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Tirana

Tirana

Over recent years the now thriving city of Tirana has been transformed into a vibrant metropolitan centre. As the capital of this relatively small country Tirana brings together everything that is best about Albania, including a rapidly expanding retail scene and an amazing selection of restaurants offering beautifully prepared Albanian cuisine.

Once a communist dystopia of grey tower blocks and cracked pavements, Tirana has been transformed into a fantastically coloured metropolis over the last decade. Among the nicest of the hotels on offer is the bright orange Boutique Hotel Kotoni (4 Rruga Donika Kastrioti), which is as colourful without as it is within. Equally cheerful is the pale pink Capital Tirana Hotel (Rruga Qemal Stafa) – a budget affair in the heart of the city centre. Also worth a look is the scarlet and cream Jolly Hotel (Sheshi Avni Rustemi), which boasts bright rooms that live up to its moniker.


If you’re after kitsch crafts or a knock-off Prada bag, Tirana is shopping nirvana. Most of the action is concentrated around Rruga Myslym Shyri, the Albanian capital’s main shopping street, where you’ll find everything from food to fashion. Early risers in search of a bargain should head to Tregu i Madh (Rruga Ferit Xhajko), a vast Turkish-style bazaar that closes just after lunch but is a brilliant place to hunt for unique souvenirs. For international names, head to Casa Italia on the Tirana-Durrës motorway. Along with Zara and co, they also have a branch of JYSK – the cooler, Danish version of IKEA.

There’s no shortage of good places to eat in Tirana, particularly if you’re interested in sampling the local fare and tasting some of the local firewater, raki. Head to Sarajet (Rruga Abdi Toptan) for Albanian cuisine and a singalong with eccentric owner Paskal Prifti in a pretty 19th-century villa. If you’ve got cash to spare and a hankering for Mediterranean fare, try Juvenilja Castelo (Rruga Gjeneral Niko Pushkini) on the edge of Tirana Big Park. One not to be missed is Oda (Rruga Luigj Gurakuqi), which serves up your supper in a reconstructed oda (guestroom), complete with large ottomans and shelves peppered with strings of garlic and old photos.

Albanian Wine Expo
March
The Balkans might not be known for their wine, but as this event proves Albanians really do know how to make a decent vino. Expect plenty of opportunities to taste it as well as exhibitions staged by local vintners.


Summer Festival
March
Albania’s biggest pagan festival celebrates the end of winter courtesy of festive feasts, bonfires and parties up and down the country. Although Shkumbin is the epicentre, you’ll find a marathon, plenty of live music and food galore in Tirana.


Tirana International Guitar Festival
May
A must-do for folk and rock fans, the Tirana International Guitar Festival includes performances from some of the world’s top musicians as well as competitions for would-be Brian Mays.


Rally Albania
June
Head to Mother Theresa Square to see a stampede of rally cars choking up Tirana before heading out along the rough Albanian country roads. The race continues in Macedonia and Kosovo before returning to the Albanian capital.


Tirana International Film Festival
October
One of the biggest events of Tirana’s year, the annual film festival attracts film and documentary makers from all over the world and allows you to see cutting-edge shorts for nothing.

ESSENTIALS

Language
Albanian
Currency
Albanian Lek
Time zone
GMT +1
Flight time
3 Hours
Holiday type
Sightseeing

WEATHER

18/04/14
Patchy light drizzle
Patchy light drizzle
8°C
min
14°C
max
19/04/14
Light rain
Light rain
7°C
min
13°C
max
20/04/14
Sunny skies
Sunny skies
10°C
min
20°C
max
21/04/14
Patchy light rain
Patchy light rain
12°C
min
22°C
max
22/04/14
Sunny skies
Sunny skies
14°C
min
25°C
max
23/04/14
Moderate or heavy rain shower
Moderate or heavy rain shower
13°C
min
24°C
max
24/04/14
Moderate or heavy rain shower
Moderate or heavy rain shower
10°C
min
19°C
max
Jan
11°C max
4°C min
Feb
12°C max
5°C min
Mar
15°C max
8°C min
Apr
18°C max
11°C min
May
23°C max
15°C min
Jun
28°C max
19°C min
Jul
30°C max
21°C min
Aug
30°C max
21°C min
Sep
26°C max
17°C min
Oct
22°C max
14°C min
Nov
17°C max
10°C min
Dec
12°C max
6°C min

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AIRLINES

TODAY'S WEATHER

Patchy light drizzle 13°C
8°C
min
14°C
max
67%
huimidity

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