First, if you plan to visit Albania, I recommend coming in spring. There are a lot of interesting places to visit in Albania, but let’s start with Tirana for which I will be your tour guide. In the city center, there is Skenderbeg Square with its famous horse sculpture, the Et’hem Bey Mosque from the 18th century, and the National Museum, which will take 2-3 hours.
Bunkart 2 is a former anti-nuclear bunker of the Ministry of Internal Affairs which is transformed into a museum. Bunkart 2 reconstructs the history of the Albanian Ministry of Internal Affairs from 1912 to 1991 and reveals the secrets of “Sigurimi”, the political police that was the harsh persecution weapon used by the regime of Enver Hoxha.
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Near the center, you can also find the “House of Leaves” museum which is linked to the Bunkart 2. There, you can learn about the secrets that the public didn’t know about during the regime. Across the museum, you will see the Greek Orthodox Church. From the Skenderbeg square, Main Boulevard leads to Mother Theresa’s square, where there are several faculties.
Most festivals and concerts are organized on this very square. A lot of young people gather here every day when the weather allows it.
In the spring, Tirana streets become flooded with people. Everyone comes out to the cafes in the city center, especially in Bllok which is also well known for its good nightlife. Tirana residents like to spend a lot of time in Park on the Artificial Lake. It is one of the most relaxing places in the city for an early-morning run or a walk for many citizens.
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The Park includes an artificial lake and many other landmarks such as the Saint Procopius Church, the Presidential Palace, and memorials to several Albanian personalities. I recommend visiting mountain Dajti above the city, where you can drink a perfect cup of coffee and enjoy the magnificent view. You can go there by cable car which costs around four euros. A good day trip out of Tirana is to Durres, where you can enjoy the beach.
Food, restaurants and nightlife
There is a good variety of food in Albania, which is a mixture of Italian, Turkish and a taste of their own cuisine. They are very hospitable and polite. You can try domestic dishes in restaurants like Mulixhiu, Zgara Korçare, Era and Sofra e Ariut. Usually, it is some sort of meat or seafood with a side salad. I like that there are plenty of fish markets where you can buy fresh fish and seafood. Fast food is at every corner of the city, where you can try byrek with cheese, meat, spinach and mushrooms.
Besides that, there is a great variety of international food like gyro, hamburgers and pizzas, which you can find in restaurants like Big Bite, but also Artigano, which offers an international and domestic cuisine. You will see a lot of people on the street that sell fruits, vegetables, snacks and during the night even cigarettes. For those who are on a diet, the bad news is that on every corner there are pastries with the sweets and cakes. Make sure that you don’t leave the “land of desserts” without trying trileqe, baklava, ice cream and other sweets.
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If you plan to go out in Tirana, don’t expect to be home before 4 am. Similar to Belgrade, every night the bars are full of people, but most events are on Thursday and Saturday. The “Bllok” is most famous for the clubs and bars, but you can also find basr in the other parts of the city.