Tirana, the capital of Albania, is a city that encapsulates the essence of this beautiful country. Known for its colourful history, dynamic culture and stunning landscapes, Tirana is a city with much to offer. In recent years, it has undergone a significant transformation, making it a must-visit destination for travellers.
This blog post will take you on a journey through the 10 best attractions in Tirana, showcasing the city’s rich heritage and vibrant present.
Tirana’s Top Ten
1. Skanderbeg Square
The heart of Tirana, and one of its most iconic landmarks, Skanderbeg Square is named after Albania’s national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti, better known as Skanderbeg. The square is surrounded by important buildings such as the National History Museum, the Et’hem Bey Mosque, and the Palace of Culture. A hub of activity, with locals and tourists alike coming here to enjoy the open space, you can take in the views and appreciate the historical significance of the area as you sip coffee in one of the cafes.
2. Et’hem Bey Mosque
Located right on Skanderbeg Square, the Et’hem Bey Mosque is a true architectural gem. Its stunning frescoes, intricate designs, and peaceful atmosphere make it a must-visit attraction in Tirana. It is one of the few eighteenth-century buildings in Tirana that has survived Albania’s turbulent history.
3. National History Museum
Tirana’s National History Museum is a treasure trove of Albanian history and culture. Its impressive facade and extensive collection of artefacts, paintings, and exhibits provide a deep insight into the nation’s past. One of the museum’s highlights is the colossal mosaic that depicts Albanian history, from ancient times to the present day. The museum is a journey through time and a great way to understand the rich history of Albania.
4. Bunk’Art 2
One of the most unique attractions in Tirana, Bunk’Art 2 is a museum situated in a massive underground nuclear bunker built during the communist era. It offers a chilling and immersive look at the history of the Enver Hoxha regime. The bunker is a fascinating exploration of Albania’s dark past and a reminder of the country’s resilience and progress.
5. Dajti Mountain
For a refreshing escape from the urban buzz, take a cable car ride to Dajti Mountain. Just a short distance from Tirana, this natural oasis provides stunning panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscapes. Visitors can enjoy hiking, picnicking, or dining at the rotating restaurant that you’ll find at the mountain’s peak. In winter, Dajti Mountain also offers skiing opportunities.
6. Blloku District
Once off-limits to the general public, the Blloku district is now one of the city’s trendiest areas. It’s a vibrant hub for shopping, dining, and nightlife and boasts a wide array of boutiques, cafes, and bars. It’s the perfect place to experience Tirana’s contemporary culture and social scene.
7. Pyramid of Tirana
The Pyramid of Tirana is one of the city’s most enigmatic structures. Built as a museum to honour Enver Hoxha, it has had a varied history, serving as a cultural centre, exhibition space, and even a television station. Despite its dilapidated state, the pyramid remains an intriguing architectural sight, drawing the curious and adventurous alike.
8. Grand Park
Grand Park, also known as the Parku i Madh, is the ideal place for relaxation and outdoor activities. Stretching over 230 hectares, it is the largest park in the city and offers a serene escape from the urban hustle. You can explore its lush greenery, artificial lake, and well-maintained walking trails, and there are also several cafes and restaurants within the park where you can enjoy a leisurely meal or a coffee.
9. New Bazaar (Pazari i Ri)
The New Bazaar, or Pazari i Ri, is a recently renovated, bustling market that offers a delightful glimpse into daily local life. It is the perfect place to savour fresh local produce, traditional Albanian dishes, and unique handmade crafts. The market also hosts cultural events and performances, making it a dynamic and colourful place to explore.
10. Mount Petrela
For those interested in historical sites and outdoor adventures, a trip to Mount Petrela is a must. This picturesque hill is home to Petrela Castle, a well-preserved medieval fortress that dates back to the fourth century. If you choose to hike to the castle you’ll enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside as you climb. The castle itself is a fascinating historical attraction, offering insights into Albania’s past.
A Destination Like No Other
Tirana is a city that has come into its own, blending the old with the new, the historical with the modern. These 10 attractions showcase the rich tapestry of its history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in exploring Albania’s past, indulging in its culinary delights, or immersing yourself in the vibrant culture, there is something for every traveller. It’s a city that will leave you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for Albania’s unique charm.
Where to Stay
Mak Albania Hotel – Treat yourself to a luxury five-star stay at a fantastic price. With two swimming pools, a piano bar and a restaurant specialising in fusion cuisine, you’ll feel like royalty at Mak Albania Hotel. Located within walking distance of the city centre and opposite the Tirana National Park, you’ll have the best of nature and urban chic on your doorstep.
Konak I Skanderbeg Square – If a city break means staying in the very heart of your destination, then this is the perfect accommodation for you in Tirana. The aparthotel is well appointed and furnished with a fully equipped kitchenette, WiFi, aircon, and a flat screen TV. However, you probably won’t need the latter since you’ll be right in the centre of all the entertainment this bustling city has to offer.
The Crown Boutique Hotel & Spa – For the ultimate in luxury and convenience, this hotel offers concierge service, a sauna and a hot tub. Some rooms have a balcony with a panoramic view of the city, and all are equipped with a coffee machine, fridge, minibar and a flat-screen TV. Enjoy Full English or Italian breakfasts courtesy of the hotel to set you up for your day’s adventures.
How to Get There
There are several operators offering daily direct flights to Tirana Airport from London including Albawings, American Airlines, British Airways, easyJet, FinnAir, Ryanair and Wizz. These flights are relatively inexpensive, especially off-season, and the cheapest month for travel is usually November.
When you land, a pre-booked airport shuttle to Tirana city centre takes about 17-20 minutes.
London, UK to TIA flight time: 3 hours
TIA to Tirana city centre: 17km
Shuttle Direct transfer time: 20-35 mins
Types of Transfer
There are several airport transfer options that will get you to and from the airport on time and comfortably. With Shuttle Direct you can choose a Tirana transfer from the list below.
Taxi: It’s always daunting to be confronted by transport options as you walk out of the Arrivals Lounge in an unfamiliar place. Pre-book one of our airport taxis from TIA to Tirana to avoid this confusion. A driver will meet you as you exit and deliver you to your final destination.
Shuttle Bus: For a budget option that doesn’t compromise on reliability or comfort, we have a fleet of shuttle buses that operate a Tirana transfer service. You can book a seat on one of these before you leave the UK.
Private Transfer: Some passengers prefer a more bespoke Tirana Airport transfer and for them we offer a private car with a designated driver. You’ll be collected in person from the airport or from your hotel.
Minibus Transfer: A great way to save on costs if you’re travelling as a group is to hire one of our minibuses to get from TIA to Tirana city centre. This is particularly ideal if you are bringing ski equipment and need extra luggage space for you and your party.
Choosing the Right Transfer
Before you leave on your trip you will need to pre-book a reliable airport transfer. The TIA to Tirana transfer is not far, but there are a couple of elements you should consider when you choose your transport.
Cost: For such a short hop, even a private transfer isn’t going to be prohibitive, but if you are watching the pennies then consider a seat on one of our shuttle buses.
Convenience: While the shuttle bus is more economical, it will deliver you to one of a series of central bus stops. For those who don’t mind spending a bit more for the added convenience of a door-to-door dropoff or pickup, the pre-booked taxi or private transfer will be ideal.
About Shuttle Direct
For decades, Shuttle Direct has been a reliable choice for transporting travellers to their destinations across the world. Our team of seasoned and affable drivers possesses a wealth of expertise, guaranteeing your safe and punctual arrival at your desired location. Regardless of your travel preferences, you can trust Shuttle Direct to deliver you there.