How long do you need in Tirana?

One of the questions, I get asked a lot is “How long do you need in Tirana?”. If you are flying to Tirana, you might be wondering how long you need in Tirana, in order to book your hotel. Let me answer that question for you.

How long do you need in Tirana? As a tourist, you need 1.5 day in Tirana’s city center. You can do a walking tour of Tirana’s city center (half day), visit the Bunk’Art 1 Museum (2 hours) and take the Dajti Express Cable Car (half day). Furthermore, you can stay longer if you want to make day tours starting from Tirana.

Let me give you an overview of the best things to do in Tirana, during your 1.5 days stay in the capital city! I will also give you restaurant & foodie recommendations for the best places to eat in Tirana. And finally, I will give you an overview of the best day tours you can make from Tirana.

How do I spend my days in Tirana?

You need 1.5 days in Tirana city, in order to see the highlights. As a tourist, you always have limited time and you need to choose, what fits into your itinerary. Therefore, I will only recommend the top things to do in Tirana.

Top Things to do in Tirana:
1) Walking tour of Tirana’s city center (time required: half day)
2) Bunk’Art 1 Bunker Museum (time required: 2 hours)
3) Dajti Express Cable Car (time required: half day)

Walking tour of Tirana’s city center (time required: half day)

I recommend you start your visit to Tirana with a walking tour of the city center.

On TripAdvisor, there is an endless list of “things to do in Tirana”. But the reality is that you can see most landmarks and sights during a half-day walking tour of the city center.

I recommend you start your walking tour at Skanderbeg Square. Skanderbeg Square is the central square in Tirana.

The most important landmarks on Skanderbeg Square are the National History Museum, the Palace of Culture, the National Theatre of Opera & Ballet, the Et’hem Bey Mosque, the Clock Tower, and the National Bank.

From Skanderbeg Square, I recommend you walk into the Main Government Boulevard (Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit).

Along the government street, you can see all the ministries and government buildings of Albania. Trust me, you cannot miss the ministries, because they are all painted in bright orange, yellow and pink colors!

The top attraction along the main government street is the Pyramid of Tirana. This massive concrete pyramid was built by the daughter of the former communist dictator.

After the communist dictator died, she designed the pyramid as a museum about the communist dictator. Obviously, when communism ended the museum closed, but the pyramid building is still there. Right now, the pyramid of Tirana is being converted into an IT center for youth.

Apart from the Pyramid, you can also see the National Arts Gallery, the office of the Prime Minister, the office of the President, and Albania’s brand-new football stadium.

At the end of the main government street, you can visit the Grand Park of Tirana, which has a beautiful lake and lovely terraces surrounded by nature. I recommend you take some time to drink a coffee and take in the view because that is what the locals do!

Bunk’Art 1 Bunker Museum (time required: 2 hours)

Although there are many museums in Tirana, I recommend you only visit the Bunk’Art 1 Museum.

Bunk’Art is a museum inside a massive communist bunker. The bunker was built by Albania’s former communist dictator. The former dictator isolated Albania from the rest of the world, similar to North Korea today.

The former dictator was paranoid and he was convinced that a foreign nation would attack Albania. So he constructed 173.000 bunkers all over Albania.

Actually, the foreign attack that the dictator feared, never took place. What happened is the dictator died and a few years later communism ended in Albania. As a result, Albania still has thousands of unused bunkers all over the country.

The largest bunker was built in Dajti Mountain close to Tirana. This bunker was intended to house the former dictator and his government, in case of a foreign attack or a nuclear bomb.

In 2014, this massive bunker was turned into a fascinating museum about Albania’s history & communism.

For me, Bunk’Art 1 is more than a museum. Because you actually get to walk through the bunker and experience it! There are art installations showing the fencing that was built around the country and you get to see the room of the dictator!

Dajti Express Cable Car (time required: half day)

By far, the top attraction in Albania is the Dajti Express Cable Car.

The Dajti Express is a cable car on the outskirts of Tirana. From Tirana’s city center, you take a taxi for approximately 20 minutes to the lower station of the cable car.

When you board the cable car, you go on a 15-minute journey. The cable car will take you to a height of 1613 above sea level on the Dajti Mountain balcony.

The cable car journey is an experience and the views are breathtaking. During the cable car journey, you fly across treetops and mountain lakes. You look down on little farmhouses and see people’s beautiful gardens. The higher you get, you will see more wild and undisturbed nature and rough mountain cliffs.

Once you arrive at the upper balcony. You have a panoramic view of the entire city of Tirana.

You can have lunch or dinner at the Ballkoni Restaurant at the top of the cliff or you can have a drink in the rotating bar.

There is a variety of outdoor entertainment, like target shooting, horse riding, buggy riding, mini-golf, and playgrounds. So it is a great place to spend around 2-3 hours simply enjoying your time!

Where to eat in Tirana?

During your half-day walking tour of Tirana’s city center, you may want to go for lunch or dinner in a restaurant. So here are my top foodie recommendations for where to eat in Tirana:

Foodie Recommendation 1: Murat Toptani Street & Foodcourt

Murat Toptani Street is a side street of the main government street (Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit). It is a lovely pedestrian street with many amazing terraces, cafes, and restaurants.

At the end of the street, there is an Old Castle Wall with a food court. Inside the food court, there is a large variety of amazing Albanian Restaurants. The top choices are Tribe Restaurant and Ceren Ismet Shehu. These are famous restaurants in Albania. But of course, there are restaurants for all budgets and flavors in this food court.

Foodie Recommendation 2: The New Bazaar Food Market

The New Bazaar Food Market is called “Pazari i Ri” in the Albanian language. This lovely food market is a 5-minute walk from central Skanderbeg Square.

I highly recommend this food market, as it is surrounded by many lovely restaurants and cafes. The food market has a very relaxed vibe and you can have amazing fresh food for very affordable prices here! So if you are not into upscale dining, but you prefer eating more low-key, you will really like this area!

Foodie Recommendation 3: Blloku Area

The Blloku Area is the fancy and hip area of Tirana.

In the communist time, the former dictator lived in the Blloku area together with the communist party elite. The area was sealed off by security and the Albanian public was not allowed to enter the area.

So after communism ended in 1992, the Albanian people were all incredibly curious to see the Blloku Area.

Today, the Blloku Area still has the reputation of exclusivity and only the rich can afford an apartment here!

Blloku is a great place to go at night in Tirana. There are fancy restaurants, amazing terraces, and fabulous clubs here!

Foodie Recommendation 4: Ballkoni Dajtit Restaurant

The Ballkoni Dajtit Restaurant is located on the Dajti Mountain Balcony.

You can only reach the Ballkoni Dajtit Restaurant by taking the Dajti Express Cable Car. Although it is definitely not the most “conveniently located” restaurant, I highly recommend it!

From Tirana’s city center, you take a taxi for approximately 20 minutes to the lower station of the Dajti Express Cable Car. You get on the Cable Car and you fly across the city for 15 minutes! Then, you go for an amazing lunch or dinner in the Ballkoni Dajtit Restaurant.

The Ballkoni Dajtit Restaurant is located on the top of the cliff and it has the most stunning view of the entire city.

The restaurant has a log cabin style design like you would see in the Swiss Alps. And it has a great selection of local specialties and some lovely wines.

Day tours starting from Tirana

Tirana is a great place to stay because there are many day trips you can make from Tirana. So many different destinations are only a 1-4 hours drive from Tirana, and therefore, they are very suitable destinations for a day tour from Tirana.

Berat day tour (2.5 hours drive from Tirana)

Berat is a UNESCO Heritage Site and the most beautiful historical town in Albania. The city has two historical neighborhoods, that were built on the slope of the hill. And there is a hilltop castle with a stunning panoramic view.

Berat is a very romantic city with a gorgeous old town center and an Italian feel! This is my most popular tour, so don’t miss a visit to Berat if you are traveling to Albania.

Kruje Castle & Mount Sarisalltik day tour (1-hour drive from Tirana)

Kruje city is a classic day trip destination from Tirana. Kruje has a stunning hilltop castle with a panoramic view of Tirana, Kruje town, the mountain range & the Adriatic Sea. Within Albania, Kruje’s castle is famous because it used to be the home of Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg.

In Kruje, you can explore the hilltop castle, visit the Skanderbeg Museum, explore the Ethnographic Museum and stroll through the Old Bazaar Market. After your visit to Kruje, you can drive up to Mount Sarisalltik at the top of the hill for a view from 1176 above sea level!

Cape of Rodon day tour (2 hours drive from Tirana)

The Cape of Rodon is a beautiful natural wonder close to Tirana. If I would describe the Cape of Rodon in my own words, I would say it is a long stretch of mountains pointing into the sea.

The Cape of Rodon is a beautiful location to visit. It is a rocky peninsula overgrown with wild nature leading into the Adriatic Sea. You can go for a 45-minute hiking adventure through the hills, climb down to the Cape and explore the Rodoni Castle. And on your way back, you wade through the sea along some wild and undisturbed beaches.

Lake Bovilla day tour (1-hour drive from Tirana)

Lake Bovilla is a stunning lake completely surrounded by mountains close to Tirana. Whereas you have to travel hours to get to the Albanian Alps, you only have to drive 1 hour from Tirana to see Lake Bovilla.

When you arrive at Bovilla, you will drive up the winding road to the Bovilla Lake Balcony. There is a lovely restaurant with local specialties or you can bring a little picnic lunch to enjoy. If you are up for a little hike, you can hike up the stairs to the upper balcony for an even more impressive view of Lake Bovilla!

Lake Koman Ferry day tour (4 hours drive from Tirana)

The Lake Koman Ferry is truly something special! Bradt Travel Guides described the Lake Koman Ferry as “one of the World’s Greatest Boat rides”.

Basically, Lake Koman is a very long and riverlike lake that turns and twists through the mountains. From Tirana, you drive 4 hours to the Koman village to get on the Lake Koman Ferry. The view from the ferry is really stunning, every time the boat turns, you have a new view of the surrounding mountains and cliffs!

Shala Riverboat trip day tour (4 hours drive from Tirana)

Actually, there are two boats that depart from the Koman village. Apart from the Lake Koman Ferry, you can also decide to take a boat trip on a smaller boat to the Shala River.

The Shala River is also known as “The Thailand of Albania”. Because it has beautiful azure water, wild cliffs, and fine sandy beaches. You will have breathtaking views from the boat and you will have some time to relax at the beach. This place is truly remote as it can only be reached by boat!

Preza Castle half-day tour (45 minutes drive from Tirana)

Preza Castle is one of the best-kept secrets in Albania! Preza is a little village close to Tirana. The village is on the slope of the hill and on the top, you can visit Preza Castle.

Granted, the Preza castle is mostly in ruins. But I swear you have never seen such an amazing panoramic view! From the parking spot, you have a view of the entire Tirana valley! And then when you enter the castle, you will see the Adriatic Sea, a little mountain lake, and rolling hills.

I always call Preza a secret spot, because only the locals know about this quiet, yet beautiful place!

The Black Cave of Pellumbas day tour (1-hour drive from Tirana)

The Black Cave is an ancient mountain cave close to Tirana.

To get to the Black Cave you have to drive for approximately 1 hour to the tiny Pellumbas village. If you want to see a little authentic village, then this is it! From Pellumbas, you hike along the hilly track for approximately 45 minutes to reach the massive Pellumbas Cave.

Along the trail, you will have stunning views of the river valley below and you will truly feel miles away from your busy and stressful daily life!

The Cyclops’ Eye Natural Wonder day tour (1-hour drive from Tirana)

The Cyclops’ Eye is a stunning natural pool close to Tirana. It is one of the hidden gems of Albania! Only the locals know about this off-the-beaten-path destination.

Essentially, the Cyclops’ Eye (in Albanian Syri i Ciklopit) is a natural pool in the middle of nature. The heart-shaped pool is filled with emerald-colored water. The natural pool is 20 meters wide and 120 meters deep. It is surrounded by wild nature and rock formations. And this natural wonder is a very picturesque location!

The Cyclops’ Eye is hidden in the hills near Tirana. Upon arrival in the little Krrabe village, you must hike for 1 hour to reach the Cyclops’ Eye.

The Bay of Lalzi day tour (45 minutes drive from Tirana)

The Bay of Lalzi is a beach only the locals know about! Most of the foreigners, visit Durres beach, which is about 45 minutes drive from Tirana.

But if you want to avoid the crowds and you prefer a smaller and more natural beach, I highly recommend the Bay of Lalzi instead! The Bay of Lazli is completely surrounded by pine trees. There is one little wooden shack, which serves coffee and some snacks. But other than that, this beach is undisturbed!

Apollonia day tour (2 hours drive from Tirana)

Apollonia is an impressive archaeological park about 2 hours to the South of Tirana.

In ancient times, Apollonia was an important Greek and Roman city. It was connected to the sea and the roman “Via Egnatia” trade route. And many important personalities from the Roman Empire studied at the famous school of Philosophy of Apollonia.

Nowadays, you can walk through the ruins of the ancient city and imagine what life was like in the affluent Roman days!

Shkoder day tour (2 hours drive from Tirana)

For many foreigners, Shkoder city is the city where you start your trip to the Albanian Alps. However, Shkoder itself is a beautiful city and certainly worth a visit!

Within Albania, Shkoder is known as a cultural and artistic city. You can visit the beautiful Venetian style boulevard, which was designed after a romantic painting by Kole Idromeno. Furthermore, you can visit the Old Mesi Bridge, which dates back to the Ottoman Empire.

But by far the most impressive place to visit is Rozafa Castle. Rozafa Castle is a massive hilltop fortress with an amazing view of the three rivers and the Lake of Shkoder. Finish your day, in the little Shiroke village at the lakefront for a lovely meal or coffee!

Petrela Castle and Village day tour (45 minutes drive from Tirana)

Petrela is a little village next to Tirana. Although it is really close to the capital city, it is a completely different world.

Petrela has a beautiful winding road that leads through the olive groves. Along the road, there are little mom-and-pap-owned restaurants, cafes, and stone houses.

Follow the road to the hilltop Castle of Petrela. The Castle was built on top of a massive rock. And inside the castle, there is a little cafe with a terrace, where you can enjoy a coffee with a stunning view!

Related Questions

Where are the romantic places in Tirana? The two most romantic places in Tirana are the Food Court in Murat Toptani Street and the Ballkoni Dajtit Restaurant on the Dajti Balcony. Both places are great for a romantic date with your spouse.

What are the best things to do in Tirana at night? The best thing to do in Tirana at night is to visit the Blloku Area. Blloku is the trendy and lively area of Tirana, where you can find fancy restaurants and nightclubs.



About me

About me

I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania. I arrange your transportation and I am your English speaking guide. So that, you get to experience the most beautiful places in Albania!
Kind regards, Manon

Welcome to Albania!

I am a Tour Guide in Albania

I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania.

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