There is still one metropolis in Europe that offers cultural treasures free from the tourist hordes: Tirana. Here is how to spend a weekend In Tirana, Albania.
There is still one metropolis in Europe that offers cultural treasures free from the tourist hordes: Tirana.
Visitors overlook Albania’s capital city. It’s understandable if you compare it to other Eastern European towns and the Albanian coast. Nevertheless, Tirana is worth stopping by – it’s a lively, colorful, and fascinating place.
If you plan to visit Tirana, you might be interested in knowing how to spend two days in the Albanian capital city.
Two days are enough to explore the town and get a taste of the old Albanian capital, Kruja, too.
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Weekend In Tirana: Day One
Start from Sheshi Skenderbej, Skanderbeg Square, the primary orientation point of Tirana, and take your time to gaze at the Mosque, Skanderbeg statue, and Clock Tower. Climb it for impressive views over the big square.
Then, take a tour of the Muzei Historik Kombëtar, National Historical Museum, the largest museum in Albania.
The excellent collection takes you chronologically from ancient times to the post-communist era. After the visit, stroll along the Pedonalja, the largest pedestrian street in Tirana, and then head into Kalaja e Tiranës, the capital’s new cultural, artistic, and gastronomic pole.
For a quick lunch, go to Luga e Argjendtë, where chef Dhurata Thanasi prepares tasty food with the best seasonal products.
Spend the afternoon exploring Tirana’s city center and the historic buildings in the town. Make sure to visit Pazari i Ri, the new food market in the city, Ura e Tabakeve (Tanners Bridge), a fascinating example of Ottoman architecture, Pyramid, the former mausoleum dedicated to the communist dictator Enver Hoxha, and BunkArt 2, the museum dedicated to the victims of Communism.
Finish off your first day in Tirana with a tasty dinner at Padam, a chic restaurant behind the Pyramid. The chef Fundim Gjepali prepares excellent dishes made with the freshest ingredients.
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Start your second day in Albania with a visit to Kruja, a historic town just 30 km from Tirana (take the bus connecting the two cities from Zogu I Zi in Tirana; tickets roundtrip 6 euro). Kruja is famous for being the home of the Albanian national hero George Kastriota Skanderbeg, who fought against the Ottomans to save Albania and the West from their domination.
Stroll through the old bazaar, admire the artisans who produce traditional clothes and textiles, and visit the Skanderbeg Museum dedicated to the warrior.
For a quick lunch in Tirana, go to Restaurant Panorama, which offers excellent dishes and a spectacular view of the town and castle.
Grab the bus and go back to Tirana. If you are not tired, don’t miss the chance to visit the Bunk’Art, a contemporary art museum located in a vast underground bunker built on the outskirts of Tirana to accommodate Hoxha and the elite in the event of the attack.
The museum sometimes hosts exhibitions that combine the modern history of Albania with pieces of contemporary art. Besides the museums, vibrant nightlife, and restaurants, Tirana has another popular attraction –its Grand Park. This place is perfect for relaxing and enjoying magnificent views of the artificial lake and town.
Mullixhiu is the perfect place for your last dinner in town: here, you’ll eat great traditional Northern Albanian food prepared by chef Bledar Kola, who worked at Noma, Copenaghen.
For after-dinner drinks, Blloku, the most famous Tirana area, is the right place to go. During the Communist era, Blloku was reserved for the elite, but now it is a vibrant neighborhood with murals, trendy bars, cafés, and restaurants.
Comment below and let us know what else you’d add to this 48 hours in Tirana guide