Albania is a small country, and small countries give you the opportunity to visit a large portion of it in a short amount of time. If you are in Tirana and you want to see more of what Albania has to offer, you’re in the right place! Below are a description of some of the best day trips from Tirana.
Berat Day Tour from Tirana
This tour starts at 8:30 a.m from your hotel in Tirana. It will take approximately 2 hours to reach Berat.
Once you get to the city you will go to Berat Castle which dates back to 4th century BC. There you will learn that although Berat withstood three invasions (by the Ottomans, Romans and Bulgarians), it became a large principality under the rule of an Albanian royal family. Visit the castle, one of the most marvelous sights of the city. It is one of the biggest inhabited Castles, and is filled with many Byzantine churches and Ottoman mosques.
Your walk through the castle will take you to Onufri Museum. This unique museum is set up inside the “Assumption of Saint Mary” Cathedral, its newest sections dating to the 18th century. Along with the beautifully carved iconostasis, you can admire the icons of the renowned Albanian painter “Onufri.” On the drive down to the city centre, you will visit the medieval centre. There, you will find the King Mosque and Helveti Tekke. These provide a good opportunity to learn about how two very different religions lived alongside each other for centuries. Next, you will visit the old quarters of Mangalem and Gorica. The Gorica Bridge over the Osumi River connects them. Both quarters take pride in their architecture.
You will be back in Tirana by the end of the day.
This tour is unique in that, although it is a day trip from Tirana, it also includes Tirana itself as part of the experience.
First Stop Kruja
The guide can pick you up at Scanderbeg Square in Tirana at 8:30 am and drive you up to Kruja. Theyre, you’ll experience an immersion in medieval history by visiting the castle and Scanderbeg Museum.
Kruja was the most important town for the Albanians during the 15th century. It successfully withstood at least 3 major sieges by the Ottoman Empire. Many consider the medieval hero Gjergj Kastrioti, called “Scanderbeg,” a symbol of the resistance as well as a savior. The Ottomans even believed that a supernatural force dwelled in him. Therefore, after his death they destroyed his tomb and took parts of his bones to keep them as good luck charms. After, you can walk through the Old Bazaar to visit the many shops that sell traditional handmade items.
Second Stop Tirana
Next, you’ll return to Tirana, the capital of Albania. As you walk around the Scanderbeg square, you’ll see an interesting complex of buildings which reflect the periods that have influenced Tirana’s architecture. The Clock Tower and Et’hem Bey Mosque remain as reminders of the city’s Ottoman past. The communist government left its own footprint by destroying the Ottoman Bazaar and building the new Opera and Ballet House on the site.
During a visit inside Et’hem Bey Mosque, you’ll learn about the difficulties faced by the religious leaders, especially after 1967 when the communist regime prohibited freedom of religious expression. Et’hem Bey built the mosque in 1821 in a typical Turkish style. Continue to the King’s Palace and National Martyrs Boulevard where you’ll see a monument to Enver Hoxha. This monument, a large pyramid which the architects intended to be a museum of his life, lies next to the “Bllok” zone where he and other communist leaders lived. This area, which was once restricted, is now the favorite neighborhood for young people, businesses and coffee shops. At around 3:30 pm, you will head back to Scanderbeg square to end the tour.
Durres Day Tour with Local Guide
The guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a unique tour, exploring the city’s 1930’s architecture.
Visit the Ethnographic Museum and its artifacts which lie within a traditional house from the 19th century. It exhibits authentic hand-crafted objects as well as a rich collection of Albanian traditional costumes.
Next, you will visit the Roman Amphitheater from the 2nd century AD. Emperor Trajan built it to be one of the biggest amphitheaters in Balkans. The Roman Amphitheater and the city of Durrës in general are unusual for their extraordinary degree of preservation. About a third of the amphitheater is built into a precipitous hillside, while the rest is built on man-made supports.
On the way to the archaeological museum you can admire the Byzantine Wall, an engineering masterpiece. Emperor Anastasius, a Durres local, built this wall during the 6th century. You will also visit the seaside promenade and enjoy the fresh air and the view of the largest bay in Albania. The Byzantine Chapel is the next stop. This early Christian chapel lies along the western side of the amphitheater. Its western alcove preserves a unique polychromatic mosaic representing Orthodox Christian iconography.
If you’re interested in the rich history of Durres, the Durres Archaeological Museum has some of the best exhibits. You will have a guide at your side as you explore this wonderful record of Durres.
At the end of the day, you’ll drive the 30 minutes back to Tirana.
Shkodra Day Tour from Tirana
This tour will begin by visiting the Rozafa castle and its museum. Along the way, you will see with fantastic views of Shkodra Lake and the Lead Mosque. The museum showcases artifacts from the hellenistic and medieval periods up until World War I. As you walk along the Illyrian walls from the 4th-century, you will learn about the history. You’ll also hear the vivid legend of the woman who was walled alive within the castle walls. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the breathtaking views over the confluence of Buna, Drin and Kir rivers.
Once inside the castle, you will see the monument of Rozafa feeding her baby from the walls. In addition you will get to know more about the people’s history and how they survived different occupations.The next stop is the museum that sheds light on every stone and ruin you have visited so far, giving answers to the questions you might have had throughout the tour. Finish off by soaking up the breathtaking views of Tarabosh mountain and Shkodra Lake and enjoy some free time to shoot pictures.
In the afternoon, head back to finish this day trip from Tirana.
Meanwhile in Tirana join this free walking tour to discover the best sites of Tirana and learn the history of this beautiful city.
See one of the most beautiful capitals in Balkans. Tirana is a beautiful city located in the heart of Albania, with beautiful colorful buildings that have a history to tell.
Immerse yourself in the history and sightseeing of Tirana. Explore the city with a guide for free.
Get to know the Scanderbeg Square better. Learn how the square won two prizes lately. Meanwhile there, you will find yourself in the middle of the heart of Tirana from where you can see the Et’hem Bey mosque.
The Et’hem Bey Mosque is one of the oldest buildings in Tirana that dates back to 1821. Built during the Ottoman invasion, the mosque is of outstanding beauty.
While on the Scanderbeg Square, learn how the square has changed its view many time during different political changes. Observe the tiles that come from every corner of Albania.
Visit the hidden corners of Tirana. Also, Tirana is the winner of the European Youth Capital 2022. This is a great way to take in the beauty and history of Tirana.
Do not miss to book this free walking tour of Tirana with us.