Visit Tirana: a 24-hour city guide
Tirana is Albania’s capital and the country’s most populated metropolis. After hours of searching and reading the few existing blogs about Tirana, we could not make out what to expect from the city, so we arrived there with an open mind.
We reached Tirana with an overpriced taxi from Durres port, this, because we couldn’t be bothered to find the bus terminal after a tough night on the ferry. Our driver dropped us in the city center, a few blocks away from our hotel that we reached walking under the warm summer sun. After short minutes of walking, we could already feel ourselves in the mood of the place, the chaos of cars crossing everywhere, people strolling in the streets and smiling to us, even a guy speaking french who gave us a warm welcome speech and some recommendations about what to see around.
Interested? Come with us for a visit!
What to do in Tirana?
Activities in the city center
We walked around the city center during the afternoon and the next morning, visiting plazas, parks and discovering the communist architecture.
To start, we went to Skanderberg plaza, Tirana’s main square where the National History Museum is located. We crossed Et’hem Bey Mosque, the Clock Tower and an orthodox Cathedral, making a loop to the famous Pyramid, which is now in a deplorable state and completely closed to the public. Next, we went to Mother Teresa square which is located just in front of the buildings of the University of Tirana. It is very simple to visit most of these places, you just need to walk all along the Boulevard of the Martyrs (Bulevard Dëshmorët e Kombit) and you will find them.
Go to the Tourism Office, located on the main square, and grab a map of the buildings and itineraries to see. Everything is well explained and the people there are so happy to help out and share ideas of what to do. You will be able to make your own way and learn more about popular spots in the area.
We made our way to Bunk’Art 2, an old nuclear bunker that has been converted into a museum. It shows Albanian’s life during the 45 years of communism. It is very interesting and a must-do to understand better the history of Albania.
Street Abdi Toptani,
To feel the vibes of the city, out of the “touristic” zone, we definitely recommend you to visit this market. You will see just local people eating, drinking, buying and selling food. Buy fruits and hang around.
Rruga Shenasi Dishnica,
Blloku, our best-loved neighborhood
This is the area that we loved the most in Tirana and where our hotel was located. Before, the Blloku was an area reserved for the political elite. Today, it is the trendiest hood in the city, where all the youth gathers to party out and have a drink.
The stylish cafes, bars, and restaurants make a huge contrast with the old colorful buildings where they are established. Add street art popping everywhere and there you have the exact formula to win us over.
Drinking in Tirana
Want to party? The night scene in Tirana is booming. The major part of the fun happens in Blloku, packed with keen bars and night clubs! The prices will blow your mind. A beer costs no more than $2 and a very decent cocktail no more than $5.
We didn’t party like monsters, but we have 2 cool places to recommend to you.
Old fashioned bar, the cocktail or the beer menu do not stand out, but what is really amazing is the view! Sitting on the last floor of a big tower, the sight of Tirana at sunset is unbeatable.
Rruga Dëshmorët E 4 Shkurtit, 5/1,
We read a good recommendation about this place, and it happened to be downstairs at our Hotel, so we could not miss it. The decoration of the bar is crazy, full of stuff everywhere, but well arranged. It gives the bar a cozy retro feeling that is just enhanced by the music. The cocktails and the barman were great!
Rruga Ismail Qemali 9. 29 Ap.1,
Where to eat in Tirana?
We usually intend to try several food places to have good references and give nice recommendations, but this time we only tried this only restaurant. We ate there twice as we wanted to try Albanese food and in Blloku you have a lot of options but more international cuisine.
Being the next building to our hotel, getting there was a no brainer and, after having our first dinner there when we confirmed the food was excellent, we just came back.
The food is completely fresh and traditional, a platter of Albanese dishes gave us a good idea of the typical cuisine of the country. The prices are accessible and the service of the personnel is just exceptional.
Rruga Ismail Qemali,
U-roast coffee lab
We found this cafe walking around Blloku and because we really appreciate our cafe freshly grounded and roasted, that’s why we had to try this place! The owner is really nice and serves a top-quality coffee.
U-roast coffee lab
Rruga Nikolla Tupe,
Where to sleep in Tirana?
Foresteria bed & breakfast
Right in the center of the Blloku, Foresteria invited us to discover their chic and comfortable rooms. The hotel has been redesigned by Leonard, the owner (and architect) and his brother in law, with a delightful sense of decoration.
Leonard and Daniela, his wife, received us gracefully and gave us explanations. Foresteria has only 4 rooms making it super pleasant and private.
Each room has a name, corresponding to a building of the city. The rooms have all modern amenities (with a nice balcony) and each bathroom has different types of tiles and stones.
The hotel proposes breakfast but we think it is not necessary to take it there as there are lots of coffee shops and markets around.
How to move inside Tirana?
Clearly, walking! You have some buses but we didn’t use them, because we stayed really just in the city center and did everything strolling.
A road trip in Albania
You can find all the articles about our trip in Albania 🇦🇱by following the link below.
➞ What you need to know for a road trip in Albania ?
➞ A city guide of the capital Tirana
➞ The center of the country (Krujë, Berat and Gjirokaster)
➞ How to find the best beaches of the Riviera ?