Like any other European metropolises, Tirana, the capital of Albania, is an energetic city filled with life. With its clubs, pubs, cafes, and taverns, Tirana is worth visiting by both day and night. The value and hospitality shown towards tourists is something that will mark your journey not only in Tirana but also all over the country.
Your journey might begin by visiting the museums and the key spots such as Sheshi Skënderbej, where you will be able to see the Mosque of Et’hem Bey (built between 1798 and 1812) and the 35 m high Kulla e Sahatit (the Watch Tower), both popular tourist attractions.
The monumental Tomb of Kaplan Pasha and the Ura e Tabakëve (a bridge constructed at the beginning of the 19th century, located on Bulevardi Zhan D’Ark) are other interesting landmarks. A visit to the National History Museum, the Archeological Museum, the Natural Science Museum, the private “Mezuraj Museum,” and the National Gallery of the Arts will leave wonderful memories. There are also several clubs and restaurants all over the city for a taste of Albanian cuisine.
The historical city of Kruja stands on a scenic mountain incline and is just 32 km away from Tirana. The city is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations, due to its natural views and its history. In this city, the national hero Gjergj Kastrioti (Skanderbeg) protected Albania and Europe from the Ottoman invasion. There is much attraction in Kruja, but the most important one is the Museum of the National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, located inside the castle.
Also inside the castle, you can visit the Ethnographic Museum. The traditional Baazar of Kruja is located near the castle. It is one of Albania’s largest handicrafts market. This bazaar has operated since the 15th century.
Only 34 km away from the capital, the city of Durres, also the biggest seaport in the Albanian country, is one of the best places to visit and learn from its 3,000 years of history.
Its foundation dates back to 627 B.C. when the Corinthians and settlers from Corcyra invaded the Illyrian territory of the Taulants. The most notable tourist attraction in Durrësi is the amphitheater of the Roman Emperor Adrian, with 15,000 seats, the second biggest amphitheater in the Balkans.
You can also see the bathhouses of the 2nd century A.D. and the nearby Byzantine forum of the 5th-6th century with marble columns. One-third of the original wall of the city’s castle is still standing, and you can even walk down the same road that Caesar himself walked. The Archeological Museum is a new building on Taulantia Avenue. In addition to its historical value, Durrësi is also a beautiful place to take a modern vacation in Albania due to its sandy beaches, hotels, and metropolitan feel. You will find excellent restaurants and accommodations all along the sea’s edge.
Situated near the river of Shkumbini, where it joins the famous Egnatia Road, the city of Elbasani – named before Scampini – is just 50 km away from Tirana. In ancient times, Scampini was a typical Roman fortification, but things changed in the 4th century when it received a new administrative status and a new name Hiscampis. Hiscampis became of the major cities of the new Epirus, home of the area’s only Roman legion.
Between the centuries of 17th and 18th, they renamed the city Elbasani, and it became the center of the sanxhak. At this time, the trade grew, both in and out of the country, encouraging the growth of handicrafts. Today, tourists can visit the Church of Saint Mary, the King Mosque (inside the city walls), the Mosque of Naziresha (very rare because of its feminine name), and the Ethnographic Museum. In the district of Elbasani, there are also two very unique churches painted by Onufri, the famous Albanian painter of the 16th century. On the other hand, just 4 km before the entrance of Elbasani, coming from Tirana, there is the Monastery of Shën Gjon Vladimir. A few kilometers away from Elbasani are the “llixhat,” the hot springs used since Roman times.