Tirana: The Complete Guide

Statue In Skanderbeg Square
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pudelek

Tirana is Albania’s busy and prosperous capital located in the center of Albania. It is enclosed by mountains and hills with Mount Dajt rising above it to the east.

Although founded in the 17th century it was not until it was designated as the capital it changed from an unimportant small town into a European capital. Italian influence during this period helped create the huge new square, named after the countries national hero Skanderbeg, and typical wide boulevards. The capital blends this 1920’s Italian architecture with Soviet Bloc cement buildings with the occasional remnant from its Ottoman days. Following the 1992 elections Tirana has also been well known for its brightly painted buildings and apartments.

The religious buildings in Tirana are a wonderful mix of Christian and Muslim places of worship, and there are a number of museums and historic buildings to visit. There is also a growing nightlife scene and Tirana is famous for its all night cafe culture.

If it gets too hot in the summer, the Adriatic sea is an easy drive away…

History of Tirana

Discoveries in the Pellumbas Cave, near to Tirana has proved that the area has been inhabited since the Iron Age.

The area was inhabited by several Illyrian before being annexed by Rome and became an integral part of the Roman Empire. The remnants of a 3rd century Roman villa were found in Tirana.

After the Roman Empire split into East and West in the 4th century, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I built the Fortress of Justinian.

While the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg, was fighting the Ottomans, Tirane was still a small village. Under Ottoman rule the village developed into a small town with a bazaar and several watermills. In 1614 Sulejman Bargjini, who was a local ruler, built the Old Mosque, a hammam or Turkish bath and a bakery in order to attract settlers and founded the existing settlement of Tirana.

It was chosen to be the capital of Albania in 1920 by a congress at Lushnjë.

Visiting Tirana 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 Tirana 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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34 Best places to See in Tirana

This complete guide to Tirana 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 Tirana and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Skanderbeg Square

Skanderbeg Square Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Leeturtle
Skanderbeg Square also known as Sheshi Skënderbej in Albanian, is the best place to begin to witness the daily events of Tirana. Until it was pulled down by an angry mob in 1991, Enver Hoxha’s 10m-high bronze statue stood here, watching over a square that was largely car-free. Now only Skanderbeg’s equestrian statue remains, deaf noise of screaming […]
| Hours: 24 Hour | Distance: 0.00km
Visiting Skanderbeg Square

Click here to read our blog about Travelling back to Tirana's Communist Past

Et’hem Bey Mosque

Et’hem Bey Mosque
CC-BY-SA-2.0 / Predrag Bubalo
On one side of Skanderbeg Sq, the Et’hem Bey Mosque stands. It was one of the few buildings spared destruction during the atheism campaign of the late 1960s. Closed under communist rule, the mosque reopened as a house of worship in 1991. Small and elegant, this is one of the city’s oldest remaining buildings. Take […]
| Hours: 08:00-11:00 | Distance: 0.00km
Visiting Et’hem Bey Mosque

Explore Tirana yourself with our self-guided walking tour!

Clock Tower In Tirana

Clock Tower Tirana Albania
Flickr / aXeLuS
The Clock Tower was built in 1822 by the Ottoman court poet Haxhi Et’hem Bey and for a long time it was the tallest building in the city. The tower was extended to 35m in 1928 when a German-made clock was also installed. The current clock is Chinese and it the fourth clock in the […]
Location: Rr Luigj Gurakuqi, Tirana, Albania | Hours: 9am-4pm Mon-Fri, to 2pm Sat | Price: 200 Lek | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Clock Tower In Tirana

Bunk'Art 2

Exterior Of Bunk Art 2, Tirane, Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Albinfo
Due to the success of Bunk’Art, on the outskirts of Tirana, the government decided to open another former top-secret nuclear bunker as a museum. The bunker, which was code-named ‘Objekti Shtylla’ the ‘Pillar’, in order to keep its construction undetected, is a 1,000-square-meter bunker with reinforced concrete walls up to 2,4 meters thick. It was […]
Location: Rruga Sermedin Said Toptani, Tirana | Hours: Sun - Sat 09:00 - 18:00 | Price: 500 Lek | Website | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Bunk'Art 2

Rruga Murat Toptani

Fortress Ff Justinian, Tirana
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ardit Ajdini
Rruga Murat Toptani is a beautiful walkway between the National Art Gallery and the Parliament Building, a pedestrianized street in the center of Tirana. The street houses Reja (the Cloud), a modern art installation, National Gallery of Arts and the Justinian Fortress Wall. The name of this popular artery comes from the Toptani family, which […]
| Website | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Rruga Murat Toptani

House of Leaves

Museum Of Leaves Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Jcornelius
The Hidden Surveillance Museum, also known as House of Leaves, so called because of the clambering plant covering its facade, is a historic museum situated in Tirana, Albania. This grand old building of the 1930s began life as the first maternity hospital in Albania, but within a few years its purpose took a sinister change. […]
Location: Rruga Dëshmorët e 4 Shkurtit, Tiranë. | Hours: Monday-Sunday 09:00 - 19:00 | Price: 700 lekë | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting House of Leaves

Albanian National Art Gallery

National Art Gallery Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla
This gallery traces Albanian painting’s relatively brief history from the early 19th century to the present day. There are also temporary exhibits displayed in the building – see the museum website for more details. Upstairs the art show a more a political dimension with some truly fabulous examples of Albanian socialist realism while downstairs there’s a small but interesting collection of 19th-century paintings depicting scenes from daily Albanian life. Don’t miss […]
Location: Blvd Dëshmorët e Kombit | Hours: 10am- 6pm Mon-Sat | Price: 200 lek | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Albanian National Art Gallery

Albanian National History Museum

National History Museum Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / OdettMelody
Dominating the square is the Albanian National History Museum. Above its entrance is a large mosaic mural called ‘The Albanians’ which shows victorious and proud Albanians from Illyrian times through to the Second World War. Albania’s largest museum holds most of the country’s archaeological treasures, including a replica of the massive sword of Skanderbeg. The […]
Location: Skënderbej Square, Boulevard Zogu I, Tirana , Albania | Hours: 9am-7pm | Price: 200 lekë | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Albanian National History Museum

REJA - The Cloud

Reja, Tirane Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Anila amataj
Sou Fujimoto’s art installation called ‘REJA’ or ‘The Cloud’ has recently moved to Tirana. The structure is made from white steel rods and resembles a soft cloud. Children and adults can you can climb on top or take a seat underneath and during the city’s warm summer evenings, the Cloud becomes an atmospheric stage for […]
Visiting REJA - The Cloud

Kapllan Pasha Tomb

Tirana Kapllan Pasha Tomb
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Albinfo
The Kapllan Pasha Tomb or in Albanian the ‘Tyrbja e Kapllan Pashës’ is a Muslim Türbe located in the center of Tirana.  A türbe is the Turkish word for  ‘tomb’, and this would be a Bektashi shrine marking the burial place of a Ottoman royal or other notable person. It was part of Sylejman Pasha […]
Location: Rruga 28 Nëntori, Tirana 1000 | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Kapllan Pasha Tomb

Palace of Culture

Palace Of Culture Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / ShkelzenRexha
The White Stone Palace of Culture, which has a theatre, shops and art galleries, is located east of Skanderbeg Square. The Palace of Culture includes the National Library of Albania and the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Albania. The Culture Palace was built over Tirana’s old bazaar and the historic mosque of Mahmud […]
Location: Sheshi Skenderbej 1000 Tirana, Albania | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Palace of Culture

Fortress of Justinian

Fortress Ff Justinian, Tirana
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ardit Ajdini
Justinian’s Fortress, is also known simply as the Castle of Tirana. The fortress is where the main east-west and north-south roads crossed at one time, forming the city’s heart as it was then. The history of the castle dates back to before 1300. The walls are six metres high and a remnant of the Byzantine […]
Location: Shëtitorja Murat Toptani, Tiranë, Albania | Hours: 07:00 - 02:00 | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Fortress of Justinian

Pyramid of Tirana

Piramid Tirana Albania
CC-BY-SA / Diego Delso
An Albanian monument to the Communism that nearly crushed the country is now a crumbling wreck. The Pyramid despite being a monstrously unattractive building, is one of the most complex and special buildings representing the city of Tirana’s historical, cultural and political discourse. The Pyramid project was carried out in a total of three years […]
Visiting Pyramid of Tirana

Café-Museum Komiteti

Komiteti Bar Museum Tirana
© 2024 Noamds Travel Guide
This café-museum is the labor of love of Arbër Çepani, who founded this part museum and part cafe bar.  Arbër has created a relaxed but popular hangout spot since its opening, four years ago. Komiteti is a celebration of daily life under the communist regime. The waiters who wear Communist era uniforms are happy to […]
Location: Rruga Fatmir Haxhiu Tirana Albania | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Café-Museum Komiteti

New Bazaar, Tirana

Olive Stall At Sheshi Avni Rustemi 2
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Gertjan R.
The New Bazaar or ‘Pazari i Ri’ is one of the oldest and most historical residential neighborhoods in Tirana, Albania. The name of the neighborhood stems from the local farmer’s marketplace which is situated in the area. The covered stalls sell variety of dried and fresh fruits, nuts and locally grown vegetables, fish and meat, […]
Location: Rruga Shenasi Dishnica Tirana Albania | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting New Bazaar, Tirana

Tanners' Bridge

Stonework Tanners Bridge Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla aka Attila Terbócs
This incongruous stone bridge dates back to the 1700s and is a fascinating well preserved part of the Ottoman history of Tirana. The bridge gives an impression of how the city went about its business 300 years ago. The bridge, built near the Tanners’ Mosque, was once part of the Saint George Road that linked Tirana with the […]
Location: Bulevardi "Jean D'Arc" Tirana Albania | Hours: Open 24 hours | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Tanners' Bridge

Postbllok - Checkpoint

Postblloku Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Kj1595
Postblloku – Checkpoint, is a memorial to Communist Isolation and commemorates the country’s political prisoners who suffered under the communist regime. It is situated on the main boulevard opposite the government building.It was conceived as an artistic installation and co-created by former dissident Fatos Lubonja and artist Ardian Isufi. Lubonja had suffered thirteen years in […]
Location: Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit, Tirana | Hours: 24 hours daily | Price: Free | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Postbllok - Checkpoint

Former Residence of Enver Hoxha

Enver Hoxha House The Former Residence Of Dictator Albania
Flickr / David Stenley
For decades, this small three-floor villa was home to Albanian leader Enver Hoxha. During this period, the whole area around Hoxha’s house in Albania’s capital city, Tirana, was sealed off by police and secret agents. Known as the Blloku, the district functioned as a kind of wall-less Kremlin in the heart of Tirana, reserved for […]
Location: Rruga Ismail Qemali | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Former Residence of Enver Hoxha

Palace of Congress

Palace Of Congresses In Tirane
CC BY-SA 4.0 / ErtonKashta
The Palace of Congresses  is a venue in Tirana which was developed architecturally by the daughter and son-in-law of Enver Hoxha. The Palace of Congress square is situated on the central ceremonial avenue of Tirana. While it no longer serves the function of government, it is used instead for various ceremonies and activities, including the […]
Location: Bulevardi Dëshmorët e Kombit Tirana Albania | Distance: 0.90km
Visiting Palace of Congress

Tirana National Museum of Archaeology

Archeological Museum Tirana
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Sailko
Opened in 1948 the museum displays the archaeological discoveries from within Albania. One of the most important museums in the country, the National Archaeological Museum in Tirana contains some of the most famous treasures of Albanian archaeology. The Museum houses exhibits such as ancient jewelry, to Roman statues, to vast clay pots covered in shellfish […]
Location: Sheshi Nënë Tereza, Tiranë, Albania | Hours: Everyday 09:00 - 16:00 | Price: 300 All | Distance: 1.00km
Visiting Tirana National Museum of Archaeology

Colorful Buildings of Tirana

Rainbow Building Tirane
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Sailko
Functional grey concrete buildings dominated the landscape across Tirane during the days of the Communist regime. When Edi Rama became the mayor of Tirana in 2000 things began to change. Prior to being mayor he was an artist, so with little money to repair the city’s rundown infrastructure, he decided the communist-era apartment buildings needed […]
Visiting Colorful Buildings of Tirana

Mother Teresa Square, Tirana

Mother Terasa Square Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Anila amataj
The square has the name “Mother Teresa” in honor of the Albanian Catholic nun and missionary. Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, now the capital of Northern Macedonia, to a Kosovar Albanian family. She left her home when was 18 years old, moved to Calcutta where she spent the rest of her life devoted to […]
Location: Bulevardi Dëshmorët e Kombit Tirana, Albania | Distance: 1.10km
Visiting Mother Teresa Square, Tirana

Mosaic of Tirana

Tirana Mosaic Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla aka Attila Terbócs
The Tirana Mosaic is thought to have been the remnants of a 3rd century Roman. Some of the ancient Roman mosaics discovered at the site have diverse geometrical patterns and depict poultry and fish. It is referred to by local archeologists as the ‘Villa rustica’ – which would usually refer to a villa set in […]
Location: Rr. Naim Frashëri | Hours: Open 08:00-17:00. Closed Sun. | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 1.30km
Visiting Mosaic of Tirana

Tirana Grand Park

Entrance Grand Park Of Tirana Albania
Flickr / Chris Walts
Just south of the prestigious district of Blloku is Tirana’s Grand Park, the top spot for fresh air and some exercise in the city centre. It covers 230 hectares and is surrounded by a large artificial lake which dates back to 1957–1958. The park contains and outdoor theater, which was rebuilt in 2018. Famously, the […]
Location: Rruga Herman Gmeiner, Tirana 1000, Albania | Hours: Open 24 hours | Website | Distance: 1.80km
Visiting Tirana Grand Park

Albanian Royal Palace

Palace Of Brigades Tirana
CC BY-SA 30 / Theoden sA
The Royal Palace is also known as the Palace of Brigades and the Presidential Palace. This is not to be confused with the other Presidential Palace, which is off the Mother Terasa Square, which is the ‘Office of the President’. The Royal Palace is currently the official residence of the president of Albania. Originally commissioned […]
Location: Rruga e Elbasanit , Tirana | Hours: Only on weekends - 09:00 to 16:00 | Distance: 2.10km
Visiting Albanian Royal Palace

Bektashi World Centre

Bektachi World Center Albania
Public Domain / Albinfo
The Bektashi World Centre is a religious complex and is the recognized home of the Bektashi order, in the north-eastern part of Tirana about 1 km from it’s center. It is made up of Teqe, museum and gift shop. The Teqe is adorned from top to bottom with marbled mosaics in the most breath-taking array of […]
Location: Rruga Agush Gjergjevica Tiranë Albania | Hours: 10:00-13:00, 17:00-19:00 | Website | Distance: 2.60km
Visiting Bektashi World Centre

Martyrs' Cemetery

Tirana Mother Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Julian Nyča
The Martyrs ‘ Cemetery is the final resting place dates for some 900 Albanian partisans who gave their lives fighting to free Albania from occupation during the Second World War. It is located on a hill overlooking Tirana, it the high point is the statue of  a 12m-high white Mother Albania. It represents the country […]
Location: Rr Elbasanit | Distance: 2.80km
Visiting Martyrs' Cemetery

Bunk’Art

Bunk Art Entrance Tirane Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / DenisaRucaj
This remarkable attraction brings the recent past of Albania into context. This fantastic converted Cold War bunker lies on the outskirts of Tirana. It is now a museum of history and contemporary art. Originally the bunker was built for the Communist-era politicians and military top brass of Tirana in the event of a nuclear war. […]
Location: Street Fadil Deliu, Tirana, Albania | Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm | Website | Distance: 4.30km
Visiting Bunk’Art

Dajti Ekspres Cable Car

Dajti Express Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / TorbjørnS
This cable car is a fun day out for the family and a great introduction to the city, taking you to the dramatic mountain on the eastern edge of Tirana by gondola. The cable car spans a kilometre, making it the longest in the Balkans, and climbs up to the Dajti Mountain National Park to […]
Location: Dajti Mountain, Tirana, Albania | Hours: Winter: 9am to 7pm - Open everyday except Tuesdays. Summer: 09:00 to 21:00 | Price: 800 Lek | Website | Distance: 4.40km
Visiting Dajti Ekspres Cable Car

Petrela Castle

Walk To Petrella Castle Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Klejdi Shtrepi
Castle Petrelë is a castle in Petrelë, central Albania. rich in history, The castle is rich in history with a tower built in the 6th century A.D and the rest of the castle being built by Eastern Roman emperor, Justinian I, the 15th Century. The castle is situated on a rocky hill above the town […]
Location: Rruga Petreles, Petrelë, Albania | Hours: 10am-8pm | Website | Distance: 8.60km
Visiting Petrela Castle

Dajti Mountain National Park

Dajti Mountain National Park Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Edvini
The National Park of Mount Dajti is located 26 km east of the capital. A narrow asphalted mountain road leads to Dajti Mountain onto an area known as Fusha and Dajtit. This was a summer camp location, but it is now home to many restaurants and radio and TV broadcasters. There’s an excellent view of Tirana and its plain from here which is why this place was named […]
Visiting Dajti Mountain National Park

Cave of Pellumbas

Cave Of Pellumbas Tirana Albania
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Albinfo
This day trip is designed for adventurous people who like to visit caves and the Mount Dajtit National Park around Tirana. The village of Pellumbas is located approximately 27 km southeast of Albania’s capital city, Tirana, along the Elbasani road. There’s a path from the village that meanders through the mountains for two kilometers before you […]
Visiting Cave of Pellumbas

Preza Castle

Preza Castle, Albania
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Albinfo
Preza Castle is a 15th century Castle ruin. It lies on the hill  northwest of the Preza town, between the plains of Tirana and Durrës in central Albania. It played a strategically important role for the city, especially in the Middle Ages, since it dominated the road from Durrës to Kruja in the Tirana plain. […]
Location: Prezë, Albania | Distance: 16.80km
Visiting Preza Castle

Qafshtame National Park

Qafe Shtame National Park
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla aka Attila Terbócs
Qafë-Shtamë or Qafshtame National Park was established in 1996 and is situated north of Tirana and east of Kruja. The park is named after the Qafë-Shtamë Road and has an area of 2000 hectares, with beautiful mountain scenery consisting mainly of pine forests and oak, several tiny lakes and major water springs. The park is […]
Visiting Qafshtame National Park

Best Time to Visit Tirana

Tirana, the capital city of Albania, is a vibrant and dynamic destination known for its eclectic mix of architecture, rich history, and lively atmosphere. Here’s a guide to the best time to visit Tirana:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is a fantastic time to visit Tirana as the weather is mild, and the city comes to life with blooming flowers and greenery. This season is ideal for exploring Tirana’s parks and gardens, such as the Grand Park and Rinia Park, and enjoying outdoor activities like walking tours and cycling. Spring also offers opportunities to experience local festivals and events, such as the Albanian Wine Festival and the Tirana Jazz Festival.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is peak tourist season in Tirana, with warm temperatures and long sunny days. This is the best time to enjoy outdoor attractions such as the Dajti Mountain National Park and the artificial Lake Tirana, as well as cultural events like open-air concerts and theater performances. Summer also brings a variety of street festivals, food markets, and nightlife options to Tirana. However, be prepared for higher temperatures and larger crowds during this time.
  3. Fall (September to November): Fall is another great time to visit Tirana, as the weather remains pleasant, and the summer crowds begin to dissipate. This season is ideal for exploring Tirana’s historic landmarks, such as the Skanderbeg Square and the Et’hem Bey Mosque, without the long lines. Fall also offers opportunities to experience local traditions and customs, such as grape harvesting and olive oil pressing, as well as to sample seasonal dishes made with fresh, local ingredients.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Tirana is relatively mild, 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 museums, galleries, and historic sites, as well as to indulge in traditional Albanian cuisine in cozy restaurants and cafes. Winter is also a great time to experience Tirana’s cultural scene, with performances, exhibitions, and events taking place throughout the city.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Tirana depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and activities. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventure, cultural exploration, or simply soaking up the local atmosphere, Tirana has something to offer for every traveler throughout the year.

Average Temperatures in Tirana

  • 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