Tirana is known for its Ottoman and Soviet-era architecture and a symphony of the past that croons in every corner. Every moment spent in Tirana is an introduction to a different layer of its history, and every monument wants to tell a story to the visitors. Take a break, paddle to the market, and let yourself soak in good food and shopping. For a change, go hiking and give in to the aroma of nature. We’ve come up with a list of the 15 best things to do in Tirana to make sure you delve into the harmony of past and present the city so gloriously showcases.
Tirana’s New Bazaar is the perfect place to navigate when you want a break from touristy activities. If you plan to prepare your food, you can head to the bazaar to find some incredible organic produce. While there, walk through the stalls selling the latest tech, artisan handicrafts, local cheese, freshly baked goods, and other dairy products. The bazaar is also a must-visit place for shopping for souvenirs, jewellery and much more. If you plan to eat and relax, the cafes and restaurants around the market won’t disappoint you.
Make the most of your day out with this fantastic cable car experience when you’re in Tirana. Dajti will take you on a good ride for a beautiful glimpse of the city. Riding over 800 metres up the mountainside, the cable car encompasses a kilometre. It will take you up by gondola to the mountain on the city’s eastern edge, giving you an unforgettable journey of 15 minutes. You will behold a gorgeous view from the top, where there’s a complex with hotels and restaurants. Depending on the time of the year, you can opt for other activities, including horseback riding and skiing.
Bunk’Art is one of the best places to visit in Tirana if you are seeking an unusual telling of Albania’s recent history. The place draws visitors' attention for its ability to breathe a different perspective into the past. It was constructed as an underground bunker for communist-era politicians and military top brass of Tirana. With over 100 other rooms, the place is built over five stories. Bunk’Art encourages the exchange of dialogue between a complicated period in history and today’s people. If communist designs and the cold war age steals your attention, you’ll find yourself approaching every corner of this place.
Dajti Mountain National Park
You wouldn't want to pass on this Tirana treasure. An impressive mountain range marks the city's eastern limit at its entrance. From an altitude of 1,580 metres, the path that connects Mountain Dajti and Mountain Tujani offers breathtaking views of the natural world. It is the park's tallest peak that can be reached by hiking. You will be rewarded for your work in walking to the top with breathtaking cliffs and Lake Bovilla.
National Historic Museum
The National Historic Museum is where you’ll learn much about Tirana and Albania's past. The place is orchestrated by several foyers, each tracing to a different period in the history of this region. Take a walk to the Pavilion of Antiquity; you want to walk through the archaeological opulence. There, you’ll come across more than 500 items ranging from the late-Paleolithic age to the early-Middle one.
Situated in the heart of the city, Tirana’s Grand Park is precisely what you need to breathe fresh air and feel active all day long. In the South Blloku district, the park spans 230 hectares and surrounds a large artificial lake. The place will also introduce you to the famous Presidential Palace to add to your touristy buds. There are also tombs of many Albanian national heroes, including writers, philosophers, and politicians. The park also treats visitors to outdoor swimming in summer.
Dating back to 1822, the Clock Tower was brought to life by the court poet Haxhi Et’hem Bey. Today, it is one of the city's most famous landmarks that glimmers at its best at night. The interesting note about the tower is that it has been altered several times throughout its history, from Viennese to German designs. Scale the narrow spiral staircase of the tower without any charge and revel in the beautiful views of Tirana’s city centre.
The place where the grand monuments come together and host a visit to remember, Skanderbeg Square has a galore of views for you. Named after the Albanian national hero George Castriot, the place is credited with halting the progress of the Ottoman Empire in central Europe. Skanderbeg is where you will find Et’hem Bey Mosque, the Clock Tower, and the National History Museum. Flower beds complement the neo-renaissance architecture of the square. This place is also the prime venue for the city's popular celebrations.
Et’hem Bey Mosque
This place has witnessed one of the most significant events in Tirana’s history. Completed in the early years of the 19th century, Et’hem Bey Mosque is counted among the top landmarks of the city. The mosque's outer walls depict paradisal scenery, such as waterfalls and forests. The place is a remnant of the time when 10,000 people gathered at the mosque on the 10th of January 1991 and practised their religion against the mandate of the authorities who banned Islam. It unfolded to religious freedom for all in Albania.
Rruga Murat Toptani
The streets feel more sublime and giving in the summertime. Wander around the pedestrianised street of Rruga Murat Toptani, a place that offers a calm yet curious walk between the National Art Gallery and the Parliament Building. This place of the promenade has its name inspired by the Toptani Family, who predominated Albania from the 1700s to the Second World War. The artery tells you about the city’s old reinforcements, tracing back the time of contest between the Toptanis with other powerful local families.
Walking on the Tanners’ Bridge is one of the best things in Tirana. While it seems to be a minor part of your entire day’s itinerary, the place is reminiscent of Tirana’s Ottoman history, enough to woo you in a brief period. The bridge echoes the city's progression from its foundation to the age of business. What humbles pedestrians today used to be the route for farmers to carry their livestock to the butchery district. Earlier the bridge used to span the Lanë River, which now has been redirected. The Tanners’ Mosque accentuating a view from the bridge is worth the moment of stop and stare.
Preza Castle is the 15th-century fortress flaunting itself in the Northwest of the city. The spot shares its name with the village it is located over. Built by the Thopia family, the structure acted as an outpost established to safeguard the area against bandits. The castle is beautifully shaped in the pentagonal realm, and its essence can be traced in its walls and towers, with a clock tower. Expect radical panoramas from the bulwarks of the castle that take you right to the city of Tirana and also let you capture the mountain range behind it.
Pyramid of Tirana
The Pyramid of Tirana is fragrant of the communist era, where it came to existence in the name of a museum and exhibited the legacy of Enver Hoxha, a communist leader of Albania. Upon the fall of communism, the place traversed different identities before finally getting to unfurl into the state it is in today. There is something peculiarly spectacular about the structure that is illuminated by a pyramid-shaped exterior constructed in Brutalist architecture. Heading to the Pyramid is one of the best things to do in Tirana, especially if you want to learn about Brutalism-style architecture.
The Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral
Amaze yourself with the grandness of The Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral, one of Tirana's best places to visit. Opened in 2012 for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the revival of the Orthodox Church of Albania, the site bewitches tourists with its modern and futuristic style featuring an eggshell-coloured exterior and striking curves. The design of this church helps it maintain the Orthodox architectural essence while incorporating modernity. And that’s what makes it even more beautiful. Devoting some time to visit this place is one of the best things to do in Tirana - especially if you want to explore outstanding architecture.
Kruje was once known as the capital of the Albanian state and then metamorphosed into the seat of power of Skanderbeg, the Albanian hero, during the Ottoman reign. Located on the side of the Kruje mountain, the city has its kind of crown in the guise of Kruja Castle, which sits right on its top. The castle is where Skanderbeg dealt with over a couple of Ottoman sieges during his lifetime. When you’re looking for the best things to do in Tirana and the Kruja Castle is not on your list, your trip will feel incomplete. So, allow yourself to wander around this majestic place and learn about Skanderbeg's conquest at a museum within the castle.
From history-rich sites to colourful views and all things local in the market-uncover the best of the city while you’re there. Book your flight to Tirana with flydubai.