Korca is one of the prettiest cities in Albania, with cobblestone streets and historic grand villas dating from the 20s and 30s. The city has many popular festivals, including Korca Christmas Market, which takes place each December. This guide shares dates, locations and what to expect while you’re there.
Korça is located in Eastern Albania, not far from Lake Prespa. The city has some great cafes, restaurants and traditional bakeries.
There is also a vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs for late-night drinks and dancing. Not to mention interesting museums like the recently renovated National Museum of Medieval Art.
Bulevardi Republika is where you’ll find the cool cafes and top restaurants, all busy with young people who are working and studying in Korca.
While on the other side of town is the renovated Old Bazaar, an old market with boutique shops, a mix of traditional and modern restaurants, and little bakeries and cafes. This is a very cute area to spend Christmas in Korca.
Korca Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Korca features a variety of crafts, gifts, food and drinks, as well as traditional Albanian music and dancing.
The city is known for its local food specialities such as lakror, a type of leek burek that you’ll only find in Korca. You can find it sold by the slice at the Christmas markets.
The Christmas festivities begin on the 2nd December (likely start date) with Light Fest, which includes:
- Turning on the Christmas lights.
- Parade of Santas and Elves.
- Korcar music concert.
Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll around the Christmas Market and indulge in traditional Albanian delicacies while immersing yourself in the magical festive atmosphere of Korca.
Dates and Locations
Korca Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 3rd December to 24th December 2023.
Location: In front of the cathedral on Boulevardi Republika.
Opening times: 11am to 7pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Gluten free: Yes, but very limited.
Accessible: Yes, if you can manage cobblestones.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Reason to visit: The stunning location with a mountain backdrop and high chance of snow.
Recommended tour: Discover Korca during a walking tour with a local guide.
Specialities: Lakror – leek pie and Korca beer.
Where to stay: Trésor Art Boutique Hotel is a highly-rated hotel, 3 minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Korca Christmas Market
There are many excellent hotels in Korca. I’ve stayed in both the Old Bazaar area and on Boulevardi Republika, and either would be a good choice.
The be closest to the Christmas markets, I suggest staying at Trésor Art Boutique Hotel as it’s very central and the hotel is in an old historic house that has been restored.
If you want to be near the Old Bazaar and all its bars and restaurants, then Hani I Pazarit is a great choice as it’s right in the bazaar area and the hotel is in a lovely old stone building.
Location of Korca Christmas Market
City and Christmas Tours
Exploring Korca during the Christmas season is an exceptional way to immerse yourself in the city’s festive atmosphere and cultural traditions. With its picturesque old town, vibrant buildings, and remarkable architecture, Korca is a city that offers an unforgettable holiday experience.
I highly recommend taking this city tour of Korca to witness the city’s most significant landmarks and attractions. Additionally, you might consider a food tour to explore the local cuisine and learn more about the region’s culture.
During a city tour, you’ll have the chance to see iconic sites such as the impressive Resurrection Cathedral, the charming Old Bazaar, and the historic Mirahori Mosque.
Christmas in Korca
Specialties in Korca
In Korca, you’ll find an array of mouth-watering dishes that reflect the region’s rich culinary heritage. From sweet desserts to savoury appetizers and main dishes, there is something for everyone, including vegetarians.
Don’t miss the chance to indulge in these traditional Christmas treats and experience the unique flavours and aromas of Korca.
- Baklava: a sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and held together with honey or syrup.
- Qifqi: a vegetarian appetizer made of rice flour, eggs, and herbs shaped into balls and deep-fried until crispy.
- Flija: a traditional Albanian dish consisting of layered crepes made of flour, water, and milk, served with various toppings such as honey or jam.
- Byrek me spinaq: a savoury pastry made with phyllo dough and filled with spinach, feta cheese, onions, and herbs.
- Embelsira me sheqerpare: a simple yet delicious dessert made of flour, butter, and sugar, shaped into small balls and baked until golden brown.
- Tave kosi: a traditional Albanian dish consisting of baked lamb or beef with a yogurt-based sauce and flavoured with garlic and spices. For vegetarians, there is a version with mushrooms instead of meat called “Tave kosi me kerpudha.”
At the market in Korca, you’ll find a variety of street foods that reflect the local cuisine and international holiday traditions. Some of the typical street foods that you can enjoy include:
- Qebapa: grilled sausages made of beef or lamb, typically served with bread and a side of onions and yogurt sauce.
- Pica: thin-crust pizza topped with various ingredients such as cheese, ham, mushrooms, and vegetables.
- Langos: a Hungarian deep-fried dough topped with cheese, garlic, and sour cream, popular in Balkan countries.
- Fried fish: crispy and flavourful fish from the region typically served with garlic or tartar sauce.
These street foods are a great way to experience the local flavours and holiday spirit of Korca while exploring the Christmas Market.
Don’t forget to try some of the traditional Albanian drinks like raki, a fruit brandy, or mulled wine, a hot spiced wine popular during Christmas.
For more ideas, read my guide to the best Christmas markets in Albania. Discover where to go, things to do and the best ways to experience Albanian food, history and culture.
Visit Albania is the main tourist site for the country, and they provide some useful information on getting around, current events and the best ways to experience Korca at Christmas.
Sustainable Travel Tips
When visiting Korca’s Christmas markets, it’s essential to be mindful of our environmental and social impact on the city. Here are some responsible travel measures to consider:
Shop locally and mindfully. Look for products that are made by local artisans, such as handcrafted souvenirs or traditional clothing.
Walk or cycle instead of driving to get around the city. Korca has a charming old town that is best explored on foot or by bike.
Stay in a sustainable hotel that supports renewable energy.
Avoid using single-use plastic and support businesses that use sustainable packaging. For instance, you can bring a reusable water bottle and refill it at public water fountains.
Try to eat locally sourced organic food at restaurants or cafes that use locally grown produce. Some great options in Korca include the restaurant Trifecta, which offers vegetarian and vegan dishes, or the Organic Cafe, which serves organic coffee and homemade desserts.
Limit your meat and dairy consumption and opt for vegetarian or vegan options.
Explore beyond the main tourist areas and support local artists and events. Visit the National Museum of Medieval Art, attend a performance at the Korca Theatre, or check out the exhibitions at the Korca Cultural Center.
Korca Christmas Market starts on 2nd December 2023 and ends on Christmas Eve.
The Christmas markets in Korca are held in front of the cathedral on Boulevardi Republika.
Korca is absolutely worth visiting! Korca is a beautiful city located in southeastern Albania that offers a unique blend of history, culture and natural beauty. The city has a charming old town with traditional architecture, vibrant cafes, and shops that reflect the local heritage. It’s especially worth visiting in December, when the city will likely be covered in snow.
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Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Korca, Albania. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.