The hub of Albanian life is a chaotic city. If you dislike litter and traffic, you probably wont like Tirana. It is not a tourist driven place, there’s a lot of socialist buildings, and not a lot to do. That said, by wandering the streets of the capital you will experience true Albanian life – the people are friendly, the food is cheap …and there is always a park to unwind in. If you are intending to visit Albania, a lot of buses pass through Tirana ; so stay for a day, buy a cheap ice cream and you may find yourself staying longer than you thought.
Tirana is full of street stalls and cafes selling cheap food. Expect to pay around €1.5 or less for a kebab. Prices in the restaurants are higher but not by much. A main meal starts from €3 with cheaper sandwiches in the bars and cafes.
The Tirana train station has now been demolished, so the only way to use the train system is to catch a bus to Vore and join the railway line there.. The bus network is equally as chaotic. Tirana has regular buses, several times a day to all other major Albanian cities and towns… but no bus station. There are a few different departure points depending on your destination. Getting an international bus is easier as most of them leave from behind the National History Museum. Buses go to Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo.
• Experience City life – walk the streets and sample how the people live. See the colourful ex socialist tower blocks and for a good view of the city, go to the clock tower next to the mosque and climb the stairs. At night, the blloku area is the liveliest place with bars, cafes and nightclubs.
• Visit the Ethem Bay Mosque – One of the few historical monuments of Tirana, the mosque dates from Ottoman times and has some pretty interior paintings.
• Relax at the Grand Park – get away from the madness and pollution of the city by heading here. It’s a good place to relax or exercise. There is a lake and cafes to chill out and grab some refreshments.
• Ride the Cable car – For a few euros you can ride the new cable car. Called the Dajti express, it takes you up Dajti mountain, and makes a good opportunity to see Tirana from above. There are nice countryside views and a restaurant at the end of the track.
• Get on a bus – and visit Skanderbeg Castle and museum in Kruj. Skanderbeg was a national hero and in the museum you learn about his life and achievements.The pretty mountain town of Kruj has coffee houses and a old bazaar to explore. It’s a great location for a day trip and is about an hour away by bus.
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