Tirana is the capital of Albania. It lies in the center of our country and it is considered a city of religious coexistence, as well as the center of culture, art, politics, and the economy. Tirana became the capital of Albania in 1920 with more than 763,634 inhabitants today.

It is an old settlement as confirmed by the Mosaic of Tirana, which was part of an old Roman villa build in the III century. One famous building is the Clock Tower in the center of Tirana, which was built in XIX century, between 1822 – 1840. 

Part of the cultural heritage of the city are also the old houses, which are known as the real architectural ensemble of the historical core of Tirana. Just to mention a few, the house of Toptanas was built in XVIII century, the house of Sali Shijaku in 1400, the house of Bunec in XVII, and the mosque in the center of the city was built in 1793.

TRAVELING TO ALBANIA

The only airport in Albania with international service is “Mother Theresa” International Airport located in Rinas, just 17 km northwest of Tirana. The most convenient way to get from the airport to Tirana is by taxi. The journey from Tirana to the airport takes twenty to thirty minutes, depending on traffic, and costs about 2,500 ALL (or 20 EURO) each way. The “Rinas Express” departs every hour between 7am and 7pm. It is a 24­-hour bus service between the airport and the National Museum in the center of Tirana. The bus departs hourly and the single fare is 250 ALL (approx. 2 EURO).

Mobile phone: +355 69 20 98908

“Mother Teresa” airport

Airport facilities include free Wi-Fi and an Adrion press shop. Beside the baggage carousel in arrivals, there’s an ATM, a currency exchange office, and the airport’s tourism information desk. The airport has a duty-free shop and customs operates 24 hours a day.

Lost & Found

  • Phone: +355 4/2381681/82
  • Mobile phone: +355 69 20 66626
  • E­mail: info@tirana­airport.com
  • Website: www.tirana­-airport.com

GET AROUND

By Bus

Public transportation in Tirana consists of a number of intra-city bus lines. A single trip costs 40 leks (there are only single tickets available) and tickets are sold in the bus by a conductor. Buses marked ‘Unaze’ are for the ring road and travel in a loop around the city centre. There are also lines serving suburban shopping centers and the Tirana Airport.

By foot

The city centre is small enough to be explored through walking. Walking is a rewarding experience, but beware that there is no continuity in sidewalk width, construction material or condition. Sidewalks frequently end abruptly, have large holes, or are very narrow. Pay attention while walking or you may end up spraining your ankle or falling in a hole. Street names are subject to change, so locals rarely know them. It is advised to navigate by landmarks instead of addresses or street names. You can orient yourself using the intersection between the Lana River and “Dëshmorët e Kombit” street, which roughly bisects the central part of Tirana into four sections. At this intersection are the recognizable “Pyramid” and “Taiwan Center”.

By Taxi

The fastest way to get around is by taxi. Public transportation is not always reliable and doesn’t run after 8 or 10-11 p.m depending on the line. The best taxi service in town is Speed Taxi. You can reach them by phone and order a cab through these numbers.

Fixed line: +355 4 2222 555

Mobile: +355 69 64 222 11

Costs for a taxi are are not too expensive and generally range from 2-6€.

Note: Do not enter a taxi without a taxi meter!

By bicycle

The Ecovolis bicycle sharing program was launched in 2011. Bicycles can be rented from a number of locations at Rinia Park and along Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard. A full-day ride costs 100 lek. The system is not electronic in that you must interact with a salesperson. Bicycles should be returned to the station of origin. Ecovolis also offers bikes for longer 24/7 rentals at the shop.

For all other bike equipment or repairs, Rruga Qemal Stafa is Tirana’s unofficial “bike street” with lots of little, inexpensive bike shops. New combined bus and bike lanes have been opened recently on some main streets. Bike-only lanes are located on Skanderbeg Square, Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard and on sidewalks along Lana River and Kavaja Street. However, cycling in the main street can be quite dangerous as lanes are narrow or occupied by parked vehicles (but car drivers have become more careful during the last few years).

ATTRACTIONS

The monument of G.K. Scanderbeg, the national hero of Albania, is located in the busy Scanderbeg square.

Also in this square, you can find two other religious and historical objects: the Mosque of Ethem Bey (1798 – 1823) and the Clock Tower, which is 35 meters high and built on 1830. From the Clock Tower’s top, visitors observe a wide view of Tirana.

Other monuments to visit in Tirana are “Ura Tabakeve”, built in the first half of XIX century and the “Mother Albania” monument at the Cemetery of Martyrs Nations.

We recommend a walk in the Grand Park in the southern part of the city. It extends over an area of 55 hectares with an artificial lake included. The Tirana Grand Park has a variety of plants, and you can find about 120 kinds of plants, decorative shrubs, and flowers of various colors.

Don’t forget to have a look at several Tirana museums and artistic / scientific institutions, including:

  • National Historical Museum
  • Archeological Museum
  • Museum of Nature Sciences
  • Opera and Ballet Theatre
  • Drama and Variety Show
  • Gallery of Fine Arts
  • International Center of Culture
  • Palace of Congress and Exhibition Halls

Dajti mountain

For a short trip by car about 25 km east of Tirana, there is the Dajti Mountain national park, rich in diversity of flora and fauna. It offers numerous opportunities all year round for excursions and recreation. There are large areas of unspoiled nature in the slopes of the mountain, which attracts many visitors to the region in all seasons.

As a relaxing and popular destination, the mountain can be reached through an Austrian-built express cable car. The cost for up and down the cable car is 700 ALL (one ride takes more than fifteen minutes, so it is worth the cost even if you don’t stay atop the mountain). To get to the bottom station of the cable car, take the bus line “Qender – Linze” that starts east beside the Skanderbeg place behind the mosque. In the bus, tell the conductor “Teleferik” and he will show you the station to get out of the bus. From there, it is a short five minute walk guided by direction signs (the cable car is closed on Tuesdays). In the top station of the cable car, there is a hotel and a tourist agency offering various activities like horse riding, trekking, excursions, sky sports, skiing, and more.

The area has a limited number of hotels and restaurants, but it is great for taking a breath of fresh air, mountain sports, or to just get out of the city for a while. The Pellumba Cave in the area is worth a visit. Don’t forget to visit the spectacular Erzeni Canyon along the Erzeni River, south of the park near the dam. Unfortunately, litter is becoming a problem on Mount Dajti. This detracts from the experience somewhat, but the beautiful scenery still makes the trip worthwhile.

Petrela village

Also we recommend you a short tour in Petrela village with its fortress. One of the most interesting places near Tirana, located 15 km southeast of Tirana, Petrela is known as a dwelling-place as early as back 2000 years ago in the ruins of the Illyrian town of Presqopi. The town is supposed to be used as a residential place for the Illyrian King, Glauk. The most interesting object is the medieval castle, rising on a rocky hill. This castle has been under the command of Mamica Kastrioti, the Scanderbeg sister, and was a member of the bale-fire system for the Kruja Castle during Ottoman rule.

The area around Petrela offers a unique landscape of broken hills covered by olive trees.

HOTELS AND HOSTELS

Tirana offers a wide range of hostels and hotels that makes it easy for you to choose based on your budget. Availability shouldn’t be a problem, but as always when it comes to booking and travelling, the sooner you make your arrangements, the better.

 

 

LOCAL CURRENCY

The Lek (Albanian: Leku Shqiptar; plural Lekë) (sign: L; code: ALL) is the official currency of Albania. Official exchange rates are found at bankofalbania.org (sidebar of the website).

WHAT TO VISIT

The National Historical Museum (Albanian: Muzeu Historik Kombëtar) in Tirana is the country’s largest museum. It was opened on 28 October 1981 and is 27,000 square meters in size, while 18,000 square meters are available for expositions. The gigantic mosaic appearing at the main entrance is entitled The Albanians.

Website: mhk.gov.al/

National Art Gallery of Albania (Albanian: Galeria Kombetare e Arteve) has a fund of over 4,000 works of art by Albanian and foreign authors, spanning seven centuries of Albanian cultural heritage.

Website: gka.al

Stroll around the main boulevard (Bulevardi Dëshmorët e Kombit) and you will find the Polytechnic University of Tirana on one end and the Scanderbeg Square on the other. During this walk, you will pass by the Palace of Congress, the Pyramid, different governmental buildings (such as the offices of the Council of Ministers and the Townhall of Tirana), the Palace of Culture and the National Museum.

Et’hem Bey Mosque and the top of the Clock Tower

Take a walk or rent a bike at the artificial lake, close to the University of Arts and the Polytechnic University.

WHERE TO EAT

The place or area to go out is called the “Blloku area”. If you ask around, everybody knows it and will be easy to find.

  • – Radio, located in the Blloku area. More details here
  • – Nouvelle Vague

 

Getting an Albanian SIM card

You can get an Albanian SIM card at the airport, in one of the shops at the airport, which are very easy to spot from ALBtelecom and Vodafone.

The SIM card costs 200-500 ALL (around 2-3 EUR), depending on plans you choose, it also has left money you can use to communicate or buy a package which is a good deal to not spend during your stay here.  

You will need to have a passport in order to buy the number.

Also if not buying a number be carefull with roaming usage. Some of our speakers have  been charged a lot previously.

 

SHOPPING

Bookshop

  • Adrion International Bookshop: Magazines and newspapers from around the world. English books available.
    • Location: Palace of Culture, Skanderberg Square (Center)
    • Phone: +355 4 223 5242
    • Hours: 08:30-21:30

 

 Malls

Coin department store

      • Location: Rr. Papa Gjon Pali II (ABA Business Center).

 

    • Galeria Mall: 50+ shops, bars and cafés
      • Location: Blv. Bajram Curri (European Trade Centre, behind the Pyramid)
      • Phone: +355 4 2254100
      • Hours: Daily, 09:00-20:00

 

    • Kristal Shopping Center: Centre with a Conad supermarket and a cinema complex
      • Location: Rr. Frang Bardhi
      • Phone: +355 4 4801028
      • Email: info@kristalcenter.com
      • Hours: 09:00-21:00

 

    • QTU (Qendra Tregtare Univers) shopping centre: Supermarket, electronics store
      • Location: Tirana-Durrës highway, km 6 (6.8km NW)
      • Phone: +355 4 380100 or +355 4 2380103

 

    • Tirana East Gate (TEG)
      • Location: Autostrada Tiranë – Elbasan, km 0
      • Phone: +355 4 2395000.

 

  • QTU City Mall
    • Location: Rruga Abdyl Frashëri
    • Hours: Daily, 09:00-22:00

 

 

SURVIVAL VOCABULARY

  • Hello –> Ç’kemi (read: chkemi)
  • How are you? –> Si je? (read: Cee ye?)
  • What’s you name? –> Si quhesh? (read: Cee chuhesh?)
  • I want to go to –> Dua të shkoj tek (read: Da tuə shkoy tek)
  • How much does it cost? –> Sa kushton? (read: Sa kushton?)
  • Thank you! –> Faleminderit! (read: Faleminiderit)
  • Cheers! –> Gëzuar! (read: Gəzuar)
  • Please –> Të lutem (read: Të lutem)
  • Notes
  • In the Albanian alphabet, each letter corresponds to a spoken sound and you would write everything just as you hear it.
  • The letter Ë/ë represents the same sound as the German Ö/ö.
  • USEFUL LINKS
  • Municipality of Tirana: tiran.gov.al
  • More options about hotels and places to stay: booking.com
  • EMERGENCY NUMBERS
  • Emergency number – 112
  • Road Police – 126
  • Ambulance – 127
  • Fire Department – 128
  • Law Enforcement – 129