Tirana is the inevitable pleasure when visiting Albania. Whether you enter the country by a ferryboat docking in Durres or Vlore, whether from the border crossings of Hani i Hoti, Qafe Thane, Kapshtice, Kakavia, etc., you cannot deny yourself a visit to the epicenter of Albanians. From tasting food to seeing history and bucket-list sights, let’s dive into the top 15 things to do in Tirana in 2023 suggested by the locals.
1. Visit an historical museum
These are the best options if you want to discover more about the Albanian all time history and specifically the communism period.
- National History Museum (Entre Fee 200 Leke)
- Bunk’art 1, Rruga Fadil Deliu – Former Cold War bunker, now an underground contemporary art & history museum over several floors. (Entry Fee 500 Leke)
- Bunk’art 2 , Rruga Abdi Toptani – Unique Albanian history museum inside a preserved, Communist-era nuclear pit bunker. (Entry Fee 500 Leke)
- House of Leaves, Rruga Ibrahim Rugova – Museum of Secret Surveillance (Entry Fee 700 Leke)
2. Take a Urban Art tour
Tirana might be one of the best places in Balkan to enjoy some really masterful urban art. During the last few years, the city has welcomed artists from all over the world to express their art on the facades of many buildings. Here’s all you need to know.
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3. Enjoy a ticket free concert at Skanderbeg Square
The best place to enjoy a spectacular concert for free is certainly the Skanderbeg Square. The city is organising various events related to festive days almost every month and the square becomes the most suitable music and dance floor. There are usually many stands where you can grab a drink or some snacks. Check the next concert in Tirana here.
4. Have lunch at Kalaja e Tiranes
Kalaja e Tiranes is a restored historical, now comercial site in the centre of the city. With service units lined up one after the other on both sides of the pedestrian street, here the old and the modern, as a culinary and craft environment, has become a powerful voice in the promotion of cultural and material heritage. Built near the old Justinian fortress, one of the few archaeological remains still present in the heart of the Albanian capital, the Castle is owned by the Toptani family, one of the richest families in Albania and the Balkans, originating from the beautiful city of Kruja, which was moved to Tirana in the seventeenth century. You will find there bars, souvenir shops, art galleries and traditional food restaurants.
5. Make new friends from all over the world at your hostel/hotel
Tirana is becoming one of the most visited cities in the Balkans due to its cultural, historical values and fun opportunities. Plenty of travellers stay for a few weeks or months, enjoying the good prices of the accommodation, especially of the hostels of Tirana. Most of them have comfy common areas in order to let travellers know each other and enjoy this journey together. Hostels might be a great way to make a new friend, share your impressions about Albania and get some good advices about where to go next.
6. Spend a day at a water park
Summer can be really hot in a city surrounded by the hills, so planning a few pool days might be the best idea. If you happen to be in Tirana during summer, these are the places you need to consider for a full day fun. Here’s a guide to the swimming pools and water parks you need this summer
7. Try the Zipline Experience
Zipline Albania is located in Petrele, an historical village 15 km south of Tirana. The place is easily accessible and you will notice the signposts at the side of the street once you are driving up the hill that takes you to the centre of the village and the Castle of Petrele. It is the first zipline in Albania, the longest one in the Balkans and among top 10 longest in Europe. It is 1250 m long and the “flight” lasts around 1 minute and 30 seconds. It also depends a little bit on your weight whether you go faster or a little bit slower.
8. Take a Selfie at the Selfie Museum
This brand new attraction in Tirana is located on the second floor of Galleria ETC, very close to the city centre. Dedicated to those who love photography and selfies, this museum has a variety of differently designed rooms, starting from the gold plated bathroom, red roses room, the hanging phones one etc. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours with your friends while taking some very cute instagram pictures. Entry Fee: 1000 Leke (Adults) and 700 Leke (3-11 yo)
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9. Spend a day by the lake
The Grand Park of Tirana is probably the most peaceful area of the city for those who want to take a deep breath and just relax by the lake. Whether you need to take a coffee with a view or run a few kilometres, this is the place to be. During spring and summer there are many activities taking place at the Grand Park at night, like Open Air Tirana, where you can watch a movie under the stars, various show at the Lake Amphitheater, party nights etc.
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10. Take the cable car to Dajti
A visit to Dajti Mountain can be a great adventure for the whole family once you know what you can do there. Starting with a fun ride by the cable car with Dajti Express, you know you’re on track for a good day. Tickets can only be purchased at the lower station of Dajti Ekspres. Please be aware that during busy periods (particularly in the winter when the snow arrives & during national holidays) customers may need to queue to use the cableway. To avoid queues it is best to arrive between 09:00 – 11:00. Here Top 10 things to do in Dajti.
11. Watch a romantic movie at the cinema
Bring your family and friends to a romantic or even horror night at the cinema. The emotions will be priceless. You can find a cinema in Tirana at the shopping malls or at the centre of the city. Either way, your favourite movie will make you cry and those nachos will never be enough.
12. Buy or rent a traditional Tirana costume
Tirana’s costume is one of the most precious symbols of the city, showing the beauty of Albanian original designs for men and women. There are several shops in Myslym Shyri Street as well as at Kalaja e Tiranes where you can rent or buy any valuable piece. If you are lucky, you can attend a folk music and dance event to experience a typical Albanian moment.
13. Watch a football match at Air Albania Stadium
On 2022, the final of Conference League took place on Air Albania Stadium (National Arena) and thousands of football fans from all Europe visited Tirana and enjoyed a great show. This stadium is an all-seater, multi-purpose football stadium built on the ground of the former “Qemal Stafa” Stadium. It has a seating capacity of 22,500, constituting the largest stadium in Albania. Designed by Marco Casamonti of Archea Associati, the structure of the stadium is a peculiar multi-faceted form (an 8-faceted rectangle) so that each side allows access to distinct functions. At one corner of the stadium structure is an 112-meter tall tower (24 floors). Each facet accommodates different streams, thus identifying users of private areas, such as the hotel tower, shopping areas and stadium spectators.
14. Visit the Bovilla Lake for a spectacular view
Bovilla is an artificial lake formed about 15 years ago, and today has become one of the most sought-after tourist attractions on the outskirts of Tirana. You will find it about 10 miles northeast of the capital. It is formed in the upper part of the Terkuze River, located between two mountain ranges, Kruje – Dajt and Skenderbe – Mali me Gropa, a space lying in the areas of Kruje and Tirana. Here’s all you need to know about Bovilla
15. Visit a nearby village
It is easy to reach many villages around Tirana in order to have lunch at an Agritourism or spenda whole weekend in a peaceful place. These are the best options we recommend: Shengjergj, Petrele, Peze, Preze, Farke.