Where to Stay in Tirana

Staying overnight in Tirana is crucial if you want to thoroughly explore Albania’s unique capital. This allows you ample time to visit all Tirana’s attractions and learn about its fascinating and turbulent history. Instead of rushing off to other destinations right after landing at Tirana Airport, consider starting with a short city trip in Tirana.

When it comes to accommodation, you can choose from two of the best neighborhoods, where you’ll find everything from cozy hostels to luxurious boutique hotels. During our trip to Tirana, we discovered several exceptional places that we eagerly recommend. Keep reading to find out the best spots to stay!

How to get to Tirana in Albania?

Tirana, the heart of Albania, is centrally positioned within the country. It’s an inland city, located between the Adriatic Sea and the Dajti Mountains. This central positioning makes Tirana an excellent starting point for exploring Albania’s diverse landscapes and attractions.

Near Tirana, there are plenty of sights to see, like the historical town of Krujë with its famous castle and bustling market, only 40 kilometers to the north. Additionally, the inviting beaches of Durrës are just 36 kilometers to the west and are easily reachable. For those who love the outdoors, the Dajti Mountains and their cable car offer stunning panoramic views over Tirana and should not be missed.

Why Tirana is worth a visit

Tirana is one of those cities that you either love or dislike. Some even call it the ugliest capital in Europe—a title we think belongs to Podgorica in Montenegro. However, we wholeheartedly disagree with that view. We were captivated by its pleasant atmosphere and the city’s distinctive charm. Tirana undoubtedly deserves a visit for its unique vibe.

Unlike most European capitals, which are dominated by historic city centers and major tourist sites, Tirana offers a different vibe. Here, the city is vibrant and primarily occupied by locals, with tourism not overshadowing the daily hustle and bustle.

Tirana Bunk'Art

The city might not be filled with typical tourist landmarks, but it fascinates with its array of futuristic and ultra-modern skyscrapers under continuous construction. The city aims to construct ten significant skyscrapers and equip every street with bicycle paths. Although some describe Tirana as an unattractive and chaotic place, we saw a city that changes its face every year with new developments.

In between these modern structures are several lush green parks with playgrounds—a hit with families—trendy cafes, and restaurants that offer a nod to Albania’s dark, communist past. We embraced this mixture of experiences. Traveling with a young child, we found the blend of urban exploration and accessible playgrounds ideal.

Tirana Castle Fortress of Justinian

As vegetarians, we were delighted by the stylish, Instagram-worthy eateries offering a wide array of choices. Moreover, the affordability of dining and coffee in Albania made it even more enjoyable to indulge in the local culinary scene.

We also made time to delve into the stark and relatively recent history of Tirana and Albania. It was fascinating to learn that unlike most Balkan states, which were involved in the Yugoslav Wars, Albania was often likened to the “North Korea of Europe” due to its isolationist and dictatorial communist regime, which even considered Russian policies too lenient. Albania endured a profoundly dark era under Enver Hoxha that lasted for decades, only ending in 1991. In Tirana, there are many opportunities to learn about this turbulent history, with reminders scattered throughout the city.

How many days do you need in Tirana?

The number of days you spend in Tirana really depends on how much you enjoy the city. You might need anywhere from a half-day to three days. Here’s why:

Tirana isn’t your typical charming, historical European capital, and it sometimes gets a bad rap for being uninteresting or even unattractive. If you think you might not be a fan, we suggest spending at least half a day to see if it changes your mind before moving on to Albania’s beautiful beaches, mountains, or other sights.

Tirana Et’hem Bey

But if you find yourself as enamored with Tirana as we are, then we recommend spending at least two full days here. While the city may not have as many sights and attractions as other more famous capitals, there’s enough to fill two days easily. You’ll want to set aside at least half a day to explore one of the museums dedicated to the communist era—it’s essential for understanding more about Albania. A free walking tour is also a great way to learn about Albania’s recent history from a local perspective.

Therefore, plan for at least two days, possibly adding a third if you want to take the Dajti Ekspres cable car and visit Bunk’Art 1 just outside the city center.

The best areas to stay in Tirana

The best areas to stay in Tirana are typically the center and Blloku. The center is where you’ll find many of Tirana’s landmarks, such as the central Skanderbeg Square and the iconic Pyramid, making it a very convenient place to stay. Blloku, located to the south of the center, is the hub for most of the city’s restaurants and bars, offering a lively, Western vibe.

Tirana Oda Restaurant

Where to stay in Blloku

Personally, we find Blloku to be the most exciting area in Tirana. Once reserved for the communist elite, this neighborhood has transformed into the vibrant heart of Tirana’s nightlife and modernity. Here, you’ll discover trendy bars, chic restaurants, and boutiques, all contributing to a youthful and energetic atmosphere. If you prefer a quieter environment, be sure to check hotel reviews in Blloku for potential noise issues before booking.

Top hotels in Blloku:

#1 Vanilla Sky Boutique Hostel is arguably the most beautiful hostel in Tirana. It blends the design of a boutique hotel with the social vibe of a hostel. Its unique and inviting atmosphere makes this place unforgettable, offering both affordable dorm rooms and private rooms.

#2 Xheko Imperial Luxury Hotel is a gorgeous luxury hotel with its own restaurant, rooftop terrace, wine bar, indoor pool, spa, and massage salon. The opulent rooms are elegantly furnished, many featuring four-poster beds.

#3 Rogner Hotel Tirana features a beautiful outdoor pool set in a 30,000 m² lush Mediterranean garden. It also boasts a tennis court, spa, hammam center, sauna, and a gym, ensuring a luxurious stay.

#4 The Wilson Tirana offers great value with its brightly colored, stylish rooms. It consistently receives high praise for its comfortable accommodations, ideal location, and excellent hospitality.

#5 Metro Hotel Tirana provides budget-friendly accommodation in Blloku. The rooms are bright, spacious, and modern, with glowing guest reviews.


Where to stay in Central Tirana

Choosing to stay in central Tirana is perfect if you want to see and do a lot in the city. Besides the vibrant Blloku area, the city center offers a bustling, modern atmosphere. You’ll be surrounded by all the major sights of Tirana, which are all within walking distance. Although Blloku is famed for its dining and nightlife, the center also has plenty of options, from casual eateries and trendy coffee spots to bars and authentic Albanian restaurants.

Top hotels in Central Tirana:

#6 Hotel Elisa Tirana is one of the most popular hotels in Tirana, known for its superb spa, spacious rooms, extensive breakfast options, and friendly staff.

#7 Hotel Boutique Restaurant Gloria enjoys a prime central location. It features its own restaurant, bar, and garden, receiving high praise and excellent reviews from guests.

#8 ART Hotel Tirana is situated near the famous Skanderbeg Square in the heart of the city. Its rooms are modern and colorfully decorated. Guests love its prime location, tranquility despite the central location, friendly staff, private parking, and spacious rooms.

#9 Sar’Otel Boutique Hotel consistently receives glowing reviews and offers excellent value with modern, bright rooms and a superb central location.

#10 Maritim Hotel Plaza Tirana is a modern hotel in one of the city’s skyscrapers, offering rooms with spectacular views over Tirana.

Visiting Tirana with a camper

Although Albania is a beloved destination for camper van travelers, Tirana can be challenging to navigate with a camper. We parked on the outskirts of Blloku, next to the park and the lake, on a somewhat plain paid parking lot.

If you’re looking for a nicer place to stay with your camper, Camping Djati is a popular choice. It offers a green setting for a modest price, and from there, public transport makes it easy to reach central Tirana.