Day 1 in Tirana
If you visit us for one day, we suggest a plan. Enjoy!
Even if your stay in Tirana is just for one day, we invite you to follow this brief guide to ensure you don’t miss Tirana’s most exciting parts!
You can start from Scanderbeg’s Square, in the center of the capital. Walk around this city square, and you can see the Palace of Culture, the Scanderbeg’s Monument, the Bank of Albania and the National Historical Museum. To begin your tour of Tirana, we suggest starting at Skanderbeg’s Square, which is located in the center of the capital. Taking a walk around the expansive city square, you will see the Palace of Culture, the Skanderbeg Monument, the Bank of Albania, and the National Museum of History.
You can visit the National Historical Museum, for only (200 Lek), this museum talks about the history of Albania from antiquity to the present days. And if you want to eat some traditional food in the morning, you should go to “Bardhok Biba” Street to eat yogurt and pie. Visits to the National Museum of History cost only 200 Lek (approx. €1,60). This museum talks about the history of Albania from ancient times to the present day, highlighting important artifacts, historical figures and moments in Albanian history. If you would like to try some traditional Albanian food in the morning, we suggest walking to “Bardhok Biba” Street located near the square to try some yogurt and pie found at a number of places.
On the left side of Scanderbeg’s Square, you can find the Clock Tower that was built in 1822 by Haxhi Et'hem Beut, the same person who built the mosque next to it. From Clock Tower you enjoy a fantastic view of the city. Then you can walk for 1 minute along the Tirana City Hall to find Bunk'Art 2. A bunker built by the Ministry of Internal Affairs that shows the history of police and gendarmerie during the communist era. By walking straight, you can go directly to the pedestrian street called "Murat Toptani" where you can find different cafes (many of them are easily found everywhere in Tirana) and you can also see the National Theater, the National Art Gallery, the "Reja" (the Cloud) Installation, The Castle of Tirana. In the “Deshmoret e Kombit” (National Martyrs) boulevard, is easily noticeable a building with a very interesting architecture such as the Tirana Pyramid, it has been built to be a Museum for dictator Hoxha, and now a space for youth activities. On the left hand side of Skanderbeg’s Square, you will find the Clock Tower built in 1822 by Haxhi Et’hem Beut, who additionally constructed the Et’hem Bey Mosque, which is found directly adjacent to the Clock Tower. The Clock Tower offers a fantastic view of the city, while the mosque offers an incredible look at history and interior decoration unique to Tirana. Then, talking a minute walk alongside Tirana’s City Hall, you will find Bunk’Art 2. Built by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, this 24 room bunker turned museum tells the history of the “Sigurimi,” or political police, who operated on behalf of the regime during the communist era to suppress state opponents. At the same time, Bunk’Art 2 showcases where the Minister of Internal Affairs would’ve stayed had a much feared nuclear attack been launched on the country allowing visitors to truly immerse themselves in history.
From Bunk’Art 2, continue to walk straight and you will soon come across a pedestrian street named “Murat Toptani,” where you may find a variety of different cafes as well as the National Theatre, the National Art Gallery, the “Reja” (the Cloud) Installation, and finally, the Castle of Tirana. Heading down the nearby “Deshmoret e Kombit” (National Martyrs) boulevard, you will notice the easy recognizable Tirana Pyramid. Initially built as a museum for the late dictator Enver Hoxha, the building now functions as a space for youth activities and as an iconic historical landmark.
On your way to find a nice place to eat a traditional food, we recommend the Oda restaurant. A typical restaurant, with Albanian characteristic décor and cookery, or the new Bazaar “Pazari i Ri” located near the city center which has the function of a normal market and also a re-creative center where you can taste delicious food. When looking for a place to eat traditional food, we recommend the Oda Restaurant, which offers authentic Albanian décor and cooking. Alternatively, you may want to take a trip to the new Bazaar “Pazari i Ri,” which is located near the city center and functions as a market and recreative center for people to enjoy delicious foods from a variety of vendors, restaurants, and cafes.
Walking around the city you can see in the neighborhoods various old villas, with interesting architecture and showing the transitory periods in which Tirana has gone through. Like Sali Shijaku's House one of the oldest villas in the Balkans or “House of Leaves”, a building used during the Communist era for secret Security Surveillance. The museum is dedicated to the innocent people who were arrested, exiled, tortured and suffered severe convictions due to interceptions, controls and spies during the communist regime, most of which were carried out by this house. Taking a walk around the city, you can see amongst the neighborhoods various old villas with interesting architecture which demonstrate the transitory periods that Tirana has gone through. One building to look out for is Sali Shijaku’s House, which is one of the oldest villas in the Balkans and houses a vast collection of art by the beloved painter. The “House of Leaves” is another building that both demonstrates architectural excellence and serves as a must-see museum. Used as a headquarters for secret security surverillance during the Communist era, this museum is dedicated to all the innocent people who faced arbitrary arrests, severe convictions, exile, and even torture at the hands of security forces, which often times occured in this very house. The complex web of interceptions, controls and spies that helped the police operate in this manner is a central focus of the museum and this part of history.
In front of the “House of Leaves” you can find the Orthodox Cathedral "The Resurrection of Christ", and to show the religious harmony in the country, you can see at the same route, Churches and Mosques who can be visited by anyone on its desire. In front of the “House of Leaves,” you will find the ornate Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, which was officially opened in 2012. Exemplifying religious harmony in Albania, you will notice that churches and mosques are often located along the same routes and are open to any and all visitors.
The most fashionable neighborhood in Tirana is definitely “Blloku” (the Block), where you will find a variety of bars. You can simply choose to drink something or dance under the rhythms of modern music. The Block area is known for the villas used by the government during the Communist era, a neighborhood where it was not allowed for citizens to go in without pass permission. This area turned into the most visited neighborhood of Tirana for its vibrancy, it also displays other interesting elements such as the villa of dictator Enver Hoxha, which is still untouched. The most fashionable neighborhood in Tirana is certainly Blloku, or “the Block.” This neighborhood is most well known for housing the villas used by government officials during the Communist era. Closed off to ordinary citizens, only those with special permission were allowed to enter this section of the city. Historical landmarks such as the villa of dictator Enver Hoxha, which remains untouched since his death in 1985, can also be found here and signified how the neighborhood would’ve looked during the communist era. Since then, the area has turned into the most visited neighborhood in Tirana for its vibrancy where you will find a variety of bars, restaurants, shops, and cafes. Simply stay for a drink or stay for a dance at one of a variety of music clubs in the area.
One of the quietest places in Tirana is the Artificial Lake, where you will feel really relaxed and you will have the opportunity to use your bicycle, to walk or to drink an outdoor cafe. Near the Artificial Lake is “Mullixhiu”, a very special restaurant in style and content. Mullixhiu's chef recreates traditional dishes in a modern way so you can enjoy a dinner there. Heading past Blloku, one of the quietest spots in Tirana is the Artificial Lake, where you’re sure to feel relaxed while being surrounded by nature. Take the opportunity to take a walk or bike ride, or stop for a drink at an outdoor cafe. Near the Artificial Lake you’ll find “Mullixhiu,” a unique restaurant notable for how the chefs recreate traditional dishes in modern ways.
From the Artificial Lake it is easy to come to Mother Teresa Square, and walking along the“Dëshmorët e Kombit” (National Martyrs) Boulevard, you can find various attractions such as: Palace of Congress, Presidency, COD, and Block Post Memorial. From the Artificial Lake it’s easy to find Mother Teresa Square, and walking along the “Dëshmorët e Kombit” (National Martyrs) Boulevard, you will see a variety of attractions such as the Palace of Congress, the Offices of the Presidency, the Center for Operating and Dialogue (COD), and the Block Post Memorial.
Day 2 in Tirana
Tirana's Mosaic, is one of the oldest monuments discovered in Tirana, is thought to be part of a Roman house built in the 3rd century AD. We suggest you begin the day at Tirana’s Mosaic, one of the oldest monuments discovered in Tirana and thought to belong to a Roman villa built in the 3rd century AD.
After visiting Tirana's Mosaic, you can choose to spend a half day on Dajti Mountain. You can go there by Cable Car, from the city center by taking the Porcelan Bus for about 20 minutes. The bus stops 2 minutes away from the cable car. National Park of Dajti has a wonderful nature, you have many opportunities; to walk in nature, to eat a traditional food or to visit the Dajti Adventure Park. On Dajti's balcony, you can also skydive for those who love adventure. After visiting Tirana’s Mosaic, you may choose to spend half a day taking the cable car up to Dajti Mountain and exploring the National Park of Dajti (800 Lek roundtrip). At the national park, there are countless opportunities to admire the view from the top of the mountain as it overlooks all of Tirana and beyond. Use this opportunity to explore nature, go horseback riding or try some traditional Albanian food at Resturant Ballkoni Dajtit. And for those who love adventure, take a visit to the Dajti Adventure Park where on Dajti’s balcony, you can even try paragliding.
To reach the Dajti Ekspres cable car, take the blue Porcelan Bus from the city center (located behind the Palace of Culture) for about twenty minutes (40 Lek one way) until the last stop. The bus will drop you only a couple of minutes walk from the cable car.
Bunk'art 1 is one of the most important attractions in Tirana, dedicated to the victims of the communist regime and built in the rooms of an old and cold bunker. Almost 3,000 square meters under the ground with more than 100 rooms, this bunker remained a secret to its existence till last years. It is already a contemporary art museum. To get there from the center of Tirana, you must take the Porcelan bus, for only 40 (Lek), behind the Palace of Culture in Scanderbeg’s Square and ask the driver to leave you outside Bunk'Art 1.
Bunk'Art 1 is located near the Cable Car “Dajti Express”, so you can combine visits to these attractions. Bunk’Art 1 is another one of Tirana’s most important attractions and is a museum dedicated to the victims of the communist regime and built within the rooms of an abandoned bunker. Almost 3,000 square meters underground with more than 100 rooms, the existence of this bunker itself remained a secret only until recent years. Bunk’Art 1 also functions as a contemporary art museum and is a complementary museum to Bunk’Art 2. To arrive there from the center of Tirana, take the blue Porcelan Bus from the city center (located behind the Palace of Culture) for about twenty minutes (40 Lek one way) and ask the driver to leave you outside Bunk’Art 1. The museum is located near the “Dajti Express” Cable Car, so you may combine visits to Bunk’Art 1 and Dajti Mountain.
The Coffee – Muze Komiteti (Museum Committee) is the best place to have coffee in the city. It is the first coffee designed as a traditional communist-era house, couches, tables and every detail are products of that time. Objects inside the Café, are used by different families in Albania. There you can also try small meals accompanied by self-made Raki (Albanian traditional alcoholic beverage). Returning to the city, Coffee-Muze Komiteti is the best place to have coffee in Tirana. This cafe is the first to be designed as a traditional communist-era house compete with couches and tables characteristic of this time. Objects inside the cafe come from different families across Albania. There, you can also try small meals accompanied by self-made Raki, a traditional Albanian alcohol.
Day 3 in Tirana
You can visit the Petrela Castle, located 15 km southeast of Tirana, on a rocky hill. From the antiquity, this castle has controlled important economic and military routes of the country such as the Egnatia road (Durrës branch - Tirana - Elbasan). You can take the bus from the Southeast terminal and in 20 minutes you will reach at “Mamica Square” in the center of Petrela. You can choose to have lunch at the restaurant located in the Petrela Castle where the view is fantastic, or you can walk from the Petrela Castle to the Ancient settlement of Persqopi, the highest fortification preserved throughout the Albanian territory and the Monumental Tomb that belongs the period of IV - III BC. Some of the attractions that show most interest and are easily accessible, are the “Pëllumbasi Cave” in Bërzhitë. Where you can go to the village of Pëllumbas by bus, and then walk in nature to the cave where the appearance is very beautiful and relaxing. The track is well marked, and the tables help you easily find the way. On the third day, we suggest visiting Petrela Castle, which is located on a rocky hill 15 km southeast of Tirana. Since ancient times, this castle has controlled important economic and military routes across the country such as the Egnatia road which runs from Durrës to Tirana to Elbasan. You can reach the castle by taking the bus from the southeast terminal and in twenty minutes, you’ll reach “Mamica Square” in the center of Petrela. A restaurant located within Petrela Castle offers a great place to have lunch and admire the fantastic view before walking from the castle to the ancient settlement of Persqopi. There exists the highest fortification preserved throughout Albanian territory and a Monumental Tomb belonging to the 3-4th Century BC. One of the most interesting and accessible attractions there is “Pëllumbasi Cave” in Bërzhitë, where you can visit the nearby village of Pëllumbas by bus, and then walk to the cave, which is both beautiful and relaxing. There are easy to follow tracks and diagrams to guide you along the way.
The Cyclops' Eye, part of the Krrabë administrative unit, is an attraction in the Erzen valley. There is a crystal-water lake in the form of a heart where you can swim and enjoy the freshness of nature. While if you are a bike fan, Farkë Lake and the surrounding area create many opportunities and is very close to Tirana.
From here, we suggest for those able to, to take a hike up to the Cyclops’ Eye, which is an attraction in the Erzen valley and part of the Krrabë administrative unit. There lies a lake in the form of a heart with crystal clear water where you can choose to swim or just enjoy the refreshing feeling of surrounding nature.
If you enjoy bike riding, we suggest visiting Farkë Lake and the surrounding area which is located very close to Tirana and hosts many opportunities to go for a relaxing and picturesque ride.