Zona 1, a large neighborhood located between Skanderbeg Square and Lana River, is one of the best places to spend your time in Tirana. The reason why is that it is very close to Tirana’s new market Pazari i Ri, a beautiful bazaar that has become a paradise for foodies. You’ll find plenty of Albanian delicacies, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, olives, spices, dried fruits, raki grappa and so on. This market is also Albania’s largest fish market, which makes sense that it is surrounded by great fish and seafood restaurants; we suggest trying at least one of them. The area hosts many cafés, perfect for sipping Turkish coffee and relaxing. Pazari i Ri is also one of the best places in Tirana to buy typical souvenirs for friends and family.
The most famous neighborhood of Tirana is Blloku; once forbidden to people who were not members of the communist party, Blloku is now one of the most popular areas of Tirana. During the communist-era, Blloku was a restricted district, where only the members of the Albanian Communist Party could spend time. With a stroll through the neighborhood, you will find the former residence of the communist dictator Enver Hoxha, as well as the first international food chain restaurant in Albania, KFC.
Today Blloku is Tirana’s liveliest neighborhood, where locals and visitors love to spend nights out in one or more of its pubs and cafés. The area has plenty of beautiful spots, such as Radio, Nouvelle Vague and Colonial Cocktails Academy. Start with one, relax and enjoy yourself, and see where the night takes you from there.
A peaceful place to stay in Tirana, not far from the city center, is Komuna e Parisit, a large neighborhood located in the southwestern part of the capital. This lovely area is particularly alluring for families, because the Artificial Lake of Tirana is easily reachable on foot. We suggest spending some time strolling around the large lake enjoying nature and having fun in the big park located toward the lake entrance.
Tregu Çam is the central part of Tirana, known for being a prime spot for culture vultures; Albania’s most famous landmarks and museums are located here. If you have time, we suggest visiting all of them because every museum is different and has something special to share with visitors about the history of the country.
The largest museum in Tirana, and Albania, is the National Historical Museum in Skanderbeg Square; if you want to learn the history of Albania from the Paleolithic era to the communist era, this is the place to be. The other two not-to-be missed museums are BunkArt2, a museum built inside a coveted bunker in the heart of Tirana dedicated to the victims of the dictatorship, and House of Leaves, the Sigurimi secret police’s archive turned museum. Once here, don’t miss the chance to visit the Mosque Et’Hem Bey and the Orthodox Cathedral of Tirana.
Blloku is more famous, but the 21 Dhjetori neighborhood is well-known in town for its coffee culture. Ok, to be honest, every district of Tirana has plenty of cafés, but 21 Dhjetori is home to gorgeous bars, where sipping authentic Turkish coffee or espresso feels almost luxurious. From the chain cafés Mulliri I Vjeter, Sophie and Mon Cheri, to the cozy Kingston, Green Café and many others, this area is full of small shops that serve good coffee in great atmospheres.