Velipoja Town Square
|Elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|• Administrative Unit||5,031|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Velipojë (definite Albanian form: Velipoja) is a village and a former municipality in Shkodër County, northwestern Albania. At the 2015 local government reform it became a subdivision of the municipality Shkodër. The population at the 2011 census was 5,031.
Velipojë is situated on the estuary of the Buna river (the only navigable river of Albania), where it flows into the Adriatic Sea while constituting the natural border with Montenegro. The Commune (i.e. the administrative unit) of Velipojë has a population of around 10,000, spread over several small settlements, the largest of which is the town of Velipojë itself.
Its economy is based on agriculture (arable land and livestock, sheep and cattle), some fishing, and chiefly tourism. The scenery is largely unspoilt: a mixture of sea-coast, river estuary, heathland, thick pine woods, farmland, and high mountains. It has been remarked by visitors that the heathland to the north of Velipoja is very reminiscent of Scottish scenery. A nature reserve lies within the commune. The area is a prime site for birdwatching, game shooting and fishing. A long, sandy beach with a seaside promenade is a popular attraction in summer.
In recent years, several projects have been instituted with the aim of conserving the environment (including the marine life of the Buna) and the encouragement of ecological tourism. There have also been recent efforts to develop fish farming. The area has many small hotels and guest houses. There is a market, where local farmers sell their produce. In the commune, there is a church-sponsored kindergarten, several primary schools, two secondary schools, and one gymnasium. There is also a small theatre and a thriving local football team, KS Ada Velipojë and ground.
Historically a poor area, and like the rest of the country subject to much emigration, Velipojë has recently begun to expand as a tourist resort, favoured especially by the inhabitants of Shkodër, the chief city of northern Albania, which lies about 30 km (19 mi) inland.