13 Things to do in Tirana
Tirana is a growing capital that offers many things to do for travelers like you. It blends in a nutshell history, tradition, and nature. Tirana has the largest airport in Albania that acts as the starting point of tours around the country. The city is famous for its active lifestyle and modern approach. Tirana has a population of approximately 1 million and is the center of attention in Albania. Indeed, there used to be a proverb in Albania during the communist days: All the country works hard for Tirana. You can easily spend 3 days alternating many choices of places to go.
- Take a walking tour of the main boulevard
- Discover Albanian history in the National History Museum
- Learn about communism through BunkArt 1 & 2, and House of Leaves
- Get on a cable car to Mount Dajt
- Drive to Bovilla Lake
- Hike to Pellumbas cave
- Enjoy sunny days by the Grand Park of Tirana
- Eat local food
- Experience Tirana nightlife
- Cycle in Tirana
- Hike to Shengjergj waterfall
- Watch a football match at Air Albania Stadium
- See local Art & Culture
1. Take a walking tour of the main boulevard
The main boulevard of Tirana “Deshmoret e Kombit” includes the most important government buildings of Albania. The history dates back to the 1930s when Italian architects built the capital. You can spot the Italian architecture at the ministry buildings, the Prime Minister’s office, or the University of Tirana at Mother Theresa square. Take a slow walk, and you will find many more impressive landmarks like the Pyramid of Tirana.
2. Discover Albanian history in the National History Museum
The Skanderbeg square features the center of the capital. The history of Tirana starts here with its sights from different eras as Et’hem Bey mosque and the Clock Tower. These symbolic buildings are the only remaining from the Ottoman period. In the center of the square is the monument of Albanian national hero Skanderbeg. If you want to learn closely about Albanian history, is highly suggested the National History Museum. The building was inaugurated in 1981 and covers vivid facts from antiquity to the last century.
3. Learn about communism through BunkArt 1 & 2, and House of Leaves
Albania experienced communism from 1945-1991. The history of the most isolated country in Europe during the 20th century is displayed well at the museums of BunkArt and House of Leaves. BunkArt 1 is the largest underground bunker in Albania with 130 rooms that can take up to 1.5 hours to visit. It is at the foot of Mount Dajt, and you can reach it by a city bus departing behind the National Opera. BunkArt 2 is the former Cold War bunker of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and sets between the City Hall and the ministry. House of Leaves formerly was the headquarters of the Albanian secret service “Sigurimi”.
4. Get on a cable car to Mount Dajt
Dajti Express is the longest cable car in the Balkans. It takes you to beautiful nature, where locals love to relax on their days off. The views of Tirana from the top are amazing. Additionally, you can find many activities like Adventure Park (open during summer) or hiking to the top of Tujani peak. It takes about 3 hours to reach the top in an easy trail. You can hike with a guide and visit BunkArt 1 here: Rural Tirana – Hike mount Dajt and Bunkart 1
5. Drive to Bovilla Lake
Bovilla Lake has the best landscapes in Tirana. It is 20km from the capital, and you can drive or cycle there. This area has some beautiful views of mountains and canyons. Next to the dam are many climbing routes. You can take a short hike up to a viewpoint and enjoy a picnic. For more details, check out: 13 Best Hiking in Albania
6. Hike to Pellumbas cave
Pellumbas cave is a tourist attraction in Tirana for people who like nature. From the village of Pellumbas, you hike about 2km to reach the entrance. The cave is one of the biggest in Albania and is full of stalactites and stalagmites. Bring a flashlight because there isn’t enough light inside.
7. Enjoy sunny days by the Grand Park of Tirana
Albania has around 300 sunny days a year, and Tirana is known to be a warm city. If you are in Tirana during hot summer days, you can go to chill at the Grand Park. The area has an artificial lake, a bike and run circuit, and many cafes. It is the most popular place to go for locals. Families with kids can have fun at various outdoor playgrounds inside the park.
8. Eat local food
Albanian cuisine is a blend of Turkish and Italian influences. In the capital, you can find hundreds of restaurants to try local food. Areas like the “Pazari i Ri” and “Kalaja e Tiranes” are known for traditional food. Blloku has many modern restaurants with Italian influence as Spaghetti Western, Salt Rest, Ejona, Artigiano, and King’s House. Alongside the road to Mount Dajt are some fantastic restaurants too.
9. Experience Tirana nightlife
The nightlife in Tirana is busy during the whole week. The locals here love to go out. Blloku is the most popular for young people. There are many bars where you can enjoy a cocktail as Tribeca, Radio, Checkpoint Charlie, or Whisky. Rruga Mustafa Matohiti is another area with cool lounge bars such as Meduza, City Art, and Sense Resto. If you like to dance, you can go to Tunel, Arte, or The Underground.
10. Cycle in Tirana
Tirana has many renovated bike lines that have increased the number of cyclists. You can easily take a bike tour around the ring of Tirana, all through a bike line. Remember to be careful because pedestrians walk carelessly in the bike line. If you feel fit and like farther tours, you can go to the hills of the artificial lake or Mount Dajt. Additionally, there are some mountain bike trails for adventurer spirits. For road bikers, the Krraba pass is a beautiful challenge. Road bikers can also choose to cycle to the village of Baldushk or Petrele.
11. Hike to Shengjergj waterfall
Shengjergj valley is 30 km from Tirana, behind Mount Dajt. It is a remote village that has many hiking trails. The valley is a place of interest for locals during winter because everything turns white from the snow. Easy hiking trails are Shengjergj waterfall or “Liqeni i Lepurit” (Rabbit lake). More demanding hikes are Mali me Gropa or Maja e Fagut. It is advisable to have a guide for the latest. If you are an off-road enthusiast, drive towards the Bize-Martanesh reserve for splendid nature. The gravel road starts just at the end of Shengjergj village.
12. Watch a football match at Air Albania Stadium
The new football stadium in Tirana is unique in Europe. It has a tower attached to it which serves as Marriot Hotel. The stadium has a capacity of 22.000 seats, which makes it the largest in Albania. Besides Albania’s national team, local clubs like FK Partizani and KF Tirana use it for Superliga matches. Football is the most popular game in Albania, and the derby match between Partizani and Tirana is an experience. Check out the schedule at fshf.org and see if there is a match during your stay in Tirana.
13. See local Art & Culture
Tirana has hundreds of cultural activities all year round. The best way to learn about them is to download the free application Tirana Ime 2.0. Everything happening in Tirana is listed here. Try to see some Art exhibitions at the National Art Gallery, National Museum, or at the house of painter Sali Shijaku.
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