You’re in Tirana. Now what? Here’s my list of 7 fun things to do on a weekend in Tirana:
1) Hire a “Boris Bike”. However, nerves of steel will be required to negotiate Tirana’s roads!:
2) Shop for provisions at Tirana’s Central Food Market. Beautifully displayed fruits and vegetables, olives, hazelnuts:
3) Visit Tirana’s National Art Gallery (located at Bulevardi Dëshmorët e Kombit, Tirana). I absolutely love socialist realist paintings so to find a gallery with such an enormous selection was a genuine treat for me:
3) Check out the discarded Communist statues in the garden of the National Art Gallery. Stalin appears to have been hula hooped by a bicycle inner tube:
4) Visit the Pyramid, the former museum to Enver Hoxha. This is what it looks like on a sunny day…
5) Enjoy a sundowner cocktail in the revolving restaurant at the Sky Bar (located at Rr Dëshmorët e 4 Shkurtit, Tirana). This is a great place to come at the start of your trip. Enjoy a drink and sit back as the revolution of the bar gives you an introduction and orientation to Tirana.
6) Wander the very trendy Blloku where there are lots of bars and restaurants to try. The Blloku is a neighbourhood of large villas which was off limits until 1991 to all Albanians except party apparatchiki. Make like a local and sip a coffee in one of the many bars with tables set outside.
7) Take a walk around the surprisingly beautiful 230 hectare Big Park of Tirana (Parku i Madh). We came across an imppecably kept Commonwealth war grave in the middle of this park.
Although Tirana was a very random weekend break, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The city completely exceeded my expectations and I loved the 1990s Moscow frontier vibe it had. I also felt extremely safe walking around, even late at night.
Come and visit before anyone else you know does.