Ten best things to do in Tirana

Tirana is a city changing every day. It is a modern and dynamic city where more than half of the Albanian population is concentrated. It is like a metropolis, with more than 130 nationalities living. Tirana is the city of students, events, and big celebrations and the center of all Albanians in the region and the diaspora.

Tirana is gaining a reputation as a vibrant and colorful city where young people can enjoy concerts, music, events, beautiful bars, and delicious food in restaurants. The nature outside Tirana is breathtaking, from Mount Dajti to more than ten lakes, rivers, and lovely villages. Plenty of agrotourism farms are added around, offering food from farm to table.

Here are the ten best things to do in Tirana if you come for the first time.

Start with Skanderbeg Square

Here is the starting point of all tours. Gjergj Kastriot Skenderbeu is our hero who fought with the Ottoman Empire for 25 years, knowing no defeat. The statue of Skanderbeg is in the middle of the Square. This Square is where all the layers of Albanian history are visible. You can see the Ethehem Bey Mosque and the symbol of Tirana Clock Tower. (1822-1840) You can climb if you want to see a broader view of Tirana. Around the Square, the main buildings belong to the period of King Zog (1920-1930) and are Italian architecture, including the structures of the Municipality and other Ministries. The National Opera Building and the National Historical Museum belong to the Communist style (44-90). Modern buildings are added to the center to complete all the layers of our history.

Visit the Ethem Bey Mosque, Clock Tower

You can enter the Mosque, the entrance is free, and see the insider decorations and witness the architecture of the Ottoman style. The Mosque has been restored lately, preserving the unique values since construction. Clock Tower is behind the Mosque. You can climb there and pay for a ticket to 200 ALL.

Tirana Castle and Toptani Pedestrian Street

Tirana Castle is the oldest place in Tirana city center. The first wall belongs to the Illyrian time. It is known as the Fortress of Justinian and is located where, at one time, the central east–west and north–south roads crossed, forming the heart of the town as it was then. The castle’s history dates back to 1300. The walls are 6 m high and are a remnant from the Byzantine era. It is near the Parliament and the Academy of Sciences, near Skanderbeg Square. The recently exposed wall foundations have been incorporated into the pedestrianized Murat Toptani Street. The castle has been open for visitors since December 2018 as a collaboration between the Toptani Family and Tirana Municipality. Now, it has souvenirs, good restaurants and bars, and a place for events.

Visit the “House of Leaves” Museum

House of Leaves is one of the most unusual museums in Albania. It is considered to be the equivalent of the Stasi headquarters of the former East Germany. The leaves have a double meaning: things hidden in woods, but also the leaves of books and files on people. Those curious to see what was hidden in the HQ of the notorious National Intelligence Service, also known as the House of Spies, will be left speechless. The original house was built in 1931 with the primary function of a medical clinic. During World War II, under German occupation, it was used by the Gestapo. The museum has been open to the public since 23 May 2017.

Visit Pyramid

The Pyramid of Tirana is now the most extraordinary attraction in Tirana, and it can now be called the symbol of Albania’s controversial history. The pyramid was erected as a mausoleum of the former dictator Enver Hoxha with his daughter Pranvera and her husband Klement Kolaneci as architects. The building was restored and opened to the public in June 2023. Today, the pyramid is used for events, studio workshops, technology centers such as Tumo, entertainment centers, bars, and restaurants.

Visit Archaeological Museum

Since the National Historical Museum is closed for restoration, we recommend visiting the National Archaeological Museum, which is located in Mother Teresa Square. It was the first museum to open in Albania after WW2. Inaugurated in 1948 as the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, the ethnographic section was later, in 1976, moved. Located in the same building as the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences, the museum houses exhibits from prehistory through historical times to the Middle Ages.

Visit Mother Teresa Square and Arena Stadium

Mother Teresa Square and Italian Square have become new entertainment centers lately, especially after the construction of the new Arena Stadium. You can find a vast place to rest, enjoy nature and good coffee and restaurants. The place is so close to the Big Park.

Visit Blloku area, Enver Hoxha villa

The Blloku Area was the infamous place where all the communist leaders of the regime were staying, isolated themselves in luxury while the people were suffering in poverty. It is where the Vila of the Dictator Enver Hoxha is located. It is not open to the public, but you can see from the outside and imagine the dictator’s life in Communist times. You can find the best cafes and restaurants around. It is also the most fantastic area for the nightlife.

Visit Tirana Lake Park

Lake Park is the most significant green area of the city, where people prefer to walk, ride bikes, or rest with their families and children. It is very close to the town; you can walk or take a bus from the city center. You can relax, picnic, or enjoy the trees and biodiversity.

Visit Dajti Mountain with a Cable Car

The highlight of your trip to the city, if you stay 24 hours, is Mount Dajti. Going there is easy; take the Cable Car for 15 minutes, and you will enjoy a spectacular ride with a view of Tirana. At the top of the mountain, you can enjoy the view, coffee, dinner, and some activities such as horse riding and golf. The adventure park is also an excellent place for adventure people.

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