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Tirane - A travel report by Harry
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Tirane,  Albania - flag Albania -  Tiranë
5909 readers

lonewolf's travel reports

Tirane .... what shall I say.

  21 votes
Page: 1 2
In another report I wrote that we travellers don’t take another traveller’s word for the attractiveness of a place. We want to see it for ourselves. So albeit other’s warning I went to Albania.


Tirane travelogue picture
I entered Albania by car at the Shkodër border. I had expected to see an underdeveloped country and poverty, but still I was shocked after driving through the first village in Albania. You can hardly believe you’re in Europe. Except for the main roads the roads are bad. Driving into Tirane I first thought I had taken a wrong turn. The streets I came through had potholes in which you could bathe a baby, being it twins wouldn’t have been a problem either. It surprised me that we got into a huge traffic jam. The reason, it turned out, was that entering Tirane two main thoroughfares cross each other. With no traffic lights, let alone police, it was the law of the jungle. I have never seen so many Mercedeses in one place, though I have to admit the most recent model was from the mid 80’s. If you think Asians and South Americans love honking their horn, you are in for a surprise in Tirane. At the end we came to the famous Skanderbeg Square, the huge central square of Tirane, where we booked a hotel.

Favourite spots:
Tirane travelogue picture
We walked good part of a day through Tirane, but I’m sorry to say there was no spot that I would call favourite. Impressing is the enormous Skanderbeg square. You can still see the pedestal from which the huge statue of Enver Hoxha was torn down. We asked if there was a shopping centre. No, there was not. No souvenir shops, nothing. We did find a tourist agency to book a ferry to Italy a.s.a.p.

What's really great:
Tirane travelogue picture
“Like” is not the word. What surprised me is the total lack of discipline in traffic. To cross the huge Skanderbeg square as a pedestrian comes fairly close to attempting suicide. The best way is to be even more brash than the drivers, stepping right in front of their honking car without even deigning to look at them. What was amusing was the guy wearing an official cap riding his antique moped that had a big dark brown box on the back saying …. UPS.

Sights:
Tirane travelogue picture
Et’hem Bey Mosque. This mosque was closed during almost half a century of communist dictatorship. Openend without permission from the government on 18th January 1991 10.000 people dared attend. Surpringly the police did not interfere. The frescoes show things hardly ever depicted in Islamic art, like waterfalls and bridges.

Accommodations:
On Skanderbeg square is the enormous Tirane International hotel. I didn’t even bother to check prices.
We stayed at the Miniri*** hotel almost situated on the Skanderbeg Square. The rooms we good and clean, the restaurant offered good quality food for fair prices.

Hangouts:
There are discos in Tirane, although I haven’t visited them.
To mention just a few: Disco Albania Dibra on Skanderbeg Square, Disko krokodil in the Rinia Park, Disko Luksi Dibra, near Skanderbeg Square.

Restaurants:
We only stayed a day and a half. The restaurant of the Miniri hotel (see above) offers good quality at fair prices.

Other recommendations:
From Tirane we drove to Durres, the port, from where we would take the ferry to Italy. As we were early we drove through Durres and south along the coast. This is a tourist zone, but not comparable with any of the others along the European part of the Med. The beaches are OK. Let’s hope that in the future the bunkers will be removed.
Getting on board the ferry was the most complicated such venture I can and will remember.

Published on Wednesday February 2th, 2005


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Mon, Mar 20 2006 - 02:36 PM rating by perpepaj

I have been to Albania on a number of occasions and have enjoyed myself. It's a shame you have given such a negitive account when only stayed 1 and half day's there. Perhapes you should not go to Eastern Europe if you are not prepared to expect that there are big differences. Advice go to one of the holiday resorts in spain

Mon, Feb 07 2005 - 09:34 PM rating by fieryfox

Thanks for sharing this very interesting insight on Tirane. A nice report.
Farizan.

Thu, Feb 03 2005 - 08:43 AM rating by rangutan

Middle of Europe, amazing...

Wed, Feb 02 2005 - 03:10 PM rating by davidx

A very informative report about a place I shall not be adding to my wish list. often it's harder to be interesting when the place isn't but to my mind you manae it.
Cheers, David

Wed, Feb 02 2005 - 12:40 PM rating by johnnye00

Sounds like this place was nuisance. Good report.

Wed, Feb 02 2005 - 11:40 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

very nice report

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