Tirana ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฑ

Tirana, the capital of and the largest city in Albania has beautiful scenery as it’s surrounded by mountains and is probably a place that not many people would think of visiting. There is a vibrant atmosphere to soak up along with the wonderful hospitality that the locals have to offer and during the evening, Tirana gains even more energy from the opening of all its pubs, bars, restaurants and taverns. There are several day trips that can be taken from Tirana and it’s a fun place to go.

Atop a surrounding mountain is a statue named Mother Albania. This statue was erected during the communist era and was named after Mother Russia. In Albanian, things are given a gender and Albania is female. There is quite a lot left from the Communist period including wide pavements, hotels and different apartment blocks.

The currency is the Lek, which can only be exchanged inside Albania but now the Euro is also being used, which makes things easier.

There are lots of walking tours available in this city, some free. If you are visiting in summer, I would recommend doing one late afternoon, once the heat of the day has died down. For a way to book, have a look at the apps here.

Section of the Berlin Wall and more

This fragment was gifted to Albania as the Wall was built in 1961 and became a symbol of the isolation of the communist world. Next to the Wall fragment are concrete supports from the gallery of the Spac mine, which was a forced labour camp for political prisoners and there is a bunker, which looked after the main entrance of the residential block that housed Enver Hoxha and other senior Communist officials from 1945 – 1991.

Berlin Wall
Tirana
Tirana

The Cloud (Reja)

This modern art sculpture was designed by the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and sits on the small lawn outside the Museum of Modern Art. This piece was built for exploration and its possible to walk underneath and climb over it. It also seems to be used as a seating area for entertainment.

Not quite my thing!

Tirana

Pedonalja Street

This is the only pedestrianised street in Tirana and is full of cafes and restaurants with shaded outside tables. A great place to sit after exploring and have a cold drink or ice cream and to watch the world go by.

There are several artists selling their paintings at each end of the street and at one end is Tirana Castle. Apart from a cannon outside, I couldn’t see much of the castle and did wonder if the preserved part is now houses restaurants and shops!

Street

Skandenbeg Square

This square, named after a national hero is the largest square in the city and there is plenty to look at. Gjergj Kastrioti who was born in 1405, known as Skandenbeg was a military commander who successfully resisted the Ottoman forces from 1444 -1466, making him a hero throughout the Western world and of course, in Albania. When its sunny, there are plenty of places to sit and people watch and to enjoy the fountains or the view of the mountains.

Look out for –

  • Statue of Skandenbeg
  • Carousel
  • Fountains
  • I โค๏ธ t letters
  • Opera House
  • National Library
  • Red Building
  • Et’ hem Bey Mosque
  • Musicians
Carousel
Mosque
Tirana
Square
Letters
Red Building

Pazar i Ri

This lively bazaar is known as the New Bazaar and was established in 1939 after the trade activity from the Old Bazaar ceased. It is one of the largest markets in the city for meat, fish and vegetables but also sells old military and soviet artefacts, souvenirs, bric a brac, homemade honey, wooden utensils, rugs, herbs and spices and more.

It is fun to visit and is surrounded by plenty of cafes and ice cream stands if you just want to sit and watch the hustle and bustle.

Top Tip: Look out for the lovely arrangement of vegetables

Tirana
Bazaar
Bazaar

Tanner’s Bridge

Built in the 18th century during the Ottoman Empire, this bridge is the last Ottoman structure left in Tirana.

It used to be part of the Shรซngjergj Road that linked Tirana with the Eastern Highlands and spanned the Lanรก stream. It was by the area of butchers and leather works (hence the name) but became derelict in the 1930s when the stream was diverted. The bridge was restored around 18 years later and is now used as a pedestrian bridge.

Tanner's Bridge

Lake Bovilla

A great day trip from Tirana is through rural Albania and into the mountains to visit this beautiful man made lake that is now a major supplier of water to Tirana. The journey takes about an hour along pot holed roads, so be warned!

Steps have been built into the mountain so it is a relatively easy climb. However, there is still part of a rocky train to reach the steps and this involves a bit of climbing. The same for when you exit the steps for the viewing platform. It is a well worn trail, so be sure to wear trainers or proper walking boots and you’ll be fine.

Once at the viewing platform there is a large rocky area where you can get your breath back and admire the wonderful view. There is a rocky outcrop where a lot of people climb up to for photographs (stunning view) but please be very careful!

There is a restaurant situated at the top of the winding mountain road with a brilliant view for that cold drink after your hike.

Top Tip: Wear trainers/walking boots and take a hat!

Lake Bovilla
Tirana
Tirana
Restaurant with a view
Restaurant with a view

Interesting Architecture

I discovered that everywhere I walked in Tirana, I would find an interesting building or form of art work so keep an eye out!

Apartment Block
Apartment Block
Tirana
Vodaphone Tunnel
Tirana
Leaf Tower
Tirana
Street lamps?
Street art
Street Art

Where to eat

  • Antigiano – fantastic Albanian food, ambience and service. Need I say more?! I recommend the Saltimbocca alla Romana – fresh pork scallops with mashed potato
  • Amo Sushi – a fabulous Japanese restaurant but a slightly more expensive option! There is an all you can eat deal for approximately ยฃ21 per person.
  • Era Vila – Another traditional Albanian/Italian restaurant with amazing food, ambience and service plus lots of outside seating. No wifi!
Pork Scallops
Antigiano (my favourite!)
Tirana
Amo Sushi
Desert
Sushi Dessert
Era Vila
Starter of roasted vegetables with a yoghurt dressing
Era Vila
Salad with citrus dressing and roasted veal

C.King

Brit girl on a bummel. A solo female traveller accompanied by her camera, aiming to see as much of the world as possible and sharing what she's learnt along the way!

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