The Best Day tours from Tirana, Albania

Here is a list of the Best Day Tours from Tirana. These are sightseeing destinations, beaches and historical locations, that you can visit on a day tour from Tirana.

1. Zvernec Island day tour from Tirana

Zvernec island is one of the most beautiful natural locations in Albania.

From Tirana, it will take you approximately 3 hours to drive to Vlore beach and the nearby Zvernec island.

Zvernec is a little island, which is surrounded by the water of the Narta Lagoon. The tiny island is only 430 meters long and 300 meters wide. Although the vast majority of the little island is covered in pine trees, there is a little monastery you can visit.

From the mainland, you can cross the 270 meter long wooden bridge to get to Zvernec island. On the island you can visit a little Monastery. The monastery dates back to the 13th and 14th century, when Albania was a part of the Byzantine empire.

Zvernec island is one of the most picturesque locations in Albania. You can take beautiful pictures from the mainland, which include the bridge and the island.

In terms of time, I would recommend you plan a 45 minute stop at Zvernec island to explore the area and maybe have a little picnic as well.

So if you are travelling from Tirana, you will have spend approximately 4 hours or a half day at this point. Then in the afternoon, you can visit the nearby Vlore beach or the Apollonia archaeological park or the Llogara Pass and Dhermi beach.

2. Cape of Rodon day tour from Tirana

If you have read more blogposts on this website, you will have seen the Cape of Rodon multiple times. And that is because the Cape of Rodon is my number one recommendation for a day tour from Tirana.

The Cape of Rodon is a peninsula that points into the Adriatic Sea. The narrow strip of land is overgrown with lush nature. And from the mainland, it looks like a green finger that points to the sea.

It is by far, the most beautiful natural sight near Tirana. From Tirana, you must drive (or take a tour) for approximately 2 hours to reach the Cape of Rodon.

At first, you must follow the highway that connects Tirana with Durres beach. But before you reach Durres, you must get off the highway at Maminas. From Maminas, you must continue to follow the road, all the way to the Cape of Rodon.

Be sure the wear hiking shoes, walking shoes or workout shoes on your visit to the Cape of Rodon. Because upon arrival, you must hike along a track through the nature for about 45 minutes.

Your hiking effort will be rewarded though! Because at the end of the trail, you will stand on a hill, from where you have a panoramic view of the Cape of Rodon.

Insider tip! If you go in the late afternoon, you can see the sun go down over the Cape of Rodon. You will see the sun go down over the sea and the lush green cape will be covered by beautiful pink skies.

Apart from the Cape itself, you can also visit the Castle of Skanderbeg. This seaside castle was built by Albania’s national hero “Skanderbeg”. Skanderbeg was a military commander, who defended the Albanians, when the Ottoman Turks were invading the country. He built the castle between 1450 and 1452, because it would give him access to the Adriatic Sea. Not soon after though the Ottoman Turks destroyed the castle.

There is also a lovely little church on site, called the “Church of St. Anthony”. This little church has a beautiful backdrop of the sea and the nature.

Insider tip: If you visit the Cape of Rodon, you can also make a stop at the Bay of Lalzi. This beautiful natural beach is located along the same road, which leads from Maminas to the Adriatic Sea.

3. Preza Castle day tour from Tirana

Preza is one of the most beautiful villages near Tirana. If you are staying in Tirana city and you would like to visit an authentic Albanian village, then you should absolutely go to the Preze village.

From Tirana, you must drive for approximately 45 minutes to get the the Preze village. At first, you must drive along the highway that leads from Tirana to Durres beach. But you must get off the highway at Vore. The Preza village will be indicated on your left hand side.

When you enter the village, you will drive up a narrow turning and twisting road. The road passes by beautiful stone houses with flower gardens and local restaurants.

At the top of the road, you can visit the hilltop Preza Castle. Although the castle itself is mostly in ruins, it has the most amazing view.

From the parking spots, you have a breathtaking view towards the mountains, the valley, Tirana city and Kruje city. Then, you can climb up the staircase to the Castle of Preze, from where you can see a beautiful natural mountain lake in the hills.

One of the best spots in the castle is the tower, which is located on top of the little cafe. You can sit down in the tower, order a coffee and take in the view.

The Castle of Preza was originally built n the 14th century by the local Thopias family. However, it was in the 15th century that the castle became famous in Albania. Because the castle was used by Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg in his resistance against the Ottoman invasion.

Inside the castle, you can consume some drinks from the cafe inside the castle walls. There is also a lovely stone restaurant on site, which serves Albanian specialities.

4. Shkoder day tour from Tirana

Shkoder is a city in the North of Albania with a beautiful historical town center.

Amongst tourists, Shkoder is mostly known as a starting point, from where you can travel to the Albanian Alps. Hikers usually stay overnight in Shkoder, so that the next day they can start their 3-day journey. The typical journey includes the Lake Koman Ferry, the Valbone Pass and the Theth mountain village. This 3 day trip always starts and ends in Shkoder city.

However, Shkoder city has so much more to offer. Amongst the Albanians, Shkoder is known as the “artistic city”. Because it is the city, where many of the countries creatives have their artstudios and their homes.

The center of Shkoder is the Kole Idromeno Boulevard. This beautiful pedestrian street has recently be remodelled. The buildings along the boulevard have a Venetian style and the middle of the path is lined by lovely terraces. Walk along this boulevard, stop for a coffee break and then continue your walking journey though the old town center.

One of the newest and most exciting attractions in Shkoder is the Venice Art Mask Factory. The factory was started by the Albanian entrepreneur Edmond Angoni. Angoni is an Albanian national, who lived in Venice for several years, before returning to Albania. Upon his return he started producing World Class Venetian Masks. Inside the factory, you can see a collection of handicraft and one-of-a-kind masks.

Another beautiful place to visit in Shkoder is the Mesi Bridge. The Mesi Bridge is a historic stone bridge. The bridge has beautiful cobble stones and 13 little arches. It was built in the 18th century, when Albania was a part of the Ottoman empire. Plan to spend maybe 20-30 minutes here to simply walk accross the bridge, take some pictures and have a picnic.

The most famous sightseeing spot in Shkoder is Rozafa Castle. The Rozafa Castle is a large hilltop fortress. Although, the castle is mostly in ruins, it is absolutely worth a visit to see the gorgeous panoramic views of the area. Moreover, the castle is also known for its beautiful legend. Alledgedly, the lady Rozafa was sacrificed during the building process, in order to ensure the walls would stand.

And finally, if you enjoy arts and cultures, you can visit the Marubi Photography Museum. This brand-new museum displays a collection of historic photographs about Albania’s history. The photos were taken by three generations of photographers from the Marubi family.

5. The Bay of Lalzi day tour from Tirana

The Bay of Lalzi is one of the most beautiful beaches close to Tirana.

Although Tirana is not a beach-side city, it is very close to the beach. From Tirana, you can drive to the beach in about 45 minutes.

The most well-known beach close to Tirana is Durres beach. Durres is popular because of its convenient location from Tirana. Basically, Durres is a large coastal town with many hotels, resorts, apartments, restaurants and cafes.

If you would like to visit a more natural beach, then I would recommend making a day tour from Tirana to the Bay of Lalzi.

The Bay of Lalzi is a wild and untouched beach. The white sandy beach is completely surrounded by a pine tree forest. There are no hotels and apartment complexes at the beach. There is only one little wooden restaurant, but apart from that, this is a wild beach.

To get to the Bay of Lalzi, you must take the highway from Tirana in the direction of Durres. However, before you reach Durres, you must leave the highway at Maminas. Follow the road from Maminas for approximately 25 minutes in order to reach the Bay of Lalzi.

Insider tip: If you drive to the end of the road, you will reach the Cape of Rodon. So it makes sense to visit both the Cape of Rodon and the Bay of Lalzi in one day.

And yes, there are beautiful beaches in the Albanian Riviera in the South of Albania. However, the closest “Albanian Riviera beach” is Vlore beach, which is a 3 hour drive from Tirana. So if you are looking for a beautiful beach close to Tirana, then the Bay of Lalzi is a great choice.

6. Apollonia day tour from Tirana

Apollonia is a beautiful archaeological park in the center of Albania.

The archaeological ruins of Apollonia are located close to the city Fier. By car, it will take you about 2 hours and 15 minutes to drive to Fier. Then from Fier, you can follow the signage along the road to reach Apollonia.

Apollonia was an important ancient city. The city was originally founded in the 6th century BC by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth. The city was named after the powerful god Apollo and the city was widely known as “Apollonia of Illyria”.

But it was not until the 4th century AD, that the city of Apollonia really flourished. In this period, Apollonia was an important economic and trade center.

Although Apollonia is located a few kilometers away from the Adriatic Sea, it was connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Aoos River. Therefore, it became one of the most prominent cities in the Adriatic Sea. It was also an important gateway to the “Via Eganatia”, which was a Roman trade-route through the Balkans.

Because Apollonia was such a famous city in the Ancient times, it attracted famous personalities. The Roman philosopher Cicero wrote that Apollonia was “a great and important city”. And general Octavianus and the statesman Agrippas went to Apollonia for their military training.

The ruins of Apollonia were discovered in the beginning of the 19th century. If you visit the park, you will see a beautiful combination of monuments and nature.

Insider Tip: Be sure to visit in the morning though, because the hilltop location of the archaeological park offers little shade from the hot sun in the summer months.

Schedule roughly 2 hours to visit the ruins and to have a coffee or some lunch at the restaurant on site. Then in the afternoon, you can drive onwards to the nearby Vlore beach for an afternoon swim.

7. The Black Cave day tour from Tirana

If you would like to explore the nature surrounding Tirana, then a trip to the Black Cave is a great place to go.

The Black Cave, also known as the Pellumbas Cave, is in the Pellumbas village. From Tirana, it takes about 45 minutes to drive to the Pellumbas village. Then from the village, you can hike along the 2 kilometer long trail to the Black Cave.

The hiking trail that leads to the Black Cave passes through stunning nature. And as you hike up the mountain trail, you will have beautiful views of the valley and the Canyon of the Erzen river.

The Black Cave is 360 meters long, 10-15 meters wide and 15-45 meters high. The inside of the cave is filled with stalactites and stalagmites.

Historians have concluded that the Black Cave used to be one of the earliest prehistoric settlements in the area. Inside the cave, tools and artifacts dating back to the Neolith, Bronze and Iron eras have been found. Moreover, there were fossils in that cave, which show that cave bears lived inside the cave more than 10000 years ago.

The hiking trip to the Black Cave is an adventure, as the trail turns and twists through the forest. To go on the trip, you do not have to be an experienced hiker, as the trail was recently repaired and it includes steps and handrails. But you must have an average fitness level.

After your hiking trip, you can enjoy a local Albanian meal, a coffee and a raki at the restaurant in the village.

The Black Cave is off-the-beaten-path, therefore, if you are looking to see the real and authentic Albania, it is a great place to visit.

8. Bunk’Art 1 Museum day tour from Tirana

Bunk’Art 1 is a fascinating museum about Albania’s history inside an actual bunker.

If you Google, “what is Albania famous for?”, you will most likely find out about Albania’s bunkers. Albania has a total of 750.000 bunkers all across the country.

These bunkers were built by Albania’s former dictator Enver Hoxha. From 1944 to 1992, Albania was a communist state and which was lead by Enver Hoxha until his death in 1985.

Hoxha isolated Albania from the rest of the world, similar to North Korea today. And one of his main focusses was constructing bunkers all over the country. Because he was convinced a foreign attack on Albania was imminent. Obviously, this foreign attack never happened, the dictator died and the communism ended. But the bunkers remain visible all over Albania.

Recently, one of the largest bunkers has been converted into an impressive museum about Albania’s history. This large bunker was intended to protect Enver Hoxha and the political elite in case of a foreign (nuclear) attack, but it was never actually used.

Inside the Bunk’Art 1 museum, you can get a taste of what communism was like in Albania. You hear the former dicator speak. You get to see the parades that took place in Tirana’s city center. And you see the rooms designed to accommodate the dictator inside the bunker.

But the museum also opens up about the cruelties of the regime. It shows the cages that were used to imprison people, who did not agree with the visions of the dictator. And you see the fencing that was in place around the border, to keep the Albanian people from leaving. And don’t forget that the Albanian people were incredibly poor during this strict regime.

Walking through the large bunker, makes you forget about your every day life. For a moment, you are completely immersed in the history of Albania. Although, I must say that walking through a dark and cold bunker is quite creepy…

9. Berat day tour from Tirana

Berat is by far the most beautiful historical town in Albania. And the old town center of Berat is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Berat city has two historical neighbourhoods called: the Mangalem Quarter and the Gorica Quarter. These neighbourhoods were built on the side of the hill.

Within Albania, Berat is also known as “the city of a thousand windows”. Because if you stand in the valley and look upwards towards the old neighbourhoods on the hill, you will see a thousand little windows looking down on the valley.

The neighbourhoods have typical houses that were built, when Albania was a part of the Ottoman empire. The old houses are very well preserved and they are still in use today. Some of the houses, have been converted into hotels, restaurants and cafes.

Apart from the two neighbourhoods, there is also the impressive Berat Castle (in Albanian: Kala). This historical castle was built in the 13th century. As it is set on the top of the hill, it has stunning panoramic views of the entire area.

Inside the castle’s walls, there is a number of Byzantine churces and several mosques. And very interesting is that until today, some Albanian families live inside the castle’s walls on the top of the hill.

Berat is about a 2.5 hour drive from Tirana. Start your day trip by exploring the Berat Castle on the top of the hill. Inside the castle, you can also visit the Onufri Museum, which is located inside a Byzantine cathedral. The museum displays Byzantine art and iconography.

Then in the afternoon, you can descent the hill to stroll through the old neighbourhoods. Moreover, there is also a lovely Ethnographic Museum, which gives you an unique insight into what life was like for a rich family during the Ottoman empire.

10. Durres day tour from Tirana

Durres is the closest beach destination to Tirana. From Tirana, it will only take you 45 minutes to drive to Durres.

The main reason why Durres beach is so popular, is its vicinity to Tirana. And to make it even more convenient, there is a highway that leads from Tirana’s central Skanderbeg Square directly to Durres beach.

Durres is a big coastal town. In this city, you can expect a large selection of hotels, apartments, shops, restaurants and cafe surrounding the beach. And in the summer season, the beach is filled with lounge chairs and parasols, which you can rent.

Apart from the beach, you can also visit sightseeing highlights in Durres. Durres is the home to a beautiful archaeological museum with treasures that were found at the bottom of the sea.

Moreover, Durres has an ancient amphi-theatre that is an UNESCO Heritage Site. The Amphitheater of Durres was built after the 2nd century B.C. In this period, Albania was a part of the Roman empire. The Roman emperor Trajan lead the empire and Rome flourished. The arena used to host gladiator spectacles and other events. And it is surrounded by a tiered staircase that could seat between 15 000 and 20 000 spectators.

Overall, Durres is a great destination for a beach day close to Tirana. And even if you don’t want to go for a swim, you can go for a fish lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

And finally, I must mention that the nearby Bay of Lalzi is a great alternative to Durres beach. If you are looking for a more quiet beach and you prefer a wild beach over the facilities. Then I would recommend you visit the Bay of Lalzi instead. Which is also a 45 minute drive from Tirana.

11. Dajti Cable Car day tour from Tirana

From the outskirts of Tirana, you can take the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car to the Dajti Mountain.

The Dajti Mountain is the closest mountain to Tirana city. From the city center of Tirana, you can drive for approximately 20 minutes to reach the lower station of the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car. From the lower station, the cable car will take you up to the Dajti Mountain balcony.

The cable car journey lasts for about 15 minutes and it is absolutely stunning. You fly accross the treetops and you pass by the mountain cliffs. Below, you will see little farm houses and mountain lakes. And as you fly higher, you will see Tirana’s city center from above.

Then after completing the Cable Car journey, you will be at the Dajti Mountain balcony. On the balcony, there is a variety of indoor and outdoor entertainment.

When it comes to the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car, timing it right really makes the difference. If you arrive at the Dajti mountain balcony around noon, you can have lunch in the Ballkoni Restaurant. This beautiful cabin-style restaurant is located at the top of the cliff. Have a seat at one of the tables near the window and enjoy the view over Tirana’s city center, Durres beach and the Adriatic Sea.

Apart from the restaurant, you can also visit the rotating bar on the top of the Dajti Tower Hotel. This bar rotates 360 degrees in about 45 minutes. And you can visit the viewing deck at the hotel to get some great pictures.

With regards to outdoor entertainment, you can participate in target shooting, mini-golf, horse riding, carting and outdoor fitness. Or if you are up for it, you can hike to the nearby Tujani Peak for a beautiful view of Lake Bovilla.

Stay the afternoon and plan to go back to Tirana city in the late afternoon. This way you can see the sun go down over the city and the sea, it is absolutely stunning!

Insider tip: The entrance to the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car is very close to the Bunk’Art 1 Museum. So if you plan on visiting both attractions, you can go to the museum in the morning and take the cable car in the afternoon.

12. Kruje day tour from Tirana

Kruje is one of the classic day tour destination from Tirana. From Tirana’s city center, it takes approximately 45 minutes to drive to the nearby town of Kruje.

The main attraction in Kruje is the Kruje Castle. The Castle of Kruje is a hilltop castle, which has a stunning view of the surrounding areas.

From inside the castle’s walls, you will have the most impressive panoramic view. You can see the entire city of Tirana, little villages, the mountain landscape, the town of Kruje, the airport, the Adriatic Sea and the beach.

Amongst the Albanian people, the castle of Kruje is mostly known as the home of their national hero Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg was a military commander, who defended the Albanian people against the Ottoman invasion.

In the early 15th century, Kruje was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. However, Skanderbeg took the town back in 1443. And he managed to defend the town in three Ottoman sieges until he died in 1468. It was then in 1478, that the town of Kruje was conquered by the Ottomans and became a part of the Ottoman Empire.

Inside the castle’s walls, you can visit the Skanderbeg Museum, which is completely dedicated to Albania’s hero Skanderbeg.

Within the castle’s walls, you can also visit the Ethnographic Museum. This musuem is set in the former house of Ismail Pashe Toptani. He built the house in 1764. You can enter the house and see what life was like for a rich family during the Ottoman Empire.

Another highlight is the traditional Ottoman-style bazaar market on the hill next to the castle. You can stroll through the market place, see local handicraft items and buy souvenirs.

There are some lovely restaurants and cafes alongside the Old Bazaar Market, where you can sit down for a coffee or a snack as well.

In summery, a visit to Kruje is a lovely sightseeing trip, if you are staying in Tirana.

13. Petrela day tour from Tirana

Petrela is a little village close to Tirana. If you are staying in the city and you would like to get a feel for the real Albanian life-style, then Petrela is a great place to visit.

Petrela is only about 45 minutes from the city center of Tirana. But it is a completely different world.

When you drive into the village, you will immediately feel relaxed. The road turns and twists through the hilly landscape. Along the road, you will see greenery and olive threes everywhere.

Along the road, you will see small restaurants. And mom-and-pop owned hotels. And everywhere you look you see little swimming pools by houses and small hotels.

Then if you drive further along the road, you will see the hilltop Petrela Castle. This castle is the main sightseeing highlight in the village.

The castle of Petrela was built on the top of a gigantic rock on the top of the hill. The castle was built in the 15th century.

Petrela Castle used to be one of the signaling and defence systems against the Ottoman invasion. In the 15th century, the military commander Skanderbeg defended the Albanian people against the invasion of the Ottoman Turks.

Petrela Castle was under the leadership of Skanderbeg’s sister Mamica Kastrioti. When the Ottoman forces would approach, the castle would use a fire to signal the other hilltop castles nearby in Preze and Kruje. So that everybody knew of the approaching enemies.

The castle of Petrela is a lovely day tour from Tirana. Hike up the cobblestone path to the castle and enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding hills and the village. Inside the castle walls there is a lovely cafe with a stunning view.

If you like you can combine a visit to Petrela with a visit to the Black Cave. Both attractions are close together. So you can start your day active with a hike to the cave and then spend your afternoon relaxing in Petrela.

14. Vlore day tour from Tirana

If you are staying in Tirana, but you would like to visit the Albanian Riviera for a day tour, you can visit Vlore beach.

Vlore is a large coastal town and the starting point of the Albanian Riviera. From Tirana, it will only take you approximately 3 hours to drive to Vlore.

The city of Vlore is built around the large Bay of Vlore. This is the point were the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea meet.

Driving through Vlore is a blast, there is a seemingly endless road that leads around the Bay of Vlore. Everywhere you look there are lovely beaches, hotels, restaurants and parasols.

From Vlore, you can also visit the nearby Zvernec island in the Narta Lagoon. Moreover, you can take a boat trip to one of the isolated beaches on the Karaburun Peninsula.

Vlore is a great day trip destination if you plan on simply visiting the beach and having a swim. Or if you like you can combine your visit with the Apollonia archaeological park, which is located along the same road as Vlore.

15. Gjirokaster day tour from Tirana

Gjirokaster is an UNESCO heritage city in the South of Albania.

From Tirana, it takes approximately 4 hours to drive to Gjirokaster. So if you plan on a day tour from Tirana, you must leave in the eary morning and drive back in the late evening.

Gjirokaster has a beautiful historical town center. The city is known for its traditional stone houses that were built on the slope of the hill.

These traditional houses were built during the period that Albania was a part of the Ottoman Empire. There are two historical houses that are open to the public, these are: Skenduli House and Zekate House. Inside these traditional houses, you can see the original interior. They give you a unique insight into what life was like for a rich family during the Ottoman empire.

By far, the most prominent attraction in Gjirokaster is the hilltop Gjirokaster Castle. This massive castle overlooks the entire old town center. For many years, the Castle of Gjirokaster used to function as a prison. At first for the Albanian King Zog and later it was used to imprison people who did not agree with the Communist Regime’s rules and regulations.

One of the loveliest parts of town is the Old Bazaar Market. You can stroll through this traditional market street, where you can find handicraft items and souvenirs.

And finally, you can explore the Cold War Tunnel. Which is a large bunker constructed during the communist regime. It was meant to accommodate the political elite, should Albania ever be attacked by a foreign nation. Albania’s bunkers were never used, as the foreign attack never took place. But they are still an important part of Albania’s dark history.

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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