The Albanian capital of Tirana is one of the cheapest cities to visit in the Balkan Peninsula and Europe. With many attractions free of charge (or costing no more than 3-4 euros), the town is a budget traveler’s paradise. Read our tips to experience the best of Tirana at a reasonable price.
To save money once in Tirana, take the local bus Rinas Express from the Tirana Mother Teresa Airport to the city centre, which terminates near the National Historical Museum of Albania, located in Skanderbeg Square, and takes 20 minutes for just 250 lekë (2€). A taxi is more expensive, costing about 2,500 lekë (almost 20€) one way, so avoid it if you can and use the bus.
Where to stay
The best area to stay in Tirana is the city center, so you can easily navigate the city without having to rely on the often unreliable public transport. Choose a hotel or a hostel: hotels aren’t expensive, but if you want to save money and get a much more social experience book a hostel room. One of the best in town is Milingona City Center, a colorful and lively hostel located just few steps from Pazari i Ri, the new market of Tirana.
Milingona City Center, Villa Nr.11,, Rruga Vehbi Agolli, Tiranë, Albania, +355 69 207 0076
Where to eat
For cheaper prices, avoid the fancy restaurants of Blloku, Tirana’s coolest neighborhood, and instead look for traditional places to eat, especially those frequented by locals that offer typical Albanian cuisine. The best in town is Oda, a small restaurant that serves traditional gastronomy such as fërgesë (cottage cheese with peppers), salçe kosi (yogurt sauce), and other delicacies for less than 10€ per person. For affordable snacks or sweets, don’t forget that Albanian street food is cheap and extremely tasty, so buy a byrek, a souvlaki or a trilece (a cake made with milk and cream) in one of the many bakeries that line the streets for less than 1€.
Where to drink
Drinking is almost always cheap in Tirana, a city famous for its cocktails and raki, the aromatic liquor found everywhere throughout the Balkan Peninsula. To avoid high prices, skip cocktail bars and head to the Komiteti Kafe Muzeum, one of the coolest places to spend a night out in Tirana. In this trendy café, located near the Pyramid of Tirana, you can choose between more than 20 types of raki for less than 2€/glass.
What to do
Tirana’s must-see museums include the National Historical Museum, National Art Gallery and BunkArt. Tickets don’t cost much – the entry for these three museums only comes to 900 leke (7€). If you want to check them out for free, plan your visit for the annual International Night of Museums that takes place this year on May 18 2018.
Free walking tours
A great way to experience Tirana is to sign up for the Tirana Free Tour (with Albanian, English and Italian speaking guides) that leads visitors around the city’s main landmarks such as the Pyramid of Enver Hoxha, Et’Hem Bey Mosque, the Catholic Cathedral, the Orthodox Cathedral, Blloku, and many other stunning sites. The tour starts everyday at 10am (the meeting place is in front of the Opera House, in Skanderbeg Square) and lasts about two hours.
Artificial Lake of Tirana
On a sunny day, walk around Tirana’s largest park, Grand Park that is located around an artificial lake. This is the perfect place to escape the crowds of the capital and to relax surrounded by nature. Spend some time here enjoying the quiet and serenity of this beautiful, natural spot before resuming your tour of the city.
Where to day trip
If you have time to spare, don’t miss out on the surroundings of Tirana. Albania’s capital city is surrounded by stunning natural areas such as Syri I Kalter and Canyon Erzenit, two places that are perfect for escaping Tirana’s summer heat. One of the best day trips is Kruja, a lovely hamlet located just one hour by bus from Tirana. Kruja is one of the most important cities of Albania, known as the hometown of Skanderbeg, the national hero who fought against the Ottomans in the 14th century. For less than 2€ visit the Skanderbeg Museum, a beautiful museum that explains the history of the town and the adventures of the greatest Albanian leader of all time.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.