the course of my five weeks there, I worked at the coworking, joined a gym and went regularly, ran along the sea front in the mornings and frequented bars in the evenings. I even had my favourite that sold Bombay Sapphire gin.

Gin and tonic at beach bar, Vlora, Albania
Gin and sunsets make me happy

I went to the bakery and got fresh bread. There was an old guy I bought eggs from. I like having these brief routines and normalcy when I stay somewhere, even if it is brief.

I was in a good routine and I was enjoying myself. Or was I? Other than head to Berat, I didn’t do too much on weekends. There wasn’t much to do. The local football team played. I worked on this site. I walked along the beach.

But for some reason, I still didn’t LOVE Vlora. And the thing that bothered me was I couldn’t put my finger on why.

It’s like a break up that isn’t anyones fault. You can’t put your finger on why it didn’t work out, its just a feeling you have.

Would I recommend Vlora to other digital nomads? Yes.

Will it be the best place they’ve ever been and will they love it? Probably not.

And I guess sometimes, that’s just how things are.

Practical info for a digital nomad in Vlora

Where to stay?

There are an abundance of AirBnB in Vlora, lining the sea front and further back into town as well. There are also plenty of signs on apartment buildings saying the apartment is for rent. Outside of high season (July and August) you shouldn’t have any problem finding somewhere to stay.

Where to work?

I worked at Coworking Vlora, the only coworking space in town. It was simple like I’ve mentioned, but by the time I left was building a community of people to connect with. The wifi and coffee were good to work with.

There is an abundance of coffee shops to work from with popular picks being Broadway, Mon Cheri and Mulliri Vjeter.

Coworking Vlora, digital nomad Vlora, Albania
Coworking Vlora won’t blow you away but it has everything you need

What to do?

This is where it gets tricky. In town there isn’t too much. There is an Old Town and a lovely promenade as well as the beach. Independence Monument, the ruins of the ancient walls and Muradie mosque could all be ticked off within 15 minutes. There is also a small National Museum of Independence close to the beach as well.

Muradie mosque, Vlora, Albania

Further outside the city there are options for paragliding, visiting Kanina Castle or the nearby Narta Lagoon but car hire or a tour is essential for those.

For excursions further afield for day trips or weekend breaks, Apollonia, Berat, Himare and even Tirana make excellent choices.

 

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