Observation Bar, Tirana, Albania

A Two Day Tirana Itinerary + The Best Things to Do in Tirana

A Two Day Tirana Itinerary + The Best Things to Do in Tirana was originally published in 2024

Tirana is hands down the most interesting European capital city (according to me at least). The city is vibrant and bustling, featuring an eclectic display of architecture from communist-era blocks to modernistic buildings.

Tirana’s (you could say Albania’s in general) recent past is tumultuous, to say the least, marred in turmoil, ruled over by the brutal dictatorship under Enver Hoxha who essentially shut the nation off from the rest of the world, with a population who lived under some of the most extreme surveillance to have gone on, ever. 

But Tirana has risen from the ashes of its hermetic past under Enver Hoxha’s regime. A city featuring intriguing quirks that intertwine with its complex past. In this guide, find everything you need to plan the perfect two day Tirana itinerary.

Best Time to Visit Tirana

Dajti Ekspres Cable Car, Mount Dajti, Tirana, Albania

Tirana experiences four distinct seasons, so planning and packing accordingly is key. One advantage of visiting Tirana is that Albania’s tourism isn’t as bustling as other European destinations, offering some respite from peak-season crowds. 

For the best Tirana experience in terms of weather, aim to visit in the spring or early fall. Months such as April, May, June, September, and October boast mild weather ideal for outdoor exploration, without the sweltering heat of peak summer. 

Midsummer and winter are the seasons best avoided in Tirana owing to sweltering summertime temperatures and cold rainy storms in the winter.

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Where to Stay in Tirana

Enver Hoxha Pyramid, Tirana, Albania

With a diverse array of accommodation options available, you can likely find a place to stay in Tirana that meets your desired budget and location. 

Tirana boasts a plethora of hotels, hostels, and apartments spread throughout the city. However, the most sought-after accommodations are typically found near the historical center of Skanderbeg Square or within the hip Blloku neighborhood.

We booked ourselves into one of the private rooms at the Milingona City Center Hostel which was perfect, nestled into a neighborhood a short walk away from Skanderbeg Square. 

Those who want to stay in the middle of it all, right on Skanderbeg Square should book into the famous Tirana International Hotel.

Other great options in central Tirana include the Central Inn Hotel and the Oxford Hotel.

Getting Around in Tirana

Many of Tirana’s main attractions are within walking distance of the city center, making it a fairly easy city to navigate.

That said, a few attractions lie a bit outside Central Tirana, such as Bunk’Art 1 and Dajti Ekspres. You can still walk to them but if you’re trying to save some time you may want to consider a taxi or the public bus.

Buses in Tirana

Tirana’s public bus system features 12 routes that spiderweb across the capital. Bus fare is 40 Lek per ride, payable to the conductor on board. Check out the updated Tirana bus map to plan your route.

Taxi & Ridesharing Apps in Tirana

You can easily have your accommodation call you a taxi which will use a meter, or plan to use a taxi or ridesharing app such as:

Day One Tirana Itinerary

Spend your first day in Tirana getting to know the city’s historical landmarks and cultural treasures centered around the city center.

A great alternative to this do-it-yourself itinerary is to book a walking tour of Tirana to get to know the city better.

Skanderbeg Square

There’s no better place to start day one of your exploration of Tirana itinerary than at Skanderbeg Square, named after the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu. 

A plethora of Tirana’s historic sites can be found here at Skanderbeg Square including the Skanderbeg Monument, the Tirana International Hotel, the Palace of Culture, the National Opera, the National Library, the National Bank, the Ethem Bey Mosque, the Clock Tower, the City Hall, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Energy, and the National Historical Museum.

National History Museum

Albania National History Museum, Skanderbeg Square, Tirana, Albania

If you’re unfamiliar with Tirana’s or Albania’s history, the National History Museum is a great place to start to get more insight into the events that have shaped the nation. Exploring this museum early in your visit provides a foundational understanding of the city’s past, enhancing the significance of other attractions you’ll encounter throughout Tirana.

Situated prominently on Skanderbeg Square, the National History Museum is distinguished by its massive mosaic embellishing the communist-era structure. 

While not expansive, the museum’s exhibits comprehensively span the region’s history, from antiquity to the present day.

Palace of Culture

Tirana Opera & Ballet, Palace of Culture, Skanderbeg Square, Tirana, Albania

Situated on the east side of Skanderbeg Square, the Palace of Culture features the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Albania, the National Library of Albania, as well as shops and galleries. 

The Palace of Culture was constructed atop Tirana’s old bazaar and the historic mosque of Mahmud Muhsin Bey Stërmasi, with work starting in 1960.

For those wanting to catch a show at the opera house, tickets are generally affordably priced at under €5. Reservations can be made via email or social media channels.

Et’hemBey Mosque

Another impossible-to-miss landmark situated in Skanderbeg Square is the Et’hem Bey Mosque. Adorned with intricate frescoes both internally and externally, the mosque holds significant historical importance for Tirana, constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries. 

In 1991, Et’hem Bey Mosque served as the backdrop for a pivotal event when 10,000 Albanian citizens congregated outside its premises, symbolizing a collective voice that contributed to the downfall of the country’s communist regime.

Tirana Clock Tower

Adjacent to Et’hem Bey Mosque stands the Tirana Clock Tower, erected during Ottoman rule over Albania in 1822. The clock tower features a 90-step spiral staircase that visitors can ascend, offering panoramic views of Skanderbeg Square and the sprawling cityscape beyond.

Bunk’Art 2

Bunk'Art 2, Tirana, Albania

To understand the modern history of Albania, one must visit at least one bunker.

Under Enver Hoxha’s program of bunkerizimi (Shqip for “bunkerization“), over 700,000 bunkers were constructed across Albania, putting the ratio of bunkers at 5.7 bunkers for every square kilometer.

Sat just beyond Et’hem Bey Mosque and the Tirana City Hall is Bunk’Art 2, once a hidden bunker and network of underground tunnels utilized by the communist regime was transformed into a captivating museum and art gallery. Through its exhibits, the Bunk’Art 2 Museum delves into the challenges and oppression endured by the Albanian populace during the communist era and the history of the Albanian Ministry of Internal Affairs from 1912 to 1991.

This is the second museum of this kind in Albania, with Bunk’Art 1 sitting in another area of Tirana near Mount Dajti. Admission to Bunk’Art 2 is 700 Lek per person.

Pyramid of Tirana

Pyramid of Tirana, Tirana, Albania

From Bunk’Art 2, take a detour about 0.5 kilometers to the south bank of the Lana River to explore the Pyramid of Tirana. 

The iconic Pyramid of Tirana was originally intended to be a museum honoring dictator Enver Hoxha. Designed by Hoxha’s daughter Pranvera Hoxha and her husband Klement Kolaneci along with architects Pirro Vaso and Vladimir Bregu the Pyramid of Tirana was constructed just before the collapse of communism in Albania. 

It initially opened in 1988 as a museum to Enver Hoxha, but over the years, it has assumed a variety of identities and roles, including being converted to a conference center in 1991 and a brief stint as a NATO base during the Kosovo War in 1999. 

Presently, the Pyramid of Tirana is functioning as a youth IT center for creative technologies. In 2018, plans for the new project were unveiled to create a youth center focusing on computer programming, robotics, and start-ups under the name of TUMO Center Tirana. 

The pyramid was renovated and transformed by MVRDV, a Rotterdam-based architecture and urban design practice, and opened to the public in May 2023.

Pazari i Ri & Dinner at ODA

Pazar i Ri, Tirana Grand Bazaar, Tirana, Albania

Pazar i Ri (meaning “new bazaar” in Shqip) is a neighborhood just east of Skanderbeg Square, which derives its name from Tirana’s New Bazaar the neighborhood is situated around. Pazar i Ri dates back to 1931 but underwent extensive renovations in 2016.

Whether you just want to see the fruit and veg on display, shop communist-era antiques, sample and purchase Albanian raki and wine, or peruse locally made handicrafts the New Bazaar has something for just about everybody.

ODA restaurant, Tirana, Albania
Fergese, Albanian cuisine, ODA Restaurant, Tirana, Albania

Tucked away just a short distance from the main covered bazaar, ODA Restaurant’s garden is a great place to try a scattering of delicious traditional Albanian dishes this evening in an atmospheric setting.

Day Two Tirana Itinerary

Tanners’ Bridge

Tanner's Bridge, Tirana, Albania

Kick off your second day of this Tirana itinerary with a visit to a quaint historic gem in Tirana. Tanners’ Bridge, is an old stone structure dating back to the 1700s Ottoman era, offering a glimpse into the city’s past. 

Though it stands amidst modern city streets, its picturesque presence evokes the essence of Tirana’s bygone era, providing a subtle reminder of its historical roots.

Shëtitorja Murat Toptani

Shëtitorja Murat Toptani, Tirana, Albania

Continuing beyond Tanner’s Bridge, take a walk along Shëtitorja Murat Toptani, a busy pedestrian thoroughfare nestled in the heart of Tirana. 

Lined by leafy trees and flanked by shops, bars, and cafes, this street exudes a lively ambiance. 

You will pass the remnants of Tirana Castle as you make your way along Shëtitorja Murat Toptani, where additional shops are nestled within the city’s historic fortifications.

Reja – The Cloud

Reja- The Cloud, Tirana, Albania

As you reach the end of Shëtitorja Murat Toptani, you’ll encounter a strange art installation known as Reja the Cloud. Truth be told, I had it marked on my map to check out in Tirana but at first glance, I thought it was kind of ugly looking.

I am so glad curiosity got the best of both me and my friend Bekah and we continued to go inside of the Cloud. From inside, it’s one of the coolest art installations I’ve seen.

Designed by renowned architect Sou Fujimoto, Tirana is the second city to host this installation after London.

It’s also quite cool to check out at night, being lit up and in the summer, every night at 20:00 Reja the Cloud is used as an open-air cinema.

House of Leaves Museum

House of Leaves Museum, Museum of Secret Surveillance, Tirana, Albania

The Museum of Secret Surveillance, also known as the House of Leaves, is a must on any Tirana itinerary. The 31 room building was nicknamed the “House of Leaves”, because of the leafy plants that helped to conceal its facade. It finally opened its doors as a museum in 2017.

The museum is located in a modest brick two-story villa that dates back to 1931, originally serving as an obstetrics clinic in Albania and later was used by the Gestapo under the German occupation of Albania. After the war, it was used as the Sigurimi’s (state security’s) interception headquarters until the collapse of Albania’s communist regime in 1991.

The reconnaissance of Albania’s public by the state security’s intelligentsia was some of the most pervasive surveillance ever executed on a population. 

The Museum of Secret Surveillance features fascinating documentation of the country’s espionage against its population and foreign visitors during the totalitarian era of Enver Hoxha, with each room featuring a different story, group, or theme. Our favorite was the room displaying the extreme espionage on Ms. Vidovic and her “foul nest”. Vidovic was the wife of a Yugoslavian diplomat and in her free time became involved in black marketeering of Yugoslav-made mini-refrigerators. 

Bunk’Art 1

Bunk'Art 1, Tirana, Albania

Venture to the eastern outskirts of Albania’s capital to delve into a vast nuclear bunker designed to serve as a shelter for dictator Enver Hoxha and his innermost government officials. 

The impressive bunker features several floors with exhibits dedicated to the history of the Albanian communist army and the daily lives of Albanians during the brutal regime. 

From 2014 to 2016, the once-top-secret facility underwent extensive restoration and was transformed into a museum and art center. 

While we loved both the Bunk’Art Museums, we personally liked Bunk’Art 1 better and found it far less crowded, likely due to its distance from Central Tirana. 

Entry to Bunk’Art 1 is 700 Lek per person.

Dajti Cable Car

Dajti Ekspres Cable Car, Tirana, Albania

After exploring the underground maze of Bunk’Art 1, take a walk over to the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car to take a ride to the top of 1613 meter Mount Dajti for sunset. 

The ride sails over the eastern outskirts and rolling hills of Tirana, culminating at the upper cable car station with stunning views, restaurants, and activities to partake in. 

A roundtrip ride on the longest cable car in the Balkans will set you back 1200 Lek per rider.

Dinner at Picari Era and Explore Blloku Neighborhood

Postbllok Checkpoint Bunker, Tirana, Albania

Back to the bustling city streets, a venture into the vibrant neighborhood of Blloku is on order this evening. 

Renowned as the trendy hub of Tirana’s center, Blloku boasts an array of chic boutiques, cafes, and lively bars. There are heaps of great places to choose from in Blloku, but for those wanting to try some contemporary spins on Albanian fare should check out Picari Era Restaurant.

Fli, Era Picari Restaurant, Albanian cuisine, Tirana, Albania

With its abundant street art adorning the thoroughfares, like the captivating rainbow ribbon spanning buildings along Sheshi Uillson, wandering through Blloku is a delightful experience. 

Those who can’t get enough of Albania’s history can encounter the Former Residence of Enver Hoxha, the villa where the dictator resided until his passing in 1985.

Have a Third Day in Tirana?

Fli, Mullixhiu Restaurant, Albanian cuisine, Tirana, Albania

Have more time in Tirana? You likely will have no problem finding more to do. If you want to get a bit further away, it’s completely feasible to make day trips to Kruja, Durrës, Berat, or Shkodër.

Those wanting to stay closer to the city should consider doing the bunkers hike that strings together several bunkers on Tirana’s outskirts. 

Wrap up your third day in Tirana with a visit to verdant The Grand Park of Tirana and a dinner at Mullixhiu Restaurant for seasonal and locally sourced Albanian fare.

Best Restaurants to Try in Tirana

Ayla Baklava, Tirana, Albania

I’ve mentioned Picari Era, ODA, and Mullixhiu already in this two day Tirana itinerary but here are some others to keep on the list.

Zgara Te Pazari

Kofte, or grilled meat is a staple of Albanian and greater Balkan cuisine. Located near Pazari i Ri, Zgara Te Pazari serves up some of the best kofte in the city center.


Located on a hill, Kapelet serves up great Albanian food with a lovely view of Tirana. The restaurant gained its name from the hats that adorn its ceiling. 

Mrizi i Zanave

Mziri i Zanave is one of Tirana’s best restaurants, located on a farm on the city’s outskirts. This is your best bet for organic and farm-fresh meals with epic views of Tirana in the distance.

Ayla Baklava

Nestled in Blloku, Ayla Baklava serves up some of Tirana’s best baklava and kunafeh alongside glasses of chai and Turkish coffee.

Best Roof Top Bars in Tirana

Observation Bar, Tirana, Albania, rooftop bars Tirana

If you’re like me, you love a good rooftop bar with a view. Don’t get me wrong, I like to travel on a dirtbag budget, but something I am willing to splurge on is drinks with an epic aerial view.

Observation Bar

Observation Bar offers some of the best views over Tirana in the city center.

Lift Rooftop Bar & Restaurant

Located south of Blloku, Lift is another great rooftop bar and restaurant serving up some of Tirana’s best cocktails.

Sky Club Restaurant

Near the Pyramid of Tirana, sat atop the Sky Hotel, the Sky Club Restaurant is another perfect bar with panoramic views of the capital.

Have Any Questions About Visiting Tirana?

Ask in the comments section below.

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