Top 10 Best Things to Do in Tirana, Albania

18-11-2022 10 3 0 0 Báo lỗi

With its Soviet-era architecture, large parks, and bustling streets, the city of Tirana is usually the first stop for most people who travel to Albania. Along with being the nation’s capital, it has an international airport and easy transport connections all around the country which makes it the perfect jumping-off point. Below are the best things to do in Tirana, Albania, let's find out!

1 Kim An

Visit the Skanderbeg Square

If Tirana is a human body, Skanderbeg Square is probably the central nervous system. This is where all the roads in Tirana lead to. Skanderbeg Square is a large space surrounded by several tourist attractions making it one of the best places to start your journey in Tirana.


During the day, it might be a bit empty but once the sunset, the square comes alive with a ton of locals hanging out, socializing among each other, and participating in whatever event that is currently taking place in the Square. If you are there in the summer, you will probably find yourself in the middle of one of the many outdoor events that are always happening around Skanderbeg Square.

BucketListly Blog
BucketListly Blog
BucketListly Blog
BucketListly Blog
2 Kim An

Drop by the Et'hem Bej Mosque

From the outside, it may not seem like Albania is a Muslim-majority country but it is and one of the oldest and most prominent mosques in Tirana is Et'hem Bej Mosque, an Ottoman-era mosque located right in the middle of Skanderbeg Square. It was founded at the end of the 18th century by Mulla Bey, with the shrine finished by his son Haxhi Et’hem Bey in the first quarter of the following century. On 18th January 1991, despite opposition from the communist authorities, 10,000 people entered carrying flags. This was at the onset of the fall of communism in Albania. The event was a milestone in the rebirth of religious freedom in the country.


Visitors can see the wonderful architecture of the mosque and its exquisite decorations of wall and ceiling paintings from oriental traditions. The frescoes of the mosque depict trees, waterfalls, and bridges, still life paintings that are a rarity in Islamic art. The outside may not look like much but the stunning depiction of waterfalls and plants on the frescos in the prayer hall, which is quite rare to see in a mosque, is quite a sight to behold.

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
Flickr
Flickr
3 Kim An

Learn About Albania's Struggle During the Communist Regime at Bunk'Art 2

The Bunk'Art 2, a nuclear bunker turned museum that highlights the brutal communist dictatorship that ruled Albania for 45 years, is the best place to learn about a country's tragic past and how it came to be in order to comprehend its people and their origins. The Bunk'Art 2 museum is located just south of the Clock Tower. You won't miss it as the entrance looks like a semi-dome concrete communist-era nuclear bunker popped out from the ground right in the middle of the city. The museum will take you through the history of the rise and fall of communism in Albania. Its 24 rooms are divided into topics from how Sigurimi (the secret service) bugged a room or a regular object like a bloom for surveillance to the countless stories of political persecutions.


The entry fee is 500 LEK per person, but given the quality of the content, it was definitely worth it especially if you want to learn more about Albania. The name Enver Hoxha will come up a lot the further south you travel in Albania and there is no better place to learn about him than at Bunk'Art 2 museum.

GetYourGuide
GetYourGuide
BucketListly Blog
BucketListly Blog
4 Kim An

Learn More About the History of Albania at the National History Museum

Another great museum that you should visit is the National History Museum, located right in the middle of Skanderbeg Square. The museum exterior is decorated with a colorful soviet-propaganda-style mural that is hard to miss. This museum goes even beyond the communist era all the way to when the Albanian spirit and identity were born. The collection in the museum will take you from ancient Illyria to the post-communist era with each room and item labeled in English and aligned in chronological order.


You will also learn about the great Albanian hero, Skanderbeg, an Albanian nobleman and military commander who led a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire, and how he became the founding father of Albania. The museum entry is 200 LEK per person. The museum opens every day from 9 AM - 7 PM and you can expect to spend around 2 hours if you want to read and understand Albanian history thoroughly.

Cultural Heritage Online
Cultural Heritage Online
Bashkia Tiranë
Bashkia Tiranë
5 Kim An

Explore the Foodie Scene in Blloku

Exploring Blloku is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Tirana at night. It’s the time when this neighborhood really comes alive. There are so many lively bars in this area, you’ll definitely find one to suit the vibe you’re looking for. For a communist-inspired bar, head to Komiteti, which has some of the best raki available in the city, along with amazing artifacts from the era. Radio Bar is one of the most unique places to visit in Tirana for cocktails with a funky retro feel and great music.


Blloku is also home to some of the best restaurants in Tirana too. Try Era for traditional food with a modern twist, or Artigiano at Vila for some of the most delicious Italian food. If you’re traveling on a budget, you can’t go wrong with Opa, which serves superb Greek street food. The food in Albania is really good!

Nightlife City Guide
Nightlife City Guide
Something of Freedom
Something of Freedom
6 Kim An

Go on a Day Trip to Kruje Castle

Kruje is a town north of Tirana that used to be the capital of the first autonomous Albanian state and then becomes the seat of power of the Albanian hero, Skanderbeg during the Ottoman reign. The city is located photogenically on the side of the Kruje mountain and at the top of it, all sits the mighty Kruje Castle, where Skanderbeg was able to repel 3 Ottoman sieges before he died.


The castle is fun to wander around with a few detours you can take to check out the local village. Within the castle, you will find a museum dedicated to Skanderbeg where you can learn more about his conquest. To get into the castle, you will have to pay a 200 LEK entry fee and you will have access to the castle balcony where you can go up to the top of the castle and capture the view of Kruje and its surrounding landscape in one panoramic sweep.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia
BucketListly Blog
BucketListly Blog
7 Kim An

Admire the Beauty of Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral

Even though Albania is a Muslim country, they are quite open to accepting beliefs other than their own and this is shown in the grand structure of The Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral in Tirana. The Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral was opened in 2012 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the revival of the Albanian Orthodox Church. The structure is designed in a modern, almost futuristic style with clean curves and an eggshell-colored exterior.


The cathedral is also the third-largest Orthodox cathedral in the Balkans. With its modern take that maintains the usual Orthodox architectural design but with a unique touch that doesn't conform to any traditional religious architecture, the cathedral stands out as one of the most impressive structures in Tirana that you should definitely check out.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia
World Council of Churches
World Council of Churches
8 Kim An

Ponder Albania’s Dark Past at Piramida

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Tirana, you’ve got to check out Piramida. This incredibly culturally important building was constructed in 1987 in honor of dictator Enver Hoxha. Although he died some years earlier, his family wanted to commemorate his memory with a major landmark.


After the fall of communism, the family lost control of the building and it was abandoned. Since 1991, discussions have been going on about what to do with it. Some people want it completely torn down, while others want it restored to become an important monument or fun place to hang out. Until a decision can be made, Piramida remains a hauntingly brutal reminder of a time gone by. Although you can’t go inside the building, you can see it from the outside. The smashed windows and graffiti tell a story of an angry community that’s taking back power.

Bloomberg.com
Bloomberg.com
Wikipedia
Wikipedia
9 Kim An

Eat Your Way Through Tirana’s New Bazaar

When you need a break from all the Tirana sightseeing, take it easy for a little while and wander around Tirana’s New Bazaar. If you’re staying in self-catering accommodation and want to whip up your own meals, you’ll find some amazing organic produce here! Even if you’re not planning on cooking anything yourself, the New Bazaar is still definitely worth a visit. Here you’ll find stalls selling artisan handicrafts, the latest tech, freshly-baked goods, local cheeses, and other dairy products, jewelry, souvenirs, and loads more.


Before the New Bazaar was built, this spot used to house an old bazaar back during the Ottoman Empire. In 2017, it was totally revamped and transformed into the bustling market you can see today. If you’re not interested in any of the food spots inside the bazaar, you’ll find a great selection of cafes, bars, and restaurants surrounding the market.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Guardian Glass
Guardian Glass
10 Kim An

Find the Best Views in Tirana from the Dajti Ekspres

You’ll find some of the best things to see in Tirana from the Dajti Ekspres. This is the cable car that connects the city to the top of Mount Dajti. This cable car route is one of the most beautiful in Europe. It covers 0.6 miles over the glorious Albanian countryside. If you ride in summer, you’ll get to see lush green grass, full leafy trees, and a rainbow of wildflowers. Ride in winter, and you’ll get to look down on a snowy winter wonderland right below you.


It takes around 15 minutes to get from the bottom to the top, making it the Balkans’ longest cable car ride. At the highest point, you’ll reach 3,280 feet above sea level, from which you can enjoy even more spectacular views. There are a number of local restaurants where you can dig into Albanian eats as you soak up the gorgeous views at the top.

Albania Tour Guide
Albania Tour Guide
Dajti Ekspres
Dajti Ekspres


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