Pogradec is situated in the South-eastern part of the country, on the shores of Lake Ohrid where the border between Albania and Macedonia runs through. The town itself is relatively new but has an ancient historical background. Archaeological finds on the hill to the northwest of Pogradec suggest the existence of a 5th century B.C. Illyrian settlement of the Desarate tribe, probably called Enkelana. In the following centuries the inhabitants began to come down from the hill and settle closer to shores of the lake.
Situated 720 metres above the sea level, close to Lake Ohrid and surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges, the town and its environs form an attractive basin with a pleasant climate. In addition to its climate, Lake Ohrid—the deepest in the Balkan Peninsula—is the most attractive feature of the town making it one of the most important tourist resorts in Albania with ample opportunities for sun bathing, swimming, fishing and water sports.
Only 5 km from Pogradec is the tourist attraction of Drilon. Natural water springs and lush green surroundings make Drilon one of the most beautiful and relaxing spots in Albania. A variety of decorative plants and trees grow here in perfect harmony with the water springs and the characteristic bridges. Hotels and restaurants in the area offer traditional dishes of the Pogradeci cuisine.
Cultural attractions include the Selca tombs, the basilicas and mosaics of the village of Lin.
Natural attractions include Ohrid lake, Prespa national park, the two Prespa lakes, the Treni cave and Guri i Capit (“Capi Rock”).
Lake Ohrid is one of the most important natural tourist attractions in the country. It is situated in the south-eastern part of Albania, at an altitude of 695 metres and covers an area of 358 square km. A third of its area falls within Albanian state borders. It is the deepest lake in the entire Balkan Peninsula, with a maximum depth of 289 metres. Lake Ohrid is 4 million years old. It is renowned for its crystal clear blueness, with see-through waters up to 22 metres of depth. The lake is home to old fauna, and from this point of view can be considered a 'relic' lake. Among the fish growing here is the koran, a kind of trout only indigenous to this lake and not found anywhere else in the world. The area is known for the traditional koran dishes.
The Lake is home to seventeen species of fish and over thirty species of molluscs as well as the Ohrid sponge, which grows only here and in Lake Baikal. The 30 km of the Albanian Lake Ohrid shoreline include areas of interest for all tourists, such as Lin, Pojska, Pogradec, and Tushemisht. Lake Ohrid was known as a holiday spot since ancient times. Emperor Justinian's parents, for instance, used to holiday in the Lin peninsula.
Things to do in the lake include swimming, speed boating, scuba diving, waterskiing, and fishing. In addition to the hotels along the lake shores, the area is known for family hospitality, especially in the Tushemisht area.
Prespa National Park
Prespa National Park covers an area of 27,750 hectares and is situated right on the border with Greece and Macedonia, in the Eastern part of the country. It consists of lakes Prespa Major and Prespa Minor and their water collecting basin. The area boasts a rich cultural heritage. One can mention here the Byzantine eremite churches, the Treni Cave, Lake Prespa Minor, the Trajan Castle, and Saint Mary's Church, built in the Island of Maligrad in the 14th century.
Lakes Prespa Major and Prespa Minor are part of the cross-border Balkan Prespa Park, created pursuant to an agreement among the Prime Ministers of the three neighbouring countries.
The lakes of Prespa are found in the south-eastern part of Albania, about 850 metres above the sea level. These are the highest tectonic lakes in the Balkan Peninsula. Prespa Major covers an area of 285 square km and straddles the border area between Albania, Macedonia and Greece, while Prespa Minor is situated between Albania and Greece and has an area of 44 square km. 38.8 square km lie in the territory of the Republic of Albania.
The lakes are known for their crystal clear blue waters that are see-through up to 20 metres of depth. The jagged shores make the landscape even more attractive and dramatic. In the summer, moderate temperatures make the lakes suitable for sunbathing and swimming. Another form of tourism with lots of potential is eco-tourism. Eleven species of fish grow in the Prespa Lakes.
The most important are carps, eels, and anchovies. The fauna consists of pink pelicans, eagles, Dalmatian pelicans, brown bears, etc. The area is also home to twelve species of reptiles and fifty six kinds of plants. As a result of the numerous birds nesting here, the place is ideal for water bird watching. The most suitable area for this activity is a place called Kodra e Belit. Prespa is the largest national park in the country. Rural tourism is developed here and the tourists and visitors can find accommodation in the houses of local villages (Goricë e Vogël, Gollomboc).