Tirana Albania

Tirana Albania is the main hub for international travel to and from the country, and it’s also a good place to get your bearings before heading off to explore the rest of Albania. The capital of Albania since 1920, Tirana is a relatively modern city, filled with cars, shopping, nightclubs, and restaurants. Although it has become increasingly crowded, it remains a beautiful city fringed with mountains, blue skies, and green parks, and there are more and more hotels in Tirana as well, so you can spend a few days before heading off to explore the beaches or the castle at Gjirokastra.

While you can still see vestiges of Albania's communist past in some of the blocky concrete architecture, many of these buildings have now been converted for public use, and modern buildings with more character are constantly being built. Skanderbeg Square, the main plaza in the city, is an example of a communist-styled concrete plaza, during the building of which many cultural buildings were demolished. Today, however, it houses the National Historical Museum, the Et'hem Bey Mosque and clock tower, and several theaters, with further renovation plans to make it pedestrian-friendly and to give it a more "European" look—rather than the easily identifiable Communist look. Skanderbeg Square is one of the best places in Tirana Albania to start your exploration of the country, with a visit of the Historical Museum, a great place to gain some fundamental knowledge about the country. Nearby on Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard, you'll find the National Art Gallery and several beautiful government buildings.

If you'd like to sample the lively nightlife of the capital of Albania, head over to The Block, at the Tirana e Re bus station. During the Communist years, The Block was an exclusive area reserved solely for the Communist government elite, but like many things in Tirana, the area has been re-purposed for a new young generation. The Block, located in central downtown Tirana, is now filled with cafes, restaurants, pubs, and is a popular place for Albanian youth to hang out in the afternoons and evening. Later at night, head over to the Tajvani district for clubs, casinos, bars, and ice-cream parlors.

One of the most popular things to do in Tirana Albania is to climb up Mount Dajti, where you can get a breathtaking view of the capital of Albania and the surrounding countryside. It is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, as you can go hiking amid Albania's beautiful natural scenery, and you can even ski there in the winter. A cable car takes you up to the top if you're not one to climb the entire mountain, and you can rest up at the restaurant at the peak.

For a taste of Tirana's history, you'll definitely want to visit Petrela Castle, one of the best preserved historical castles in Albania. This archeological site is located a short drive from the city, and features the remains of the historical fort. Although most of what remains dates from the Byzantine period, the area has been fortified since the fourth century. Perched on top of a cliff, the castle has a restaurant where you can sit, eat, and enjoy the view.

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