Travel to Tirana, Albania

I visited Tirana, Albania for four days in September 2018. During this short trip, I visited the capital city and the nearby Dajti Mountain. On this page, I share my experiences, tips and recommendations.

National Museum
Tirana Pyramid
Tirana Markata

Highlights

  • National Historic Museum
  • Dajti Mountain
  • House of Leaves Museum
  • Clock Tower – go to the top
  • Et’hem Bey Mosque
  • Saint Paul Catholic Cathedral
  • Bunk 2 Museum
  • Great Park of Tirana
  • Pyramid – ruined but interesting
  • Bush Street
  • National Art Gallery
  • Pizari Ri Market
  • Mother Teresa Square
  • Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral
  • Mezuraj private art museum- loved the art of Leonardo Voci

Before you go

  • No need to have cash in advance, use cash machines
  • There is a Vodafone shop at the airport to get a cheap sim card (4 euros lasted me for 4 days
  • Download a translator app on your phone to use off-line
  • Mother Teresa was Albanian and they are very proud of this! On 5th September museums are free in her honour
  • The Dajti Express is the longest cable car in the Balkans
  • Be aware when walking especially at night

Transport

  • Hotel shuttle from the airport cost 15 euros and took about 30 minutes. Previous tips from travellers indicated this would be the safest way to travel and it was within my budget
  • The centre is easily walkable
  • Local buses were easy to use and cheap (£0.30). Porcelan blue bus to Dajti Telepherique
  • Dajti Express Cable car to go up the mountain

Accommodation

I stayed at the Areela Boutique Hotel booked via Booking.com and would recommend it.

  • 3 stars
  • Clean and comfortable room
  • Tasty and substantial breakfast
  • Convenient location
  • Helpful staff
  • The bathroom was a wet room

Currency

Albanian Lek (plural Leke)

I recommend to check the currency conversion just before you leave as this fluctuates

Albanian Lek
Spinach and cheese tart from Oda restaurant

Food

  • Go Zip – casual, tasty local food, friendly family service. Fried Cheese!
  • Fishop restaurant- buzzing atmosphere and excellent fresh seafood
  • Komitei Cafe & Museum – quirky kitsch decor and good coffee and sweets
  • Observator bar in a University building with a great view and cocktails
  • Oda – traditional food including spinach and cheese pie, and a roasted leg of lamb. I tried making the spinach pie at home with this recipe
  • Mon Amour bakery

FAQs

Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: No, not for the main city of Tirana and the surrounding hills

Q: Do people speak English?

A: Some do but not very many, except at the tourist sites. To use local transport it would be useful to have a translator app on your phone.

Q: How many days do I need to see the main sights of Tirana?

A: Four days was enough to get a taste of the city but you can always spend more time to explore

Q: Is it safe?

A: Most of the time I felt very safe and people were helpful even with the language barrier. I was followed by a man one evening and noticed this because I was alert. I decided to go into a shop and even though the owner didn’t speak English he was very nice and understood. He kept looking out the door to check for the man. I could see the man waiting on a corner and looking at me, then he crossed to try to be out of sight but I saw him on the other corner. When he turned around, I decided to leave the store, backtrack and walk a different way.

Q: How easy is it to send a postcard from Tirana?

A: Postcards and stamps were easy to find. See Sending Postcards from Abroad for details on cost and the time it took to reach the USA.

Sali Shikaju Art House
Dajti Mountain

Go to Country Map

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