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Tirana, Albania’s present-day capital city is a small, beautiful city which will surprise you with wonderful sights and places to visit. For a person who has never thought of visiting Tirana or Albania at all, I was really surprised to see how much the city has to offer in terms of places to visit and things to do.
Tirana’s location gives a great opportunity for visitors to plan their trip ahead as well, as you can easily reach Rome by a ferryboat or the island of Corfu, one of the land borders of Albania. The weather in Tirana could be classified as temperate with a warm summer and cool winter.
Photo credits: Antonia Gerimpapazi
Tirana is not one of the most popular tourist destinations, but that is what makes the place even more desirable. You can discover nice places on your way and spontaneously in the moment. One of the most common places to visit in Tirana is the National History Museum, which is the largest museum in Albania and holds most of the country’s archaeological treasures, including a replica of Skanderbeg’s sword. The mosaic mural — Albania — on the museum’s facade is a showcase for Albanian proud dating back to World War II. All information is published in both English and Albanian, and it takes visitors on a chronological journey from ancient Illyria up until the present day.
Another place worth visiting in Tirana is Skenderberg Squar. Being the heart of Tirana, it is a large vibrant square full of spare full of all sorts of noisy life and it definitely is the perfect place to feel the pulse of the city. Most people choose to go to the nearest cafe or restaurant there and order either water or coffee for a drink. Considering the population and religion, it is not surprising that not many people drink alcohol, which adds to the clam and happy atmosphere there. One of the most famous restaurants is the Sky Bar, and it’s a great way to start your trip in Tirana. With its height it offers an amazing view of Tirana; however, I would recommend visiting it at night as a night view of Tirana is spectacular. Food in Albania brings together elements of Greek and Turkish cuisines. One very famous dish is Tabe Kosi, which contains both sheep and yogurt.
Having finished your lunch or dinner, you can proceed to Boulevard Deshmoret e Kombit – one of Tirana’s great boulevards built by the Italians. This wide boulevard leads up to Italy Square and you can get some lovely views all the way down to Skanderbeg Square. In the Italian square you can see a statue of Mother Teresa and also the Sheraton Hotel.
Photo credits: Antonia Gerimpapazi
You shouldn’t miss passing by the Albanian Parliament located on the street where all the parliaments are situated.
Later on you can visit the National Art Gallery, which combines a brief history of Albanian paintings spanning from the early 19th Century to the present day, in addition to temporary exhibits that are worth a look. Downstairs there is a small collection of 19th Century paintings of daily Albanian life, while the collection of art upstairs has a more political tone.
Once you are finished with your cultural visit, you can give way to the relaxing and fun part of your visit. Tirana offers a lot of fun such as cable cars rides, exploring the city by bike and visiting the Grand Park, Parku i Madh, or paying a visit to the largest stadium in Albania: Qemal Stafa.
Tirana may be a small city to start from, but as soon as you pay it a visit you will be surprised at how many interesting things you can find and how much you will enjoy it. Oh, and just one more thing — be careful not to nod when you want to accept something. You’d better give them a polite ‘’Yes, please!’’ as in Albania people take a nod for ‘’no’’ and a shake of the head for ‘’yes’’. Enjoy!
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