Back to Tirana

The Best in Five Days


Tirana combines the seemingly incompatible - old mosques and modern buildings, bunkers of the former dictator and cool hotels, Soviet architecture and filigree buildings. Tirana is hip and vibrant with many students, but has also preserved its traditions. Explore the "Land of the Eagle" with its huge mountain ridges, rugged cliffs, romantic forests, lush green meadows, and medieval fortresses. If you are looking for a place to swim you can relax on the fine sandy beaches of Golem and Durrës. Argëtohuni (have fun)!

Day One: Tirana Skanderberg Square

"Sheshi Skanderberg" lies in the heart of Tirana. There is a large statue of the national hero Skanderberg who defended the Albanian against the Ottoman Empire. The square is surrounded by the most important landmarks: the National History Museum, the Palace of Culture, and the Et'hem Bey Mosque from the 18th century. Next to the mosque, you can climb the 35 metre tall clock tower which offers a great view of the city.

Day One: Tirana Walking Tour

You will be able explore the highlights of Tirana within four hours. Your guide will show you the historical sights, communist landmarks like the now hip Blloku area, or the bunker museums. You may also visit the new Food Market and the Grand Park. Ask your tour guide for the best restaurant or shopping tips. Morning and afternoon tours are available.

Four-Hour Walking Tour

Day Two: Berat, City of a Thousand Windows

The more than 2000-year-old town of Berat is located about 70 kilometres south of Tirana and is well worth a day trip. The picturesque landscape characterised by steep slopes and the river Osum and its unique architecture make Berat one of the most beautiful cities in Albania. The excellently preserved old town buildings give it its nickname the "city of a thousand windows". It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and new buildings are largely prohibited.

Berat: A 2000-year-old city

Day Three: 2400 Years of Shkoder

Shkoder is one of the most important economic and cultural centres in Albania. It is also the centre of Catholicism in the country. Its inhabitants are an impressive example to the rest of the world that it is possible for different religions to live together peacefully and respectfully. Shkoder is historically the oldest city and, until the rise of Tirana, also the most important city in Albania. Various buildings such as the Mesi Bridge, the Venice Art Mask Factory, and St. Stephen's Cathedral - the largest church in the Balkans in the 19th century - still bear witness to this today. High above Shkoder lies the Rozafa Castle with its breathtaking view of the landscape and city.

Day Four: Gjirokastra, the City of a Thousand Steps

Gjirokastra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005 and is one of the oldest cities in Albania. The "city of a thousand steps" owes its nickname to its unique townscape. Striking houses resembling small fortresses have characterised the quarters around the castle, today's old town, for centuries. The city also has a lot to offer to the visitor. For example, the ethnographic museum, the castle on the hill, and - above all - a lot of atmosphere! We recommend an afternoon walk through the cobblestone roads of the old bazaar and visit one of the traditional houses. There, you will immerse yourself in the past of the local population. As you stroll by, you are sure to find the right souvenir in one of the historic shops.

Day Five: Tirana Dajti Ekspres

Athletic travellers can hike on scenic trails to the 1,613 metre high Mount Dajti above Tirana. Those who prefer to enjoy nature at a more leisurely pace can take the modern (and longest) cable car in the Balkans. Travellers who opt for the 15-minute ride get breathtaking views of Tirana, the Adriatic Sea, the port of Durres, and much more.  The summit restaurant and hotel serving Albanian specialities is very popular with the locals. To enjoy the remarkable view the rotating bar on the 7th floor is recommended. The summit is very well visited, especially on weekends with nice weather.

Day Five: Tirana Bunk'Art

Once the fallout shelter of a dictator, this sprawling bunker is now a museum and an art gallery. Underneath Tirana is a five-story bunker with many hallways and over 100 rooms. The shelter was built in the 1970s under the orders and direction of Enver Hoxha, the communist leader of Albania for over four decades. Known as Bunk’Art, 24 rooms of the sprawling shelter have been converted into a history museum and contemporary art gallery.

Photo credits