This handy travel guide highlights the most important things to do in Tirana and features tips for restaurants and accommodation. I've been to the capital of Albania within our Balkan Road Trip for a bit more than 2 days before heading over to Montenegro.
Albania is one of the countries in the Balkans where you won't find much tourism infrastructure – a rural place totally of the beaten track. Exactly this makes Albania so interesting as you are able to experience a country without figuring out which is the tourist facade and which is not. Though it's harder to travel it's a great experience and very very budget friendly!
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1) Things to do in Tirana
As stated we've been in the city for 2 days only but managed to see the most popular sights – which is easy to do in Tirana.
This is the central square of the city and the country, all important departments and sights can be found nearby: the Et'hem Bey mosque & the clock tower, the Skanderbeg Monument, the national museum and the palace of culture (home to the library & opera).
Obviously this square is the starting point for discovering the city therefore you should try to find a hotel nearby (see my recommendation below!) so everything is pretty much walkable.
One of my favorite things to do in Tirana is a trip to the mountain next door – a true green paradise! The Dajti Mountain (1.600m) is located within the Mount Dajti National Park and easy to get to: 2005 the longest cable car in the Balkans has been opened to connect the city with the mountain.
The view from the top is incredible, you can even see the Mediterranean Sea from up there. If you have more time you should consider going for a hike as the surrounding simply calls for spending some time there being active!
Prices: 6 € for a return ticket (to get to the cable car station you should take a cab from the Skanderbeg square, this will cost your something between 2-4€)
We didn't know either but Tirana is a true HotSpot regarding the Nightlife. The city is very dynamic as a lot of young Albanians come to study in Tirana.
The district of Blloku is the place to go – here you'll find cool bars and clubs. As all the other spots this is also only a 10-15 minute walk away from the Skanderbeg square. The weekends are a bit more crowded.
2) Restaurants & Bars
Head over to Blloku where you'll find the best restaurants and bars in Tirana beside the 2 places we recommend below.
A hidden gem where you can enjoy true Albanian cuisine for great prices. It's located a bit off the track but worth the walk: tasty food in a traditional atmosphere!
Address: Rr. Luigj Gurakuqi
Sky Tower Bar
The best view over the city from the center of the city can be enjoyed here. The sky tower bar is a rotating bar on top of a Hotel in Blloku – highly recommended for 1-2 sundowners before getting the night started!
Address: Rr. Ibrahim Rugova (use the entrance of the Sky Hotel)
I highly recommend Freddys Hotel/B&B which is perfectly located only a 5min walk from the Skanderbeg square. The breakfast is pretty basic but alright, the rooms are clean and mostly with bathroom ensuite and you'll have free WiFi.
Communication is sometimes funny as the staff doesn't speak english very well but they try very hard and will help you with everything needed. Altogether Freddy's is probably one of the best deals in matters of location, price and value!
You can book your stay and check out more information on Freddy's Hotel page on Booking.
4) Connections & Where to go next
to Macedonia: There is one daily bus connection from Tirana to Macedonia via Ohrid to Skopje which takes 7-8 hours.
to Kosovo: There is another direct bus going to Pristina (the company is called ‘Barileva Turist'), this trip takes 6h.
Only the connections to Montenegro are a bit more difficult – here you take one of the many mini busses which go from Tirana to Shkodra (for 400 LEK), from there you can take a bus to Ulcinj in Montenegro. Another option is to get a private driver in Shkodra which will get you much quicker over to destinations such as Bar or Budva (but you need to be good in bargaining).
For more bus connections you should checkout Balkanviator, the bus tickets can be bought in the tour agencies (find their offices on the main road & ask at the receipton of your hotel) prior your trip. Make sure to show up a bit ahead of your departing time.
5) My Video from Tirana
As part of our video series we also filmed an episode in Tirana showing you all the places featured in this travel guide. Make sure to check out also the other videos from the Balkans and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to support me.
More great things to do in Tirana / Albania?
If you have more recommendations please tell us your tips in the comments!
Disclaimer: This post contains Affiliate Links for services and products I’m using on my travels – therefore I can highly recommend using them. By using this links you won’t pay any additional fees!