Excursions from Tirana: the best day trips around Tirana

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Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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If after visiting the capital of Albania you intend to discover its surroundings, there are several day trips from Tirana.
The suggestion is to move with a car (own or rented) or alternatively participate in organized excursions since unfortunately public transport in this country is rather scarce.
Here the best day trips around Tirana.

Index

  1. Kruja
  2. Durres
  3. Shkodër
  4. Castle of Rozafa
  5. Mount Dajti National Park
  6. Pellumbas Cave and Erzen Canyon
  7. Lezha (Alessio)
  8. Elbasan
  9. Shengjin Beach
  10. Weight
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Kruja

At one time the town of Kruja was the capital of the Kingdom of Albania and its castle in the 400th century was the symbol of the struggle between Albanians and Turks, resisting for over 5 months before being occupied by the Ottoman Empire.
The first thing to see during a trip is therefore the remains of the beautiful manor, now home to the ethnographic museum, where you can see the remains of a mosque and a Turkish bath in addition to the ruins of the castle.
Also not to be missed is the old market in Kruja, recently renovated, where there are shops and stalls selling local products.



  • Range: 29,1 km
  • Kruja is 29,1 km from Tirana and can be reached in 55 minutes by car (Get directions)
    Buses leave from Tirana station every day at 10:00, 11:00, 13:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00 (ticket 100 lek, € 0,80)
    but the best solution is to join a private organized tour
  • the castle with the museum are open Mon-Sun 9: 00-18: 00; the market every day 7: 00-21: 00. Organized tours usually depart in the morning and return in the afternoon
  • the entrance ticket to the castle costs 200 lek (€ 1,60). Organized tours cost around € 60,00 - book online
  • Kruja, Patok Lagoon and Durres tour

2 - Durres

The port city of Durres is another excursion that can be done in a day from Tirana.
If the season allows it, it can be an opportunity for a dip in the sea, alternatively in the Old Town there are some things to see.

The tour can include a visit to the Sheshi Liria Square with the Great Mosque (particular the facade, the interior more anonymous), the ruins of a Byzantine Forum and a Roman bath, the well-preserved Roman amphitheater, the Faith Mosque, a jewel of Durres, the castle and the archaeological museum.



  • Range: 40,6 km
  • Durres is 40,6 km away and by car it takes about 40 minutes following the signs for Rruga29 Nentori / Sh2. There is also a bus service (however, it does not have fixed timetables) that allows you to reach Durres starting from the bus station in Tirana, but it is rather not recommended. Alternatively, private tours can be organized
  • mosques are always open except during prayer hours accessible only to the faithful. The archaeological museum of Durres is open every day from 9:00 to 19:00
  • Admission to the museum is 300 lek (€ 2,99); organized tours with transfers from Tirana cost around € 50,00 - book online
  • Tour of Durres with local guide Tour of Kruja, Patok Lagoon and Durres

3 - Shkodra

Another day trip from Tirana is to Shkodra, a town on the shores of the lake of the same name with a beautiful recently rebuilt historic center, where you can breathe the perfect mix of Eastern and Western culture.

To visit the Pimbo Mosque, the Cathedral dedicated to Saint Stephen (Great Church), the Ebu Beker Mosque and the Orthodox Cathedral of the Nativity of Jesus.
To relax a bit, we suggest you take a walk on the shores of the lake and, if the season allows it, a nice dip!

  • Range: 97 km
  • Shkodra is located 97 km north of Tirana and by car, following first the E762 / Sh1 then the E851, it takes about 1 hour and 40. There are no buses but it is possible to participate in daily tours with transfers included.
  • 1-day tours depart early in the morning and end in the late afternoon
  • the organized tour costs around € 60,00 - book online
  • Shkodra: day tour from Tirana

4 - Rozafa Castle

Just outside the city of Shkodra, in a southerly direction, on top of a hill is the Rozafa Castle, an archaeological citadel from where you can admire a beautiful panorama.
A legend is linked to this place that tells of a girl, Rozafa, who was walled up alive in the stone ramparts as an offering to the devil with the intent of not destroying the castle and making the construction solid.

In addition to the imposing walls, the interior contains 4 hectares of land divided into three communicating courtyards, in the part once used as a Venetian captaincy there is a museum and in the north wing the remains of the Church of Santo Stefano.



  • Range: 95,1 km
  • The castle is located 2 km from Shkodra and about a hundred km from Tirana; by car from Tirana follow the signs for the E762 / Sh1 and then for the E851 (time around 1 hour and 40). There are no direct buses.
    Alternatively, the castle can be visited with organized tours that depart from Tirana
  • apr-ott 9:00-20:00; nov-mar 9:00-16:00
  • admission costs 200 lek (€ 1,60); organized tours cost around € 60,00 - book online
  • Shkodra: Rozafa Castle tour with local guide

5 - Mount Dajti National Park

Dajti National Park is one of the largest and most accessible nature reserves in the whole country, very close to Tirana.
Characterized by 3.000 hectares of forest accessible by car or cableway, it allows you to admire a particular panorama overlooking Tirana and practice various activities.

If you want to go hiking, horseback riding or go hiking and then taste the local cuisine in one of the restaurants here, this is the perfect place!

  • Range: 14,7 km
  • The park is 14,7 km from Tirana and can be reached by car (35 minutes) following the road towards Linza which climbs up to the terrace of the cable car station. Or you can take the Dajti Express cable car which takes 20 minutes and leaves at the end of Rruga Qemal Stafa Avenue on the outskirts of Tirana - Get Directions
  • always accessible; the cableway has the following times: May-October Wed-Mon 9: 00-21: 00; November-April Wed-Mon 9: 00-19: 00
  • admission to the park is free, the return cable car costs 800 lek (€ 6,55)

6 - Pellumbas Cave and Erzen Canyon

This cave is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Albania as well as a historical and natural wonder.
Not far from Tirana it is ideal for a day trip and can be reached with an hour's walk from the village of Pellumbas following a well-marked and very scenic path.
Once reached, it is necessary to have a torch to go inside and discover this 360-meter-long cave with spectacular stalagmites and stalactites.
Here are a few remains of bears and human settlements dating back to the Middle Paleolithic.
Once you exit you can continue the path that will lead you to Erzen Canyon with waterfalls and small rivers where you can dive or go rafting.



  • Range: 22,6 km
  • the Pellumbas caves are located in the homonymous village which is about 30 km from Tirana and can be reached in half an hour following the state road towards Elbasan. Alternatively you can join an organized excursion - Get directions
  • the caves are always open even if it is not recommended to go in the evening
  • admission is free; those who prefer to be accompanied by a guide the price is 1.000 lek (approximately € 8,00).

7 - Lezha (Alessio)

Also called Alessio, this city north of Tirana is perfect for a day trip.
Do not miss the Memorial of the tomb of Gjergi Kstrioti Skanderber located in the church of St. Nicholas and consists of a simple stone slab with the copy of the sword and helmet of this hero and the castle.
Lezha Castle dominates the city and offers a splendid view that reaches the sea; in addition to the ruins of fortifications, there are an Ottoman mosque, a Roman arch and the walls of the th century BC

  • Range: 59,9 km
  • Lezha is 59,9 km from Tirana and can be reached in about 1 hour by car following the road to the north E762 / Sh1 - Get directions
    There are also buses that leave from Tirana's central bus station although you never know when they leave.
  • the castle follows these hours: April-September Mon-Sun 9: 00-19: 30; October-March Mon-Sun 8: 00-16: 00
  • 100 lek (€ 0,80)

8 - Elbasan

An important commercial center on the Via Egnatia that connected Durres to Constantinople, Erbasan preserves several historical attractions all enclosed within the castle walls.
To explore the clock tower, the narrow and cobbled alleys, splendid Ottoman houses, the King Mosque, one of the oldest in Albania and the Orthodox Church.
Elbasan also has an interesting ethnographic museum and a beautiful theater.

  • Range: 53,9 km
  • Elbasan is located 53,9 km south of Tirana and can be reached in less than an hour by car following the Tirana-Elbasan E852 road - Get directions
    There are buses from Tirana central station but even in this case they are not reliable and the timetables change constantly.
  • The ethnographic museum is open Mon-Fri 9: 00-14: 30
  • admission to the museum 100 lek (€ 0,80)

9 - Shengjin Beach

For a day trip from Tirana, the coast also offers several places to relax, eat good fish and enjoy the sun and sea.
In Shengjin, north of the capital, near Lezha we suggest you go to the main beach and move away from the center; you will see that the beach will become more and more wild and the waters more and more clear.
Rana E Hedhun beach, shaded by pine trees, is also worth a visit with its sand dunes contrasting the blue of the sea.

  • Range: 65,1 km
  • Shengjin is 69 Km from Tirana and by car it takes 1 hour following first the Sh52 to the north and then the E851 / E762 - Get directions
    Some collective buses that load tourists can be found at Tirana station but there are no set times.
  • always accessible

10 - Berat

Among the day trips from Tirana you cannot miss the discovery of the delightful town of Berat, a historic town, Unesco heritage village and ideal place to get to know rural Albania.
Its historic center is divided into two: Gorica, the more Christian part, and the Muslim area of ​​Mangalemi, across the river.
However, the religious division is not clear-cut because there are churches and mosques on both sides.

In Berat you cannot miss a visit to the Castle, the Church of Santa Maria di Vllaherna, the various mosques and the Orthodox cathedral. If you have time left, don't forget to pay a visit to the Ethnographic Museum.

  • Range: 97,2 km
  • Berat is 97,2 Km from Tirana; it can be reached by car in less than 2 hours following the A3, SH7, SH9 and SH58. There are no buses but it is possible to join organized day tours that depart from Tirana
  • organized private tours depart from Tirana early in the morning and end in the evening
  • the city can be visited for free, instead the organized tours with transfer included start from € 65,00
  • Berat: day trip from Tirana

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