Albania

11 Wonderful Day Trips from Tirana, Albania

Last Updated on 15/05/2024 by kami

Albania has been relatively undiscovered for years, in the shadow of more popular Balkan destinations such as Croatia or Montenegro. Finally, the time has come, and more and more people have decided to visit Albania and see all its best attractions. And there are plenty of destinations in the county worth going to; you will be surprised by all the fantastic places to visit in Albania!

Fortunately, you can see many of them as day trips from Tirana. That’s what I did, too, during my last trip to Albania. I based myself for a few days in the capital, going for numerous Tirana day trips, and in the meantime enjoying all the best things to do in Tirana and the city’s vibrant atmosphere. It was a perfect solution, really.

things to do in tirana albania

If you are planning a trip to Albania and want to see as much as possible without the hassle of packing and unpacking every other day, I recommend the plan with Tirana day trips too! You really can see the variety of places this way, not only in Albania but also in neighboring countries.

Below you will find my recommendations for the best day trips from Tirana. Check them out and plan your perfect trip to Albania. And if you have any extra questions about visiting this amazing country, be sure to join my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans and ask there!

things to do in tirana albania

Planning a trip to Tirana?

Here are the highly-rated hotels, tours, and services recommended for your trip:

Accomodation:

Tours and activities:

Internet: Stay connected with Airalo eSim card – click here to get yours!

Airport Transfer: Use Welcome Pickups for a smooth ride from the airport to your accommodation in Tirana Click here to book the airport transfer.

Insurance: Get insured for your trip to Albania with SafetyWing

Car rental: Compare prices and find the best deals on rental cars in Albania on Discover Cars.

How to organize day trips from Tirana

The easiest way of traveling around Albania is by renting a car. You can see so much more this way and do some detours or photo stops along the way (and there might be many of them).

You can rent a car in Tirana directly at the airport after arriving or in the city after a few days of exploring the capital. To do so, you can use the Rent from Locals service, a good and highly rated alternative for chain companies. It’s like Airbnb for cars, where local providers publish their offers with affordable prices, no credit card or prepayment requirement, and an extensive selection of vehicles to choose from.

If you can’t or don’t want to drive a car in Albania, you can always use public transport or tours to get to all the destinations below. Remember that public transportation in Albania tends to stop pretty early, with the last buses departing around 4 pm, so this might not be the most optimal way to explore the country.

things to do in tirana albania

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Day trips from Tirana

And now, in no particular order, here are the best day trips from Tirana to help you discover more of Albania as well as neighboring countries.

Berat

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Albania and a real gem of the Balkans, Berat is one of the easiest day trips from Tirana that you can’t miss. Located only around 100 km south of the capital, with a decent road and good connections, it’s very easy to visit Berat. And once you get there, you won’t be bored for sure! This is one of the best-preserved Ottoman cities in the region, with plenty of things to do in Berat that will keep you occupied for a few solid hours.

Start with the castle area, towering above the town, where you can find most of Berat highlights, such as the fantastic Icons Museum, ruins of Red and White Mosques, or a random big head which, in fact, shows the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. This neighborhood is also perfect for wandering around cobbled, winding lanes and admiring breathtaking views of Berat and beyond.

Once you finish with this part of the town, explore two interesting areas, Mangalem and Gorica, located on opposite sides of the Osum River. Looking at both from the new bridge (one of the best photo spots in Berat), you will quickly understand where “the city of a thousand windows” name came from.

When you are done with all the sightseeing, stop for a coffee at Republic Boulevard to do some people-watching and enjoy the town’s vibrant atmosphere before heading back to Tirana.


Distance from Tirana: 100 km
How to get there: car, bus, or tour
Recommended tours:

Read more about Berat: 13 Perfect Things to Do in Berat, Albania

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

Kruja

Due to its proximity to the capital (only 30 km away), Kruja is one of the easiest day trips from Tirana. This is also one of the country’s most important places to visit, the center of the Albanian resistance (led by the national hero Skanderbeg) during the Ottoman invasion in the 15th century. The local museum, dedicated to Skanderbeg, is one of the places you can’t miss when visiting Kruja. But the town has so much more to offer.

You can find there the impressive castle on which grounds are still inhabited – the place mixes old monuments and historical sites with everyday life. It’s worth wandering around the castle area, as you never know what random gems you might find there. This is also a great place to admire the panorama of the surrounding area, with breathtaking mountains on one side and flat land on the other (on a sunny day, you can even see the Adriatic Sea from here).

If you are looking for souvenirs from your trip to Albania, there is no better place to buy them than Kruja. The local bazaar is the best in the country, with a wide selection of things, from typical memorabilia like magnets or t-shirts to more unique ones like jewelry, paintings, or carpets.


Distance from Tirana: 30 km
How to get there: car, bus, or tour
Recommended tours:

Read more about Kruja: Kruja, Albania – a Perfect Day Trip from Tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

Shkoder

The city is known mainly for the lake with the same name (the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula). Still, Shkoder itself also offers plenty of attractions and is worth visiting, even as one of Tirana day trips. Located in the north of the country, near the border with Montenegro and 100 km away from the capital, it’s very easy to visit Shkoder.

Once you get there, the biggest highlight of the city is the impressive Rozafa Castle, dating back to the 14th century. Even if it is in ruins today, it is still a magnificent place to explore, not to mention spectacular views from the castle in all directions: Lake Shkoder, Montenegro, Albanian Alps, and beyond.

The center of Shkoder is a pleasant place where you can stroll pedestrian streets, enjoy its vibrant atmosphere, or sit down for a coffee. If you are interested in photography, this is where you will find the only museum in Albania dedicated to it – the Marubi National Museum of Photography, with its origins in the mid-19th century.


Distance from Tirana: 100 km
How to get there: car, bus, or tour
Recommended tours:

Read more about Shkoder: 7 Perfect Things to Do in Shkoder, Albania

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

Lake Koman

If you decide to visit Lake Koman on a day trip from Tirana, expect a long travel day. But it will definitely be worth it! This is one of the most breathtaking places to visit in Albania that will leave you speechless and with your jaw dropped.

Located in the northern part of Albania, Lake Koman is, in fact, the artificial lake (the reservoir). It was created when the hydroelectric power station was built in the 1980s on the Drin River with the 115-meter high dam on one side, near Komani village (hence the name of the lake). But even if humans created this breathtaking place, it doesn’t feel that way.

Lake Komani is secluded and wild, and the surrounding doesn’t feel like it was touched by a human’s hand (except for a few occasional villages along the way). Don’t expect many attractions on this day trip; the real joy is admiring the mindblowing scenery around you.

After arriving from Tirana, you will take the ferry from Komani to Fierze – the journey takes around 3 hours. Even if it might sound a bit long, you won’t feel the passing time as you will be too focused on looking around the spectacular nature.

After a short stop in Fierze, you will take the same ferry back to Komani (the views will look slightly different, even if you pass the same area) and then return to the capital. Lake Koman is available as one of Tirana day trips only from mid-April and early November.


Distance from Tirana: 135 km
How to get there: car or tour
Recommended tours:

Read more about Lake Koman: A Complete Guide to Visiting Lake Koman, Albania

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

Durres

Durres is known mainly as a holiday destination. However, even if you are not interested in the seaside holidays, you should consider visiting the city as a day trip from Tirana. It is not the prettiest place you can see in Albania (quite the contrary, actually), but it offers some interesting sights, some of them dating back to ancient times.

The most impressive place to visit in Durres is the Roman Amphitheater from the 2nd century AD, the largest construction of that kind located in the Balkans. Back in the day, it could fit up to 20.000 spectators who gladly came here to watch various performances.

Next to it, you can find the Durres castle remnants, built in the late 5th century to protect the place and strengthen it in Middle Ages. The best place to learn about ancient times and the history of Durres is the Archeological Museum, the largest and best place of this kind in Albania.

After all the sightseeing, you can wander along the seaside promenade and eat some local seafood before heading back to Tirana.


Distance from Tirana: 35 km
How to get there: car, bus, or tour
Recommended tours:

Read more about Durres: 11 Great Things to Do in Durres, Albania

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

Gamti Mountain and Bovilla Lake

If you are looking for a nature getaway from Tirana that is not too far from the capital, Gamti Mountain and Bovilla Lake are perfect. The good news is you can combine visiting both during the same trip.

Even if the place is only around 20 km from Tirana, you need about one hour to get there as the last part of the road is gravel. But once you get to Bovilla Lake, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of turquoise water and surrounding mountains.

From here, you can hike to Gamti Mountain for even more spectacular views of the area. This is probably the most rewarding yet easy day trip from Tirana regarding views and nature, so if you are a fan of those, be sure to include Bovilla Lake and Gamti Mountain in your Albania itinerary.


Distance from Tirana: 20 km
How to get there: car or tour
Recommended tours:

day trips from tirana

Gjirokaster

Gjirokaster is another one of the day trips from Tirana that is long but worth all the time spent getting there and back. This is one of the two “museum towns” in Albania (the other one being Berat); both places are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. You will find there a large number of well-preserved Ottoman buildings, some in a better shape than the others, but altogether, they create a beautiful city scenery that is so easy to fall for.

The best view of Gjirokaster and the surroundings is from the impressive castle, originally dating back to the 13th century. Besides the panorama, it’s worth visiting it for its historical value and a few interesting artifacts, such as the remnants of the Lockhead T-33 airplane that used to belong to the US Air Force.

Gjirokaster is also a perfect place for shopping and strolling around, as its bazaar is among the best ones in Albania. Other attractions include the Ethnographic Museum, set in the birth house of Enver Hoxha, or the Cold War Tunnel. This 800 meters long underground bunker served as the emergency shelter during Hoxha’s rule. There really is plenty to see and do in Gjirokaster!


Distance from Tirana: 230 km
How to get there: car or tour (bus takes too long)
Recommended tours:

Read more about Gjirokaster: Gjirokaster, Albania – the stone gem of the Balkans

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

Apollonia

Apollonia is another important ancient site that is reachable as a day trip from Tirana. The Greek colonists from Corinth founded it as the trading center around 600 BC. For centuries, Apollonia was used as an example of a well-ruled settlement. The place was developing and flourishing, especially when it became an important stop on the trading route Via Egnatia connecting Rome and Thessaloniki and further with the Byzantine Empire.

After the earthquakes in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, Apollonia was abandoned, and its remnants were discovered only in the 18th century. Today you can explore this ancient site, with the amphitheater, a temple, facades with columns, and more. While you are here, you should also visit the nearby 13th-century Byzantine monastery.


Distance from Tirana: 120 km
How to get there: car or tour
Recommended tours:

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

Kosovo

Besides exploring Albania, you can also use Tirana as a base to visit neighboring countries that are within a day trip reach from the capital.

One of these countries is Kosovo, where you can see Prizren – the second-biggest city and the most beautiful place in the newest country in Europe. The Old Town is bustling with numerous cafes and restaurants; the area is vibrant, with people hanging around here all day long, and it’s so easy to enjoy this place.

The biggest highlight of Prizren is Kaljaja – the fortress with the most beautiful city view in Kosovo. It’s an easy hike up there from the Old Town, but the panorama of the city and beyond is very rewarding.

You can go further into Kosovo, too, and add another place to your day trip, either Pristina (the funky capital) or Gjakova (with the charming center). No matter where you go, this trip can be a great introduction to Kosovo.


Distance from Tirana: 180 km
How to get there: car or tour
Recommended tours:

Read more about Kosovo: What to see in Kosovo

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

North Macedonia

Another country that is an easy day trip from Tirana is North Macedonia. You can visit one of the most beautiful places in the Balkans – Lake Ohrid, divided by the border (although the more interesting part is on the North Macedonia side).

The main town at the lake – Ohrid – is packed with attractions, historical sites, and centuries-old monuments. You can see there numerous old churches, including the iconic Church of Saint John at Kaneo (in the past, it was said there were 365 churches in Ohrid, one for every day of the year), visit the fortress from the 4th century, see the ancient amphitheater and wander around the beautiful old town.

Besides the city of Ohrid, there are other interesting places around the lake on both sides of the border: Saint Naum Monastery, Bay of Bones, or Pogradec, to name a few.

Be sure to go for a boat ride on the lake, too, as it can give you another perspective and help you fully appreciate the beauty of the place.


Distance from Tirana: 130 km
How to get there: car or tour
Recommended tours:

Read more about North Macedonia: 19 Amazing Places to Visit in North Macedonia

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

Montenegro

Montenegro is the third country you can visit on a day trip during your stay in Tirana. Even if you can focus mainly on its coastal attractions, they are interesting and diverse, so that you can expect an exciting trip.

The first stop can be Ulcinj, shortly after the border. It is among the oldest on the Adriatic coast; the first settlement was founded in the 5th century BC. Today you can explore the old town with the well-preserved castle, enjoy the central beach and see one of the (in)famous spomeniks from the former Yugoslavia.

A short drive further north along the seaside, you can visit Stari Bar, with the remnants of the old town badly destroyed by the earthquake in 1979. This is also where you will find allegedly the oldest olive tree in the world.

You can continue driving up north to Budva, the most popular seaside resort in the country, with its charming Old Town, and even to Kotor – hands down the most beautiful place in Montenegro, with views that will take your breath away.

The good thing is that the distances between all these locations are manageable, so you can decide during your trip where you go. But no matter which places you can see, you are in for a treat as Montenegro is such a wonderful to visit!


Distance from Tirana: 140 km
How to get there: car or tour
Recommended tours:

Read more about Montenegro: 22 Amazing Places to Visit in Montenegro

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

day trips from tirana

Final thoughts on Tirana day trips

As you can see above, there are plenty of options for places to visit as day trips from Tirana. The best thing about using the capital of Albania as your base for further exploration of the country and beyond is how diverse all these places are. No matter what your interests are, you will surely find some great Tirana day trips for yourself! But despite which places you decide to visit, I’m sure you will have a wonderful time visiting Albania!

things to do in tirana albania

Further reading

I published many articles about Albania that you might find useful when planning your trip there. Here are some of them:

If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations). You can also join my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans and ask your questions there.


Travel Resources

Below you can find the brands I trust and use when planning trips:


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

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  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Albania too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. Thank you!

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day trips from tirana


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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Rezart R.
    21/05/2024 at 13:24

    Great story.

    • Reply
      kami
      03/07/2024 at 17:44

      Thank you!

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