Tirana Tirane Tirana Albania
A brief introduction of Tirana
The capital city of Albania is located 27km from the Adriatic sea with an average altitude of 110m above sea level. Tirana is surrounded by mountains and hills for most part. During King Zog 1 reign Italians were employed to redesign the city (1928-39).
Communism was installed in 1946 and with the help of the Soviets and Chinese the city expanded. Tirana is Albania's largest city and the main industrial centre of Albania.
Tirana has a humid subtropical climate with average temperatures ranging between 2 – 32 degrees Celsius.
The national census in 2011 showed Tirana to have a population of 750,000 residents.
Muslims, Christians and atheists make up most of the population.
Tirana can be reached by plane (the Mother Teresa International Airport), bus, rail and by the sea.
The language people speak is Albanian.
The currency they use is Lek however you can find many money exchange offices that are able to exchange the euro easily.
The prices of things are cheaper than some other European countries. For example the cost of 1litre of coke is 100lek, 1.5l bottle of water 50lek, large draft beer 150lek, espresso coffee 65lek, packet of smokes 250lek, 50grams of tobacco 450lek, bottle of cheap wine 250lek, salami sandwich 150 lek, a large pizza 400lek, sovalki 170lek, lemon 30lek, plum 20 lek, orange 50 lek and banana 40lek.
The locals like to drink beer, have a coffee, listen to music, have a nice meal together or socialise with some rakia. Generally speaking if you stay here for longer than 1 day and go to a local shop more than 1 time the shop owner will be pretty friendly to you.
If you make some local Albanian friends you will be able to find more about their culture and see they have the gift of hospitality.
A good way to do this is by using couch surfing Tirana. There are a lot of people who would be more than willing to show you the city or have a coffee or drink with you, thus enabling you to learn some first hand knowledge of Tirana's and Albania's culture.
If you want to stay for longer you can find some volunteer opportunities on the helpx website, workaway website or by word of mouth possibly starting by asking the locals at Tripnhostel if they know of any volunteer opportunities in Tirana.
Tirana is best explored on foot, however the city has bicycles you may hire and taxis available.
Some places to explore and things to do
1613m high and located in the east of Tirana.
It is a national park covering 3333ha of pine and oak forest.
Fauna includes wolves, gray bears, the mountain eagle and numerous species of fish.
Visitors can use an Austrian built cable car to reach a height of 1050m.
The cable car is closed on Mondays, however open Tuesday – Sunday 9am to 9pm and cost s700lek for a return ticket.
On a clear day you will see great views of Tirana.
The National History Museum in Tirana is Albania’s largest museum.
It includes all of Albania's history including: World war 11 and the Albanian resistance.
Albania's largest museum has a great mosaic at it's front showing Albanians marching.
The museum has many archaeological artifacts, a large memorial exhibition and a communist section.
The museum is located in the centre of the city and costs 200 Lek.
It is closed on Mondays but open Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 9am to 2pm.
Opening Hours Wednesday to Sunday 10.00 – 18.00 Last admission 17.40. Monday, Tuesday closed .
Tickets adults 200L seniors & students 100L disabled 100L.
Opened in 1954 has a permanent collection and a temporary collection of foreign artists and Albanian artists.
Spanning 7 centuries from the 13th century to modern times the collection of over 4,000 works of art represents Albanian cultural.
Piramida International Centre of Culture - Tirane
Enver Hoxha musuem was opened in 1988 and the pyramid shaped was designed by Hoxha's daughter and son in law.
1991 it became a exhibition centre, 1999 a NATO base and since 2001 used a TV channel broadcasting centre.
It was the most costly building during the communism regime.
It was originally made of white-marble and glass sloping walls however much of it has either been broken or stolen.
Sky Hotel - Tirane
Open from 7am to midnight daily the restaurant named sky club overs amazing views of the city of Tirana.
You should try to make it one of your first stops as it help orient you in the city.
The cost is a few euro or a few hundred Lek but the lift up has great music which makes it a worthwhile journey.
Grand Park - Tirane
A lovely walk in the south of Tirana about 15minutes walk from the city square.
It has a paved footpath for walkers and trees to get some fresh air.
The park is very popular with locals and doesnt cost any money to get in.
There is free gym equipment in the park and an artificial lake.
In the late afternoon you will find a lot of people and some small stalls in which you can buy some food such as street cooked corn or an ice-cream.
Et'hem Bey Mosque - Tirane
After taking 28 years to complete finishing in 1821-23 considered by many as Albania's most beautiful mosque. Here between prayer times you maybe able to take a guided tour or go and just take a look for yourself.
The design is quiet original and unusual for a mosque having many tree, bridges and waterfalls carved into its design.
The mosque was closed during communism times however was re-opened in 1991 at the beginning of the fall of communism in Albania. It is open 8am – 10pm in summer and 8am – 7pm in winter for visiting.
Clock tower - Tirane
The 1820's clock can be visited Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9am – 1pm and 4pm – 6pm. Its can be found behind the mosque.
It lets you see the people of Tirana in Skanderbeg Square living their daily lives from a different angle.
Usually you need to ask to be allowed into the tower and your allowed to stay for approximately 10mins.
Skanderbeg Square - Tirane
When you first arrive in Tirana this should be your first stop. It will help you navigate the city much easier.
Buy a map and you will see this is the centre of the city.
There are chairs to sit down and take a break.
Plenty of people passing by, the museum, opera house, mosque, clock tower and an amusement park for children are all located here.
There is a large roundabout with pedestrian crossing and some Albanian statues to check out.
It is a very clean area,has green grass and a nice feel about it.
Kinema Millennium - Tirane
A great cinema in a wonderful location boasting a nice area for a drink and relax before or after the movie. Formally King Zog 1 residence you will be able to catch a movie before 1pm for 300 Lek and after 1pm for 500 Lek. The movies are usually screened in English with Albanian subtitles.
The movies are normally the current years films.
Fortress of Justinian - Tirane
A 6m tall Ottoman era 13th century wall can be easily be seen of the former Tirana castle.
The cost is free and is interesting architecture.
Probably constructed in 400-600AD in the Byzantine period the fortress of Tirana is important for antiquity.
You need to explore somewhat in this area to find the remains.
Orthodox Church of the Holy Evangelist - Tirane
The 3rd largest Orthodox Church in Europe was rebuilt in 2011.
It has many icons and nice architecture.
It was originally built in 1865 but was closed in 1967 during the atheism period in Albanian's history.
Catholic Church of Saint Marie - Tirane
Built in 1865 and closed in 1967 was re-opened in 1990's.
The Church has a mass at 7pm everyday an on Sundays at 9am and 7pm in Albanian.
There is a mosaic of Mother Teresa in the Church.