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3 Days in Tirana – A Tirana Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

Tirana is not somewhere that usually features on most people’s itineraries.

It isn’t the glitziest of destinations, and Albania in general is not the easiest country to travel around.

What’s more, the infrastructure in Tirana is pretty poor, things don’t always run on schedule and it isn’t yet used to catering to hordes of international tourists.

However, with its vast array of things to see and do, not to mention it’s budget-friendly nature, Tirana is a great European city break.

I’ve visited Tirana several times, and each time, I’ve discovered new things to love about the city.

With all of this in mind, I decided to put together this Tirana itinerary and guide to the city, that will cover the best things to do in Tirana, as well as help you to plan your visit and hopefully answer any questions you may have.

So, with all that being said, let’s get into it.

Tirana Tours

If you’re short on time or don’t want to read the whole itinerary, I’ve compiled a list of the top-rated Tirana tours and activities on GetYourGuide, which is the platform I always use to book tours when I travel.

Here are tours and activities I recommend in Tirana:

Tirana Self-Guided Audio Tour

Tirana History and Street Food Tour (museums included)

Tirana Food Tour (with breakfast and lunch)

Tirana Pub Crawl with Shots

Traditional Albanian Cooking Class

A Tirana Itinerary – Discover the Edgy Capital of Albania

What is Tirana like?

Albania is a mystery to most people, so you’d be forgiven for wondering what to expect when visiting Tirana for the first time.

First things first, Tirana is a pretty walkable city, and you can walk from one side to the other in 20 minutes or so.

It is a lively city that never seems to sleep, and you’ll find that the coffee shops are still full at 11:00 pm!

Tirana is also a city of contrasts.

Old men sit in the park smoking and playing chess with one another as business people hurry past wearing designer clothes and expensive watches.

Mercs with blacked-out windows cruise the narrow, potholed streets, snaking their way past the dilapidated buildings and the men grilling corn on the cob on every corner.

What used to be drab communist apartment buildings have been painted in all the colours of the rainbow to make the city a happier place to live, and there is a huge golden carousel on the main square, which kids run around while their parents socialise.

tirana albania
Tirana has lots of colourful buildings

If you like your coffee, you’ll be pleased to know that café culture in Tirana is booming, with more coffee shops per capita than anywhere else in Europe!

Tirana is also a very secular city.

You see, while Albania is technically a Muslim country, the call to prayer is really the only thing that feels remotely Islamic in Tirana.

The women don’t cover their hair, and the men drink and smoke to their heart’s content.

In fact, as my Albanian friend told me, ‘You should never go into the mosque drunk, but I’ve never been in there sober!’

Does all of this sound a bit weird and wonderful?

It should, because that’s exactly what Tirana is.

How many days in Tirana?

So, you’re probably wondering how long to spend in Tirana.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this, but I recommend booking a minimum of 3 days in Tirana to see what Albania’s capital has to offer.

If you want to spend longer then you certainly won’t be bored, but 3 days in Tirana is enough to see all of the main Tirana attractions.

What to do in Tirana in 3 days

Ambling round, drinking coffee and finding cafes full of hearty Balkan food are the kind of simple pleasure that Tirana lends itself to nicely, but if you’re determined to put your tourist hat on and explore, there are definitely a plenty things to do in Tirana.

I’ve put together a Tirana itinerary that assumes you are spending 3 days in Tirana.

It will allow you to explore the main things that the city has to offer without feeling too rushed, but if you only have 2 days in Tirana, you will still be able to squeeze most of these things in.

If you have 4 days in Tirana, I have included some fun tours that you can do at the end of this article that will allow you to see even more of Albania.

If you want a more in-depth guide about all of Tirana’s attractions, then check out my post on 23 Quirky Things to Do in Tirana.

tirana attractions
Skanderberg Square, the main square in Tirana

Day 1

Pazari i Ri

After you’ve checked into your accommodation, one of the first places to visit in Tirana is the quirky and colourful Pazari i Ri, which translates to ‘New Market.’

Here, you can find fresh fruit and vegetables, local street food such as pickled green tomatoes and fresh figs, plus an abundance of Albanian souvenirs.

Pazari i Ri is also home to dozens of coffee shops, bars and restaurants and you won’t be stuck for somewhere to find a bite to eat.

This was the first thing that I did when I visited Tirana for the first time, and it was a great introduction to the vibe of the city.

You can find Pazari i Ri at Rruga Hoxha Tahsin, Pazari i Ri, Tirana (Google Maps link).

pazari i ri
Pazari i Ri, Tirana

Skanderberg Square

Next, make your way down to the city centre and admire Skanderberg Square, the main plaza of Tirana.

Between 2008 and 2011 the mayor, Edi Rama (who is now Prime Minister), commissioned a total restoration of the square in order to tidy up the city and make it feel more ‘European.’

Using paving stones from all over Albania they created this 40,000 square metre square, which is very slightly sloped (2.5%) up in the shape of a pyramid.

There are a few things to see on Skanderberg Square, including a fountain, a huge statue of Skanderberg himself, and some gardens surrounding the square. 

You will also find the National History Museum of Albania, the Opera House, and the golden carousel I mentioned earlier!

While you’re in the area, make sure to puzzle over The Cloud.

Reja, or ‘The Cloud’ is a popular selfie spot and modern art installation designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.

It’s also an open-air cinema venue, as well as being a popular hangout for young Albanians.

Skanderberg Square tirana
The National History Museum in Skanderberg Square

Sample some traditional Albanian food

For dinner, head to Tek Zgara Tirones, for huge portions of meat, vegetables, salads, beans and goat’s cheese at rock bottom prices, with super friendly staff to boot.

This place was recommended to my boyfriend and I by the owner of our hostel, and we ended up eating here several times! The first time, we paid 14 EUR for a huge meal for two (with numerous plates each, tapas style), with bottled water and two beers – now that’s value for money!

Tek Zgara Tirones can be found on Kavaja St (Google Maps link).

Experience Tirana’s coffee culture

When you’re finished eating, have a stroll around the city and pick any one of the elegant coffee shops for your nightcap.

Although these places are technically coffee shops, they all serve beer, wine and raki, and are buzzing late into the night with music and glamorous locals all spending their evenings here.

Day 2

Free Walking Tour

On your first full day in the capital of Albania, get up early and head to Skanderbeg Square for a free walking tour!

I love free walking tours as they are a great way to find out some background information about the city that you’re visiting, as well as see most of the major attractions.

I especially recommend doing the walking tour in Tirana because Albania is a place with a long and rich history that most foreigners know little about.

I got a much deeper understanding of Tirana thanks to the free walking tour, which I’ve actually done twice!

The Tirana Free Walking Tour takes place at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm every day from the steps of the Opera House on Skanderbeg Square. It lasts for around 2 hours and is tip-based. Check out their website for more information.

Climb the Pyramid of Tirana

If your walking tour has piqued your interest about the history of Albania then why not climb the Pyramid of Tirana?

Opened in 1988 as a museum dedicated to Enver Hoxha, former Communist leader of Albania, the Pyramid of Tirana is now a cultural hub of start-ups, studios, and cafes.

When I visited Tirana, the pyramid was totally dilapidated and unused, but a recent restoration project has seen it dramatically transformed!

In the past, you had to be fairly steady on your feet if you wanted to climb up the slopes of the pyramid, but now there are steps, handrails, and even a lift at the back that will take you to the top!

The Tirana Pyramid is a great spot to hang out and watch the sunset from, and it’s one of the most interesting architectural structures you’ll ever see.

You can learn more about the Pyramid of Tirana here.

pyramid of Tirana
The Pyramid of Tirana back in 2020, before it was restored


In the park across from the Pyramid of Tirana, you can actually find a fragment of the original Berlin wall!

The fragment is part of a memorial, named PostBlokku, and here you will also find a mushroom-shaped bunker and some concrete pillars from a former forced labour camp.

The memorial is the combined work of writer and former political dissident Fatos Lubonja and painter Ardian Isufi, and is definitely worth checking out while you’re in the area.

Visit one of Tirana’s museums

Next, head to either Bunk’Art 2 or the House of Leaves Secret Surveillance museum.

Bunk’Art 2 is a former nuclear bunker which has been transformed into a history museum about Albania’s Communist past.

It is the smaller of the 2 Bunk’Art museums, and worth paying a visit if you have a couple of hours to spare.

The House of Leaves museum is in the building that temporarily housed Gestapo during Albanian occupation in WW2, and it provides an eerie look into what secrets the building holds and methods of secret surveillance used on Albanian citizens in the past.

bunk'art 2 tirana
The entrance to Bunk’Art 2

Fine dining in Tirana

For an upscale dining experience, head to Rozafa Sea Food.

With white glove service, a stunning outdoor terrace, and an ever-changing seasonal menu, you can’t go wrong with Rozafa.

I enjoyed a very shrimpy dinner of shrimps baked with garlic, followed by spaghetti with shrimp, while my boyfriend chose the fish he wanted from the day’s catch.

Rozafa Sea Food is a little pricier than other Tirana restaurants, but more than worth it, and still less than you’d pay anywhere else.

You can find Rozafa Sea Food at Ruga Luigj gurakuqi 2 (Google Maps link).

Experience Tirana’s nightlife in Blokku

When you’re done, head to the hipster area of Blokku to experience Tirana’s nightlife.

Blokku is full of quirky cocktail bars, and while it is definitely more expensive than other areas of Tirana, it’s worth going for a night to party with the Tirana locals.

One of my favourite bars in Tirana was Hemingway Bar, a cosy cocktail bar with live jazz music that sits just outside of Blokku (Google Maps link).

You could also take part in a Tirana pub crawl if you want to meet new people and have a crazier night – I love pub crawls, so I always recommend them!

Day 3


For your final day in Tirana, you’re heading out of the centre to the main Bunk’Art museum.

Bunk’Art museum is a 20-minute bus ride from the city, and is another museum dedicated to the history of Communism in Albania.

However, with 106 rooms and 5 storeys deep underground, this anti-nuclear bunker is stuffed to the gills with information about Enver Hoxha’s life, with lots of interactive exhibits to keep you occupied.

You could very easily spend the entire day in Bunk’Art!

Here’s a Google Maps link to the museum.

Dajti Ekspres cable car

After you’ve got your fill of history, walk the 10 minutes to the Dajti Ekspres cable cars, where you can take the longest cable car ride in the Balkans to the top of Dajti Mountain!

There are a few restaurants and lots of hiking trails and other outdoor activities up there so leave yourself some time to make the most out of your trip!

Where to stay in Tirana

Tirana Hostels

My favourite hostel in Tirana is Trip’n’Hostel – I’ve stayed there twice, and it is the place to be if you’re a backpacker looking to meet people in Tirana.

Not only are the owners lovely, but the hostel also has its very own microbrewery.

Breakfast is free and cooked to order, there is a lovely garden outside (complete with cats and a tortoise!) and it is also a super sociable hostel, making it easy to meet people as a solo traveller.

trip'n hostel tirana
With Speedy the tortoise at Trip’N!

Another Tirana hostel that I’ve heard great things about is Tirana Backpacker Hostel.

They offer free breakfast, vegan dinners and have a huge backyard with hammocks where you can relax and hang out.

Tirana Backpackers is still a sociable hostel but not as much of a party hostel as Trip’N.

Tirana Hotels

When it comes to cheap hotels in Tirana, Center Elite Tirana is the best all-rounder there is.

At the time of writing, a double room was just 20 EUR and it is smack bang in the centre of the city (as the name would suggest).

This 2-star hotel has private balconies, room service, a currency exchange service and 24-hour front desk, with English-speaking staff available to answer any questions you may have.

All rooms come with towels, slippers, flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, a hairdryer, toiletries and an electric kettle, so all your basic needs are covered.

If it’s a mid-range hotel you’re looking for, the 4-star Hotel Boutique Restaurant Gloria pairs style and comfort with affordability (a double room was 40 EUR at the time of writing).

Price includes breakfast and there is also a wonderful restaurant and bar in the building if you don’t fancy going far.

The 5-star Maritim Hotel Plaza Tirana is the perfect choice if you want a high end hotel.

The Maritim is where you go to indulge, and with a spa centre, sauna, hot tub and high end restaurant, you’ll have no problem doing just that.

It is situated right in the centre of the city, just a few steps away from the Clock Tower and Skanderberg Square.

Is Tirana safe?

Despite Albania’s reputation, Tirana is incredibly safe.

Pickpocketing and random acts of violence are practically unheard of in Albania, and perhaps because the country is so unused to tourism, locals are more likely to help you out and ask questions about where you’re from than they are to try and scam you.

While the Albanian mafia is very much alive and kicking, their crimes don’t affect tourists at all and Tirana honestly feels more like a sleepy town than a capital city.

With that said, if you’re planning a trip to Albania, then I strongly recommend buying travel insurance.

I NEVER travel without insurance, and I’ve seen too many others get landed with huge medical bills as a result of not having had insurance, that it’s something I’ll never neglect to buy. My recommendation for great travel insurance is SafetyWing.

You can read my article about safety in Albania here.


What is the currency in Albania?

The currency in Albania is the Albanian Lek (ALL). You cannot legally get it outside of Albania so you should either bring euros to exchange, or just use ATMs to withdraw money.

Can you use your debit card in Albania?

Although some places accept card payments, Albania is largely a cash society and you should always have some cash with you. ATMs usually take Visa OR MasterCard, not both. Never use Euronet ATMs! 

How many days in Tirana?

3 days is the perfect amount of time to see all of the main sights in Tirana without feeling too rushed.

Is Albania worth visiting?

YES, Albania is one of the most underrated countries in Europe with a stunning landscape, great cuisine and hospitable locals.

What is the best time to visit Albania?

The best time to visit Albania is in the summer, when the sun is out and everybody flocks to the beach. Tirana is probably best during the shoulder-season, when the students are still in the city.

Can you drink alcohol in Albania?

Yes, although Albania is technically a Muslim country, most people (especially men) drink alcohol and it is not frowned upon to do so.

What language do they speak in Albania?

The Albanian language is shqip and it is different to any language you’ve ever heard before! While many Albanians in hospitality speak English, speaking Italian is your best bet as many Albanians (even the older generations) speak Italian. Albanians also nod their head ‘yes’ when they mean ‘no’!

Budgeting for Tirana

Is Albania expensive?

Hell no!

Albania is an incredibly cheap country, and while the Albanian capital is more expensive than other parts of Albania, it is still an extremely affordable city for most backpackers.

Average cost of a bed in a hostel dorm room: 700-1100 ALL (7 – 9 EUR).

Average cost of a pint of beer: 150-200 ALL (1.22 – 1.62 EUR) but expect to pay double this in the hipster area of Blloku.

Cost of a meal in a mid-range restaurant: 300-800 ALL (3.44 – 6.50 EUR).

tirana albania
This meal was 2.50 EUR from a tiny café near my hostel!

Tirana Itinerary | Final thoughts

Tirana might not be the most beautiful city in the world, but it is a really good place to learn about Albanian history from the people who have lived through it, and there is also a thriving food and nightlife scene, with tonnes of fantastic restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

If you have longer than 3 days in Albania (and I definitely hope you do!) then be sure to head to Berat, Gjirokaster, and the beaches of the Albanian Riviera.

Are you planning a trip to Tirana? Let me know if you found my guide useful in the comments below!

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3 Days in Albania - Tirana Itinerary. I believe that Albania is one of the most underrated destinations in Europe, and if you only have 3 days in Albania then a visit to its capital of Tirana is a must. #balkans #albania # Tirana
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  1. Sounds like an amazing city to me, where you can just go and see where the wind takes you! Love going off the beaten track and this seems to be right up my alley. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thinking of doing a lot more travels to eastern europe.
    This gave me a lot of interest in travelling to Albania. Flights from Germany very cheap luckily Thanks to Wizzair 🙂

    Love from Germany,


  3. I recently visited Tirana and was pleasantly surprised by the city. The people were incredibly friendly and welcoming, and the food was delicious. The city has a rich history and there are many interesting sights to see, including the Skanderbeg Square and the Et’hem Bey Mosque. I also really enjoyed exploring the local markets and trying all the different types of food. Overall, Tirana is a charming city with a lot to offer and I would definitely recommend a visit.

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