In 1920, Albanian leaders decided to make Tirana the new capital city of Albania and for a very good reason. It’s located perfectly smack-dab in the middle of this country! This is great news for travellers and Tirana residents alike, as it makes Tirana the perfect location for some excellent day trips.
Article by Ergys Xhikola & David McLemore from Tirana Free Tour
As it is the capital, things can get a little noisy here, but these trips offer a great option to get away from all of that and to see some of the amazing sights which Albania has to offer.
While you can use public transport, due to Covid we really can’t recommend that, but there are a lot of local travel companies who can help you to plot your trip both safely and with time-efficiency in mind.
Here are some of the most popular trips which you can take during your time in Tirana.
That beautiful mountain which you can see from almost every corner of the city has a name. It’s Dajti Mountain and that high visibility is due to its 1613 meter peak which it achieves as it looms up from sea-level. Incidentally, it’s the highest peak in central Albania and well worth a visit.
To get there you can take a bus or drive to the base of the mountain, at which point you’ll be riding up next in a cable car. The views alone from this 20-minute ride are worth the trip but once you are up there are things you can do there as well. You can hike to the peak of the mountain within 2 hours if you like and we highly recommend that you visit the mountain with an appetite, as you can enjoy a lunch at Ballkoni I Dajtit or Gurra e Perrise.
Known as the ‘Black cave’ by locals, Pellumbas cave is easy to find and it is certainly a treat. You’ll need to take the bus or your other preferred means of transportation to the village of Pellumbus first and from there a well-marked hiking trail can get you to the cave in the space of a 40-minute scenic walk.
Without ruining the surprise, we can tell you that it’s a very special cave, with only 5 of its like in the whole of continental Europe. It was believed to be inhabited as long as 30,000 years ago, so this is one cave you really don’t want to miss.
Erzeni canyon is another great spot to visit while you are here and you should bring along a change of clothes for swimming.
You’ll also want to see the ‘House in the Village’ while you are here and you’ll understand why once you get there. It’s one of the most interesting projects in the city.
The ancient city of Petrula is only 16 km from the center of Tirana and here you can visit the castle of Petrela. There is even a restaurant inside of the castle serving traditional Albanian. The hike of the hill is a little arduous, though, so be prepared for a vigorous walk.
You can also walk to the ruins of Persqopi castle, which dates back all the way to the 4th century!
Rodoni cape, the largest of its kind in Albania, is a fantastic location and you can visit another castle there as well as the St. Anthony Church. The castle has an interesting history, as it was built by the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg himself as a way to show Venetians that Albania was a force to be reckoned with.
Very near to the cape is St. Anthony Church. Thanks to its location near the cape and the sea, you can find some really breathtaking views here. To enjoy everything to the fullest we highly recommend either renting a car or organizing a tour with a private company.
The former capital of Albania, Kruja has a lot to offer to the curious traveler. Here you can visit the castle, the ethnographic museum and Gjergj Kastrioti, Skenderbeu museum, Dollma Tekke, and the fantastic old bazaar of Kruja where you will find antiques and locally produced souvenirs.
You can also visit the Sari Salltik temple at the top of Mount Kruja!
This reservoir provides most of the drinking water of Tirana and people often like to rent a bicycle and ride it all the way to the lake! You’ll enjoy some great views from there and hiking to the panoramic point is worthwhile and incredibly scenic walk. Pay extra attention at the end of your hiking. This is also a great place even for alpinist.
Just a few kilometers away from the city center you can get some picturesque views, good hiking, and feast your eyes on the famous Brari Bridge and a canyon which has been formed by the Tirana river. You don’t have to go hungry, however, as the Shkalla e Tujanit restaurant is nearby and well-equipped to fill your battery-reserves with a little fine dining first.
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