Kostar is a tiny village on the slopes of the mountain. The Monastery of Saint Mary is beautifully built at the face of a steep cliff, which makes it a very special location for a monastery. The building is literally carved out of a rock and has a spectacular view over the surrounding valley and villages.
The monastery dates all the way back to 1332 when the first parts were built. The monastery was later extended between 1690-1770. So the building is really old but very beautifully decorated with wall paintings and wooden furniture, so not surprisingly it’s considered as a pelgrimage site by many.
How To Get To Kostar
Kostar and its monastery are located just off the SH99 road between Saranda and Gjirokastra and is best reached by car. From Saranda it takes about 30 minutes to get there, but be aware that from the main road, you have to drive for about 4 kilometers over a small and steep road that is only partly paved and can be quite challenging at some points. You can drive all the way up to the monastery and park there.
If you don’t have your own transportation you can rent a car or motor cycle, or arrange a taxi to get you there. Alternatively you can take any bus from Saranda to Gjirokastra and ask to be dropped off the exit towards Kostar, which is just after the village of Mesopotam. Bring plenty of water, because you’d need to walk for about 4 kilometers uphill and all the way back as well. You won’t find any shop on the way!
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