Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.

Tirana

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search
A view of downtown Tirana from Skytower

Tirana [1] is the capital of Albania.

Contents

Understand[edit]

Sulejman Pasha Bargjini, a native feudal lord from Mullet, established the city in 1614. His first constructions were a mosque, a bakery and a hamam (Turkish bath). On February 8, 1920 Tirana was made the temporary capital by the Congress of Lushnje, and it was proclaimed the permanent capital on December 31, 1925.

Albania spent the majority of the last 60 years under a strict and isolationist Dictator, Enver Hoxha. Upon his death, the country moved towards a free market economic model, with mixed results. Presently, Tirana is where the old and new Albania meet. Unpaved streets host brand new Land Rovers, iPhone-toting youngsters rub shoulders with street vendors peddling all manners of items, and gleaming glass towers look down on abandoned construction projects.

Tourists usually find Tirana an interesting and charming city, with a lively night life. However, Tirana suffers from pollution problems mainly due to the rapid increase in cars in the city and continuous construction. Long gone are the days when Tirana used to be subject to power outages almost daily and this made Tirana a noisy city as the lack of power and lack of traffic lights had cars navigating by honking their horns.

Today the situation has dramatically improved regarding power outages. Tirana is undergoing a major renovation from its communist days. Many of the ugly dull buildings have been repainted, but a lot of work still needs to be done. English is rapidly gaining steam as the second language of the city with the youth but many older residents also speak Italian.

Albanians are very hospitable towards foreigners, despite media frequently portraying them as thieves and mobsters. Tirana itself is very approachable if you're the adventurous type - crime is rarely, if ever directed towards foreigners and the costs are very low by regional standards. The worst experience you may have is with erratic driving style of Albanians.

The main business and entertainment area (not by coincidence) has become "The Block" (Blloku) which is the area where in the past, the communist leaders used to live under strict protection. Locals prefer to hang out at the many cafes and main parks. A popular retreat is by cable car to Mount Dajti where one can get a panoramic view of the city from above.

A new tourist information office has recently opened on Rruga Ded Gjo Luli, just north of Skanderbeg Square (behind the National Historic Museum). The English-speaking staff are very helpful and can provide maps and directions to hostels/hotels etc. Also free copies of "Tirana in your pocket" guide, which includes vital information about bus and furgon schedules.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Tirana is served by Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza (Rinas International Airport) (IATA: TIA) [2] 17 km from the centre of town.

The following airlines offer service to/from Tirana:

Adria Airways (Ljubljana), Austrian Tyrolean Airways (Vienna), Belle Air (Ancona, Athens, Bari, Bologna, Cuneo, Florence, Forli, Genoa, Heraklion, Milan-Malpensa, Milan-Orio al Serio, Parma, Perugia, Pisa, Pristina, Rhodes, Rimini, Rome-Fiumicino, Trieste, Venice-Treviso, Verona, Zurich), British Airways (London-Gatwick), Lufthansa (Munich), Olympic Air (Athens, Thessaloniki), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk)

Rinas Express [3] operates an hourly bus between 6:00am and 6:00pm from the airport to Skanderberg Square and vice versa. It costs 250 lek each way and leaves every hour on the hour from both the airport and from Skanderberg Square. It runs from about 8AM to 7PM. The trip takes around 25-30 minutes. From the airport exit doors, walk towards the parking lot past the taxi touts to find the bus stop. At Skanderberg Square, the bus stop is located around the northwest corner, near other bus stops. The bus is not only punctual but sometimes even early, so plan to be there a few minutes in advance. Do not be intimidated by the signs not mentioning "airport" or any variation of it at the Skanderberg Square stop, just look for the "Rinas" sign. merrTAXI.com [4], 0800 55 55 (toll free) and Airport Taxi Express [5] offer transportation to and from Rinas International Airport.

By train[edit]

Tirana has no international train connections. You can only reach Tirana by train operated by HSH sh.a. (map here [warning:PDF] [6]) from the following cities: Durrës (100 lek, one hour, 8 daily), Shkodra (160 lek, 3.5 hours, twice daily), Elbasan (200 lek, 4 hours, 3 daily), Vlorë (210 lek, 5.5 hours, twice daily) and Pogradec (350 lek, 4 hours, twice daily - Line may not be in service as mud slides have occurred recently along Ohrid Lake track). Even though train services are very poor, when compared to West Balkan standards, they may be more frequent, cheaper, and more scenic than taking the bus. Taking the train to Elbasan is not recommended: the four hour trip makes a large detour via Durrës (not very scenic) while Elbasan is only 35 km away from Tiranë.

By bus & van[edit]

Intercity buses near Tirana's main stadium

Tirana does not have a central bus station, so you may be dropped at various locations in the city. Buses can be used to reach Tirana from other cities in Albania and internationally. There is daily bus service from Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia,Greece (Patras, Athens) and Turkey and multiple services per day to Pristina, Kosovo and other cities in Albania. Schedules change frequently so check the latest info in your place of departure.[7]

From Montenegro, take a bus or taxi to Ulcinj, then take a bus or taxi to Shkodra in Albania, crossing the border at Muriqan. Buses leave Shkodra frequently for Tirana.

From Serbia, as of January 2012, take the 20:40 train from Belgrade to Bar, arrive 07:11 (2.400RSD, 21€, 30U$), walk a few meters to the bus station, and take the 08:00 or the 08:40 bus to Ulcinj (2,50€, 35mins), and the 12:30 bus to Shkodër (only that service confirmed every day, ticket: 6€, 1h45). Everyone must stay in the bus at the border control in Muriqan. You'll arrive to Shkodër at 14:15 and you have plenty of furgon to Tirana. Try to get Leks in advance. Furgon to Tirana costs 500Leks or 5€ (but: 500Leks are only 3€). Trip takes about 1h30. So, you'll get to Tirana Train Station in the Furgon at arroud 18:30, almost 22h after leaving Belgrade! But, only with 30€.

Buses to and from Kosovo depart from downtown (behind museum where one also can find buses to Rinas airport). Although everyone says it takes 12 hours, the trip actually takes just 5. Buy the ticket on a travel agency (costs 15€, or 20.000Leks). Busses (no more than 4 a day) leaves from UFO University, near Skenderberg Place, at noon.

Hak Bus runs two buses a day from Tetovo in Macedonia to Tirana, at 10:00 and 22:00, taking around seven hours and arriving near the train station on Zogu I Boulevard. A connecting shuttle bus runs from Skopje to Tetovo at 09:00 and 21:00, and a single through-ticket can be bought at the International Bus Terminal in Skopje (MKD1330). In addition, there is a 06:00 bus that leaves Skopje for Tirana.

Buses and furgons (minibuses) are generally the best method for traveling within Albania, but they are not in the best of shape. There are few bus companies; many are operated by individual drivers. Bus lines have schedules, but are often delayed until the coaches are full or a the whim of the driver. Some international bus stations are far from the centre so it may be worth taking a taxi to the bus stop to save time and energy and avoid getting lost. Also, note that drivers of Furgons and Vans drive exceptionally erratically - if you are prone to motion sickness (car sickness) you should take measures to remedy that beforehand.

By boat[edit]

Tirana is not a port, so you can't get there directly by boat. There are, however, reasonable sea routes from Italy (from the ports in Bari, Trieste, and Ancona) to Durrës, the nearest port to Tirana [8] from where you can take the train (which comes approximately every two hours) or a bus to Tirana. You could also rent a car and be in Tirana in about 20 minutes.

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

Public transportation in Tirana consists of a number of intra-city bus lines, which are not very fast, but cheap (30 Lek for one ride). Buses marked 'Unaze' are for the ring road and travel in a loop around the city centre. There are also lines serving suburban shopping centers and Tirana Airport.

A useful web and Android application regarding Tirana's Public Transportation such as lines, directions, times and costs can be found at Tirana Bus Stations. An Android application is also available for download at GetJar or at the Developer's Website

On foot[edit]

The city center is small enough to be explored by walking. Walking is a rewarding experience, but beware that there is *no* continuity in sidewalk width, construction material or condition. Sidewalks frequently end abruptly, have large holes or are very narrow. Pay attention while walking or you may end up spraining your ankle or falling in a hole. Street names are subject to change, so locals rarely know them. It is advised to learn a to navigate via landmarks instead of addresses or street names. You can orient yourself using the Lana River and "Dëshmorët e Kombit" street, which roughly bisects the central part of Tirana into four sections. At this intersection of the Lana River and Dëshmorët e Kombit is very recognizable "Pyramid" and "Taiwan Center".

By bicycle[edit]

Tirana is not known as a bicycle-friendly city, but the current Mayor has stated that he is committed to improving the cycling infrastructure[9] and bicycle lanes are beginning to appear on some streets. The Ecovolis Bicycle Sharing Program launched in 2011 [10] with a number of rental locations, including Rinia Park (near the Taiwan Center) and along Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard[11]. A full day ride costs 100 lek (approx. $1USD as of 2012). Bicycles should be returned to the station of origin. Ecovolis also offers bikes for longer 24/7 rents at the shop. [12] For all other bike equipment or repair, Rruga Qemal Stafa is Tirana's unofficial "bike street" with lots of little, inexpensive bike shops.

Cycling in the street can be somewhat intimidating to riders unfamiliar with Balkan traffic but combined bus and bike lanes have been opened recently on some main streets. Bicycle-only lanes are located on Skanderbeg Square, Deshmoret e Kombit Main Boulevard and on sidewalks along Lana River and Kavaja Street.

By taxi[edit]

Taxis mostly do NOT use the taximeter by default, so you either should negotiate the price before entering the cab, or ask them to use the taximeter. However generally:

  • A ride across town should cost 400 lek during the day
  • 600 lek at night, approximately 4-5 euro.

Newer taxis that use a meter (generally more expensive) can be found around town:

  • merrTAXI [13] offers authorized taxi reservation: 0800 55 55 (toll free).
  • SpeedTaxi

By car[edit]

Driving in Tirana is an adventure. Parking is a major problem in most of the city and you will frequently find cars double and triple-parked in lanes of traffic or parked on sidewalks. Many spaces or lots are actually a business and you may be approached before, during, or after parking by a plain-clothed person asking for a parking fee. Costs range from 100lek (~1USD) to 200lek (~2USD) depending on location and duration of stay.

Albanians are fond of honking the car horn, which can mean anything from "I'm here" to "Hurry up!" Road conditions vary - a few are built to more modern standards but you may run into roads that are badly damaged or not paved at all. Traffic lights are hit or miss - some work, some don't. Many Albanians do not abide by them anyways - a red light is simply an opportunity to skip to the front of the que. EBRD is lending the Albanian government €14.6 million to work and fix roads in Tirana. Part of the loan will be used to upgrade the Tirana ring road.

PAY ATTENTION WHILE DRIVING because the roads are cheaply built and they deteriorate quickly. Damage (even on highways) is rarely marked by anything more than a pile of rocks - impossible to see more than 100 meters away. Serious vehicle damage can occur if you are not vigilant.

Driving with your headlights on at all times is required and police will stop you (if they feel like it) for not turning them on. Police are generally corrupt and will ask for bribes, but if they discover you are a foreigner they are likely to let you go without a problem.

That said, Driving offers an unique experience in Tirana for those willing to brave it. Driving aggressively and seizing opportunities will help you get around at normal pace. Timid and passive drivers should avoid driving in Tirana as they will likely be frustrated.

Car rentals in Albania are available from Multi-national firms and can be booked online:

  • Hertz
  • Avis
  • Europcar
  • etc.

Local rentals are often cheaper:

  • Noshi Rent-a-Car
  • Albarent
  • etc.

Also, keep in mind that the word Car sounds identical to the Albanian word for Penis so do not be surprised if you get stares if you say it. Auto or the Albanian word, Makinë are suitable stand-ins.

See[edit][add listing]

Et'hem Bey Mosque & Clock Tower
  • Clock Tower (Kulla e Sahatit), Skanderbeg Square. 09:00-13:00, 16:00-18:00. Closed Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday. Positioned in the city centre, this tower has become a symbol of Tirana. It is one of the oldest constructions in Tirana, built in the 1820s. Don't forget to visit the nearby Clock Towers of Albania Museum featuring Clock Towers from around Albania. 10 lek.  edit
  • Et'hem Bey Mosque, Skanderbeg Square. 08:00 - 22:00 (summer), 08:00 - 19:00 (winter). Construction of this mosque took about 28 years and finished in 1821. It is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in Albania with very interesting decorations and art-work within it.  edit
  • National Historic Museum, Skanderbeg Square, +355 4 222 34 46, [14]. 10:00-17:00, closed Mondays. The main museum in Tirana, it is in the centre of the city, easily recognizable because of a huge mosaic standing on top of its front facade. It contains many artifacts ranging from ancient times through Hoxha's regime. Repeated looting in the 1990s has robbed the museum of many artifacts, but it remains the best place in Albania to learn its history. Harrowing exhibition about Albania's gruesome labour camp system. Not enough English. 200 lek.  edit
International Centre of Culture (former Enver Hoxha museum), known also as Piramida
  • National Art Gallery (Galeria Kombetare e Arteve), Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit, [15]. 9:00am to 7:00pm. 13th century pieces, modern art, socialist art. 200 lek.  edit
  • Bush Street (Rruga Presidenti George W. Bush), (Across from Parliament Building and Murat Toptani Street). This street was named after US President George W. Bush in honor of his 2007 visit.  edit

Ujvara is also a neighborhood in Tirana, it is located near "Stadium Dinamo". This neighborhood is called Ujvara because one of the first cafes and casinos was a place called Ujvara that is still standing now days because it has been reconstructed every few years.

  • Piramida (International Centre of Culture), Dëshmore ë Kombit, across from the Twin Towers.. The pyramid was built in 1987 according to the design of Enver Hoxha's daughter and was originally a museum of her father. US president George W Bush gave a speech in front of this building. The building was the most expensive erected under communism. Today it's derelict building halfway occupied by a TV station. Much of the façade has been stripped or stolen and the glass is broken and boarded up. There are plans for future changes working with Hoxha's daughter, but the building has sat untouched for years.  edit

"Porcelani" is a neighborhood in the suburban part of Tirane. It is near mountain Dajti in the exit of Tirana. This neighborhood is called Porcelani because in that area Porcelain tiles were made.

  • Blloku or Ish-Blloku (The Block), Mainly Rr. Ismail Qemali and nearby streets (take the bus signed 'Tirana e Re'; get off at the namesake station), [16]. Among the apartment blocks, one can find some of Tirana's best cafés, shops, and restaurants. Here is also located the villa of the former dictator, Enver Hoxha. During communism, the area was reserved solely for government officials and was not allowed to be entered by the commoner. It was opened to the public in 1991 and since became the number one spot for Tirana's youth. At night the area gets full of people especially on weekends when most night clubs are full. The streets, especially in summer afternoons, are filled with Tirana's citizens and expensive cars cruising around. From the Block you can go almost anywhere for less than 10-15 minutes. If you need to have a coffee or relax while taking a look at the parade of trendy and elegant people, the block is a perfect place for you. In the Block you can buy trendy clothing items and French delicacies. You can also get taxis.  edit
  • National Archaeological Museum of Albania, Sheshi Nene Tereza, 222 6541. This museum features ancient artifacts from Illyrian to Roman and Hellenic times featuring wonderful mosaics, Roman statues and illustrative maps.  edit
  • National Library of Albania (Biblioteka Kombëtare e Shqipërisë), Rr. Luigj Gurakuqi, [17]. The library holds over a million books and is known for its ancient collections.  edit
  • Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral (Katedralja Ortodokse e Ringjalljes se Krishtit), Rr. Deshmoret e 4 Shkurtit (West of Skanderbeg Square nearby the Ministry of Defence). This cathedral is brand new featuring fascinating architecture and rich interior iconography.  edit
  • Sali Shijaku's Traditional House, Rr. Vildan Luarasi (A few blocks east of the Train Station), 4 226 1458. This well preserved traditional house owned by painter Sali Shijaku features art displays, traditional house emnities, and a restaurant.  edit
  • Tirana Zoo (Kopshti Zoologjik Tiranë). 09:00 - 18:00. Visiting this zoo is an odd experience; there are few animals but you will see them at remarkably close range. Nearby is located the Botanical Garden featuring the best of Albania's fauna. 50 lek.  edit
Small park in downtown Tirana
  • Tirana Mosaic (Mozaiku i Tiranes), Blloku pallateve Partizani, Lagja nr. 9. The mosaic was discovered following excavations for an apartment complex. Various artifacts point to the presence of a village in the area thousands of years ago. Visit the adjacent multimedia kiosque for more information.  edit
  • Saint Paul Catholic Cathedral (Katedralja e Shen Palit), Bulevardi Zhan D'Ark (Across from ETC and the Pyramid). Recently constructed, this cathedral features fascinating window murals.  edit
  • Natural Sciences Museum of Albania, Rruga e Kavajes. This museum features the fauna and geological composition of Albania.  edit
  • Martyrs' Cemetery, Rr. e Elbasanit. This is the cemetery where the remains of 900 partisans that fought for Tirana are buried. Here one can also find the 12m statue of Mother Albania (1972). Hoxha was buried here in 1985 but exhumed in 1992 and moved to the Sharra cemetery on the other end of the city.  edit
  • Enver Hoxha's grave, Varrezat e Sharres. Today Enver Hoxha rests at the Sharra cemetery Varrezat e Sharres . The graves position according to GPS is 41°18'455"N 19°45'707"E,position taken by GPS right on the grave. Take a bus Kinostudio-Kombinat. Get off at the last stop (namely, Kombinat). Keep going in the direction the bus went. You are going along the street Rruga Llazi Miho turning into an interstate road. Soon you'll see a broken factory and some flower-mongers on your right. Cross the interstate road and turn left when you see a lot of flower-mongers and tombstone-carvers in the narrow street rising uphill (namely Rruga Bakolli). Follow the street. Soon you'll see the cemetery. Enter it through the very first gates on your left (it isn't the main entrance). Turn left at the first crosspaths (just 3 grave rows from the gates). Follow the path going towards the cemetery wall. Turn right at the first crosspaths. Follow the broad path uphill and look on your right paying attention to the second graves in perpendicular rows. Soon you'll see a red/grey/black grave with a doubleheaded eagle atop. It's the grave. As of July 2012 the tombstone was broken into small pieces.  edit
  • Postbllok (Checkpoint), Corner of Main Boulevard and Ismail Qemali Street (Across from PM's Office and Parliament Offices). This cold war installation features an original bunker, concrete pillars from Spac prison camp and a fragment of the Berlin Wall.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Go for a walk in the evening along the main streets or at one of the several parks and sit for a coffee or drink. Take part in the vibrant nightlife by visiting one of the numerous nightclubs.[18] If you are adventurous and brave enough, try the peculiar experience of driving in the city's streets by renting a car, or rent a bicycle from an Ecovolis station. You can also cruise the city with a limousine or venture out in the picturesque suburbs either south or northeast/west of Tirana. Below are some venturing suggestions:

  • Sky Tower Rotating Bar. (Rr. Ibrahim Rugova) This is a must! The rotation is a bit jerky and may leave you slightly seasick.
  • Murat Toptani Street. Murat Toptani Street is a recently opened pedestrian only street east of Rinia Park constructed with stone and located nearby Tirana Castle walls. Traditional houses, cafes, and a local park are found here.  edit
  • Sheshi Skënderbej (Skanderbeg Square). Tirana's city centre. A statue of Albanian hero Skanderbeg stands in the square with the Albanian flag on the side. Renovations have made the square pedestrians and public transportation friendly. Government buildings featuring Italian architecture and some structures outlined below are all right off this square.  edit
  • Dëshmorët e Kombit Boulevard (Bulevardi Dëshmorët e Kombit (Nation's Martyrs Boulevard)). A panoramic boulevard built by the Italians in the 1930s similar to the Champs de Elysee extending south from Skanderberg Square. The boulevard features Fascist, Communist, and modern architecture of government buildings, business centers and hotels. Many local parks are found here.  edit
  • Taiwan Complex (Kompleksi Tajvani), [19]. This beautiful place in the heart of downtown Tirana. It includes restaurants, casinos, bars, a club, etc. It is surrounded by a huge lit water fountain with a glowing bridge that reaches to the restaurant, and is an ideal place for all ages. Children enjoy gourmet ice cream and iced European soft drinks, whilst adults and teens can enjoy fun casinos. This is an excellent tourist attraction, and many Albanian celebrities can be found in the area. There is a bowling alley in the basement of the building, however the overall condition leaves something to be desired if you have bowled anywhere else.  edit
  • Mother Teresa Square. Located at the southern side of Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard, this square features typical Fascist architecture. Buildings include the University of Tirana, Archaeological Institute, Academy of Arts and the National Stadium.  edit
  • Mount Dajti (Mount Dajti National Park), Dajt Commune, [20]. 1,612m high. Offers great views of Tirana. A very relaxing area, mount Dajti can be reached through an Austrian-built express cable car. The view along the route is worth the cost even if you don't get on top of the mountain (there is a military zone there). The tourism complex offers a few hotels and restaurants, but it is great for taking a breath of fresh air and activities like mountain sports, horse riding, trekking, skiing etc. Bikes are allowed on the cable car free of charge and the ride down the rough mountain road is an adventure which offers great panoramas. The Pellumba Cave in the area is worth a visit. Unfortunately, litter is becoming a problem on Mount Dajti. This detracts from the experience somewhat, but the beautiful scenery still makes the trip worthwhile. 700 lek return.  edit
  • Grand Park along the Artificial Lake (Parku i Madh), (southern part of the city). People have picnics and have fun, and the natural beauty allows it because of the huge trees, open spaces, and mountains surrounding them. An artificial lake lies in the middle of the Park. It is popular with locals and tourists as a place to walk around and enjoy a lunch or coffee at one of the restaurants or cafés. Over 120 types of plants. A popular swimming pool complex is located nearby.  edit
  • Ali Demi Skate Park, (Go north-east on the Bulevardi-Bajram-Curri, and then take a right on the Ruga-Ali-Demi. You should go about half a mile on that road. Then the skate park will be directly on your right. You can’t miss it; its right next to a park with a fountain in the middle of it and a café with a junglejim, there are many green ramps.). The Ali-Demi skate park is a great place to go with your family because there is a nice park on one of the sides next to the skate park, there are markets, and a beautiful café shop with a playground for small children with typical swings and benches and soccer fields in the back. The skate park is full of people on bikes, roller skates, and skate boarders. The Skate Park is very good for beginners, the ramps are all cement (there is coping on the ramps). The ramps have a good variety—there are small ramps along with big ones. Almost all the ramps are shaped like a plateau they are good for caching air. There are many places to do ollies and 180s off of and other places to grind if you are an experienced skate boarder. The skate park is slightly below the rest of the park so you shouldn’t go when it’s raining because it fills up with water. There are quarter pipes along the sides of the skate park. This skate park is very fun for skaters, bikers, and rollerskaters.  edit

Suburban Tirana[edit]

  • Petrela Castle. This is one of Albania's best preserved castles, found a short distance south of Tirana. It is known as an ancient settlement 2000 years old and was commanded by princess Mamica, the sister of the national hero, Skanderbeg. A restaurant has been built on the castle where local delicacies can be tasted.  edit
  • Preze Castle. This 15th century castle is located on the picturesque hills of Preze village west of Rinas Airport. Visit the local artisan studio of Drita Gordi where you can find her traditional sewing equipment and handmade local souvenirs.  edit
  • Brar Canyon and Bridge (Northeast of Tirana inside Mount Dajti National Park), Brar village (Follow Myslym Keta Street (SH61)). A panoramic canyon and Ottoman bridge just steps from the capital. Spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Tirana. A cave and a beautiful waterfall is found near Shengjergj village.  edit
  • Southeast of Tirana, Rruga e Elbasanit (South-East of Tirana follow SH3). Many small restaurants and resorts are located in the outskirts of the city along Rruga e Elbasanit. One can find shooting range facilities, a modest golf club, horse riding, or wooden villa accommodation equipped with swimming pools.  edit
  • Cave of Pellumbas. Very close to Tirana, Pellumbas village opens spectacular rural landscapes. After walking a 2 km long trail you get to the wonderful archaeological site of Albania. Outdoor Albania organizes guided trips to Cave of Pellumbas. Don't forget to visit the spectacular Erzeni Canyon along the Erzeni River.  edit

Coastal retreat[edit]

  • Lalzit Bay Beach (Gjiri i Lalzit) 30 km from Tirana north of Durres near Rodon Cape is a popular retreat. A small resort can also be found.
  • General's Beach (Plazhi i Gjeneralit) 60 km from Tirana southwest of Kavaje near Spille village is also a popular retreat. The name stems from an Italian general who used to rest at this beach during the world wars.

Festivals[edit]

Most popular events include Summer Day celebrations in 14 March, and Independence Day festivities on November 28. Recently, a number of prestigious festivals have become a tradition in the city's calendar of events such as:

  • Tirana International Film Festival (Tirana Film Fest), [21]. This annual film festival held at the end of November and beginning of December highlights the work of ethnic Albanian artists.  edit
  • Tirana International Contemporary Art Biannual (Tirana Biennale), 692069011, [22]. This biannual art festival features the best of international contemporary art. It was last held in 2009 at the historic Hotel Dajti building.  edit
  • Rally Albania, Mother Teresa Square, 4 2231 586, [24]. The event features an international competition in the rough Albanian countryside roads.  edit
  • Tirana Marathon, Main city streets, +355 44311583, +355 684048078, [25]. The event features an international running and cycling competition through the main streets of Tirana.  edit
  • Tirana Art Days, Different city venues. The event features 25 activities in 3 days ranging from exhibitions to film screenings.  edit
  • Albanian Wine Festival, Murat Toptani Street. The event features wine tasting from a variety of producing areas in Albania.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are many small-scale shops in Tirana. The Street "Myslym Shyri" is well known, full of different shops, where people can find almost everything: clothes (original and fake), food, musical instruments, pictures etc. Other places to shop, especially if you are looking for something cheaper, are the shops located at "Medreseja" Street, and the markets (see below). Tirana has four big commercial centers, located outside the center. Teg (Tirana East Gate) is the biggest one.

There are plenty of ATMs accepting Cirrus/Maestro and VISA around the city (and there is one at the airport).

  • Tirana has several Turkish style bazaars, the biggest of them is Tregu i Madh (the Big Market), Rruga Ferit Xhajko, [26]. . The myriad of little shops closes already in the afternoon.  edit
  • Adrion International Bookshop, Palace of Culture, Skanderberg Square, 4 223 5242, [27]. 8:30am to 9:30pm. Magazines and newspapers from around the world. English books available.  edit
  • Unique, Blloku. This shoe shop has fancy shoes such as Dsquared, Fendi, Moschino, etc.  edit
  • kiosques, Rr. Barrikadave and Rr. Durresit (North of Sulejman Pasha Square and across from the Tourist Info Center). Souvenirs.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are many excellent, inexpensive restaurants in Tirana serving all kinds of food. Traditional cuisine can be found at:

Traditional[edit]

  • Oda, Rr. Luigj Gurakuqi (Past Sheshi Avni Rustemi towards Skanderbeg Square), +355 4 2249541. noon-late. Situated inside a Tirana traditional house, this restaurant features delicious traditional cuisine. 500 lek.  edit
  • Sarajet, Rr. Abdi Toptani, +355 4 2243038, [28]. Owned by artist Paskal Prifti, you will enjoy homemade bread, a variety of local wines and the local firewater, Raki. Prifti invites friends to sing traditional polyphonic songs from the south!  edit
  • Sofra e Ariut, Rruga e Elbasanit (Inside Tirana's Big Park), +355 4 2372904, [29]. Specializing in traditional Albanian cuisine, the interior is decorated with traditional ornaments.  edit

Budget[edit]

Small shops and roadside vendors throughout the city sell foods such as sufllaqe, doner, and gjiro for less than 200 lek. Also try the local specialty, byrek with cheese or spinach, for 30 lek only.

  • New York Tirana Bagels, located at Rruga Themistokli Germenji offers authentic New York Style bagels, light salads and American sweets, such as brownies and carrot muffins. Everything is made on the premises from fresh local ingredients. [30]
  • Albanian Fried Chicken, (in Bllok near the Sky Tower), +355 4 2250112. 09:00-24:00. The Albanian version of KFC, specializes in fried chicken and burgers. 500 lek.  edit
  • Big Bite, Mr.Chicken, and Gjiro Kamara are fast food restaurants in Blloku where you get a good taste of Albanian fast food.
  • Kolonat, (in Bllok, near Nene Tereza Square, and on rruges Elbasanit), +355 42382202. 09:00 - 24:00. Albanian's version of McDonald's. Specializes in burgers and pizza. 500 Lek for one person (sandwich, fries, and drink). 500 Lek.  edit
  • Marion Restaurant, Tirana University student's campus. Budget self service restaurant in the Central Campus. Very popular among students.  edit

Also there is a new fast-food called AFC. It serves a lot of things and you can have a lunch or a dinner there.

Mid-range[edit]

  • King House, Dëshmorët e 4 Shkurtit, +355 4 2255559. Combination of excellent Albanian and Italian food. Always very popular with expats and locals.  edit
  • Yamato, (Blloku). A more formal restaurant than other Blloku eateries, children-friendly Yamato has a big selection of Japanese foods prepared by a Filipino chef.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Gurra e Perris, Mali Dajtit (Dajti Mountain) (After you get off the cable car, restaurant's micro-buses will take you directly to the restaurant), +355 68 20 60 720, [31]. Traditional restaurant in a marvelous place, with fantastic view of the city. Fresh meat, fresh trout (you can also catch it by yourself there). 1000 Lek.  edit
  • Bar Restaurant Patricia, Fortuzi Street near the school Jeronim De Rada (Going up the Durresi Street turn right at the Ministry of Education), +355 4 2228372. 09:00-24:00. A fancy and comfortable restaurant. Its specialty is the Italian food. 1000 Lek.  edit
  • Qendra Stefan (Stephen's Center).  edit
  • Vila 12, Rr. Mustafa Matohiti in front of Birrila's building, +355 4 225 06 33. 11:00-23:00. A gourmet fish restaurant that has some very fishy combinations indeed. The chef likes to experiment; try the raw fish with radish, grapes and strawberries, or the potato-cake with cod and mozzarella. Thankfully there's also traditional grilled fish and lobster. The hot choc fondant cake is a worthy dessert.  edit
  • Juvenilja Castelio, At the national park (Close to hotel Sheraton), +355 682022802, [32]. 0-24. Mainly serves Italian food but Albanian as well. A 5 star restaurant. 1000 lek.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Raki is Albania's national alcohol. For fresh brewed beers: Brauhaus (Shallvare), Svejk Beer Garden (Lulishte 1 Maji, Ura Tabakëve). Try Boza for something non-alcoholic, the most famous of which is Pacara Boza, + 355 692481122, [33]. 1 bottle of 1.5 l ~ 100 lek.  edit

Blloku is the main nightlife spot in the city.

  • Grand Cafe, Blloku. Frequented by elites of the city for a good cup of coffee.  edit
  • Lizard, Blloku. There is often live shows performed by bands from all over Albania, when prices for drinks drop a little. Lizard is known for the cocktails their experienced bartender prepares. Also a few times party's are organized in Lizard.  edit
  • Shakesbeer Bar, Blloku. Good place offering beers.  edit
  • Converse, Charls, Steel Wings (Bikers club), Unit, Mos Fli. Clubs in Blloku frequented by die hard rock and metal fans.
  • Brauhaus (Shallvare Brewpub), Rruga Reshit Çollaku 38, Tirana (Parku Rinia, Shallvare), +355 4 223 7955, [34]. 11-00. The first Brew Pub in Tirana, Albania, with beers (Blonde, Wheat, Red, Dark, Strong) brewed few meters away from the seating tables. Fermented in open view tanks and poured from tank, fresh into the mug, unfiltered and unpasteurized without added CO2 or any adjuncts. Live music €1 a beer.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

Budget options in Tirana are hindered by a government 1000 lek per-person tax levied on all the hotels.

  • Milingona Hostel, Rruga Riza Cerova, Nr. 197/2, Tirana, Albania (By foot :Starting from the national museum or Tirana international hotel, you have to walk not more than 10 to 15 minutes straight up Rruga e Dibres, the road splits, stay to the right after you have past the Medrese school the first street to the right is Riza Cerova Street, on the corner you will see a traditional restaurant Frenki, 3 to 5 meters a small lane leading to the hostel.You can also jump in a taxi from Skanderbeg Square, where the national museum and Tirana international hotel are located and drive to our hostel. The ride should cost 300Lek..), 00355(0)696102875, 00355 (0) 69 20 49 836 (), [35]. One of the oldest hostels, opened in 2010. Beautiful big villa, with antics and old communist furniture around the house, with big garden and common areas inside and outside, city tours and bikes are for the guest at anytime. from 7€ camping, 10€ dorm with 6beds and 8beds, to 15€ for a private room.  edit
  • Trip'n'Hostel, Musa Maci 1 Street (From the central square of Tirana -Scanderbeg square it takes 6 minutes by feet. Take the road between the mosque and Opera than at first Croosroad take left, at the first street on the right, which is Qemal Stafa street, go for 300 m straight that way till you find Lincoln Center ( language institute on the right). In front of the language institute there is a tunnel. The first house on the left after this tunnel is Trip'n'Hostel.), 00355(0)683048905 (), [36]. New Hostel, opened in 2013. Old italian Villa whith three floors and two gardens. Big common rooms. from 10€ big dorm to 15€ private room.  edit
  • Freddy's Hostel, Ground Floor, 75 Bardhok Biba Street (200m from the National History Museum), [37]. Rooms are passable, usually with ensuite. No true dorm rooms. Freddy is rude and careless. €35 for a double.  edit
  • Hostel-Albania, rruga Beqir Luga 56 (Close to the Centre. From Skenderbeg Place take Luigj Gurakuqi Street 400m passing the intersection, until you reach the roundabout Sheshi Avni Rustemi. Take 2nd left onto Hoxha Tahsim Street, past the fruit market. Turn right unto Beqir Luga Street. Take the 1st left and 50m on the left is the entrance gate), [38]. New Hostel, opened in 2009. Old Tirana Villa with about 350m². Very spacious rooms and a large garden. Dorm Bed`s 11€ / Room Beds from 12€.  edit
  • Star Hotel, Rruga e Dibres 73 (From Skanderbeg Square walk past the Tirana International Hotel, it'll take one minute), +355 42231950/+355 696415459, [39]. starhotel2012@hotmail.com Bang in the centre, price includes private bathroom, A/C, fridge and TV. Price: e.g. €30 for twin room.  edit
  • Hotel Briker, (close to the centre (5 min walking)), (). Clean, safe, nice private rooms with private bathroom and shower, well maintained, friendly, all of the staff spoke English, they take credit cards. Unfortunately, the A/C didn't work in our room, which spoilt our stay. Double/Twin: €40 [2011].  edit
  • Hotel Viktoria, Rruga e Elbasanit, +355 695406986 (), [40]. Newly renovated (June 2011) and family-owned hotel, situated in a new residential area that offers quietness and fresh air. Single: €22; Double/Twin: €34; Triple: €44; Quad: €54..  edit
  • Tirana Backpackers Hostel, Rruga Elbasanit 85 (Near Skanderberg Square), [41]. Small hostel, with just 25 beds, situated in a beautiful villa built in 1940. Dorms are spacious and well lighted, back garden. Bikes can be rented for city tours. Dorm bed: 1,770 lek.  edit
  • Hotel Verzaci, [42]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. The hotel is on a ten minute walk from the Tiranë airport terminal building, very convenient for early departures or late arrivals. While there are hotels even closer to the airport, this hotel provides very good value for its price. €25 (single).  edit
  • Propaganda Hostel, Pjeter Bogdani street (near to Edit`h Durham school, next to Izzy Living bar), 00355689042744, [43]. located in the heart of Tirana, just 15 min walk form the main square (Skanderbeg square)and very close to the main bus stations. from 10 euro for a dorm and 27 euro from a private room. (41.320874,19.812298) edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • Hotel Baron Tirana, Rruga Elbasanit (near Mother Albania Statue, Qemal Stafa Stadium, and University of Tirana), +355 4 2467649, [44]. Meeting facilities include conference rooms, a ballroom, and banquet facilities. Single: €35; Double/twin: €50; Triple: €55; Quad: €65.  edit
  • Hotel City Tirana, Rruga Ismail Qemali, Nr8/1, +355 4 2247799 (, fax: +355 4 2247799), [45]. Family-owned hotel with exquisite service. Single: €34-€50; Double: €75.  edit
  • Hotel Meg Klaus, Hotel Meg Klaus (in a courtyard, street off Rr.Mine Peza), +355 4 223 92 14 (fax: +355 4 225 92 36). 11 rooms. TV, air-con and bathroom worked fine. No restaurant (and no breakfast included) but a hotel bar. Some staff had trouble speaking English. singles €30, doubles €40.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Hotel Airport Tirana, Rinas Tirana International Airport Mother Teresa (near the Rinas (Tirana) Airport), +355 48300190 (, fax: +355 4 48300191), [46]. Grand hotel with every modern amenity. Single: 8,850 lek; Double: 11,800 lek.  edit
  • Hotel Brilant Antik, Rr. Jeronim De Rada, No. 78 (Just across the Parliament), +355 4 2251166 (), [47]. Excellent rooms and helpful staff. €70, breakfast included.  edit
  • Hotel Grand, Rr. Ismail Qemali 11 (close to the centre), [48]. A small, 3 star standard hotel. Single: €120; Double: €160.  edit
  • Hotel Mondial. Prestigious 4-star hotel. 28 rooms. Also a bar and a restaurant.  edit
  • Hotel Theranda, Rr. Andon Zako Cajupi, Villa 6 & 7 (two minutes from the centre, Blloku District), +355 4 2273766 / 689, [49]. Boutique hotel. Single: €70 to €100; Double/Twin: €90 to €130.  edit
  • President Hotel. Small hotel located in the Bllok area.  edit
  • Rogner Hotel Tirana, Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit, +355 4 2235035, [50]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Embedded in a magnificent Mediterranean garden Rogner Hotel Tirana is an oasis of relaxation and rest in the heart of the Albanian capital. The 138 best equipped rooms - 117 double rooms, 7 junior suits and 14 suits – offer international comfort and a wonderful view either of the magnificent Mediterranean hotel garden with a swimming pool or of the most beautiful boulevard Tirana’s. Internet connection in the room and free Wireless Internet connection in most of the public areas. For all sports enthusiasts there is an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court that may be used throughout the year and a putting green. 6 conference and banqueting rooms fully furnished, air-conditioned, and with the latest technical equipment guarantee a professional setting even for very demanding activities. The welcoming and open architecture makes the a la carte Restaurant Apollonia, named after an ancient Albanian city, the ideal venue for receptions, gala dinners, cocktails, concerts, banquets and weddings The Café-Bar "Pirro" in Rogner Hotel Tirana is a meeting place also due to the traditional live music events that take place in the café-bar every week. Single: starting from € 115 to € 215.  edit
  • Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Sheshi Italia (Near the stadium), [51]. One of Tirana's newest, largest, and most modern hotels. Single: from €161; Double: from €216.  edit
  • Tirana International Hotel, (In Skanderberg Square), [52]. Centrally located, this hotel was built during communist times and has recently changed hands. There are plans for drastic changes in its appearance, and it still remains one of the major and best hotels in Albania. If you have the time have a truly magical lunch on the covered balcony of their one restaurant, the food and service is excellent. Weekend: Single: €60, Double: €70; Weekday: Single: €112, Double: €124-€142.  edit
  • Xheko Imperial Hotel Tirana, Rr. Deshmoret e 4 Shkurtit, [53]. 48 luxurious rooms, equipped with all the modern amenities. Restaurant with Albanian traditional cuisine.  edit

Contact[edit]

  • Main Post Office & Telephone Centre, Sheshi Cameria. Mon-Fri: 8:00am to 8:00pm.  edit

Internet Cafes[edit]

  • Centre Internet, RR Brigada e VIII (Look for the yellow sign down the laneway). 24 hours. 100 lek per hour.  edit

Web Planet, Nova 1 and 2 are the biggest and the best internet places in Tirane. In albania peol

  • Internet Point, RR Deshmoret e 4 Shkurtit, 7. 24 hours. 100 lek per hour.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Being victim of a crime is not a major concern in Tirana. Petty thefts or scams do exist, but in no larger scale than in many other cities. Beggars will approach people in the central areas, but simply ignoring them is usually enough to make them go away. In suburban areas, groups of stray dogs may intimidate foreigners. The best advice is to simply ignore them and keep walking.

You should take some precautions when walking around the city. The main advice is to simply watch your step. Although many parts of the city are maintained, there remain holes and worn-down street parts. Cars also seem to drive more recklessly than in most European cities, and assume a right-of-way, so care is needed in crossing the street. Not even a green light is always a guarantee of safety! Try to see when the locals cross the street and cross with them.

Stay healthy[edit]

Hospitals[edit]

  • Universal Hospital Tirana, (355) 42290000, [54]. A 120-bed private hospital offering medical services. Service available 24/7. Universal Hospital Tirana is the largest, most comprehensive private hospital in the country. English, French, Russian, Turkish and Italian-speaking doctors. Consultation: US$20.  edit
  • ABC Family Health Centre. Mon-Fri: 8:00am to 4:00pm. English-speaking doctors. Run by baptists. Consultation: US$20.  edit
  • Klinika IRMA, Rruga Dora D'Istria, Pall Triss, Kati 3 (large physician-owned multi-specialty clinic in the city centre, near Bllok), (355)42243000. Mon-Sat: 9:00am to 18:00pm. English, French and Italian-speaking doctors. Consultation: US$20.  edit

Cope[edit]

Laundry[edit]

Coin-operated public laundry facilities are if non-existent in Albania. There is one big facility in a large basement just north of Wilson Square on Sami Frasheri Street.

Embassies[edit]

  • Au-flag.png Austria, Rruga Frederik Shiroka Nr. 3 Phone: (+355) (42) 274 855 / 6 Fax: (+355) (42) 233 140 E-mail: tirana-ob@bmeia.gv.at
  • Bu-flag.png Bulgaria, Rr. Skënderbej 12 Phone/Fax: +355 4 223 31 55 fax:+355 4 223 22 72
  • Ch-flag.png China, Rr. Skënderbej 57 Phone/Fax: +355 4 223 23 85 fax:+355 4 223 31 59 E-mail:chinaemb_al@mfa.gov.cn Website: bgemb-alb@afb.net.al
  • Ez-flag.png Czech Republic, Rruga Skenderbeg No. 10, Tirana, Albania, +(355) 4 2234 004 (fax: +(355) 4 2232 159), [55].  edit
  • Gr-flag.png Greece, Rruga Frederik Shiroka, No 3, Tirana, (003554) 2274669, 2274668, 2274670 (, fax: 2234290), [56].  edit
  • Ir-flag.png Iran, Rr. Mustafa Matohiti no. 20, Tirana, Albania, P.O BOX 2909, (003554) 2255038 (fax: (003554) 2230409).  edit
  • It-flag.png Italy, Papa Gjon Pali II, n.2, Tirana 1010, (003554) 2275900 (, fax: 2250921), [57].  edit
  • Mk-flag.png Macedonia, Rr. Kavajes nr. 116, Tirana, +355 4 223 0909 (, fax: +355 4 223 2514), [58].  edit
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom, British Embassy Rruga Skenderbeg 12 Tirana, (355) 4 223 4973 (fax: (355) 4 224 7697), [59].  edit
  • Us-flag.png United States, Rruga e Elbasanit No. 103, Tirana, Albania, +(355) 4 2247 285 (fax: +(355) 4 2232 222), [60].  edit
  • Pl-flag.png Poland, Rruga e Bogdaneve, Tirana, Albania, +(355) 4 2234190 (fax: +(355) 4 2233364).  edit

Environment[edit]

Tirana suffers from overpopulation, and high levels of air pollution and noise pollution. During the past years, air pollution has increased dramatically from old diesel cars and near constant construction. Compared to other places in Europe, fuel that is used in Albania contains larger amounts of sulfur and lead. Also, there have been problems regarding the noise pollution. In Tirana, there are not a lot of green spaces which makes the air more polluted.

It is advisable to take insect repellent during the summer months as mosquitoes can be a nuisance.

Get out[edit]





This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages

other sites