Agroturizëm Gjepali: an architectural oasis in the Albanian countryside

Hidden away in the countryside between Tirana and the coastal city of Durrës, Agroturizëm Gjepali is an off-the-beaten-track Albanian secret that unveils a world of authenticity, traditions and wellness. With good reason, most visitors to central Albania tend to concentrate on Tirana’s surroundings and Durrës beaches, however Shijak, which is just 40 minutes away from the capital city, is their equal in many aspects. Covered with olive groves and scenic spots, this area is dotted with rivers, lakes, local restaurants and wineries. Surely, if you want to get off the tourist track and experience rural Albania, this is your ultimate destination.


This agroturizëm is a little gem of design nestled in the natural countryside of central Albania with a contemporary twist. The Italian influence on the owner’s life -chef Fundim Gjepali, who owns Padam restaurant in Tirana, lives between Albania and Italy- manifests in the architecture: Agroturizëm Gjepali is a Tuscan-style villa with a veranda and big windows overlooking the countryside, which made it the perfect location for events, retreats and relax. The hallways and rooms, which feature original artwork by aspiring Albanian painters, perfectly evoke the tranquility and beauty of the countryside in all its shades and colors. The 8 rooms located at the first floor are tastefully decorated with a mix of modern and classic elements, using materials like terracotta tiles, stone and wood. This is an idyllic situation for families who come to visit Albania and wish to live with the comforts of their own home. 


Agroturizëm Gjepali is more than just a restaurant: it’s one of the very few places in central Albania that offers a seasonal menu almost entirely made of own production. Menu is made of traditional dishes and local ingredients from the garden or bought directly from farmers of nearby villages: everything that lands on your plate has travelled less than 10 km. Local specialties include byrek, a savoury pastry dough prepared with milk, spinach or seasonal vegetables, homemade meatballs, slow oven-cooked veal ribs, fresh homemade cheese, tavë dheu a casserole made with lamb baked in yoghurt accompanied by fresh green salads, tomatoes, peppers and local olives. The wine list has Albanian wines as well as a selection of international wines. It is an exquisite farm-to-table experience we highly recommend. 


The enchanted hills of Shjiak unveil a world of quiet contemplation and self-restoration that anyone may feel surprised to find such an idyllic location in this tiny hidden area not far from the Adriatic crowded beaches. Sunsets are simply unbelievable from the villa and the panorama will stir even the most unshakables. This is the ultimate destination for those seeking peace through long walks: at Agroturizëm Gjepali you can walk in the fields or rest in the shade of fruit trees -including figs, persimmons, pomegranates- listen the sounds of nature, enjoy the silence and the scents of the countryside, an activity that is especially appreciated in fall when nature explodes in many shades


Find out more about Agroturizëm Gjepali 
Location: Rruga Elez Gjepali 1, Shijak
Cost: From €40