The 26 Best Things to do in Tirana, Albania

Here is my list of the 26 Best Things to do in Tirana, Albania.

1. The Grand Park of Tirana

The Grand Park of Tirana is one of the most serene areas in the capital city. The park houses a large artificial lake, which perfectly fits the beautiful greenery landscape.

The locals use the Grand Park of Tirana for their workout. As they jog and bike along the route, which leads by the lake front.

Moreover, the Grand Park is also a great place to visit with children for some relaxation. Because there is a large variety of brand-new outdoor playgrounds and sports equipment for kids.

I personally really enjoy walking through Tirana’s city center and ending my walking tour in the Grand Park of Tirana. There are some lovely coffee houses and restaurants by the waterfront, which are the perfect reward after a walking tour.

2. Pazari i Ri – The New Bazaar Market of Tirana

“Pazari i Ri” or “The New Bazaar Market” is one of the most exciting new areas of Tirana. The New Bazaar Market is a food market, where local farmers and producers come to sell their products.

The market area is a lovely area to stroll around to buy fresh fruits, local honey, handicraft products, fresh olives and much more. Moreover, surrounding the market area, there is a variety of lovely terraces and coffee houses.

Pazari i Ri is a great place to get a feel for the local products in Albania. One of the products, I recommend trying is the raw honey. This honey is off top quality and 100% natural.

If you are a foody and you would like to explore Albania’s food culture, then Pazari i Ri is an absolute must in Tirana.

3. Bunk Art 1 Museum

The Bunk Art 1 Museum is the most exciting new museum in Albania. The Bunk’Art 1 Museum is literally, a museum built inside a massive communist bunker.

From 1945 to 1992, Albania was a communist country, ruled by a dictator called Enver Hoxha. The former dictator was convinced that a foreign (nuclear) attack on Albania was imminent. Although no foreign attack or invasion ever took place, he did construct 750.000 bunkers all accross Albania to protect the population in case of an attack.

One of the largest bunkers, intended to house the dictator and the political elite, was constructed in Tirana. And this large multi-room bunker has now been converted into the Bunk’Art 1 Museum.

Bunk’Art 1 is a fascinating collection about Albania’s history. You see TV footage of the dictator, you can hear the dictator speak and see the rooms designed for the party elite.

The museum definitely leaves a strong impression. When you learn about the nuclear experiments and the fencing around Albania to keep the population from leaving the country. Moreover, you will face some of the regime’s cruelties like the imprisonment and death of persons, who did not agree with the government policy.

In short, Bunk’Art 1 is fascinating, impressive and a little creepy.

4. Aquapark Albania Blue Magic Water

The Aquapark Albania Blue Magic Water is actually somewhat of a hidden gem in Tirana. The waterpark is a great place to relax and enjoy a day with your family.

The park is located along the main highway between Tirana’s city center, the Tirana International Airport and Durres beach.

So if you are staying in Tirana’s city center, you will need to take a 30-minute car or taxi ride to reach the Aquapark Albania Blue Magic Water.

The aquapark has brand new facilities and it is in a very good condition. In one of the corners, children can climb a castle large castle and go down on one of the six water slides.

Then there is a splash and play area, where the smallest children can swim on the water playground. And then there is the main pool area, which is surrounded by lounge chairs and parasols.

Bear in mind, that the Aquapark Albania Blue Magic Water is open in the summer season only. Therefore, I recommend checking opening hours online, before making the trip to the aquapark, to avoid disappointment if the park is not open outside of the high-season.

5. The Pyramid of Tirana

The Pyramid of Tirana is a classic landmark in Tirana. At the same time, the Pyramid of Tirana is also a very controversial building within Albania.

Originally, the Pyramid of Tirana was intended to be a museum about Albania’s former communist dictator. The former dictator, called Enver Hoxha, had died in 1985. However, the communist regime continued to exist a few years after his death. The Pyramid was designed by Enver Hoxha’s daughter and her husband and it opened as a museum about the dictator in 1988.

However, in 1992 the communism regime in Albania collapsed. After which the Pyramid of Tirana went through a variety of uses.

For instance, the pyramid was a conference center and exhibition venue, a NATO base during the Kosovo war, a broadcasting center for Albanian media and radio and it was a filming location. At some point, it even functioned as a nightclub.

Throughout recent years, a large variety of plans were presented suggesting to demolish the pyramid of Tirana.

However, the majority of the citizen’s in Tirana were actually against the demolition. Because the Pyramid of Tirana is a part of their heritage, however dark this history may be.

The last set of plans show the Pyramid being converted into a IT center for youth, which focusses on computer programming, robotics and start-ups.

Whilst the Pyramid of Tirana awaits its new purpose, the pyramid has fallen into despair, as it is in desperate need of maintenance.

Today the building is falling appart and covered in graffiti. Regardless of its current state, the Pyramid of Tirana is still a landmark and a part of the cities history.

6. Skanderbeg Square

Skanderbeg Square (or Sheshi Skanderbeg in Albanian) is the center square of Tirana. The square is located in the heart of the city.

Skanderbeg Square is named after Albania’s National Hero “Skanderbeg”. He was a military commander, who defended the Albanian people against the invasion of the Ottoman empire.

There is a large statue on the Square of Skanderbeg on his horse.

Skanderbeg Square is surrounded by the most important landmarks of Tirana’s city center. On one side, you can visit the large National History Museum, which is the most well-known museum in Albania.

Next to that, you can see the Tirana International Hotel. The Tirana International Hotel was constructed during the communist regime in Albania and it was one of its landmarks.

Next to the Tirana International Hotel, you can see the Palace of Culture. The Palace of Culture was constructed during the communism regime. And it houses the National Libary and the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

Next to the Palace of Culture, you can visit the Clock Tower and the Et’hem Bey Mosque. The Et’hem Bey Mosque is a little mosque constucted between 1790 – 1820.

But during the communist regime the mosque was closed as religion was not allowed. In 1991, the mosque was re-opened without government permission and 10.000 people attended the reopening. The mosque has beautiful frescoes of trees, waterfalls and bridges.

Next to the Et’hem Bey Mosque, you can enter the 35-meter high Clock Tower. The tower was built in 1822 during the Ottoman empire. You can climb the tower and have a fantastic view of Skanderbeg Square and the city center of Tirana.

7. Blloku neighbourhood

Blloku is the most vibrant neighbourhood in Tirana. If you are looking for fancy restaurants, lovely coffee houses, high-end shopping or nightclubs, then Blloku is the place to be.

Actually, the Blloku neighboorhood has a reputation as the “exclusive neighboorhood” in Tirana. The reason for this dates back to communist regime.

During the communist regime, the Blloku area was closed off for the general public. Because Blloku was the area where the communist dictator and the government elite lived. Until this day, you can passby the house of the former communist dictator in the Blloku area.

After the communism, the area was opened up for everyone. And nowadays, it is a great place to spend an evening out with your friends.

8. The Cape of Rodon

The Cape of Rodon is one of the best beachside destinations near Tirana.

Basically, the Cape of Rodon is a rocky peninsula that points into the Adriatic Sea.
Simply said, the Cape of Rodon is one of the most beautiful natural treasures in Albania.

The Cape of Rodon is completely overgrown with wild nature. The peninsula is surrounded by the wild waves of the Adriatic Sea. And there are wild beaches surrounding the area.

It is quite hard to describe the beauty of the Cape of Rodon in words, it is one of those destinations that you have to see with your own eyes.

Upon arrival, you will have for about 30 minutes along a hiking trail through the hills. But the hike is absolutely worth it. Because at the end of the trail, you stand on top of the hill and you see the beautiful Cape of Rodon.

At the Cape, you can visit the ruins of the Skanderbeg castle, built by Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg as a defence against the Ottoman invasion. Moroever, there is a lovely little monastery and some wild beaches surrounding the area.

9. Preza Castle

Preza Castle is one of the hidden gems near Tirana. It is a spot that only the locals know about and usually really quiet.

Basically, Preza Castle is a hilltop castle in a little village near Tirana. Although the castle itself is mostly in ruins, it is the impressive view, which is the attraction.

Once you arrive at the Preza village, you can drive up the winding road through a very romantic hillside village. The locals have beautiful stone houses and lovely gardens.

When you arrive at the top of the hill, the view of the surrounding area will take your breath away. You have an unobstructed view of the villages in the valley, Kruje village, Tirana, the airport and the surrounding mountains.

Moreover, when you enter the castle, you will see a beautiful wild lake, Durres beach and the Adriatic Sea.

Although the nearby Kruje castle is a very well-known destination with a panoramic view. Kruje is a top touristic destination with many tourists and visitors every single day. Preza on the other hand is quiet and private.

Climb one of the remaining towers of the castle, have a seat at one of the cafe’s little tables and simply stare into the distance for a few hours. Preza is the most hidden location, where you can relax and forget about the rest of the world.

10. House of Leaves – The Museum of Secret Surveillance

The House of Leaves (also called the Museum of Secret Surveillance) is one of the most fascinating new museums in Tirana.

The building of the Museum of Secret Surveillance is nothing special. In fact, you would not even notice the brick building covered by the threes if you would pass through the street. But perhaps that is the beauty of this building in the center of Tirana.

During the Second World War, the building was used by the Gestapo. This was the Secret State Police of Nazi Germany.

Then in the 1950s, the building became the headquarters of the Albanian Secret Police during the communism regime. During this period, it was used by the secret police to built bugs and other listening equipment to spy on the population.

The Albanian population was oppressed during the regime. A different opinion or opposition against the communist party was not allowed, and could lead to imprisonment or death.

Recently, the building has been turned into a museum about Albania’s secret police. Inside the museum, you can see a selection of bugs and listening equipment.

There are also videos, which explain you about Albania’s dark history. It is a very interesting museum, and if you are a fan of detective series, you will really enjoy this museum.

11. The Toptani Shopping Center

Toptani is a well-known shopping center in the center of Tirana. However, I have not included this mall, as a suggestion to go shopping.

Instead, I would really recommend you enter the mall and take the elevator to the top floor. On the top floor, there is a variety of coffee houses with a lovely view of Tirana’s city center.

Because of the lovely view, it is a location I regularly include in my walking tours through Tirana. Because from this mall, you get to see the city center of Tirana up close.

With regards to shopping, there is a variety of clothes, shoes and jewelry stores inside the mall. With a strong focus on Italian brands, that are trying to conquer the Albanian market.

12. The Dajti Ekspres Cable Car

Without a doubt, the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car is one of the best day trips in Tirana.
Dajti is the closest mountain to Tirana city. Basically, you can take a cable car at the foot of Mount Dajti, which will take you to the Dajti balcony at a height of 1613 above sea level.

The cable car journey is absolutely stunning. During the 15-minute ride, you fly accross little farmhouses, little lakes, the tree-tops and the mountain cliffs. The higher you go the more impressive the view of Tirana’s city center, the beach of Durres and the Adriatic Sea.

Once you arrive at the Dajti Balcony, you can enjoy a variety of entertainment. There is a beautiful cabin restaurant at the top of the cliff, which has floor-to-ceiling windows overlook Tirana’s city center.

Another interesting facility is the rotating bar at the top of the Dajti Hotel, which takes roughly 45 minutes to turn 360 degrees.

Moreover, there are outdoor activities, like horse riding, target shooting, minigolf and playgrounds.

And if you are ready for adventure, you can visit the Dajti Adventure Park, which has an obstacle course with high-robes and ziplines.

And finally, if you are into hiking, you can use the Dajti Balcony as a starting point to hike to the nearby Tujani peak.

13. The Bay of Lalzi

The Bay of Lalzi is by far the best beach to visit near Tirana.

If you ask someone, which is the best beach to visit near Tirana, you will automatically hear them say Durres. Basically, Durres is a large coastal city at a 45 minute drive from Tirana.

However, Durres is a large coastal city, where the beach is filled with beach chairs and parasols. Along the coastline, there are hotels, apartments, restaurants, shops, cafes and clubs everywhere you look.

The Bay of Lalzi is the exact opposite to Durres. At the Bay of Lalzi, you will find a wild beach. The coastline is surrounded by a forest of pine trees. At Lalzi, there are no restaurants or hotels at the beach. Apart from a little shack which serves coffee, there are no facilities.

And that is exacly the beauty of the Bay of Lalzi. The Bay of Lalzi is for you if you want to visit a beautiful beach, which is private and unspoiled.

Although Albania has gorgeous beaches in the Albanian Riviera in the south, the Bay of Lalzi is a very beautiful beach in the vicinity of Tirana.

14. Tanners’ Bridge

Tanners’ Bridge is a historical bridge, which was built in the 18th century, when Albania was a part of the Ottoman empire.

It is beautiful stone bridge with a cobble stone surface. In the past, the bridge was a part of the road that linked Tirana with the eastern highlands. There days however, only the bridge itself remains.

Although Tanners’ Bridge is not a destination in itself, because it is simply a stone bridge. It is a good sight that you can include in your walking tour though Tirana.

15. Pellumbas Cave

If you would like to go on an active day trip from Tirana, then I really recommend you visit the Pellumbas Cave.

The little Pellumbas village is located on a 45 minute drive from Tirana (in the direction of Elbasan city). From the village, you can go on a 45 minute hike through the mountains to the Pellumbas cave.

The hiking trail leads through the mountains, and as you climb higher on the mountains, it has stunning views of the Valley and the Erzeni river.

At the end of the trail, you can enter the Pellumbas Cave (also called: the Black Cave). It is a massive cave that you can explore. I recommend that you rent a little light at the beginning of the trail, so that you can explore the cave safely.

A visit to Pellumbas is not only a lovely hiking destination, you also get to see an authentic Albanian village. And you get away from the busy city center of Tirana.

Although Pellumbas is only 45 minutes from Tirana, when you walk through the nature, you feel like you are in a different world altogether.

16. The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower is a landmark in Tirana. The 35 meter high Clock Tower is located on the corner of Skanderbeg Square, which is the central square in Tirana.

When you visit Skanderbeg Square, you can enter the Clock Tower. Inside the tower, there is a 90 step circular staircase that brings you to the balcony on the top. The balcony has a beautiful view over Skanderbeg Square and the city center of Tirana.

The Clock tower was built in 1822 and it was constructed by Molla Bey. Molla Bey also constructed the Et’hem Bey Mosque, which is located just next to the Clock Tower.

Although the Clock tower by itself is not a full day activity, it is great to include the clock tower in your walking tour through the city center of Tirana. It is also a very picturesque location to take beautiful photographs of the central Skanderbeg Square.

17. Rruga Murat Toptani

Rruga Murat Toptani (or Murat Toptani Street in English) is a lovely pedestrian street in Tirana.

Although, the street itself is not a touristic sight, it is a great location for a coffee break on your walking tour through Tirana.

The Rruga Murat Toptani is a street, where the local Albanians go for a coffee on a summer afternoon. There is a variety of amazing coffee houses and restaurants along the street with lovely terraces.

The street is very centrally located, close to the Plaza Hotel, the Toptani Shopping Center, the National Arts Galery and the Bunk Art 2 Museum. The street also leads to the Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit, which is the main government street with all the important government buildings.

18. Kruje Castle

The Kruje village is one of the classic day trips that you can make from Tirana. At a 45-minute drive from Tirana’s city center, the Kruje village is a convenient and beautiful place to visit. Therefore, it is popular with tourists and locals alike.

In Kruje, you can visit the impressive hilltop castle of Kruje. Due to its hilltop location, the castle has the most magnificent view of the surrounding area. From the castle, you have a fantastic view of Tirana city, the village of Kruje, the valley, Durres beach and the Adriatic Sea.

The castle of Kruje was owned by Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg was a military commander, who lead the Albanian defence against the Ottoman invasion. For many Albanians, Skanderbeg is their national hero, because he united the Albanian tribes in an effort to defeat the Ottoman Turkish invasion.

Within the Castle of Kruje, you can visit the Skanderbeg Museum, which is dedicated to the story of Albania’s national hero.

Another great highlight is the Ethnographic Museum on site. Inside the museum, you can see a traditional Albanian house and how the household lived during the Ottoman empire.

And finally, you can stroll through the Old Bazaar Market. The market street has a great variety of souvenir shops and handicraft items.

19. The National History Museum

The National History Museum is the most well-known museum in Albania. Every country has a traditional museum about its history and the National History Museum is Albania’s version. The museum is located on Skanderbeg Square, which is the central square in Tirana city.

Within the museum, you can see a large collection of Albanian treasures telling Albania’s hisotry from antiquity until the communism regime.

The museum starts with a great collection of archeaological treasures that were found in Albania, in sites like Butrint and Apollonia.

Other interesting displays are the collection of Albanian traditional clothes from the different areas in Albania. Basically, each region has their own version of the traditional uniform.

There is a little display about Mother Theresa, who was an Albanian national. And the newest addition is a display about the cruelties of the communist regime. Which shows the number of people that were killed or imprisoned, since their opinions did not match with the communist ideals.

If you are trying to decide, which museum to visit in Tirana, I can recommend the National History Museum if you like classic museums. Which means displays and glass boxes with a collection of items from the past, with a little description on the side.

However, if you are looking for a more high-tech and newer museum with audiovisual displays, then obt for the Bunk Art 1 Museum.

20. Rinia Park

Rinia Park is a small park in the center of Tirana. The park is located next to the Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit, which is the main government street in the center of Tirana.

For the local Albanians, Rinia Park is well-known because of the Taiwan Center. The Taiwan center is a casino, restaurant and coffee house within the park. The Taiwan center has a gorgeous fountain outside and a lovely terrace by the fountain.

Albanian people have a stong coffee culture and the Taiwan Center is a place where the locals like to come for a cup of coffee.

21. Durres Beach

Durres is a large coastal town near Tirana. And because of its vicinity to Tirana, it is the most popular beach destination to visit near Tirana.

At only a 45 minute drive, Durres beach is one of the easiest places to visit from Tirana. Especially, since there is a direct road from Tirana’s city center to Durres beach, which also passes by Tirana International Airport.

Durres is a big coastal town, which means the beach is surrounded by numerous hotels, apartments, restaurants, bars and shops. Therefore, if you are looking for a vibrant beach destination near Tirana, then Durres is the place for you.

Of course, there are prettier beaches in Albania, most of which are located along the Albanian Riviera in the South of Albania. However, the nearest beach of the Albanian Riviera is Vlore beach, which is a 3 hour drive from Tirana. Therefore, visiting Durres beach is much more convenient.

Although Durres beach is the most well-known beach near Tirana, it is not the only option. There are smaller beaches near Tirana, like the Cape of Rodon, the Bay of Lalzi, Generali beach or Spille beach.

It really depends on what you are looking for in a beach, if you prefer a quiet beach with privacy and nature, then you will not like Durres beach. You should opt for the Bay of Lalzi, Generali beach or the Cape of Rodon instead.

But if you like to go to a vibrant beach with all the facilities nearby, then you will really enjoy Durres beach!

22. Et’hem Bey Mosque

The Et’hem Bey Mosque is a landmark in Tirana. It is a very pretty little mosque, which is located on the corner of Skanderbeg Square, which is the central square in Tirana.

The beautiful Et’hem Bey Mosque is the most well-known mosque in Albania. It was constructed between 1790 – 1820 by Mollay Bey and his son Haxhi Ethem Bey.

However, during the communist regime, the Et’hem Bey Mosque was closed, because religion was forbidden according to the regulations from the communist dictator.

However, in 1991 near the end of the communist regime, the Et’hem Bey mosque was reopened without permission of the communist government. And 10.000 Albanian people attended the re-opening of the mosque.

The Et’hem Bey mosque has beautiful frescous of trees, waterfalls and bridges. These images are very rare in Islamic Art.

In Albania, about 60% of the population is Moslim, however, there is also 16% of the nation which is Christian. The most important thing to remember that Albania is very well-known for its religious tolerance.

Due to its history, the Albanian people live in unity and harmony regardless of their religion. Churches and mosques are often built next door to each other and interfaith marriages are very common.

23. Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit

The Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit is the main government street in the center of Tirana. In English, it means “the road of the fallen heroes”.

The Deshmoret e Kombit street connects the central Skanderbeg Square with the Grand Park of Tirana.

Along the road, you can see the main government buildings, like the Ministery of Finance, the Ministery of Internal Affairs and the Ministery of Agriculture.

But there are also many important landmarks along the road, like the Pyramid of Tirana, the National Arts Gallery, the archaeological museum and the Presidential office.

The national boulevard was built by the Italian architect Gherardo Bosio between 1939 and 1941, when Albania was under Italian rule.

During the communist regime in Albania, the major parades took place on the boulevard, like on Liberation Day and International Workers Day.

24. The Fortress of Bashtova

The Fortress of Bashtova is a hidden gem in Albania. It is a large Medieval castle not more than 30 kilometers to the South of Durres.

The castle of Bashtova is a very impressive, large castle. The fortress is 60 meters by 90 meters in size with walls that are 9 meters high. The walls of the castle are approximately 1 meter wide. You can climb the stone staircases and walk on the castle walls to get an amazing view of the surrounding area.

The location of the Bashtova village is very strategic, because it is close to the Shkumbin river. In the ancient times, this is where the “Via Egnatia” road passed, which was an important trade route during the Roman empire.

There are historical records from a Turkish traveller called Evliya Celebi, who stated that the castle was founded by the Venetians and later conquered by the Ottoman empire. And there is a historical map from 1521 for seafarers, where the castle appears for the first time.

The Fortress of Bashtova is on the tentative list of UNESCO and in the process of being approved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Due to its location along the moterway to the South of Albania, it is a great place for a stopover on your journey towards the Albanian Riviera. Or as a day-trip from Tirana in combination with a visit to one of the nearby beaches.

25. Petrela Castle

The Petrela Castle is a great day-trip destination, if you are staying in Tirana.
Petrela is a little village, which is located just next to Tirana. It takes approximately 30 minutes to drive to the Petrela village from Tirana’s city center.

The Petrela village is a very romantic village with a winding road, that leads by little restaurants and mom-and-pop owned hotels. The entire village is filled with olive groves and greenery, which gives it a very Mediterranean feel.

At the top of the mountain, you can visit the Castle of Petrela. This impressive castle was built on the top of a large rock. And it has the most amazing view of the valley. There is a lovely little coffee house with a terrace and a bridge, where you can relax and take in the view.

When the Ottoman empire was trying to invade Albania, the castle of Petrela was used by Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg is one of the national heroes of Albania, and a military commander who defended Albania against the Ottoman invasion.

During this period of time, the Petrela castle was a part of Skanderbeg’s defense system. The different hilltop castles in the area, would signal each other by means of fire. Skanderbeg himself was based in the nearby Kruje castle, whereas Petrela castle was under the leadership of Skanderbeg’s sister Mamica Kastrioti.

26. Mount Sarisalltik

Sarisalltik is a cave located on a mountain top, with an amazing view of the surrounding area.

For Albanians, the mountain cave of Sarisalltik is a religious location. Inside the cave, you can visit the fountain of holy water, the first Albanian Bektashi mosque and the grave of Sarisaltik.

Sarisaltik was a religious leader in the Balkans. He was one of the main people, who spread the Bektashi beliefs through the Balkan region. Bektashism is a religion that blends elements of Islam, Christianity and Buddhism.

Therefore, for Bektashi believers the hike up to the Cave of Sarisalltik is a pelgrimage. For them the hiking journey to the top of the mountain and reaching the cave has a sacred meaning.

However, Sarisalltik is a gorgeous place to visit for any traveller. At a height of 1176 meters, Mount Sarisalltik has the most impressive view of the area.

Moreover, Sarisalltik is only 20 minutes from the Kruje village by car, and therefore, a great place to visit in combination with the Kruje Castle.

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.

Book your free Albania Planning Session via Skype now, by using my online scheduler to find a time that’s convenient for you.