Balkan region in Southern Europe has some of the most beautiful scenery in the continent. While most of tourism streams tend to reach Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Greece – Albania is one of those countries that is still on a “no-go” list for many tourists. While the country certainly has its own internal issues (like every other country in the world), the scenery and beauty of it should outweigh all of that and put Albania on the “to-go” map for every adventure seeker.
For everyone who is up for an adventure in Shqipëri (Albania in Albanian language), a day or two in capital Tirana is a must. We would like give you a few ideas and recommend some things to do while you are in the biggest city of this proud nation.
Tirana walking tour
Compared to other European capitals, Tirana is a relatively small city. According to 2015 census, its population was roughly 610, 070 people. Therefore, if you don’t choose to go to the outskirts, you can reach many main tourist attractions in the city by foot.
In fact, there is well rated free walking tour in Tirana. It actually happens every single day and guides you through the important points of interest and related history. The tour starts at 10 am and lasts couple of hours. Alternatively there is another similar free tour which normally starts at 9 o’clock and guides you through similar areas of interest.
Note: As these tours are completely free, please don’t forget to tip your guide afterwards.
Top attractions in Tirana
National History Museum
It is the largest museum in the whole country situated in the right in the middle of the city next to Skanderbeg Square. The museum consists these pavilions:
- Pavilion of Antiquity
- Pavilion of the Middle Ages
- Pavilion of Renaissance
- Pavilion of Independence
- Pavilion of Iconography
- Pavilion of the National Liberation Antifascist War
- Pavilion of Communist Terror
- Pavilion of Mother Teresa
It is a really impressive museum and should be on everyone’s list.
Price: adult 200 ALL, student 60 ALL (~£1, ~€1.4, ~$1.6)
Named after probably the most famous Albanian warrior, with his statue in the middle, this symbolic and gorgeous square is the center point of Tirana. It is also known as Sheshi Skenderbej and is surrounded by many other attractions.
Really nice and trendy area of the city with loads of restaurants, cafes and bars where you can just spend a lovely time enjoying your beverage or food while observing the life of Tirana. Next to it there is a house of former Albanian dictator – Enver Hoxha, which is also a really popular tourist attraction.
Et`hem Bey Mosque
Well known 18th century mosque which was closed under communist rule. It only reopened as a house of worship in 1991, when 10,000 courageous people dared to attend and remarkably the police did not interfere. What is very unusual is that you can see the frescoes outside and in the portico which depict trees, waterfalls and bridges – motifs rarely seen in Islamic art.
If you are a fan of city panoramas, this tower will be a treat for you. Not only it offers a great view of Tirana, but because it is actually a bar, you can also enjoy a a drink while you revolve around.
Stunning and very well know mountain in Tirana will take you breath away. And to help do that, there is actually a cable car service which takes you to the top of the mountain where the best views open up.
National Gallery of Arts
Communism is well known for its all types of propaganda. Well, this museum actually gives you a chance to experience what it was like to live in communist Albania with many of its exhibits all relating to a propaganda machine that was “well-oiled” during that period.
There are many other great places in Tirana, but hat will depend mostly on what your interests are. If you have recently visited this great city, leave a comment below and let us know of your experiences!
For more information on tourism in Tirana and the whole country, visit the official Albanian tourist information website.
Also check out amazing this video about Tirana that we have posted a while ago.