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Tirane - A travel report by Andy
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Tirane,  Albania - flag Albania -  TiranĂ«
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andy_travel's travel reports

Tirana revival

  5 votes
Tirana is a city that was greatly shaped during the King Zog time in the 1920-1930\'s and now is a nice city to visit. I drove from Croatia to Albania and it was quite an experience. The roads were very good when compared to the Ballkan.


Tirana is a great city that has changed a lot during the last years. Last time I was there was February 2012. in 2010 they were reconstructing a lot of their roads, a new project for the city. The center of the city is great. The Skanderbeg square reconstruction was over and the roads from the Square to Tirana University, to the train station are in good shape. The roads around the square are considerably big when you consider that this is an old European city and do not expect the roads of an American downtown, you should expect something like Roma streets (in Italy) or Amsterdam streets (the Netherlands) that are very narrow just because of the simple reason that 200 years ago people were using horses and not busses. And still you can drive your car (eventhough there is trafic) in the city center (which is not allowed in many other European old cities). From the Central square you can walk toward Train station, toward Durres Street, Kavaja street and another street opposite of Durres street. I noticed that some of the buildings were different from the others. I asked and I was told that those enormous buildings were build by Italian Engineers during 1930's. And that is the general trend: city architects are getting worse and worse, the old is always better. The public transportation is very crowded especially in the rush hours. Walking is more suggested unless you want to go somewhere far.

Try to get an idea of the prices of Taxis before you get one. Bargaining works. 5-10 Euro will send you anywhere around the city. If you have any question step in any coffee shop and ask them, step in any of the stores, banks and ask for directions or anything similar.

Parking is a real hassle. You have to find a spot early in the morning. There are places where you pay a fee to the Municipality employed people that walks around. Do not pay the young kids that hang around.

There are Rental car like Hertz but I do not know the prices.

There are banks everywhere.

Favourite spots:
1. Ethem Bey mosque in the center of the city. You can go in and ask about its history. It was the only mosque not destroyed during the communist time. It was not functional though.
2. Tirana University main campus. There you can find Sheraton Hotel,
3. Blloku. Ask for Blloku and every one will show you.
4. Shallvaret. A nice old road where you can find a lot of shops.
5. Tajvan Restaurant. It is a big restaurant close to Blloku.
6. Old Bazaar. There is a roundabout around 200 meter from the center when you go opposite to the Durres street. They sell vegetables and fruits. It is more expensive when compared to other small stores but i liked the way it was build and organized.
7. Artificial Lake. There it gets very crowded, families, kids.

What's really great:
Cheap and good food. Traditional foods based on whatever is produced at that climate. Similar to South Italian, greek and turkish food.
Cheap hotels.
People are nice. Many of them know english.
They are on the streets very early in the morning and they are out up to around mid night.
The small family stores stay open very late where you can buy everything.

Sights:
Dajti mountain. This mountain is in the skirts of Tirana and you can find snow in there even in summer.

Accommodations:
There are many small hotels that you pay 20 Euros a night (30.000 lek per night). It may more expensive during the summer. You may have to ask for them because sometimes they are small family hotels

Restaurants:
There are many good restaurants on Elbasani street , on the way going to Elbasan, another close-by city. Tajvan Restaurant.

Published on Saturday April 14th, 2012


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