Albania, and in particular its capital, Tirana, is slowly being discovered by tourists from all over the world. The best way to start exploring this beautiful and underrated country is with our guide to the best things to see and do.
Admire the new face of Skanderbeg Square
In Tirana, it seems that all roads lead to Skanderbeg Square. Once you’ve been there, you’ll understand why; this main square, named after an Albanian national hero, is the heart of the city. A statue of Skanderbeg sits in the middle of the square. It’s an iconic place, which has recently been renewed, and is a must-see for everyone who visits Albania. With an opera house, the National History Museum, the Et’Hem Bey Mosque along the sides, this huge square is perfect for a stroll.
Learn the Albanian history in the National Museum
The National History Museum is the largest museum in Albania, with over 4,750 objects in its collection, from the Paleolithic era to communist times. There’s much to find out about Albanian history even before you get into the building, because it has a large, recognizable mosaic on its front wall that illustrates the different eras in Albanian history. At the National History Museum, you will embark on a great and fascinating exploration of the history and the culture of this nation.
Historical National Museum, Sheshi Skanderbeg 1, Tirana, Albania, +355 4 222 3446
Stroll through Toptani Street
In a city dominated by cars, this tree-lined pedestrian street is like a breath of fresh air. With no cars and lots of shops and restaurants, Toptani Street, also called Pedonalja, is perfect for a nice walk, shopping, and for buying local souvenirs. It is shady and cool, making it an excellent hideout on a hot summer day. During the holiday season, it hosts a wonderful Christmas market. Alongside the street, there is a Millennium Cinema.
Visit the coveted museums, BunkArt & BunkArt2
If there are two places not to be missed in Tirana, they are BunkArt and BunkArt2, two museums built inside two coveted anti-nuclear buildings. While BunkArt is bigger and located on the outskirts of Tirana, BunkArt2 is right in the middle of the town, near the main landmarks of the city.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
BunkArt, Rruga Fadeil Deliu, Tirana, Albania, +355 67 207 2905
BunkArt2, Rruga Sermedin Said Toptani, Tirana, Albania, +355 67 207 2905
Discover Albania’s past through a walking tour
A different, and cool, way to explore the capital city of Albania is to book a Communist tour in town. Good Albania organizes these kind of tours and brings you to visit all the main Communist places of Tirana, such as BunkArt, Blloku (which during the regime was reserved only for the political elites), Museum of Surveillance, Socialist buildings and taste typical Albanian street food.
Relax at the Artificial Lake
Reach Mount Dajti to admire Tirana from the top
Nature and hiking lovers will want to feast their eyes and stretch their legs on Mount Dajti, a 1,613-meter peak just east of Tirana. The best way to reach this mountain-turned-national-park is either by 15-minute cable car ride or a drive of more than an hour. Once you get to the top, you’ll understand why the journey is worth it: the panoramic views of the city from the top of the mountain are breathtaking. There you’ll also find a hotel and a few restaurants.
Have fun in Ish-Blloku district
This former elite communist district, also known as the Block, has been turned into a vibrant tourist attraction. During communist rule, Ish-Blloku was reserved for high-ranking communist officials; even the leader of Albania, Enver Hoxha, lived here. Nowadays this most expensive area is full of trendy bars, cafés, restaurants, and nightclubs, giving it a cosmopolitan vibe. Ish-Blloku district is also the best place to experience famous Albanian coffee culture, home of the best espresso in town.
Eat fresh fruit at Pazari i Ri
Opened in 2017, Pazari i Ri is the new market of Tirana and one of the coolest places to visit in town. It was once one of the worst areas of the capital city, but today after a big regeneration, has turned into one of the places to be in town for every traveler. Don’t forget to take your camera and shoot some colorful pictures of the stands. Then, it’s time to taste fresh fruit and buy some typical Albanian artefacts.
Ieva Mickute also contributed to this article
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.