Eco-friendly travel guide to Tirana advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Tirana, Albania.
- Air quality: 3.5 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3 / 5
- Public transportation: 3 / 5
- Parks: 3.5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 3.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 4 / 5
- Safety: 4 / 5
- Accommodation: US$15 - $175
- Budget per day: US$60 - $350
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
When you visit Tirana or anywhere else in the world, being a responsible tourist is the first thing you need to do when you get there. There is a lot to see in Tirana, the capital city of Albania. It is the 10th on the list of most visited places.
You can say Tirana is the world's next big travel point. The economy of Albania broke so much after the communist rule that it is still recovering. So in this situation, travelling responsibly is very important.
On the other hand, undoubtedly, beautiful cities like Tirana have a bright future ahead.
Air Quality and Pollution
A place's air quality affects many of its tourists as they are just some visitors, So any weather or ambience change can affect their health. That's the reason it's essential to know a place's AQI or Air Quality Index.
In Albania, growth in transportation plays a significant role in the city's economic development. But on the other hand, it affects air quality. On the other hand, Tirana is the city where architecture is famous, and its development is under-going. And over construction also not very "air quality friendly."
Respect the Culture
If you want to visit a place correctly, then you need to blend in. And to blend, you need to learn a few things about that place. Only then can you understand and respect the People and that place's culture. The history and geography of Albania played a significant role in shaping Tirana's culture. You can experience a major diversity in the culture of Tirana. Ancient Greek, Ottomans, Byzantines, Romans influenced this place's culture. But mostly, their culture grew from Illyrians, their beliefs, and their way of life. Albania has come to the limelight since the edge of Mother Teresa. She is the only resistance of Albania who won a Nobel Prize.
Albania is a country full of friendly people. Inviting Rakija, which is a plum brandy or a coffee, is a custom here. How the people are greeting you, smiling back at them in a similar way, will take no effort for you to blend in.
Just like the People, the city is also very colourful. That is what attracts visitors the most. The pastel buildings look like just some paintings. The vast culture of Tirana reflects through Albanian arts, museums, music, and festivals.
Tirana is a city of sky-high construction and luxurious hotels and cars. Tirana respects Albania's history very much. You can see many historic structures around the city. Each of them has a thrilling story. It is also a place of several cultural institutions like the National museum, library, opera, theatre, ballet theatre. Tirana International literature festival, Tirana international film festival, Nyou Festival, Peza Nfest, Jazz in Albania- are some of the festivals celebrated by the coolest and liveliest city, the capital city of Albania.
Top 10 Places to Visit
You may hear people say that Tirana is not worth visiting; it's an underdeveloped and crime-ridden country. But people see Tirana from that point of view because Albania is still healing from the deep wounds that history gave it. In the 15th century, a dictator called Hoxha kept Albania his hostage for a long 40 years, which is why it didn't get the scope to grow with time.
But today, the capital city is thriving in many areas. The ongoing development is already making noticeable progress. And honestly, the touch of Tirana's ancient history, which is still intact in some parts of the city, is what makes this city so fascinating. Today there are several places here which you will love to explore and gather memorable experiences.
- Skanderbeg Square: Skanderbeg Square or Sheshi Skënderbej Albanian is the centre of the city. As the heart of the town, it is known as the central meeting point of Tirana. Most of the concerts, festivals take place here. The most exciting part about the place is, there are holes in every tile reinforced here. If the temperature rises, water shoots out from those holes and covers the whole square with a thin and reflective layer of water and cools the place down. The place also has a monument of Skanderbeg, a national who gave his life to defend and free Albania from Ottoman rule. Even the name of the area was also given after him.
- National Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Albania: This is a massive building, carrying Communist times' architecture. Apart from opera and ballet theatre, there is also a huge library inside it. It contains many books written by Albanian authors. If you love to explore various books, here is the good news for you: the most famous books in the Albanian library were translated into different languages. The building is also a beautiful piece of architecture to look at.
- Tirana Pyramid: If you are visiting Tirana, then you must know about the Tirana pyramid. You won't believe it until you see it yourself. The pyramid contains the architecture of Communist times. It was built as a museum of an old leader. Now it is an exciting place to visit. You can climb it if you want, and that is for free! Have you ever mounted on an actual pyramid? Well, Tirana offers you that! Even your kids can also use it to slide. Sounds like fun?
- Peace Bell: The peace bell is located very close to the Tirana pyramid. Like any other structure or creations in Tirana, the bell also has a story behind it. In 1997 Tirana had a short civil war. When the war was over, Tirana lost 2000 civilians. The peace bell is made to remember those who Tirana lost as a result of violence. The bell here is made with the bullet casings that were left over after that fight.
- Postbolk "Checkpoint": Postbolk checkpoint is the memorial to communist isolation, which memorizes the Hoxha rule's sad times. The park also has various structures, revealing Tirana's dark history. You will also see a bunker out there, which might be just one of the thousands located all over the country. But it contains the same historical value as others. In the city, you will see many such structures built during Communist times, so Tirana is the place where history is still alive.
- Grand Park and the lake: The park is a huge urban green place where people frequently hang out. After taking in all that dark history of the Albanian past, this is precisely where you need to sit for a while to inhale some air of peace and relax. The place is located at the south end of the city centre. There is an artificial lake inside the park, huge forested areas with Criss-cross walking paths, structures built-in for kids, water fountains, shops, restaurants, and many more things to explore. Just slow down for a moment and enjoy some time sitting on a bench here.
- The cloud of Sou Fujimoto: The word cloud mite made you a little bit curious, but you will see how it perfectly makes sense. "The Cloud," which looks like a real huge cloud, is a piece of art created by a Japanese artist Sou Fujimoto. It is displayed in the city centre. You can walk inside it and climb up and experience how it feels to be inside a cloud.
- Burkart 1 and 2: Until now, have you found interest in the wartime history of Albania? If yes, then this is the place you have to check out. Bunkart 2 is a museum that shows us how Albania was during the wartimes, and there is Bunkart 1, which tells us about the rough 40 years of Albania. Both the museum and entrance are located in an old bunker. Bunkart 1 and Bunkart 2 were two military bunkers that stored elites if the country had to face another war.
- Rinia Park: If you call the park a tiny little green place, the park can be described best. From fountains and attractions for kids, there are different buildings, cafes, and many more. And also, the famous I love Tirana sign is located here. So, apart from a perfect place to sit on benches and relax, the area is pretty photogenic too.
- The Bolku: It is a neighbourhood of Tirana. It is quite famous as this place is full of shops, clubs, bars, and restaurants. In short, it's a perfect place to experience Tirana nightlife. One of the famous restaurants here is the Panoramic Bar and Restaurant. It is located in the sky tower. You will be able to see the city from a beautiful viewpoint. If you want to stay at the ground, then the Bolku also has many restaurants and other things that will surely help you enjoy the nightlife.
Being one of the best places to visit in entire Europe, Tirana can offer you many things. From huge historical sites to great food, diverse landscapes, Tirana is undoubtedly a gift to travellers. Some call Tirana the phoenix as the city is rising brightly from the Communist ruling. This under-developed country has been working on its infrastructure for the last 20 years. Today, apart from several roads, arts, and architecture, the place is able to grow its tourist numbers too.
Here is the list of some of the popular city parks of Tirana:
* Grand Park of Tirana: This is located in the southern part of Tirana. There are an artificial lake and loads of landmarks inside the park, such as Saint Procopius Church, the Presidential Palace, etc. With all the greenery and forested areas, this place is one of Tirana's most relaxing places. There is even a zoo inside the park. Several trees, flowers, bushes, a botanical garden— the park have many things to explore.
- Rinia Park: This park is not as big as the Grand park, but it's still a beautiful one. It is spread around a 2.97 hectares area. The Rinia Central Public Park was built in 1950, during the Communist era. This place is an excellent example of big surprises coming out of a small package. Lots of cafes, structures for kids', the "I Love Tirana" sign, Colourful fountain dancing; there are a lot of things to see in the park.
- Liqeni Artificial I Tiranes or the Artificial lake Park: If you don't visit this park, you will never know how beautiful and mesmerizing a human-made lake can be. This one is a large park in the South of the city. The artificial lake was built in 1955 for a purpose. Later in 1957, the lake and its surroundings were given a new look, and the place was turned into a whole complex. You will see memorials of British Soldiers killed during World War II and tombs. The Opera Theatre of Tirana is located inside of the park. There is also a swimming pool, a dam, a zoo, and many more.
There are dozens of national parks located in Albania. Even some of them are famous across Europe.Liogara, Theth, Butrint are some of the examples of those fantastic national parks of Albania. Dajti National Park, located in Tirana, is probably the best one in the whole of Albania. This is something you have to visit if you are in Tirana.
- Mount Dajti: Mount Dajti is located in the east, which has a 1613 meter peak. You can visit the mountain-turned-national-park with just a 15-minute cable car ride. This national park is called Europe's most accessible national park.
The park is surrounded by peaks of mountains, greenery, and a beautiful mountain river. From that high peak of the mountain, you will see how beautiful Tirana looks. Its pastel buildings and colourful surroundings offer you a mesmerising view from the top.
Apart from praising Albanian architecture and learning about its history, you can also spend some quality time at the beaches here. Spending time at the beaches near Tirana is probably the best thing tourists would want to do. Here are some of the beaches where you can sunbathe and enjoy some peaceful time.
- Spille Beach: This six km long beach is just another beautiful piece of art, one hour away from Tirana; the difference is it is created by nature. The palm trees, forest, lovely promenade are mesmerising and relaxing that it was made one of the must-visit places in Albania by the tourists themselves. And this beach is also the largest in the country.
- Gjeneralit Beach: With entirely transparent water and beautiful greenery is another beautiful beach located at the North of Spille.
- Golem Beach: This beach is only 50 minutes away from Tirana, and maybe that's the reason why the beach stays crowded all year long. This place can also be perfect for surfing if you were wondering!
- Shëngjin: This place must be a little further away from Tirana, but it's a worth visit. The beautiful beach is the favourite destination in northern Albania. You won't believe how clear the water can look before you come here.
Like every other city, Tirana also uses its most unique structures as landmarks. If you don't want to miss most of Tirana, then you must visit these places.
- Tirana Pyramid: It is one of the most culturally significant buildings in Tirana. The pyramid was a museum built to honour the dictator of Tirana, Enver Hoxha. Naturally, there is an ongoing debate in Tirana about whether it should fall or it remains. But keeping beside these political debates, as a visitor, you must see the pyramid's architecture at least once.
- Clock Tower: The clock tower is Tirana's one of the most photographed landmarks. It has been there since the year 1822. Visitors can climb up to the tower using its narrow spiral staircase. The tower is the same since the day it was completed, but the exciting part is the clock. It was altered several times. At first, it was Viennese design, and then it shifted to German style. After it was destroyed during World War II, Roman numerals took place. Now it's a Chinese clock.
- Preza Castle: The 15th-century fortress is standing just over the Preza village. In this village, a family used to live known as the Thopia family. Their estate was located between the Shkumbin and Mat rivers. And the fortress belongs to them too. The pentagonal shaped castles are all over Tirana. You can see several in the city. The clock tower is also one of such castles. Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are plenty more Landmarks in Tirana, such as Skanderbeg Square, National Historical Museum, Et'hem Bey Mosque, Cave of Pellumbas, etc.
Here are some of the best museums in Tirana:
- National Gallery of Art: In this gallery, there are always new events and exhibitions worth looking at. The most exciting part about the gallery is the school children's involvement. Local children frequently participate in the painting or art events of the gallery. The second floor of this gallery is where you will have scope to raise your eyebrows in wonder. There are some of the best realistic paintings and art collections of Albania. Another reason you should visit the national gallery of art is the Cloud of Sou Fujimoto, located just in front of it.
- Communist spy secrets: This one is not very old; it's a newly opened museum to tell us how the Albania population continuously suffered during Communist times. Spy gadgets, numbers, the network, and most fascinating things are kept inside the house. The museum is created with a dark background to make the atmosphere much more relatable.
- National History Museum: If you want to know about Albania and Albanians, this is the place. The museum is stored with many pieces straight from the past times, which will make your tour much more enjoyable.
Bunkart 1 and 2 and House of leaves are another two museums that will take you to the ancient Albanian times.
Like every road and concrete walls of Tirana carrying ancient Albanian history, the food also has its roots in the Ottoman Empire. The richly fertile land and seasides and the bar bloody culture relation with the neighbours successfully created a modern cuisine that is diverse and simple at the same time.
Traditional Local Restaurants
Suppose we talk about Tirana's staple food, its meat, and vegetables along with pickled cabbage, stews, feta cheese, bread, smoked meat, and rice. Here are some of the best Traditional local restaurants:
- Gourmet: To taste the perfect traditional food of Albania, Gourmet should be your first stop. From the outdoor and indoor seating to the high class and high-end ambience, Gourmet offers you a great place to enjoy your eating.
- Pagus: To be very straightforward, Pegus is the best steakhouse in Tirana. Along with an amazing location, if you want to taste authentic Italian cuisine in Tirana, then Pagus is the place. Being an Italian restaurant, they serve the best homemade delicious pasta dishes; apart from that, you can say that Pagus is heaven for meat lovers.
- Arditi Fisherman: It is the place for seafood lovers. It's a great restaurant located just outside of the famous Bolku. They collect fresh fish from the Adriatic Sea daily and serve with amazing efficiency. Seafood, mussels, clams, and shrimps are the constant dishes here.
* BrauHaus: You can find several pubs and restaurants in Tirana, but only this one brews its beer. The restaurant is located at the entrance point of the district, Bolku. The beer brewery is located in the resident's basement to see where the beer is coming from. Another best part about BrauHaus is they follow the old German Beer Purity Law.
Vegetarian and Vegan
The traditional Albanian cuisine is mostly meat-based, and to be very honest; good vegan restaurants are a little tricky to find in Tirana. Which is why, after hard research, we listed some of the best vegan restaurants here:
- Chakra Jone: This restaurant is not entirely a vegan restaurant; it serves meat, but vegan options are available. It is an Indian restaurant, and the vegan menu here is quite impressive.
- Veggies Tirana: It is the most famous vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Tirana. There is a cozy ambiance, and it is located in Bolku. Quinoa, veggie noodles, exotic vegan salads, guacamole, couscous dishes, etc. are available here with such unique vegetarian flavors.
- Oda: If you want to taste authentic Albanian vegetarian dishes, then this is the place. From juicy lamp dishes to exotic eggplant cooked with spice, both genres are fantastic here. You can find this restaurant near Pazari I to Market.
- Mullixhiu: This is one of the best restaurants in Tirana. Here the authentic Albanian flavors are served in the most sophisticated and modern way. You will love the Pomegranate juice here.
Here the top 5 street foods which you must try if you visit the capital of Albania.
- Raki: Raki is a famous drink in Albania. Maybe because you can drink it with almost every meal, it is not vodka, but you will find similarities in Raki with Grappa.
- Baklava: Baklava came from Turkey. For a long time, Albania was a Turkish colony, so having Turkish street food in Tirana is not surprising. The pistachio nuts over the top of Baklava are what makes it a fantastic food creation.
- Trilece: Trilece is nothing but a cake made with milk. There are three main ingredients found in Tirana's Trilene, cream, regular milk, and concentrated milk. This is a very light cake which goes best with coffee on a sunny, wintery morning.
- Grilled Meat: Being a meat-based country, it's obvious to have grilled meat as one of the street food items. You will find almost all kinds of meat, served after being grilled amazingly.
- Baked Kackavall: The cheese used in this dish is found in the Southern Balkans, which is delicious in fried or baked forms.
You will find plenty of bars and restaurants with bars in Tirana to enjoy the nightlife. Apart from hard drinks, Tirana is the best place to find amazing tea and coffee. Apart from that, you will be able to explore new types of juices here.
The water supply in Tirana is controlled by the government authority known as UKT. According to the UKT, the tap water available in Tirana is safe for drinking and can be consumed normally.
The concept of organic cafes is new in Tirana, but they are also making progress very fast, just like the overall development here. Here are some of the famous organic restaurants in Tirana:
- Greeny Tirana
- D'Angelo Chocolate and Coffee
- Urban Roots
- Uka Farm
BrauHaus is the most famous brewery in Tirana, which brews their beer is BrauHaus, and Malto Brewery is the largest brewery in Albania. Here is the list of the best breweries in Tirana, Albania.
- Lulishte 1 Maji
- Kaon Brewhouse
- Malto Brewery
Tirana is a city full of surprises, and there is a lot to explore. The Albanian capital must be a small city, but there are several things you can do apart from flipping history pages here. Here is a list of some of the outdoor activities available in Tirana, Albania:
- Self-drive Jeep Safari
- Hiking Tour of Theth
- Hiking Dajti Mountain
- Tirana Walking tour
- Hiking, Trekking at Sotira Waterfalls
- River hiking and Exploring Osumi Canyons
- Paragliding from Dajti Mountain
It is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Exploring the city with a bit of adventure will surely be a hell of an experience.
Yoga and Retreats
You can spend your days in Albania more actively by starting your days with yoga. After experiencing the brutal past of Albania, yoga will help you feel every breath in the beautiful ambience of Tirana. Here you will find some yoga retreats that you can choose according to your requirements. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Tirana Yoga
- Albanian Riviera
- Bear Yoga Retreat
- Free Flow Yoga Tirana
Being the capital city of Albania and one of the most visited places, thousands of people come here every year. This is why, though, the city's infrastructure development is still undergoing. However, development still couldn't reach rural places in Tirana; they didn't sacrifice their tourists' comfort and safety.
- Greenhouse hotel and restaurant: This one is a 3-star hotel at a very reasonable price. According to customer reviews, the hotel is terrific for sightseeing, and dining is also pretty good.
- Hotel green Tirana: This hotel is even cheaper than the previous one. They are offering you a clean and comfy hotel at a reasonable price. But this one is a little far from town.
- Arté Boutique Hotel: This hotel is the top-rated green hotel in Tirana. The overall design and interior are merely impressive. Upscale boutiques, stylish bars, and dining, good food, comfortable living— overall, this place is perfect for you if your budget is a little high.
Hostels and Guest Houses
Here are some of the affordable and comfortable guest houses and hostels in Tirana:
- Rooms Dionis
- Hostel Vertigo
- Guesthouse M and S
- Veranda Rooms
- Urban Rooms
- Tirana Backpackers Hostel
- Samba Hostel
- The English Hostel
If you want to stay in Tirana for a longer time, then choosing a private apartment for your long trip can save a lot of money. In Tirana, Albania, you will find many options to select one for your requirements. It is also a more environmental friendly way of accommodation since there is less waste produced this way as opposed to staying in a hotel.
Couchsurfing is a fantastic way to save money during a trip. Among the Couchsurfing travel community, you will find many hosts in Tirana and discover unique locals and places to stay.
There are several places where camping is the best way to enjoy every bit of that place. Camping Tirana allows you to choose your favourite camping spot at a very affordable price. You will find various service providers willing to offer you camping services in Tirana, such as Camping Tirana Hyka, Camping Tirana Kashar, etc.
How to Get There
Getting to Tirana is not much of a problem with the growing number of international connections. Flying to Albania is the easiest way, and other than that, there are good sea routes from Italy to Tirana. Take a look at the different ways to reach Tirana,
Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza serves the city. The airport is 17km away from the centre of the town. The airport is connected to several major cities in the world.
Until now, there was no Central Bus station in Tirana. So if you are travelling by bus, then you have to go through a break journey. You can use buses from Albania or other cities to reach Tirana.
Kashar is the nearest railroad station of Tirana, which is about 10 km from Central Tirana. The train service is not a smart choice to travel to Tirana. Though Kashar was renovated recently, still, rail services are very poor.
Hitchhiking will consume a lot of time to reach to Tirana, but it will take less time than a bus journey. After getting to Albania, you can easily reach Tirana by Hitchhiking. But it is not a very safe means of travelling, especially at night.
Tirana is not any port, so you cannot directly reach there by boat. But there are reasonable sea routes available from Italy to Durrës. Durrës is the nearest port to Tirana.
Other than the water park, you can also use mobile apps and book cabs to travel.
Tirana may not be used as a city, but there is a lot to explore. So rather than moving around on food, you can take different means of transport.
The city is not very huge, and the landmarks can be easily experienced by walking. Other than saving money, walking also gives you a fantastic experience. But there is one thing that is not very walk-friendly about Tirana's roads; there is no continuity maintained on the sidewalk, which is why you have to be careful while walking. Besides, walking down on the roads of Tirana can be significantly rewarded.
Tirana is somewhat a bicycle-friendly city. According to some recent forces, the current Mayor decided to improve the cycling infrastructure. You will see that many students use bicycles in Tirana and even though the traffic situation can be a bit overwhelming, the main roads have separate lanes for bicycles.
You may not find a lot of electric vehicles in Tirana. It is still a work in progress. You can always explore the beautiful city on foot.
Tirana's public transport contains several intracity bass lines. Travelling by bus in Tirana may not be the fastest method, but it's cheap and relatively eco friendly. You can enter the city from the nearest port by bus; there are bus lines to Tirana airport, shopping centres, and some landmarks.
Tram, Train and Subway
Right now, Tram, Train, and Subway facilities are not available in Tirana. But according to some reports, a north-south tramline and new rail-based transportation will be constructed in Tirana soon. There are cable cars that you can use and enjoy the scenic views as well.
Here are some few places for sustainable shopping in Tirana:
- Pazari i Ri
- Tirana East Gate
- Toptani Shopping Center
- Tirana Ring Center
- Metropol Center
Take a look at some of the best food markets in Tirana:
- City market
- Fresh garden
- Jata Market
- Shans Market
There are several flea markets can be found in Tirana; the most popular ones are:
- New Bazar
- Local farmer market
- Old Bazar
- Pazari i Vjetër
Second Hand Stores
- Tregu Cam
- Myslym shyri
- Tregu Dinamo
It is famous for handicrafts and some homemade items. Eco fashion shows also take place in Tirana to promote a more sustainable style of fashion. It is still a relatively new concept so you will not see a booming industry but some niche and exclusive brands are trying to promote it as best as they can.
The municipality of Tirana has identified how important recycling has become for Tirana. They have started a program to divert recyclable materials from landfills. On the other hand, an Albanian environmental NGO is effectively using all the opportunities to recycle urban wastes in Tirana.
The waste management in Tirana is at a rudimentary level. Many people, including locals, authorities, and NGOs, are stepping forward in waste recycling. But as the waste management program is not that improved, things like overflowing waste bins can be seen at Tirana. On the other hand, irregularity in recycling results in inefficient services like mixing recyclable and non-recyclable wastes.
Work and Study Abroad
At Tirana International School, every year or so, 340 students are enrolled from around 27 different countries.The school is English-based Other than that, universities in Albania also receive thousands of students from different countries every year.
Student exchange programs allow you to take a transfer year abroad. That place can be Tirana for you where you can stay with a host family. Experience the amazing Albanian culture, their delicious food and the warmth of the beautiful people. When you are there as an exchange student it is advised to live in an eco friendly manner. Take up the habit of travelling by the local transport system, shop local and use metal straws when eating out.
Even though a relatively new concept, there are many established websites like greataupair and aupair where you can find people willing to host you. This will be at your own risk though and you will have to do your own research before you can decide on it. However, it is a great way to get to know the local culture in a more intimate manner.
Albania is still coping from the massive loss after communist rule. In this case, sometimes volunteering becomes pretty essential. It is also a great way to give back to the community. There are several volunteer programs in Tirana who work for charitable purposes and animals' welfare. Here are some organizations that play major parts in volunteering programs:
- Out of Isolation: Albania Rediscovered
- Volunteer abroad and make a real difference
- Child care centres