The best part about Albania’s capital city of Tirana is that there is so much to do. A very walkable city with inexpensive public transportation options, you could easily keep very busy in Tirana for a week. There are attractions everywhere, so Tirana isn’t a city that you’ll get bored in.
We loved the vibrant architecture all around Tirana as we strolled between destinations. It just puts you in a great mood! It’s also great how Tirana’s attractions highlight Albania’s history. With communism dominating the country up until recently, there are countless historical attractions to check out.
After exploring the top attractions that Tirana has to offer, here are our 11 top favorite attractions in Tirana, Albania.
1. “The Cloud” Art Installation
We love seeing beautiful art as we travel, but sometimes it can be a bummer to have to pay admission to a museum. Tirana has a solution to that problem, commissioning “The Cloud” art installation in the city center. It’s completely free to visit, and it’s some of the coolest modern art we’ve seen in Eastern Europe.
This interactive piece of art was named the cloud because from far away, it really does look like a cloud! Composed of white cubes stacked on top of one another, you can climb to the top of this art for an even better view.
2. The Bunk Art Museums
Situated in nuclear bunkers from Albania’s communist era, the Bunk Art museums document one of the most troubling periods of Albania’s history. We visited Bunk Art 2 since it is located very close to Skanderbeg Square.
Bunk Art 2 is a top attraction in Tirana, reconstructing the history of the Albanian Ministry of Internal Affairs from 1912 – 1991. You learn a lot about the “Sigurimi”–the political police responsible for doling our harsh persecution under the reign of Enver Hoxha.
3. Skanderbeg Square
Skanderbeg Square is the central point in Tirana’s city center, and probably its most popular attraction. This massive pedestrian walking area is best known for “Monumenti i Gjergj Kastriotit.” This statue features Albanian military commander Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu, who led a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire.
But there is way more to Skanderbeg Sqaure than this statue; there is also an opera house, the National Museum of History, the Et’hem Bey Mosque, and even a carousel. With so many things to do in Skanderbeg Square, leave yourself plenty of time to browse around this bustling part of town.
4. The National History Museum
The National History Museum is an excellent way to learn more about Albania’s history and culture. Located centrally in Skanderbeg Square, this museum features a beautiful mural on the front of the building that depicts Albania through the ages.
5. The Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral
The Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral is a beautiful church located in Tirana’s City Center. The church features beautiful stonework, and allows visitors to enter to see the church’s interiors. It’s well worth to see this beautiful piece of architecture in person.
6. The Regency Casino
When we first walked by the Regency Casino, our first thought was: “Wow, what’s in that building? It’s so cool!” We were really surprised when we found out it was a casino. But there’s so much more than gambling here. There are also great restaurants and shopping, and a beautiful fountain pond out back.
7. The Pyramid of Tirana
The Pyramid of Tirana offers concrete evidence of Albania’s history. Constructed in 1987 shortly before the fall of communism, the Pyramid of Tirana now has a somewhat controversial presence in Tirana. The city is torn over whether or not to destroy it; some wanting it to serve as a monument to remember that painful period, others wanting it destroyed since it was built to honor dictator Enver Hoxha.
Today, the Pyramid sits in disarray. Windows are shattered, walls are graffitied, and shards of glass are all over the ground. History aside, it is definitely a cool building to look at. And while you can’t go inside, you can admire the building from outside.
8. The Tirana Sign
The Tirana sign is the perfect place to document your visit to Albania’s capital. Located in Rinia Park, stop by this beautiful artistic sign to take a picture. It even has a red heart that you can sit in! This is an easy attraction to stop by and enjoy. Whether you take a picture then continue on or enjoy the nearby park benches, it’s worth a visit.
9. The Dajti Ekspres Cable Car
The Dajti Ekspres Cable Car offers the most breathtaking views of Tirana. Located a short 15 minute bus ride from the Tirana city center, enjoy the relaxing cable car ride up Dajti Mountain. Once at the top, you can enjoy drinks or food at the bar/restaurant.
10. Great Mosque of Tirana
The Great Mosque of Tirana is currently being constructed and when completed, it will be the largest mosque in the Balkans. With room for 5,000 people to pray at one time, this gift from the Turkish government is well worth a visit. We walked by it and it was still undergoing construction, but you could see how massive and beautiful it will be when it is done.
11. Tirana Castle
The Tirana Castle is a historic fortress that has now been turned into an area with shopping, restaurants and art. This bustling area is a great place to take a night time stroll, plus there is live music playing a lot of the time. It’s a great attraction to visit when you feel like people watching, shopping, or grabbing a bite to eat.
Tirana is a city that has so much life to it. Everywhere you go, the streets are busy and restaurants and shops are brimming with people. We could easily have spent another week here checking out more attractions, but a week was definitely enough time.
As you check out the top attractions that Tirana has to offer, remember Albania’s difficult history. This is a country that experienced a lot of pain under communism, and they are still healing their wounds. Many attractions, like the Pyramid of Tirana, are very controversial because they open raw wounds for people.
Have an amazing time exploring all the Albania has to offer! Questions? Drop us a comment below.
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