Krujë: The Complete Guide

Kruja Albania
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Chris Walts

Krujë is a town 20 km north of Tirana in Albania. The name of the town comes from the Albanian word for the spring which is kroi, krua as the spring within the castle provided its inhabitants with water. Krujë was a quaint medieval village, situated between mountain peaks and the lush valley that extends all the way down to the Adriatic coast.

It was the home of the national hero Skanderbeg who led the resistance to the Ottoman invasions of the fifteenth century. Most visitors head towards the castle via the cobbled street of the Ottoman Bazaar, which is thronged with souvenir sellers. The castle houses the History Museum and the Ethnographic Museum.

The town is the northernmost stronghold of the Bektashism and has server interesting Bektashi sites including a teqe within the castle and one dedicated to the Sufi saint Sarı Saltık, a 13th-century Alevi Turkish dervish, in the mountains above the town.

History of Krujë

Krujë has been fortified since ancient times – with ceramics and coins being found that date back to the 3rd century BC.

Krujë was inhabited by the Illyrian tribe called the Albani, who were enslaved by the Romans Republic during the Illyrian Wars.

The middle-sized fortress gradually expanded into a town between the sixth to the ninth century AD. In 1190 Krujë became the capital of the first autonomous Albanian state and later the capital of the Kingdom of Albania.

During the late 13th and early 14th century Krujë was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, it was then liberated in 1443 by Skanderbeg, who successfully defended it against three Ottoman sieges until his death in 1468.

It was also here that in 1906 there was a local revolt against the Ottoman Empire which was followed by the 1912 Declaration of Independence of Albania. During the Italian occupation Krujë was the center of partisan activities and the resistance leader Abaz Kupi.

Visiting Krujë for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Krujë on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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7 Best places to See in Krujë

This complete guide to Krujë not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Krujë and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Krujë Bazaar

Bazaar In Kruje
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Anneli Salo
Kruja Bazaar is one of the oldest in Albania with the original marketplace dating back over 400years. The Ottoman-style bazaar stretches all the way from middle of Krujë  to the Krujë  Castle. It consists of a single cobblestone street along which all sorts of vendors sell their goods from wooden stalls. It is an ideal place […]
Location: Bazar of Kruja, Rruga Albanopolis, Kruja, Albania | Distance: 1.10km
Visiting Krujë Bazaar

Skanderbeg Museum

Muzeum Skanderbega W Kruji 2
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Marcin Konsek
The museum opened in 1982 and is located in Krujë Castle. Since opening the museum has been the most visited places in the country. The building was designed by the daughter and son-in-law of Enver Hoxha with inspiration from Aleks Buda, the then chair of the Academy of Sciences of Albania. Upon entering the museum […]
Location: Rruga Kala Krujë District Albania | Hours: 9am-2pm & 4-7pm Mon-Sat, 9am-7pm Sun May-Sep, 9am-1pm & 3-6pm Tue-Sun Oct-Apr | Price: 200 lekë | Distance: 1.30km
Visiting Skanderbeg Museum

Krujë Castle

Kruje From Kruje Castle
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Avi1111
Krujë Castle is a castle which looks over the town of Krujë, and was built in the 5th or 6th century. During the early period of Ottoman rule in Albania the local populace rebelled and in 1432–36 and there were a series of clashes between Albanian and the Ottoman rulers. Krujë Castle was held by […]
Location: Rruga Kala Krujë District Albania | Hours: 9am-6pm | Price: 300 lekë | Distance: 1.30km
Visiting Krujë Castle

Kruja’s Medieval Hammam

Kruja Hamam
©
Kruja’s medieval hammam is located in the edge of southwest of the castle, near the Dollma’s Tekke. The hammam was restored in 2015 with aid from a Swedish foundation. Built in the end of 15th century and in the beginning of 16th century, Hammam of Kruja is the oldest in Albania. This bath house consists […]
Visiting Kruja’s Medieval Hammam

The Kruje Ethnographic Museum

Toptani House Ethnographic Museum Kruja Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Klejdi Shtrepi
The Ethnographic Museum is a museum of Albanian social life, customs and traditions. The museum is located in an authentic 19th-century house owned by the affluent Toptani dynasty within the Kruje castle complex. It includes a total of 15 rooms which tell of work and family life in the town of Kruja. The show starts […]
Location: Rruga Kala, Krujë, Albania | Hours: 9am-7pm daily May-Sep, to 4pm Tue-Sun Oct-Apr | Price: 300 lekë | Distance: 1.40km
Visiting The Kruje Ethnographic Museum

Dollma Teqe

Dolma Tekke Kruja
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Martin Furtschegger
At the bottom of the castle complex there are the remains of the old citadel hamam or Turkish bath, now converted to a church as well as the Dollma Teqe. The Dollma Teqe is a small Bektashi temple originally built in 1789. This beautifully decorated teqe has been maintained by the Dollma family since it […]
Visiting Dollma Teqe

Albanopolis (Zgërdhesh)

Zgërdhesh, Kruja, Albania 01
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla aka Attila Terbócs
Zgërdhesh is an archeological site in Albania near of the modern town of Kruja, in a village called Halilaj. The Illyrian settlement was founded in the 7th or 6th century BC and flourished for the next 3 centuries, before being abandoned in the 2nd century BC. It was built on the hill like most Illyrian […]
Location: Zgerdhesh, Fushe Kruje Albania | Distance: 5.10km
Visiting Albanopolis (Zgërdhesh)

Best Time to Visit Krujë

Krujë, located in central Albania, is a historic town famous for its role in Albanian resistance against the Ottoman Empire and for being the birthplace of Albania’s national hero, Skanderbeg. Here’s a guide to the best time to visit Krujë:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is a wonderful time to visit Krujë as the weather starts to warm up, and the surrounding countryside comes alive with blooming flowers and lush vegetation. This season is ideal for exploring Krujë’s historic landmarks, such as the Krujë Castle and the Skanderbeg Museum, without the summer crowds. Spring also offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking in the nearby mountains and visiting the traditional markets in the town center.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is peak tourist season in Krujë, with warm temperatures and long sunny days. This is the best time to enjoy outdoor attractions such as the Ethnographic Museum and the Old Bazaar, as well as cultural events like the Krujë Festival, which celebrates Albanian folklore and traditions. Summer also brings a variety of street performances, craft fairs, and culinary festivals to Krujë. However, be prepared for higher temperatures and larger crowds during this time.
  3. Fall (September to November): Fall is another great time to visit Krujë, as the weather remains pleasant, and the summer crowds begin to dissipate. This season is ideal for exploring the town’s cobblestone streets, shopping for traditional handicrafts, and sampling local cuisine at the town’s restaurants and cafes. Fall also offers opportunities to experience Krujë’s cultural heritage through music, dance, and theater performances, as well as to participate in grape harvesting and wine making activities in the surrounding vineyards.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Krujë is relatively quiet, with cooler temperatures and fewer tourists. While some outdoor activities may be limited during this time, winter offers opportunities to explore indoor attractions such as the National Ethnographic Museum and the Dollma Teqe, a historic Sufi shrine. Winter is also a great time to experience Krujë’s traditional cuisine, including hearty dishes like tave kosi (baked lamb with yogurt) and qumeshtor (cornbread pudding).

Ultimately, the best time to visit Krujë depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and activities. Whether you’re interested in history and culture, outdoor adventure, or culinary experiences, Krujë has something to offer for every traveler throughout the year.

Average Temperatures in Krujë

  • January 13°C 16
  • February 15°C 14
  • March 17°C 14
  • April 22°C 11
  • May 25°C 10
  • June 31°C 6
  • July 34°C 3
  • August 33°C 3
  • September 31°C 11
  • October 25°C 15
  • November 19°C 19
  • December 15°C 16