Is Tirana Worth Visiting?

Is Tirana Worth Visiting? Here Are 11 Reasons to Visit Now!

Written By: author image Kyle Cash
author image Kyle Cash
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.

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Is Tirana worth visiting? This capital of Albania is relatively unknown, so why should you visit Tirana, Albania? Here are 11 things Tirana has to offer.

As someone who entered Tirana, Albania, without expectations, it blew me away.

Although Albania’s capital city, it’s often overlooked by travelers for other top destinations in Europe. But that means they’re missing everything this city has to offer!

Luckily, you won’t make the same mistake!

This post will show you why Tirana is worth visiting, with 11 reasons and things to do.

So, let’s get into it.

Is Tirana worth visiting for tourists?

Tirana is definitely worth visiting!

This small country in the Balkans may be unknown compared to other popular tourist destinations, but Albania is still an excellent choice for a vacation. And Tirana is one of the best examples of that!

Tirana, Albania Skanderberg Statue

With welcoming locals, vibrant nightlife, and plenty of attractions, this city gives you enough to do on a trip to Albania for an entire week or more!

So, let’s detail some of the reasons to visit Tirana NOW 👇.

11 reasons why Tirana is worth visiting

1. You get a dose of history and culture

Tirana has an incredible history and culture to discover.

And you can see it reflected in their museums, architecture, and landmarks. From the Ottoman Empire to communist rule, there are pieces of history scattered around the city.

The National History Museum, located in the city’s center, is an excellent place to start learning about this. From prehistoric times to the present day, the museum offers a unique glimpse into the events that have shaped the city and country. Exhibits, artifacts, and videos dot the museum, giving visitors a firsthand view.

But it doesn’t stop there.

House of Leaves memorial wall

If you want to get more, visit:

  1. House of Leaves: Gives a detailed look into Albania’s communist era and how people lived.
  2. Tirana National Archaeological Museum: Take a deeper look into Albania’s past with archaeological items.
  3. Et’hem Bey Mosque: Built in the 18th century and one of the most famous landmarks in Tirana.
  4. Skanderbeg Square: This is the top place to visit in the city center to get a view of daily life in Albania. The statue’s home is in the middle of the square, named after the national hero, Skanderbeg.

These are just a few of the popular attractions. As you wander the city, you’ll discover markets and events that showcase the beauty of Tirana’s culture.

So be sure to allow for plenty of walking time.

2. You can’t beat the prices

The first thing I noticed about Tirana was how affordable it was.

Accommodation, food, activities — it didn’t matter. If you wanted it, it was at an affordable price.

For example, you can find accommodation from $15-$60 per night, depending on your preference. And there’s also a growing number of Airbnbs to take advantage of.

Food was similar. You could have an excellent meal for only $5-$10, complete with an appetizer and some alcohol!

And if you’re looking for activities, there are plenty of free choices. But even entering the museums comes at a low cost.

So, Tirana is a perfect choice if you want an affordable travel option.

3. Strolling through Bunk’Art 1 & 2 is a humbling experience

You won’t find another museum in the world that is like Bunk’Art 1 and Bunk’Art 2.

Located in a former communist-era bunker, you get a firsthand (and detailed) look into the country’s past. And it’s an eery one.

An example room for a soldier in the bunker

The communist regime built the bunkers in the 1970s to protect against a potential nuclear attack. This massive structure covers 1000 square meters and descends further underground than you would think. While they used it to store supplies and house soldiers in the past, you can wander it yourself with less paranoia.

The exhibits are very detailed, and you could spend hours here if you read every one. They include videos and audio clips to add to the unique experience. And by the end of it, you’ll come out viewing Enver Hoxha (the country’s leader during communism) and Albania in an entirely new light (and I’m not talking about the blinding sun when you exit the bunkers).

Overall, if you’re a history or politics buff, this is the spot to learn more than you thought you could about Albania.

4. The Grand Park of Tirana offers a relaxing day

This was one of my favorite things to do in Tirana.

Every day, I’d skip down to the park in the center of Tirana and get a nice trail run in for an hour or so. But there are other things you can do here (in fact, it’s different from what most people do here).

Whether you want to go for a relaxing walk, have a nice picnic, or simply relax on a park bench, it’s a great place to spend a day. Covering about 230 hectares, you have plenty of areas to stretch out.

Plus, a giant artificial lake sits in the middle of it, which makes for incredible scenery to add to your relaxing day.

As you wander the park, you’ll see plenty of locals relaxing and talking with one another. For an authentic glimpse into daily Tirana life, this is a great place to see it.

5. The architecture is stunning

Tirana and Albania are a fascinating mix of Ottoman, Italian, and communist-era influences.

And you can see it reflected in the architecture everywhere you go. The National Theatre, the Tirana Clock Tower, and Et-hem Bey Mosque are all perfect examples.

Plus, Tirana is one of the fastest developing cities in Europe (named the Youth Capital in Europe in 2022), and you can see it with the development in the city. In fact, Tirana is trying to look different from every other boring city by adding color and unique shapes to its building designs.

So, as you wander the streets, you’ll see interesting-looking buildings rising all around you.

And it makes for a remarkable city skyline.

6. History buffs will love the National Museum of History 

If you’re a history buff, the National Museum of History is one of the places to visit in Tirana.

From prehistoric times to today, there’s plenty for you to wander through and experience here. Plus, it’s only a short walk from Skanderbeg Square, which is in the heart of the city.

There are artifacts from the various historical periods in Tirana, including ones from the Illyrian, Roman, and Ottoman times. From iconic items to costumes and textiles, there’s a bit of everything here. And it’s undoubtedly one of the best places to visit near the main square.

Young and old, this is a top museum to visit.

7. Indulge in delicious food and wine

I knew nothing about Albanian food before I visited.

And it was an incredible surprise. Dishes like Byrek, Qofte, Fergese, and Tave Kosi all had me running back for seconds (and thirds….and fourths) once I tried them.

One of the most popular places to head for great food is the Blloku district. With many restaurants, cafes, and bars, you’re sure to find some of the best food in this area. If you’re into markets, check out Pazari i Ri, an open-air market where you can buy everything from fresh produce to local specialties.

Is Tirana worth visiting? The food says yes!

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the wine.

Tirana is surrounded by vineyards and wineries that produce some outstanding wine, and they make for a great day trip if you want to visit. While you’ll have to do a bit of driving to get to them, some of the top ones include Cobo WIndery, Nurellari Winery, and Alpeta Winery.

So, if you’re a big foodie and drinkie (I think I just made that up), Tirana has plenty for you.

8. The Pyramid of Tirana gives you a glimpse of the city’s past

One of the more interesting areas around the city center part of Tirana, the Pyramid of Tirana is a great place to see how Tirana has changed over time.

Initially created as a monument to the late communist dictator Enver Hoxha and his communist regime in Albania, the building became obsolete after the fall of communism in 1991.

Many local Albanians prefer to have it destroyed and converted into something more useful (and less of a reminder of a dark past). And they got their wish in 2018 when it was announced Albanians would convert it into an IT center for the Tirana youth.

For now, it’s simply an interesting piece of history to look at in the middle of Tirana and something to reflect on.

9. Visiting Mount Dajti is worth the day trip

Panoramic views just have something special about them, don’t they?

Combining that with mini golf, a great restaurant, and plenty of other activities, you get Mount Dajti. Not to mention it has one of the best ways to enter a park — by the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car.

Mount Dajti view

The cable car ride itself is a blast. You get terrific landscape views with the mountains rising ahead of you and the view of the city getting smaller behind. Plus, you get to see a few winding trails leading up the mountain. But it’s all even better when you get to the top and turn around to take in the entire view. If you’re lucky, it’ll be a clear day, and you can get a good shot and enjoy the view of Tirana.

Afterward, enjoy mini golf and kick back with a nice drink or meal in the restaurant.

Hopefully, you do better than I did at the mini golf.

10. Party in the Blloku District

The Blloku District is where you’ll find all the best bars, restaurants, and cafes.

During the day, head over and stroll the streets as you explore the neighborhood’s cafes and restaurants. The streets are lined with boutiques, local food shoes, and enough coffees and bakeries to get you through the start of your day on sugar and caffeine.

But, at night is when Blloku’s nightlife scene comes to life.

Whether you want a rotating bar or a bumping nightclub, there’s a venue here. You’ll notice locals and tourists flock to the area to enjoy their evenings…and you should on your next visit, too!

But if you want to feel Tirana’s energetic vibe, Blloku is for you.

It doesn’t hurt there are tons of 5 star Tirana hotels in this area as well. So you have somewhere nice to sleep away that hangover the next morning 😉.

11. Albanian people are amazing

I was unsure of how Albanians were as a people.

Cold, off-putting, unfriendly?

Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Albanians are some of the friendliest and most hospitable locals I’ve ever experienced.

Albanian national pride is evident, and they’re eager to show you everything this small country in Eastern Europe has to offer. From shouting hello as you pass to inviting you to tourist attractions with them, the Albanian people are all smiles and happiness.

So, no matter the area in Tirana you’re staying, get out and interact with the people.

It’ll reward you in the end.

How to get around Tirana, Albania

There are a few ways to get around Tirana quickly:

  1. Walk
  2. Take the local bus
  3. Book a taxi
  4. Rent a car

Walking around Tirana

Tirana is a large and spread-out city, but most areas are very walkable. And that’s why this is the best way to see the city.

So if you have the time, I recommend taking your time walking so you can explore every part of this city. You’ll occasionally walk past some street art or street performers, too!

If you’re visiting during summer, bring enough water and sunscreen as it can get HOT in Tirana city.

Take the local bus

The local bus is cheap and gets you to most places you want to visit across the city.

You can find the station near The Clock Tower of Tirana and the Et’hem Bey Mosque. A ticket will only cost you a few dollars depending on your destination.

Book a taxi

Multiple taxi apps in Albania help you book a taxi easily.

Some top options are Speed Taxi or UPs Taxi.

You’ll also see taxis driving around that you can hail, but if you prefer security, using the app is a better idea if you prefer security.

Rent a car

While I wouldn’t recommend renting a car if you’re only staying in Tirana, it’s a great idea if you plan on exploring other areas!

You can rent cars for as low as $20/day, so it’s affordable whether you want a short-term or longer rental.

What are your top things to do in Tirana?

While Tirana isn’t as famous as Rome, Paris, or other European capitals, it’s a great place to go.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Tirana and beyond, and I think you will, too! Even if you only have one day in Tirana.

With an exciting culture and history, natural beauty, and a popping nightlife, there are things to see for everyone in this small capital. Plus, there’s even more worth exploring that I still need to get to! So, I’m leaving that to you. Discover the places that are lesser known in Tirana! You may even find the perfect place for you that no one knows about!

If you are visiting Albania, I recommend also checking out Shkoder and Ksamil. The country is small enough that you can enjoy everything the country has to offer — from Theth National Park to the Adriatic Sea in the south!

But, hopefully, this post helped on your next Tirana travel trip. Be sure to follow me on my socials for more great travel tips!: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

author avatar
Kyle Cash Owner
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.