The capital of Albania is fast becoming one of Europe’s hottest destinations. From Skanderbeg Square to Blloku, Tirana is chock-full of hostels and affordable hotels to make your stay just a little bit sweeter.
A perennial winner of the most affordable European capital, Tirana is a value-for-money destination par excellence. The Albanian capital also happens to be one of the friendliest on the continent. These two attributes come together beautifully in the hostels and hotels of the city. Hospitality is a way of life here, after all. Read our rundown of the most wallet-friendly places to stay while you’re here.
Courtesy of Vanilla Sky Boutique Hostel / Booking.com
Despite sharing its name with a 2001 psychological thriller featuring Tom Cruise and prosthetic masks, Vanilla Sky remains one of the best hostels in Tirana. Located a short walk from the popular Blloku district, this place is just about as upmarket as hostels get, yet manages to retain the charm that the form demands. Everything from dorms to private family rooms are available, with plenty of friendly conversation in between.
An integral part of the Balkan hostel scene since 2012, Trip’N’Hostel brings plenty of experience to the table. Expect a modern Albanian take on a 1920s Italian villa, which is every bit as curious as it sounds – think bright, bold walls and a leafy courtyard. Dorms range from four to 12 beds. Get to know your fellow travellers at the onsite bar over a shot or two of raki, a traditional grape-based Albanian spirit.
With rooms named after Albanian cities and a true family-run atmosphere, there is an authenticity to Milingona that is to be applauded. The fairytale garden is arguably its strongest feature, although the same could be said for the expert advice offered from the staff at reception. Choose from a range of five to 12-bed dorms, plus there are private rooms on offer too. Milingona has been running since 2010, so needless to say, the team here know what they’re doing.
A delightful little hostel within walking distance of the city centre, Mosaic House is a clean, functional yet friendly spot with quirky modern art lining the walls. Highlights include the onsite Kolorz Garden Cafe, which whips up a mean breakfast – think fried eggs, toast and piping hot Albanian mountain coffee. Come nightfall, it becomes a gathering space to share tales of the day’s adventure over a cold beer (or two). Female-only dorms are also available.
There are certain expectations from a place called ART Hostel. Creativity, innovation and character in equal measure, right? This pad covers all that and more, with an excellent co-working space for the digital nomads who head this way. If you’re travelling as a group, book the private apartment sleeping six, including an ensuite bathroom. The city centre is just a kilometre (about half a mile) away and is easily accessible by bus.
Smack bang in the centre of the Albanian capital, Hostel Albania occupies a prime position for sightseeing and bar hopping. However, you might prefer to enjoy a tipple onsite – this hostel is the only one with a rooftop terrace, offering magical views over Tirana. During the high season, you can join a free two-hour walking tour, ideal for first-time visitors who want an insider’s guide to the city.
In a sea of friendly hostels, Zig Zag still manages to stand out. Is it the atmosphere of the place? Quite possibly, but it could also be the care paid by those in charge. It’s tiny, offering just two dorms, sleeping between six and eight, plus two private rooms. Got a tent? You can pitch up in the allocated campsite. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast in the garden, decked with orange trees and fairy lights, another string in Zig Zag’s stacked bow.
If you prefer a private room, book the affordable Centrum Hotel, just a stone’s throw from the major attractions in Tirana. Rooms are clean and pared back with air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms as standard. Families or groups should consider the apartment, which sleeps up to five people. Ask the extremely helpful staff to help you organise day trips and transport. Don’t miss the pizza at Golosa, just across the road.
Tirana Backpacker Hostel is the oldest hostel in the city, welcoming guests since 2005. The team here know what they’re doing, to say the least – the rate includes complimentary breakfast and free wifi, plus there are laundry facilities and a nightly vegetarian dinner on offer for a small fee. Rent a mountain bike onsite to explore the city, then kick back in a garden hammock in the afternoon with a good book.