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The city of Lezha is situated in the North-Western part of Albania, close to the Adriatic Sea. The historic documents find that this city has been
inhabited by Illiro-Albanians from the 8th century on. According to researchers, its name “Lisso” and “Lissus” is a linguistic form of the old Illyrian name “Lisi.”

Lezha, through the port of Shengjin, has made possible different economic and cultural exchanges with the outside world, which affected the social development of the region. This is one of the reasons whyLezha has hosted historical events of national significance such as: The League of Lezha in 1444, where our national hero, GjergjKastrioti- Skenderbeu, gathered for the first time the Albanians rulers and founded the first Albanian state, the Council of Arberia or the Council of Arben in 1703. This Council was initiated by Pope Clement XI (of Albanian origin), and Disk Smajevic(1701 1713), the archbishop of Tivar.


Surface: 508 km²
Population: 108 352 banorë
Density: 213 banorë/km²
Urban Population: 60 %
Rural population: 40 %
Urban towns: 2
Rural towns: 65
Administrative Units: 10
Post Code: 4501-4509
Phone prefix: +355(0) 215

The Municipality of Lezha, one of the 61 Albanian municipalities, is situated in the North-Western part of the country.Its coastal line extends for 38 km in the Adriatic Sea from the Lowland of Shkodra until River Mat. The Municipality is composed of 10 administrative units with a population of 108 352 inhabitantsand a surface area of508 km2. The territory of the municipality is composed of a mountainous area in the east (65%) and a flat, green area in the west (35%). The majority of the population lives in the rural area (around 60%), while 40% live in the urban centers. Lezha has a favorable geographic position. It lies between 41056’ 52” and 41O39’45” geographic width and 19035’20” and 19052’20” geographic length and is situated 55 km away from the capital and the Rinas airport. The distance Lezhë-Shkodër is 35 km, Lezhë-Durrës (the industrial port and the chief terminalof ships to Albania) is 70 km and Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo,is only a 220 km away.


In the area of Lezha, there is a huge variety of traditional clothes. They are all unique in shapes and meaning. The clothing of women, men and children is colorful, embroi- dered, and adorned with gold and silver. The costumes of Kallmet and Pllana are unique and cannot be found in any other region in the country. Because of the demo- graphic shifts within the country, one can find the cos- tume of Zadrima, Malesia and Mirdita in other regions of the country. They all preserve the uniqueness of Lezha and rank the municipality as one with the most diverse costumes.


Lezha is also known for its handicraft. This has been transmitted generation after generation and is particularly prevalent in the zone of Zadrima. Construction handicraft includes the produc- tion of roof tiles, mud plates, and vases. The families of the Zadrima area have a tradition in the production of handicrafts and ornaments for personal use. In Lezhe, we have a center for handicrafts which is getting the attention of girls and women who work in this field. The works of these handicraft workers have been also selected by the Vatican as clothes for its clerics.


The cuisine changes as you move east away from the sea to the high mountains from the typical fish dish to the roasted lamb. Nevertheless, the first phrase in the Albanian culinary vocabulary is meat and all of the ways in which it can be cooked. The vegetables are sold both in their raw state and pickled. In the city of Lezha, it is impossible not to see foods like byrek, kebab, shish kebab, donuts, sugar canes – for those who want an “on the go” meal. For those who like fine cooking, in Lezha, you will find some of the best restaurants of Albania.


The western edge of Lezha is the 186 m tall hill on which the castle sits. It does not only dominate the sea coast but it also closes almost all the roads that lead inside the city. Thanks to its favorable geographic po- sition, this hill has been inhabited since the middle of the first millennium before Christ. The footprints of the 5th century walls, the fortifying walls and the Akropo- lis of the ancient Lissus are marvelous even today. In the 9th century, the medieval castle of Lezha was built on top of these historic ruins. This gave Lezha the role of an urban center.


Scanderbeg Memorial is the place that hosted the League of Lezha on 2 March 1444 and where our national hero Gjergj Kastriot Skenderbeg was buried on 17 January 1468. The object, belonging to the 14th century, is in the form of a basilica and is 17 m tall and 8m wide. According to legends, when the Turks invaded Lezha in 1478, they opened the grave of Scanderbeg; they used his bones, covered them in gold and silver and used them as talisman to bring them good fortune in battles. The memorial is one of the most important monuments in Albanian history.


Obelisk is a monument in the heart of the city. It is a memorial to the League of Lezha held on 2 March 1444 where Gjergj Kastriot Scanderbeg, brought together all the Albanian princes. Obelisk was built using 346 lime blocks, each with a weight of 1 ton. It has the typical ancient shape of a trapezoid with a narrow base. This obelisk is made of 8 rows of blocks and 4 ribbons; in the middle, it holds a marble plate(7m x 2.40m) with the shield and helmet of Scanderbeg. The eight swords surround the shield on both sides and “2 March 1444” is inscribed in bronze letters.


The Church “The Heart of Christ” is built from the archbishop of Lezha in the beginning of the 20th century, Monsignor Luigj Bumci. This church was about to be destructed in 1967 but then turned into a storehouse. After the 90s, it was reconstructed and now is distinguished as one of the most beautiful catholic churches in Albania. The first footprints can be found in year 1639 with a church and a house for the poor while in 1857, it was fully built. On April 14, 1882, close to this church opened the college, the first school of its kind in Albania.


Our Lady of Annunciation Church It is said that the establishment of this church and the Franciscan monastery nearby dates back to 1219-1220 when Francis of Azissi came back from the Holy Land. The legend says that Saint Francis took a pine branch where he stopped to spend the night (in the hill in front of the city of Lezha) and drew the foun- dations of a church. The construction was finished by a priest from Lezha called Dom Lleshi. Today, the Church of Lady Nunciata are fully restored, preserving the ancient walls which attest to its history.


In Pllana, southeast of Lezha, there is one of the earliest and most interesting churches in the whole country. St. Barbara’s church rises up the hillside between a greenery and is a 14th-century Benedictine building. On the outside the church is simply handled, built with limestone and limestone stones. The church is illuminated by 6 arched and one round window. The frescoes, some of the most interesting in Albania belong to the 17th century. Their Byzantine style and clarity in the scenery making it unique in its kind.


This church dates back to the third century and it is fully preserved with all its architectonic elements in a a rectangular shape. The frescos preserve important values in the history of their development in different phases. The fresco “The Last Supper”, painted by Dalmatian masters, is even more unique because it presents a point of view on this event similar of that of Leonardo Da Vinci. In this fresco, Jesus is alongside his disciples including Judas, while there are only 6 glasses on the table, differently from the official version of the Catholic church with 12 glasses.


The Illyrian walls which lie from the city castle down to river Drin are evidence of the importance that this antique city had. The city was commonly known as the city of 12 gates because of the number of the gates that the wall had. The fortifying walls of Lissi are more powerful than those of Apollon, which again points to the significance of the city in the ancient Illiro-Epiriot civilization. The city had two ports: the coastal port called “Nimpheum” (Shengjin today) and the river port of Old- drini (Drini today). The excavations continue.


It is mentioned for the first time in a document of 1343. It is located in the mountain over Kallmet. There is a source of water springing out of the rock which is chanelled inside the church as it is seen as purifying water from the Catholic believers. According to the legend, the fountain sprang when two workers were building the church and were very thirsty, saw the image of Saint Euphemia and water sprang out. It is located in the northwestern part of mount Vela (1172m), at 372 m height and in the center of an idyllic oasis called “The Forest of Saint Euphemia.”


The two lagoons lie in between the city of Lezha and the Adriatic Sea in both sides of the Drin river estuary. Although they are always mentioned together because of their importance, they are two separate entities and different importance. If in Kune, you can go for the wonderful beach, in Vain, you can go for the tranquility of the forest or hunting. The lagoons host some of the best restaurants in the region.


The church of the beheaded Saint John ose the Church of Arber is mentioned for the first time in 1629. This church is of special importance for the history of the dioceze of Lezha because in 1703, on the request of Pope Clement XI, the church hosted the “League of Arber.” The churc has a simple rect- angular shape with measures 9.10m x 25.40m. The foundations of the old church have been restored. She is located in the hill in front of Merqi town.


The church is positioned on top of the town of Gryke Manati and presents a pictoresque view. The church walls are preserved today almost up to the height of the roof. The church has been covered with stone plates, which are still preserved today for the most part. Also preserved are the footprints of the altar and the temple of the church in general. The church is made even more attractive by the fountain that pumps fresh water east of the church.