We had no idea what to expect. We waited until a ridiculous hour of the night for a bus to take us from northern Greece to the capitol of Albania. Poor little Jacob begrudgingly slept in his stroller as we waited for the midnight departure in a gyro shop. The bus was crowded. Luggage lined the aisle and we jammed ourselves into the two remaining seats on the bus. Someone we managed to get a bit of sleep before arriving bleary eyed somewhere just outside of the capital.
We spent just over a week in Albania, road tripping and visiting as many of it’s sights and attractions as possible. Every day was a new adventure. And Tirana, the capital was the start of that. Our experiences here laid the foundation for the rest of our trip.
So if you only have a short amount of time in the Albanian capitol, here are some suggestions to keep you busy and give you a taste of Albania.
24 Hours in Tirana, Albania
Your first stop is to the National Historic Museum, to help lay the foundations so you can understand this unique little country. The museum is located in the centre of town and is easy to recognize but it’s massive mosaic mural on the front facade. The Museum offers a good overview of Albania’s history, from it’s medieval heros, to life under communist rule, and everything after and in between.
Take a break from the museum and head across the road to Skanderbeg Square. This is the main square of the city and the heart of Tirana. Some of the main landmarks of Tirana surround Skanderbeg Square. Have a wander, grab some lunch, and check out the historic clock tower and the statue of Albanian hero Skanderbeg. The square is surrounded by several other attractions as well; like the National Theater, the Gallery of Figurative Arts, and the Palace of Congresses. In any of these appeal to you, then go check them out. Or go off for a wander and explore this interesting and under visited capital city.
For an authentic Albanian experience we recommend eating dinner at Oda. Located near the centre of town and down a side street is a restaurant situated in an old house. It feels like you are walking into someones home as you enter the front hall and hang your jacket in the closet with everyone elses. You will then be seated in the small living room/ dining room. There are only three or four tables inside, giving it more of an intimate family feel.
The food is hearty, home cooked Albanian food. We had the lamb shanks and the Tirana Furghes. It was our first experience eating Tirana Furghes, which is now one of our favourite dishes. We even make it at home.