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Tirana is an ideal destination for any type of traveler, with friendly locals, great hospitality and safety for visitors. The capital city of Albania is a lively and vibrant town perfect to be visited in one weekend. From a tour through the Communist landmarks of the city to a relaxed afternoon at the lake, here’s a list of top things that Tirana has to offer for travelers.
One of the reasons why Tirana is so famous in the Balkan area, is the great coffee culture that offers. The town is plentiful with gorgeous cafés and bars that line every street and square of the centre. From chain-cafés to cozy bars, you have a plethora of choices. One of the best of Tirana is Çoko Bistrot & Bar, a beautifully decorated café located in the heart of Blloku, the liveliest district of the capital. Once here, order eggs benedict and a fresh orange juice. Then, before you start your tour, sip a coffee.
Blloku is known to be the most exciting area of Tirana, plenty of cool bars, restaurants and places to spend the night out with locals. But this district, once forbidden to ordinary people and reserved only to the communist elite, is also famous to host great graffiti works. Just in front of Çoko there are gorgeous pieces of art, including a giant mural made by FRANKO, one of the most famous street artists of Albania.
Tirana is a great destination for art-lovers: The town has many interesting museums and art galleries that are worth a look, including the famous National Historical Museum, located in Piazza Skanderbeg, which is the largest and most important museum of the country. But, if you love contemporary art and want to discover the works of local artists, avoid the main museums and head into Galeria Fab, the beautiful art gallery that is part of the University of Arts of Tirana. Throughout the year, some local artists displays their works.
Tirana might be chaotic; it is the largest town of Albania and the political, cultural and economic centre of the country. To escape the crowds, locals used to spend their free time at Parku i Madh, the great park of Tirana, located on the southwest of the town. It is the lung of Tirana and the perfect place to spend some time in relaxation, walk and admire the beautiful lake views that offers.
A cool way to explore Tirana, is to take part of the Communist History Tour, organized by Good Albania. This tour shows you the other side of Tirana and leads you to explore the historical communist landmarks of the town. The journey includes tours of the BunkArt, the contemporary museum located inside the majestic coveted bunker built by Enver Hoxha in the outskirts of Tirana, Pyramid, the former mausoleum dedicated to the dictator, House of Leaves, the museum of surveillance with archives of the Sigurimi, the secret police during the regime, among others.
Tirana has a fantastic gastronomy scene: The town is full of great restaurants that offer various kinds of meals, from typical food to vegetarian options, from sea dishes to ethnic menus. But if you want to eat excellent local cuisine go to Mullixhiu, a beautiful restaurant located near the Grand Park of Tirana, in front of the lake. The chef, Bledar Kola, has worked at the famous Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, has reinvented typical tasty Albanian foods in a modern way.
It’s time to come back to Blloku. Here, you can spend a gorgeous night out in one of the several bars frequented by locals and chat and have fun. Albanians are very friendly and hospitable and will be happy to talk with you. One of the greatest places to enjoy the night in Tirana is Nouvelle Vague, a colorful and lively bar with a great selection of cocktails.