Five places to go in Tirana

Albania’s capital city is overlooked by visitors. It’s understandable if you compare it to other Eastern Europe’s towns. Nevertheless, Tirana worth stopping by: it’s a lively, colorful and fascinating place. Despite its post-Communist exterior, Tirana makes an energetic springboard into the Balkans, with its own architectures, hipster cafés, and hangouts ranging from dynamic industrial to retro chic. Hidden away in an almost forgotten corner of Europe, Tirana is Balkans’s next upcoming travel destination.



This museum, housed in a bunker built on the outskirts of Tirana to accommodate the Communist leader Hoxha in the event of attack, hosts photographs, documents and items of the Communist-era. In the heart of the bunker is an assembly hall now used for concerts.
Rruga Teki Selenica; bunkart.al/


This coveted market is the official place to be for foodies; farmers sell organic Albanian products as fruits, vegetables, mountain teas, Turkish coffee and raki, the local grappa. The place also includes seafood and meat markets, a recreation space, bars and restaurants.
Sheshi Avni Rustemi: @pazariiri_tidtirana



The ingredients on the menu at this charming restaurant are bought daily from certified farmers of northern Albania. Chef Fundim Gjepali creates masterpieces like the Sultaqe rice with sea bream cevice and burrata or Beef Carpaccio with a fondue of 30 months aged parmesan, black truffle and rucola. The poached crayfish with wasabi custard, a plate that looks like a piece of art, is merely the ice on the cake. The spot’s discreet courtyard location evokes a secret clubhouse where the city’s art world and intellectuals hang out.
Rruga Papa Gjon Pali II; padam.al/



This museum located in a bunker built in the center of the Albanian capital city, shows visitors how Communist-era police persecuted the regime’s opponents.
Rruga Sermedin Said Topani; bunkart.al/2/home


This popular café offers 25 varieties of craft raki, the local fruit-based grappa liquor. But Komiteti is more than just a café: it is a rummy museum that features various Communist-era relics.
Rruga Fatmir Haxhiu; @komitetibar

Featured image: Valter Zhara