Tirana in 48 Hours
Tirana is an attractive destination for a weekend break. Every extra day you spend in Tirana helps you understand more about this intriguing city, but most of all, its friendly people. In 48 hours stay in Tirana you can explore not only the city, but some villages and nice places in its outskirts.
Day 1- explore the city center( 2-3 hours)
If you are a first-time visitor to Tirana, we recommend you start the first day in Skanderbeg Square visiting the historic centre, the National History Museum, Clock Tower, Et’hem Bey Mosque and government buildings. You could also visit the National Gallery of Arts, and then continue along the Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard, laid out by Italian architect Gherardo Bosio. Along the boulevard you can’t miss Rinia Park with the Taiwan complex surrounded by green grass and trees. If you wish to enjoy Tirana as a local, we suggest you stop for a morning coffee at Taiwan; it’s a pleasant place to sit, meet Albanian people, see children playing in the park, old people relaxing and young people drinking coffee at one of the open bars. Continue walking along the boulevard and past the Pyramid, one-time mausoleum of Enver Hoxha, as well as the Peace Bell Monument, and then explore the Postbllok monument, a memorial to the dictatorial regime. Most government buildings are situated along this boulevard and you can enjoy Italian architecture along the way. The boulevard ends at Mother Teresa Square, hosting some more Italian architecture, as well as the Palace of the President, the Palace of Congresses, the University, Archaeological Museum and Arts Academy.
After spending the morning walking and wandering through the city centre, at midday you can take a taxi to Bunk’Art, the former nuclear shelter of Enver Hoxha, now turned into a museum. He planned to use this refuge in the event of an attack by ‘imperialist countries’. The trip takes 20 minutes by taxi. The bunker is close to the village of Linza. Explore the 5-storey building built in the 1970s for Albania’s political and military elite as part of a massive project to construct up to 700,000 bunkers across the country. Upon leaving Bunk’Art, turn right and take the 10-minute walk uphill to catch the Dajti Express. Opened in 2005, the Austrian-built cable car provides a breath-taking 15-minute journey towards the top of Mountain Dajti, with views of forests, farmland, villages and bunkers. You can eat a traditional lunch at one of the several restaurants there. Dajti National Park, 33 square km, offers outdoor activities to suit all interests: from hiking to target shooting, horseback riding and mountain biking. You can also spend some time walking around and take the cable car back to the city before noon.
The best idea is to go to Blloku area, mingle with the people there and you will be amazed to see how young Tirana is. It makes you believe that this is the best part of the day here. You can enjoy excellent cocktails and music among very fashionably dressed young people and feel how they feel.
From mountain to sea! Yes, Tirana is blessed with both of such natural resources within a distance of some thirty km. We invite you to see the southern part of Tirana, in the direction of Petrela castle, the castle of the sister of Skanderbeg, Mamica. Before arriving at the beautiful village of Petrela, we suggest you stop at the Iluminatum residence by the side of the road. This resembles a castle harking to the glorious time of Mamica, by Mamica beach on the bank of the River Erzeni. Stop for a while to soak in the beauty of the river, and after a drink, perhaps a coffee, continue your trip to Petrela Castle. From there you will have a panoramic view of Tirana. If you are hungry, there is a great local dish of organic free-range chicken and rice (pilaf), a perfect choice on this rocky outcrop above Tirana. Afternoon is the perfect time of day to go to the sea and watch the sunset. If you have time, on the way, you can first visit the amphitheatre and the Durres archaeological museum; closing time is 15:00. Durrës Amphitheatre dates from the Roman period and is one of the largest in the Balkans. Once having a capacity of 20,000 spectators, it was rediscovered in the 1960s and is now a World Heritage candidate and a popular tourist attraction. The Durrës Archaeological Museum, established in 1951, is the largest in the country. It is located near the beach and just north of the museum stand Byzantine walls dating from the 6th century. The museum was reopened by prime minister Edi Rama on 20 March, 2015, following 4 years of closure. It is open from 9 am to 3 pm every weekday, apart from on Mondays.
After seeing these two highlights, which are a must and close to each other, you can stroll by the sea or along the road from the round tower near the city centre. A great fish dinner by the sea is an excellent end to the day on your 48-hour tour of Tirana and Durres. If you are a night owl, you can return to Tirana and continue exploring the bars into the night. Here is a link to some of the best lounge bars in Tirana for you to choose from. http://blog.visit-tirana.com/2016/07/fresh-up-with-some-of-best-lounge-bars.html