Hotels, motels and where to sleep
Restaurant, taverns and where to eat
Cultural (and not so cultural) events
Interesting information and useful tips
Description of Tirana
Tirana (Tiranë, Tirana) is the capital of Albania
and the largest city in the country. It was founded by the Ottoman
Turks in 1614 by order of Suleiman Barggini. After gaining
independence from the Turkish Empire, the capital was moved here.
The turbulent and interesting history of the country left its mark
on the architecture of the city. Muslim, Christian and Communist
buildings form a common ensemble of the city.
founded in 1614, but the region itself has been constantly inhabited
since the Bronze Age. Like most of Albania, this area was inhabited
by several Illyrian tribes. Later it was annexed by Rome and became
an integral part of the Roman Empire after the Illyrian Wars. The
heritage of that period is still evident and is represented by the
Mosaic of Tirana, which has survived from that time. Further, in the
5th and 6th century, the Paleo Christian Basilica was built in the
region. When the Roman Empire was divided into east and west, its
successor, the Byzantine Empire took control and included the
construction of Petröl Castle under Justinian I. Until the 20th
century, the city did not matter when Lushnius Congress proclaimed
it the capital of the country after the independence of the country
in 1912 . It increased in size and population only in the 20th
Geographically, Tirana is located in the center of
the country, surrounded by mountains and hills, with Dite in the
east and a small gorge in the north-west, which overlooks the
Adriatic Sea. Due to its location within the Tirana Plain and close
proximity to the Adriatic Sea, the city is influenced by the
Mediterranean seasonal climate. It is the 3rd wettest and eighth
sunny city in Europe with 2544 hours of sun per year.
important city, Tirana is considered the economic and cultural
center of Albania, due to its significant location and importance in
the areas of finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts,
international trade, education, services, research and health. All
the largest companies in the country, the media and academic
institutions have their headquarters in the city. Tirana is also the
seat of the Albanian government, the residences for the work of the
president and prime minister of Albania.
Destinations in Tirana
Tourist information office,
Rruga Ded Gjo Luli (just north of Skanderbeg Square (behind the
National Historic Museum)). open M-F 11:00-16:00 (as of 2013). 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
Efem Bey Mosque
The Efem Bey Mosque is a place of worship in
Tirana dating from the late 18th century. Behind the first door of
the temple is a plaque indicating that the mosque was built by Mulla
Bey, a wealthy man from Tirana who donated money to charity.
Mulla Bey laid the foundation for this temple in 1791, but he was
unable to finish the walls and domes of the mosque, as well as the
interior and exterior decoration, because he died after 1807. The
mullah's son, Haji (Nachhi) Efem-Bey continued the construction of
his father. During the reign of Haji Efem-bey, the walls of the
temple were painted, the ceiling was built in the form of a portico.
The end of construction, according to various estimates, fell on
1830 or 1831. There is no exact information about the architects of
this mosque, but, according to some sources, they were two educated
residents of Tirana, called Mulla and Mulla Yusuf Halim Bulku Zorba.
A feature of this mosque is the use of elements of nature in the
decor. The frescoes in the mosque depict trees, waterfalls and
bridges; paintings from nature are very rare in Islamic art. The
hall of the mosque is divided into floors that rise up to the
vaults. The dome of the mosque is decorated with suras from the
Koran written in a spiral. Closer to the top of the dome, 99 names
of Allah are displayed. Guided tours to the temple are held daily,
except for prayer times. Visitors must take off their shoes before
entering the interior.
Tirana's Clock Tower was built between 1822-1840.
The clock tower has been a cultural monument since May 24, 1948. The
height of the building is 35 meters, and until 1970 it was the
tallest building in the capital of Albania.
of the Clock Tower took place on the initiative and thanks to Haji
Ethem Bey, who was once famous patron of Tirana. Stone and oak were
used as building materials, the staircase was firmly integrated into
the structure of the building and only recently was replaced by a
metal one. The building is equipped with small loopholes for
artificial ventilation, thanks to which it also performed a guard
The shape of the tower gives the building some
resemblance to the Venetian bell tower in Piazza San Marco.
Originally, the bell, brought from Venice, counted the beats every
hour. The history of the tower clock begins in 1928, when the
municipality of Tirana bought the mechanism from Germany. This
chronometer was destroyed during the Second World War and was
replaced in 1946 with a winding church clock from Shkoder, with
Roman numerals on the dial. The last restoration was made several
years ago by the Ministry of Culture and cost $ 30,000. The clock
tower has been open for tourist excursions since 1996.
Skanderbeg Square is Tirana's main square. It was
named so in 1968 in honor of the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg,
a monument to which is also installed here. During the Albanian
monarchy, the architecture of the square consisted of several
buildings that were blown up during the communist period. In the
center of the square there was a fountain, which was surrounded by a
road, the Old Bazaar was on the site of the modern Palace of
Culture, and where the hotel complex is now there was an Orthodox
cathedral. On the site of the Skandenberg monument, there was a
statue of Joseph Stalin. The city hall was occupied by the National
Historical Museum. For some time it also housed a sculptural image
of the leader of Albania, Enver Hoxha, it was demolished in 1991
during student protests.
At one time, the ex-mayor of Tirana
Edi Rama took certain steps to give the square a modern European
look. Since March 2010, the area of the square has been converted
into a pedestrian zone with limited public transport access. The
water supply for the new fountain uses rainwater to fill it. During
construction, new bypass roads around the square were put into
operation. The renovation project was funded by Kuwait.
September 2011, with the arrival of the new mayor of the city, the
previous plan has been revised and changed. Vehicles were returned
to the square, bicycle paths were laid. The green parkland south of
the Skanderbeg statue was extended to the north by several hundred
meters by planting many trees. Now the square houses the Haji Efem
Bay Mosque, the Opera House, the National Museum, and government
National Historic Museum (Albanian: Muzeu Historik
Skanderbeg Square (northwest edge of the square), ☎ +355
4 2223446. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00
The National Historical Museum was opened on
October 28, 1981 and is the largest museum institution in Albania.
The total area of the building is 27 thousand square meters. m, 18
thousand square meters are allocated for the exposition. The museum
houses about 4,750 objects, ranging from artifacts dating from
several centuries BC to items from the second half of the 20th
century. There are eight pavilions in the museum.
The Hall of
Antiquities offers objects of primitive culture for inspection;
their dating begins from the late Paleolithic. On the stands there
are objects of the Bronze Age (2100-1200 BC) and the Iron Age
(1200-450 BC), relating to the period of residence of the Ilir
people in this territory. From the 7th century BC along the
coastline of the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic was the Helene colony,
as evidenced by the found vessels made of ceramics and swords. The
Ilir culture and religion was independent of the early colonists, as
evidenced by the original ornamental weapons. Silver images of
warriors, mythical creatures, were found in burials. Bronze items
are represented by the figure of a sphinx with the face of a
beautiful woman, weapons, and armor. The objects date back to the
3rd century BC. Of particular interest is the "Mesaplicut mosaic"
discovered in 1979 by the archaeologist Damian Komata. The mosaic is
230x349 cm in size and consists of small cubic stones, the pattern
on it is zoomorphic. Another mosaic masterpiece that dates back to
the 4th century BC is a portrait of a woman surrounded by flowers,
made of sand and stones of various shapes.
The pavilion of
the Middle Ages invites visitors to get acquainted with the
peculiarities of the economic, social, political and cultural
development of the Albanians from the 6th to the 15th century. The
exhibition presents many documents that testify to the occupation of
Albania at different times by the Byzantines, Angevins, Serbs and
Turks. Showcases display items, original handicrafts, coins of the
principalities of Albania, coats of arms of lords. A special place
is occupied by an extensive collection of works of art,
architecture, as well as a collection dedicated to the fortresses of
Berat, Shkoder, Durres and Prizren. The museum contains a gate from
the monastery of John Vladimir in Elbasan with the coat of arms of
Prince Karl Topius. This gate was made in the XIV century.
The Renaissance Hall gives a complete picture of the development of
Albania from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the
declaration of independence. Here the visitor has the opportunity to
get acquainted with the products of local craftsmen from different
cities of the country. You can also see a map of one of the most
important trade routes between the cities of the Balkan Peninsula
and the rest of the world.
Further, the museum invites you to
halls dedicated to the struggle for independence, ethnoculture and
icon painting, as well as pavilions with expositions telling about
the struggle against fascism (1920-1944) and the communist genocide
National Art Gallery (Galeria Kombetare e Arteve), Bulevardi
Deshmoret e Kombit, ☎ +355 4 222 6033. W-Su 9:00-19:30. 13th century
pieces, modern art, socialist art. 200 lek.
Archaeological Museum of Albania (Muzeu Kombëtar Arkeologjik),
Sheshi Nënë Tereza (Two block west from Qemal Stafa Stadium), ☎ +355
4 222 6541. This museum features ancient artifacts from Illyrian to
Roman and Hellenic times featuring wonderful mosaics, Roman statues
and illustrative maps.
Natural Sciences Museum of Albania (Muzeu
i Shkencave Natyrore), Rruga e Kavajës. This museum features the
fauna and geological composition of Albania.
(Mozaiku i Tiranes), Blloku pallateve Partizani, Lagja nr. 9 - Rruga
Sandër Prosi (1.3 km W). - 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. This is
the only archaeological site in Tirana!
Bunk'Art (Enver Hoxha's Underground Bunker), Rruga
Teki Selenica. W-M 09:00-18:00 during summer, 09:00-16:00 during
winter. This is the underground bunker of Enver Hoxha featuring Cold
War exhibits turned into an art gallery, with many corridors full of
art works to admire. The most famous works of Albanian art are
available here to witness and observe. 500 lek.
Bunk'art 2. This
bunker was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' and mixes a bit of art
with an interesting exposition about the building of a paranoid
Stalinist dictatorship through systematic spying, arrests and
torture. A small app can be downloaded to enhance the experience
with VR. 500 lek.
House of Leaves (The Museum of Secret
ZETA Center for Contemporary Art. M-F
11:00-18:00, Sa 11:00-14:00. a non-profit exhibition space founded
in 2007. With its 150 m² area on the second floor of a mixed
residential and commercial building at Abdyl Frashëri Street No.7 in
the Blloku area of Tirana (zona Libri Universitar: between Santa
Margherita Wine Shop and LC Waikiki Store), ZETA functions as an
autonomous cultural venue for contemporary visual arts, including
painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, sound, and
performance. Besides exhibitions, ZETA also hosts educational
programs, workshops and discursive events, in cooperation with local
and international partners. Over the last twelve years ZETA has
significantly contributed to the vitality and dynamics of
contemporary art scene in Tirana, most notably with regard to young
Albanian artists. Free entrance.
Justinian or simply Tirana Castle remains (Albanian: Kalaja e
Justinianit, Kalaja e Tiranës)
Shëtitorja Murat Toptani
Officially, the history of Tirana is calculated
from the moment of its foundation in 1614 by Suleiman Pasha. In
fact, a village with this name existed much earlier. The origin of
his name is associated with different words in ancient Greek,
meaning "crossroads" or "castle". In the 4th century AD, the area
was called Tyrkana, at the time of Karl of Anjou, in 1297, the name
Tergiana was found, and later, in 1505, an almost modern name was
fixed - Tyranna.
Justinian's Fortress is a castle in Tirana.
Its history dates back to 1300 and the end of the Byzantine era. The
Citadel is where the main paths from east to west and north to south
intersect, an ideal position to establish a city. The remains of the
fort are walls six meters high. These ruins, entwined with
vegetation, belong to the period of the Ottoman rule in the country.
The ruins impress with their massiveness and quality of work,
like all ancient buildings. The families of the city rulers and the
administration lived in the premises inside the fortress. Some
residential buildings in Tirana were built in the same architectural
style as the castle. Own archaeological excavations have not been
carried out here. But not so long ago, the foundations of the walls
were discovered - they are included in the pedestrian zone of Murat
Street. Nearby is the country's parliament, as well as a mosaic
dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the independence of Albania.
Work on the arrangement of the Great Park began in
the fall of 1958, but the project was developed by the Florentine
architect Gerhardo Bozio back in 1936. Based on the layout of other
green areas in Tirana, the architect came up with a park that
stretches in the hills behind the houses (now the University of
Tirana) with an area of about 22 hectares. This area was a valley
slope with swampy areas, small ponds, dozens of young oak growth of
different heights. The redevelopment and changes were made very
carefully, based on the knowledge and creative imagination of the
agronomists of the time.
In 1959, the planting of cypress
trees began on both sides of the main road, which is today called
Thousand Cypress Street. Work began according to a detailed plan.
Over the years, many monuments were built, the Belvedere in 1961,
the sports complex in 1965, the Summer Theater (an important
cultural center) in 1969, new roads were added by 1974, the fountain
started working in 1978.
The construction of the artificial
lake began in 1958 and was completed in 1960. The total area of
the reservoir is 55 hectares, its circumference is 10 km, and the
maximum width reaches one thousand two hundred meters. The complex
of hydraulic structures includes control gates, inclined dams, an
artificial embankment-island in the center, boat stations, several
lawns and sandy beaches.
The area of Tirana park reached
232 hectares, thousands of seedlings of 166 tree species were
planted, starting with poplars and acacias, which were planted first
in 1946, and later - pine and cedar seedlings. Flower beds, hedges
and compositions of various decorative shrubs were also laid out.
Over the years, the Big Park has been enriched with recreation and
entertainment, science and tourism zones; the zoo pavilions and the
Botanical Garden have been built nearby. Dozens of kilometers of
roads and paths were built in the park, thousands of trees of many
species, grown in nurseries, were planted.
The tanners' bridge
The tanners' bridge was built in Tirana in the
17th-18th centuries and is a cultural monument. The bridge got this
name because of the special position of the leatherworkers' guild in
the economic and social life of Tirana at that time. The bridge,
about 7.5 meters high, is made of stone, forms arches and is paved
with cobblestones. It is distinguished by a harmonious architecture,
as well as a proportional distribution of all structural elements.
The bridge consists of a bow-shaped main arch with a maximum
clearance of 8 meters, as well as two side arches with a base
thickness of 1 meter. The maximum rise in the water level for which
the bridge is designed is 3.5 meters. The sidewalk of the overpass
is 2.5 meters wide, laid out of river stone, placed chaotically.
From 1614, Tirana saw a rapid growth in industry and trade. The
favorable geographical position at the intersection of important
trade routes attracted new citizens to Tirana, who increased the
city's population year after year. Along one of the important roads
for driving cattle from the mountains to the plains, tanners
settled, whose activity was called "tabakane". Accordingly, built in
the 18th century by necessity, a stone bridge across the Lana River
was named "Tabak-bridge".
The bridge was used for its
intended purpose until the 30s, until the riverbed changed
direction. Tobacco Bridge is a perfectly preserved example of
ancient architecture of Albania.
The tanners' bridge was built in
Tirana in the 17th-18th centuries and is a cultural monument. The
bridge got this name because of the special position of the
leatherworkers' guild in the economic and social life of Tirana at
The bridge, about 7.5 meters high, is made of
stone, forms arches and is paved with cobblestones. It is
distinguished by a harmonious architecture, as well as a
proportional distribution of all structural elements. The bridge
consists of a bow-shaped main arch with a maximum clearance of 8
meters, as well as two side arches with a base thickness of 1 meter.
The maximum rise in the water level for which the bridge is designed
is 3.5 meters. The sidewalk of the overpass is 2.5 meters wide, laid
out of river stone, placed chaotically.
From 1614, Tirana saw
a rapid growth in industry and trade. The favorable geographical
position at the intersection of important trade routes attracted new
citizens to Tirana, who increased the city's population year after
year. Along one of the important roads for driving cattle from the
mountains to the plains, tanners settled, whose activity was called
"tabakane". Accordingly, built in the 18th century by necessity, a
stone bridge across the Lana River was named "Tabak-bridge". The
bridge was used for its intended purpose until the 30s, until the
riverbed changed direction. Tobacco Bridge is a perfectly preserved
example of ancient architecture of Albania.
Cathedral of St. Paul
St. Paul's Cathedral is the largest Catholic
church in Albania. Its interior is decorated with stained glass
windows depicting Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II.
Tomb of Kaplan Pasha
The tomb of Kaplan Pasha is located in Tirana, the
capital of the Republic of Albania. This tomb was built in the 18th
century. This octagonal structure is an example of traditional
Ottoman architecture. The memorial was erected near an old 17th
century mosque, which was subsequently destroyed by explosions
during the Second World War. The height of the tomb is about four
The current government of Albania has given
permission for the construction of a modern skyscraper on the
foundations of the temple, and the tomb is also under threat of
destruction. In order to protect architectural and historical
monuments, in 1948 the burial place of Kaplan Pasha was declared a
national and cultural heritage of the country.
communist government of Enver Hoxha came to power in 1967, Albania
is declared the world's first state without religion. At this time,
many places of worship were closed or completely destroyed,
regardless of their historical or cultural value. The Kaplan Pasha
memorial was also closed to the public. Vandals damaged the grave,
stone sarcophagi were destroyed. Despite the status of a historical
monument, the attraction is still in poor condition due to the close
proximity of a large-scale construction site.
Mount Dayt is a peak and national park in central
Albania, east of Tirana. Its highest point is 1613 m above sea
level. In winter, the mountain is covered with snow and is a popular
pastime for the people of Tirana. Pine, oak and beech forests grow
on the slopes of Mount Dayt, as well as canyons, waterfalls, caves,
lakes and an ancient castle. The mountain was declared a National
Park in 1966, the total area of the park is about 30 thousand
In addition to forests and beautiful mountain
landscapes with lots of wild flowers, the protected area is home to
many mammals. The park is home to a wild boar, a Eurasian wolf, a
fox, a hare, a brown bear and a wild cat. In the lower part of the
mountains, the vegetation consists of heather, myrtle and
strawberries. Oak dominates at about 1000 m above sea level,
followed by beech forests with conifers. There is almost no
vegetation at the top.
Mount Dayt can be reached by a narrow
asphalt mountain road to the Fusha-i-Dayty plateau. It was once a
summer camp, but now it is occupied by restaurants, radio and TV
towers. At the top there is a monument “Mother Albania”, traditional
for the communist regimes, there is a memorial “Cemetery of Heroes”,
as well as the grave of the most famous leader of the country -
Enver Hoxha. This site offers an excellent view of Tirana and its
surroundings, it is called the "balcony of Tirana". Since June 2005,
a cable car has been operating from the eastern outskirts of Tirana
to the plateau, transporting visitors to an altitude of 1050 meters.
Recently, traces of prehistoric settlements and fortifications of
later periods have been found in the area.
History of Tirana
Earliest references and founding of the city
The area around
Tirana has been inhabited since the Paleolithic. The oldest finds in
the urban area date from Roman times: walls and a mosaic from a
Roman villa from the 2nd or 3rd century that was converted into a
church. In the 6th century, the Roman Emperor Justinian I had a
fortress built, the walls of which can still be seen in the city
Tirana was first mentioned in its current name in
Venetian documents in 1372 and 1418. In 1431/32 the Ottomans carried
out a registration of soils and inhabitants in the area for the
first time. According to this, there were 60 villages with around
1000 houses and 7300 inhabitants in this region. Marin Barleti made
a distinction between Tyranna maior (Greater Tirana) and Tyranna
Minor (Little Tirana) in the 16th century. In 1583, an Ottoman
census for the area of Tirana showed 110 localities in which
20,000 people lived in 2900 houses.
The local landowner
Sulejman Pascha Bargjini, who came from Mullet near Petrela, built
the Sylejman Pascha mosque, a caravanserai (Han), a bakery and a
hammam on the current site in 1614 and is therefore considered the
founder of Tirana. Presumably a small place with a regular bazaar
and fair existed at this point, which had gained in importance,
which is why it was worthwhile to build such an infrastructure for
the traveling traders. After Sulejman's descendants died out around
1800, the Toptani family from Kruja took control of Tirana.
Determination of the capital in 1920 and the first urban development
Tirana remained small and insignificant for a long time
until the town was designated the capital of Albania at the Lushnja
Congress in 1920. A place with a few thousand inhabitants quickly
became the largest and most important city in the country. King Zogu
had a palace built here and, with Italian help, ministries and a
boulevard were laid out. The first modern structures emerged through
urban development measures, including the central square named after
the Albanian Prince Skanderbeg.
Dictatorship from 1944 to
At the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, Albania
was occupied by the Italian fascists.
In November 1941, Enver
Hoxha established the Communist Party of Albania in Tirana, and
Tirana became the center of the Albanian communists. They recruited
the population to fight against the Italian fascists and the German
Nazis. The city was liberated on November 17, 1944 after a difficult
battle between the partisans and the Wehrmacht that lasted several
days, in which numerous historical buildings - including the most
important mosque - were destroyed. A few days later, on November 29,
1944, Hoxha proclaimed Albania's independence in Tirana.
During the time of communist rule, the city developed rapidly:
socialist housing estates and factories - especially food and
machine factories - were built. In addition, the communist
leadership continued the cultural expansion of the capital and built
numerous educational institutions and cultural centers such as the
opera house, several museums, the film studio and some theaters. The
University of Tirana was founded in 1956.
In order to be able
to redesign the center of the city, numerous historical buildings
were destroyed in the 1960s and 1980s.
On February 20, 1991, protesters overturned the
larger than life statue of Enver Hoxha in Skanderbeg Square. Thus
the end of communist rule was initiated. Albania gradually began to
open up and to democratize politically and socially. In March 1997
Albania was again shaken by unrest. Foreigners had to be flown out,
for example in Operation Libelle by the Bundeswehr.
democratization, the cityscape changed quickly. Illegal buildings
were being erected everywhere, especially to the northwest. Many
residents of the rural regions settled on the outskirts. Shops,
cafes and restaurants sprung up in the city center. From 1999 the
illegal buildings in the city center were torn down and the green
Tirana experienced an economic boom in the 21st century. Numerous
modern high-rise buildings have emerged. Most of the streets have
been re-paved and signposted. Many parks have been set up and many
trees have been planted. A city and regulatory plan has been
completed. A sewerage project is being carried out by a Japanese
company and large parts of the city have been cleaned up.
International companies and shops opened branches. Public transport
has been partially expanded and new city buses have been purchased.
A tram project is being examined. An address system was also
On the night of September 21 to September 22,
2019, Tirana was shaken by an earthquake. The quake with a magnitude
of 5.8 on the Richter scale caused damage to at least 300 buildings.
Local media said over 100 people were injured, some seriously
injured. The Albanian Ministry spoke of the worst earthquake in
decades that Albania has experienced.
The Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza (Tel .:
04-381800, lost property office, mobile phone: 069-2066626), located
17 km northwest of Tirana near the village of Rina, is operated once
or twice a day by Austrian Airlines from Vienna, once Daily flights
from Lufthansa from Munich and several times a week from Adria
Airways from Frankfurt am Main and Munich. Eurowings flies
(seasonally) from Cologne / Bonn, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin. The
terminal opened in 2007. There are newspaper shops, duty free shops
and travel agencies here. A mobile operator is also represented.
You can rent a car from Hertz, Sixt, Avis and Europcar.
Otherwise you can take the Rinas Express airport bus to the city
center, which runs every hour between 07:00 and 23:00 for 300 Lek in
under an hour behind the National Theater / Opera on Skanderbeg
Square. You can return to the airport from this stop at the same
times (depending on the information, every hour between 06:00 and
18:00 or between 08:00 and 24:00). Since November 2015 the bus has
also been running six times a day to Durres (500 Lek; timetable).
A licensed Airport Taxi Express (ATEx) (Tel .: 04-2233419,
mobile phone: 068-2049598, 068-2070311) takes you to the city in
20-25 minutes. For this you pay 2000 lek between 08:00 and 21:00,
and 2500 lek after 21:00.
A train connection to Durres and
Tirana has been under construction since 2018.
The train station, at the north end of Blv. Zogu I. was demolished
to create a new city district. An old steam locomotive was erected
as a memorial. It is unclear whether and when the planned train
station will open in the Laprakë district. The few trains to Durrres
only run from Stacioni Kashar. Renovated in 2015, 7.5 km outside,
accessible by bus. Information on the timetable can be found in the
entry on Albania.
Bus and Furgon
There is no central bus
station. Most international long-distance buses run along Zogu I
Blvd., which runs north from Skanderbegplatz towards the train
station. The numerous ticket brokers (price comparison is
worthwhile, e.g. Athens 25-35 euros, return 45) tell you where which
bus leaves. Arrivals / departures early in the morning, e.g. 4.00,
not unusual. Anyone who is here so early can refresh themselves with
expectant fathers in the 24-hour cafe at the entrance to the
university maternity hospital.
Along Zogu I Blvd .:
International long-distance buses to Northern Europe, Istanbul,
Kosovo, behind the Hotel Tirana International. The hotel's open
guest Wi-Fi will also be shining on the street in May 2016.
Diagonally Departures to Greece, Turkey. Closer to the former train
station from / to Macedonia. There are also several exchange offices
and banks along the street.
To Kosovo:, behind the Natural
South urban bus station, at Ruga i Kavajes
(Kombinat city bus stop). Direction Berat, Vlora, Fier, Himara,
Kukes bus station, Rruga Dritan Hoxha (just before the
roundabout at the beginning of the motorway).
station, RR. Karl Gega.
at the stadium :. to Elbasan, Korca,
Pogradec. A few hundred meters further down the main road out of
town, minibuses drive to Pogradec, in front of the university's
In the street
Coming from the west
towards Durrës, Tirana can be reached via the SH2 motorway. The SH4
from the south (Greece, Gjirokastra, Fier) and the SH1 from the
north (Montenegro, Shkodra) flow onto the SH2. The SH3 (currently
partially being expanded to the motorway) leads from Tirana in the
east to Elbasan, Lake Ohrid and the Macedonian border.
The nearest port is in Durrës, 30 km away. There are direct
ferry connections to and from Bari and Ancona in Italy.
Public transport in Tirana consists of several bus routes, the
route of which can be found in the city map in the web links
section. The buses run between 06:00 and 22:00 every 10-20 minutes,
a ticket costs 30 lek.
However, the city center can also be
explored on foot. There are EcoVolis bike rentals distributed
throughout the city center, which should theoretically be manned
from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (shorter in practice). There are cycle paths
that are more optional to use.
Budget options in Tirana are hindered by a government
1000 lek per-person tax levied on all the hotels.
Hostel, Ground Floor, 75 Bardhok Biba St (200 m from the National
History Museum), ☎ +355 4 2266077. Rooms are passable, usually with
ensuite. No true dorm rooms. WiFi. €35 for a double.
Hostel-Albania, Rruga Kavajes 80, ☎ +355 69 674 8779.
Briker, Rruga e Barrikadave (close to the centre (5 min walking)), ☎
+355 4 2229543, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Clean, safe, nice
private rooms with private bathroom and shower, well maintained,
friendly, all of the staff spoke English, they take credit cards.
Double/Twin: €40 .
Star Hotel, Rruga e Dibrës, 73 (from
Skanderbeg Square walk past the Tirana International Hotel, it'll
take one minute), ☎ +355 42231950, +355 696415459, e-mail:
email@example.com. Clean, safe, private rooms with private
bathroom and shower, well maintained, friendly, staff speak English.
Double/twin: €30 .
Hotel Viktoria, Rruga e Elbasanit (2 km
south), ☎ +355 69 5406986, e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Newly renovated (June 2011) and family-owned hotel, situated in a
new residential area that offers quietness and fresh air. Sgl: €22;
Dbl/Twin: €34; Tpl: €44; Quad: €54.
Tirana Backpackers Hostel,
Rruga Elbasanit 85/Rruga e Bogdanëve (0.5 km W of Skanderberg
Square). Small hostel, with just 25 beds, 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.
Rinas (15 km North of Tirana). Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 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).
Hotel, Square Avni Rustemi, ☎ +35542250630. A small hotel in central
Tirana with a 24-hour front desk and friendly staff. Modest buffet
breakfast is included in price. If arriving by plane, catch the
Rinas Ekspress airport coach (250 lek) which terminates behind the
Opera, 500 m from the hotel. €23 single.
Baron Tirana, Rruga Elbasanit (near Mother Albania Statue, Qemal
Stafa Stadium, and University of Tirana), ☎ +355 4 2467649. Meeting
facilities include conference rooms, a ballroom, and banquet
facilities. single €35; double/twin: €50; triple: €55; Quad: €65.
Hotel City Tirana, Rruga Ismail Qemali, Nr8/1, ☎ +355 4 2247799,
fax: +355 4 2247799, e-mail:
hotel with exquisite service. single €34-€50; double €75.
Meg Klaus, Hotel Meg Klaus (in a courtyard, street off Rr.Mine
Peza), ☎ +355 4 2239214, fax: +355 4 2259236. 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.
Hotel Airport Tirana, Rinas
Tirana International Airport Mother Teresa (near the Rinas (Tirana)
Airport), ☎ +355 48300190, fax: +355 4 48300191, e-mail:
email@example.com. Grand hotel with every modern amenity.
Sgl 8,850 lek; Dbl 11,800 lek.
Hotel Brilant Antik, Rr. Jeronim
De Rada, No. 78 (Just across the Parliament), ☎ +355 4 2251166,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Excellent rooms and helpful staff.
€70, breakfast included.
Hotel Grand, Rr. Ismail Qemali 11
(close to the centre). A small, 3-star standard hotel. single €120;
Hotel Mondial. Prestigious 4-star hotel. 28 rooms.
Also a bar and a restaurant.
Hotel Theranda, Rr. Andon Zako
Cajupi, Villa 6 & 7 (two minutes from the centre, Blloku District),
☎ +355 4 2273766, fax: +355 42 273689. Boutique hotel. single €70 to
€100; double/twin: €90 to €130.
President Hotel. Small hotel in
the Bllok area.
Rogner Hotel Europapark, Bulevardi Deshmoret e
Kombit. Part of the Rogner chain of hotels, this modern hotel is
located where the headquarters of the communist party were planned
to be built before the fall. Very luxurious. Beautiful gardens and
an outdoor swimming pool that is always freezing. The comfort has
five stars. Security is unsurpassed. single €152 to €176 +tax;
double/twin: €170 to €201 +tax.
Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Sheshi Italia (Near the stadium). One
of Tirana's largest, and most modern hotels. single from €161;
double from €216.
Tirana International Hotel (In Skanderberg
Square). 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 lunch on the
covered balcony of their one restaurant, the food and service is
excellent. Weekend: Single: €60, Double: €70; Weekday: Single: €112,
Xheko Imperial Hotel Tirana, Rr. Deshmoret e
4 Shkurtit. 48 luxurious rooms, equipped with all the modern
amenities. Restaurant with Albanian traditional cuisine.
Food is generally inexepensive in town, even in the more upscale
places. The Italian influence is everywhere and most places will
offer pizza and/or pasta along more elaborate dishes. A good rule of
thumb is that the priciest or fanciest places rarely are the best
ones, particularly in the Blloku.
restaurant, 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.
Sofra e Ariut, Nd. 54 H.1 Njësia
Bashkiake Nr. 1, Rruga e Elbasanit, (inside Tirana's Big Park), ☎
+355 4 2372904. Specializing in traditional Albanian cuisine, the
interior is decorated with traditional ornaments.
Tironës 2, Rruga e Kavajës (From Skanderberg square walk ten minutes
west along Rruga e Kavajës. It will be on your right), ☎ +355 69 948
4792. 09:00-23:30 every day. Good traditional Albanian cuisine with
massive servings. Mains 200-700 lek.
and roadside vendors throughout the city sell foods such as
sufllaqe, doner, and gjiro for less than 200 lek. Also try the local
AFC fast food restaurant serves a lot of
things and you can have a lunch or a dinner there.
Big Bite fast
food restaurant, Rr. Abdyl Frashëri 16 (in Blloku). 24hrs. good
taste of Albanian fast food.
Mr.Chicken fast food restaurant,
Rr. Abdyl Frashëri (in Blloku). 09:00–24:00. good taste of Albanian
fast food. Freshly cooked rotisserie chicken
Gjiro Kamara fast
food restaurant, Rr. Abdyl Frashëri (in Blloku, next to Slovenian
Embassy), ☎ +355 4 225 6513. Good taste of Albanian fast food.
Kolonat Fast Food, Sheshi Italia (in Bllok, near Nene Tereza Square,
At National Archaeological Museum), ☎ +355 42382202. M-F
09:00-22:00, Sa 08:00-14:00 and 16:00-20:00. Albania's version of
McDonald's. Specializes in burgers and pizza. Also on Blv. Bajram
Curri, and on Rruges Elbasanit. 500 lek for sandwich, fries, and
Marion Restaurant (Mensa Marion), Rruga Pjeter Budi,
Tirana University student's campus (E 1 km), ☎ +355 66 2083399.
08:00-23:00. Budget self service restaurant in the Central Campus.
Very popular among students. Under US$10 per meal.
Gloria, Rruga Qemal Stafa. Excellent food (Italian and Albanian)
with good service.
King House restaurant, Rruga Deshmoret e 4
Shkurtit (at Bank of Albania), ☎ +355 4 2255559. Combination of
excellent Albanian and Italian food. Always very popular with expats
Yamato restaurant, (Blloku). A more formal
restaurant than other Blloku eateries, children-friendly Yamato has
a big selection of Japanese foods prepared by a Filipino chef.
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 2060720. Traditional
restaurant in a marvelous place, with fantastic view of the city.
Fresh meat, fresh trout (you can also catch it by yourself there).
Bar Restaurant Patricia, Rruga Fortuzi (Going up the
Durresi Street turn right at the Ministry of Education, - near the
school Jeronim De Rada), ☎ +355 4 2228372. 09:00-24:00. A fancy and
comfortable restaurant. Its specialty is the Italian food. 1000 lek.
Vila 12, Rr. Mustafa Matohiti in front of Birrila's building, ☎ +355
4 2250633. 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.
Juvenilja Castelo, Sheshi Italia (close to hotel Sheraton, at the
Big Park,), ☎ +355 68 2022802. 24/7. Mainly serves Italian and
Albanian food. A 5-star restaurant. 1000 lek.
Raki is Albania's national alcohol; try Boza for something
non-alcoholic, the most famous of which is Pacara Boza, ☎ +355 69
2481122. 1 bottle of 1.5 l ~ 100 lek.
Sky Tower Rotating Bar.
(Rr. Ibrahim Rugova) This is a must! The rotation is a bit jerky and
may leave you slightly seasick.
Blloku is the main nightlife spot
in the city.
Grand Cafe, Blloku. Frequented by elites of the
city for a good cup of coffee.
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.
Shakesbeer Bar, Blloku. Good
place offering beers.
Converse, Charls, Steel Wings (Bikers
club), Unit, Mos Fli. Clubs in Blloku frequented by die hard rock
and metal fans.
Brauhaus (Brauhaus Shallvare), Shallvare (Pallati Tuborg), ☎
+355689044286. 13:00-23:00. Brauhaus (Shallvare Brewpub), Rruga
Reshit Çollaku 38, Tirana (Parku Rinia, Shallvare), ☎ +355 4 223
7955. 11-00. The first brew pub in Tirana, Albania, with beers
(Blonde, Rose, Dark, Bock) 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. 1.
Some of the most popular events are Summer Day
celebrations in Mid-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:
International Film Festival (Tirana Film Fest). This annual film
festival held at the end of November and beginning of December
highlights the work of ethnic Albanian artists.
International Contemporary Art Biannual (Tirana Biennale), ☎ +355 69
2069011. This biannual art festival features the best of
international contemporary art. It was last held in 2009 at the
historic Hotel Dajti building.
Tirana Jazz Fest.
Rally Albania, Mother Teresa Square, ☎ +355 4 2231 586. The event
features an international competition in the rough Albanian
There are plenty of ATMs accepting
Cirrus/Maestro and Visa around the city (and there is one at the
Adrion International Bookshop, Palace
of Culture, Skanderbeg Square (Center), ☎ +355 4 223 5242.
08:30-21:30. Magazines and newspapers from around the world. English
Unique, Rruga Ibrahim Rugova,
Blloku. This shoe shop has fancy shoes such as Dsquared, Fendi, and
Kiosques, Rr. Barrikadave and Rr.
Durresit (North of Sulejman Pasha Square and across from the Tourist
Info Center). Souvenirs.
Food & market
Central Market (Pazari i ri),
Sheshi Avni Rustemi. daily early morning. Fresh fruit and
vegetables, as well as traditional cooking utensils.
Organik, Rr. Vaso Pasha 3 Tiranë, ☎ +355 69 209 9047. M-F
09:00-21:00, Sa Su 09:00-14:00, 17:30-21:00. The shop works directly
with producers and sell local organic olive oil, raki, wine, honey,
and dried herbs.
Citypark Albania, Tirana-Durrës
highway, km 8 (Just beyond the airport turn-off), ☎ +355 4 2376424.
A large shopping centre has some 180 shops, a Mercator hypermarket,
food court, skating rink
Coin department store (Rr. Papa Gjon
Pali II) (ABA Business Center).
Galeria Mall, Blv. Bajram Curri
(European Trade Centre, behind the Pyramid), ☎ +355 4 2254100. Daily
09:00-20:00. More than 50 shops, bars and cafés
Center, Rr. Frang Bardhi, ☎ +355 4 4801028, e-mail:
email@example.com. 09:00-21:00. Has a Conad supermarket and a
QTU shopping centre (Qendra Tregtare Univers),
Tirana-Durrës highway, km 6 (6.8 km North-West of Tirana), ☎ +355 4
380100. Has a supermarket, electronics store. (+355 4 2380103)
QTU City mall, Rruga Abdyl Frashëri. Daily 09:00-22:00.
Plaza, Sheshi Italia (At the Sheraton hotel). The mall has a café, a
food court, a good little supermarket and several upmarket shops.
Tirana East Gate (TEG), Autostrada Tiranë – Elbasan, km 0, ☎
+355 4 2395000.
Toptani Shopping Center, Rr. Abdi Toptani, ☎ +
355 4 4 4540999, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Splashy new shopping
mall right in the city center.
It is a good idea to buy a local Vodafone or
ALBtelecom prepaid sim card for staying connected to the Internet.
Prices start at around 600 lek for a calling plan. For slightly over
1,000 lek you can get a calling plan with 5GB or more data traffic.
Additional data is 500 lek per 4Gb, with occasional bonuses. You
must provide a passport to purchase a prepaid SIM. There is a
Vodafone shop at the Nënë Tereze Airport right after the customs.
Main Post Office & Telephone Centre, Sheshi Cameria. M-F
Centre Internet, RR Brigada e
VIII (Look for the yellow sign down the laneway). 24 hours. 100 lek
per hour. edit
Internet Point, RR Deshmoret e 4 Shkurtit, 7. 24
hours. 100 lek per hour.
Gun violence has been
an issue in the nightclub district of Blloku. Extortion (and other
types of crime that relate to slavery) is common in prostitution
areas of Tirana. Unemployment is high for young adults in all areas
of Albania, and there are large networks of available people on the
street to identify, track, and harass tourists across the city.
Drug-related crime and drug traffic also occur, though they are not
as visible in the city as in some remote rural and resort areas
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.
ABC Family Health Centre. M-F
08:00-16:00. English-speaking doctors. Run by baptists.
Klinika IRMA, Rruga Dora D'Istria, Pall
Triss, Kati 3 (large physician-owned multi-specialty clinic in the
city centre, near Bllok), ☎ +355 4 2243000. M-Sa 09:00-18:00.
English, French and Italian-speaking doctors. Consultation: US$20.
Czech Republic Czech Republic, Rruga Skenderbeg
No. 10, ☎ +355 4 2234 004, fax: +355 4 2232 159.
Egypt Egypt, 1
St. Iskandar Bek, ☎ +355 4 223-3022, fax: +355 4 2232295, e-mail:
Greece Greece, Rruga
Frederik Shiroka, No 3, ☎ +355 4 2274669, +355 4 2274668, +355 4
2274670, fax: +355 4 2234290, e-mail:
Iran, Rr. Mustafa Matohiti no. 20, ☎ +355 4 2255038, fax: +355 4
Italy Italy, Papa Gjon Pali II, n.2, ☎ +355 4 2275900,
fax: +355 4 2250921.
North Macedonia North Macedonia, Rr.
Kavajes nr. 116, ☎ +355 4 223 0909, fax: +355 4 223 2514, e-mail:
Poland Poland, Rruga e Bogdaneve, ☎ +355 4
2234190, fax: +(355) 4 2233364.
Russia Russia, 2, Donika
Kastrioti Str., ☎ +355 4 225-60-40, fax: +355 4 225-60-46.
United Kingdom United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
Rruga Skenderbeg 12, ☎ +355 4 223 4973, fax: +355 4 224 7697.
United States United States of America, Rruga e Elbasanit No. 103, ☎
+355 4 2247 285, fax: +355 4 2232 222.