Top 6 Day Trips from Tirana: Things To Do In Albania
This article about day trips from Tirana may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.
After visiting Albania, I have to say that it is one of the most beautiful countries not only in the Balkan peninsula but also in the entire Europe. However, many people have only a few days when they normally visit the capital and miss the rest of the country.
It would be a shame to do so in Albania. The Land of Eagles is spectacular, and if you don’t have time to make a road trip in Albania, I’ve put together a list of places you can visit as day trips from Tirana.
This article will give you a glance into the most beautiful places to visit as day trips from Tirana. It includes spots full of Albanian history, culture, relaxation, and some time on the beach, including swimming in the sea.
I also kept in mind the distance from Tirana when writing the article so that you don’t spend half of the day just on the road getting to the destinations. They are all quite close to Tirana.
List Of The Top 6 Day Trips From Tirana
- Cape Of Rhodon & Fishte Village
- Vlore & Zvernec Island
- Dhermi & Himare
This beautiful town is settled in the foothills of the Albanian Alps, only 38km from Tirana. It makes it the closest place to the capital from this list.
It’s believed the city was established as a tribe of Illyrians, 150AD. At that time, it was named Albanopolis and was part of the ancient Roman Macedon.
Kruje used to be the capital city of Albania until 1920 when Tirana got the status. Besides Kruje, the former Albanian capital, which already says a lot about its importance and beauty, it’s also where Gjergj Kastrioti, nicknamed Skanderbeg, who is the national hero of Albania, fought against Ottoman Empire.
Nowadays, you can visit the museum of Skanderbeg inside the Castle of Kruje, which is the highlight. Skanderbeg defeated the Ottomans from this castle, who wanted to spread their empire further to Western Europe.
Sightseeing In Kruje
Here are the top things to do during your visit to Kruje:
- Kruje Castle
- Skanderbeg Museum / Museum of Gjergj Kastrioti
- Ethnographic Museum of Kruje
- Old Bazaar
Enjoy the day visiting the former capital of Albania and learn more about the history of this country. On the way back to Tirana, you can also visit the village of Fishte (which I mentioned later on in this article), where they have a great restaurant and have a nice experience of rural tourism.
How To Get To Kruje
I always recommend renting a car if you’re road-tripping any Balkan country, especially Albania. It’s much easier to get around and travel at your own pace. You can rent a car in Tirana for a day or two and drive to Kruje.
Distance Tirana –} Kruje by car: 1 hour & 10 minutes drive (32km) count with traffic jams, which is normal in Albania.
If you don’t get the chance to travel by car, you can also take a bus from Tirana. Note that buses don’t have any timetable nor a schedule in Albania. So you just have to walk to the bus station and hope there is a bus going to your destination, in this case, Kruje.
Taking A Bus To Kruje From Tirana
Also, bear in mind that Tirana has two bus terminals. The one is international (Rruga Ali Kolonja , 1000 Tiranë (near the Zogu I Zi Roundabout)), and the other is regional (Rruga Nëntori 29 , Tiranë), from which you need to take your bus to Kruje.
Distance Tirana –} Kruje by bus: 1 hour & 30 minutes: costs 200LEK
Read my Albania road trip (day 2.) if you want to know how to get to the regional bus terminal in Tirana and how it works when getting on the bus.
Organized Day Trip To Kruje
If you want to make a day trip to Kruje from Tirana with an organized tour that will take the hassle out of you, I recommend the tour below organized by Get your Guide:
If you only have a few hours, Berat makes a perfect day trip from Tirana. You would even manage it as a half-day excursion.
Berat, also known as the city of thousands of windows, sits next to the River Osum and is built on a small hill. The main reason to visit this charming town is its white Ottoman houses climbing up the hill towards the castle.
What Does A Legend Say About Berat?
Once you visit the town, pay special attention to the hills surrounding it. Mount Tomorr is full of holes, whereas Mount Shpirag has many craters.
It’s because of its legend that talks about two brothers, Tomorr and Shpirag. Both of them fell in love with a local girl called Osum without knowing about each other’s love. Therefore, they were meeting her separately and didn’t know about it.
However, one day, Tomorr found out about Shpirag’s love for Osum and that he was seeing her as well. So he asked Shpirag to stop it. But Shpirag, obviously, refused, which led to a big fight between the two brothers. Tomorr started to cut his brother in pieces with a sword, whereas Shpirag was throwing stones at Tomorr. Eventually, both of the brothers died.
When Osum found out, she cried for several months, even years. That’s why Berat stands between the two mountains, Tomorr and Shpirag, and the River in between them reminds us of Osum’s tears.
Sightseeing In Berat
Berat became a World Unesco Heritage Site back in 2005, and nowadays, you can visit many beautiful sites:
- Berat Castle
- Ethnographic Museum
- Ruins of the Red Mosque
- Ruins of the White Mosque
Berat, located only a 1hour and 40minutes drive from Tirana, makes a perfect chill day trip from Tirana full of history and Albanian culture. It’s worth walking through, visiting some of the sites mentioned above, and having a nice lunch in a local restaurant.
How To Get To Berat From Tirana
Again, I highly recommend renting a car to get to Berat. If you don’t have the chance, go by bus. Many buses are going from Tirana (regional bus terminal as I mentioned above) to Berat. It’s quite easy to get to Berat by bus.
Distance Tirana –} Berat by car: 1 hour & 45 minutes (97km)
Distance Tirana –} Berat by bus: approx. 2 hours &: costs 400LEK
If you take the bus, note that it’ll leave you at the Bus Terminal near Berat. It’s still some 30minutes walking to the city of Berat. You can wait at the bus terminal for a local bus (it’s green and white).
Just hop on, and it’ll drive you to the centre. You’ll pay either the driver when getting off the bus or somebody will collect the money from you. The ride will cost between 50LEK and 100LEK.
Organized Day Trip To Berat
If you want to make a day trip to Berat from Tirana with an organized tour, I recommend the tour below organized by Get your Guide:
The city of Shkodra is located next to Lake Shkodra, bordering Montenegro. It’s also a gateway and the perfect departure place to the Albanian Alps. Many visitors take a van/minibus from Shkodra every morning directly to Theth village, located in the Albanian Alps.
Lake Shkodra creates a natural border between Albania and Montenegro. It’s the largest lake in the Balkan peninsula. Get a bike in Shkodra and cycle to the Lake Shkodra Resort, where you can rent a kayak and spend a few hours on the lake with stunning views of the Albanian land and mountains.
One of the most important landmarks of Shkodra is the Rozafa Castle, where Ottomans fought against Serbian and Montenegrin forces and managed to defeat them back in 1912.
Many Albanian artists fled to Italy in the past, and Shkodra has been home to one of them, who started a factory for Venetian masks here. His name is Edmond Angoni, and thanks to him, you can now learn more about the art of making these masks and even try to make them on your own in his factory in Shkodra.
Sightseeing In Shkodra
You can visit the following sites in Shkodra and its surroundings:
- Rozafa Fortress
- Shkodra Historical Museum
- Venice Art Mask Factory
- Shkodra Cathedral
- Ebu Bekr Mosque
- Lake Shkodra
If you have time, I highly recommend staying overnight in Shkodra and visiting Lake Komani the next day. If you want to learn more about the excursion to Komani Lake, how to get there, and prices, check out my article about the top 4 things to do in the Albanian Alps (4. activity).
Tradita Hotel In Shkodra
If you stay in Shkodra overnight, book a room in the Traidta Hotel. It’s a beautiful traditional hotel. The staff is amazing. You’ll enjoy live music while having dinner in their garden in the evening.
How To Get To Shkodra
You can rent a car, but it’s also easy getting to Shkodra by bus from Tirana. Just go to the regional bus terminal in Tirana and from there, take a bus to Shkodra. They depart approx. every single hour.
Distance Tirana –} Shkodra by car: 2 hours & 10 minutes (97km)
Distance Tirana –} Shkodra by bus: approx. 3 hours 15 minutes: costs 350LEK
Organized Day Trip To Shkodra
If you feel stressed traveling on your own and need some guided tour, you can take an organized day trip to Shkodra from Tirana. I recommend this one below organized by Get your Guide. They’ll take you there and explain everything about the history on the way:
4. CAPE OF RHODON & FISHTE VILLAGE
Cape of Rhodon is the largest cape in Albania. It attracts visitors thanks to its natural beauty and the local Rhodoni Castle, and the Church of St. Anthony. The Rhodoni Castle is also known as the Skanderbeg Castle and was used as a piracy port and for transportation of goods to the nearby Ishmi.
Cape of Rhodon also has beautiful beaches with a campsite. So you can stay a couple of hours on the beach before making your way further up to Fishte village.
Mrizi I Zanave In Fishte village
If you are in Albania, you can’t miss visiting some rural areas and taste traditional Albanian food. Mrizi I Zanave is one of the best places to do so.
Experience agrotourism in its best shape and try local specialties such as smoked meat, Albanian cheese, wine cheese, wine and Raki, traditional schnaps. It’s an experience on its own, so plan to visit this place for lunch, or even better, to have a diner here.
If you have time, spend a night in their traditional rooms and have a delicious Albanian breakfast the following day before making your way back to Tirana.
How To Get To Cape Of Rhodon & Fishte Village
For this excursion, I strongly recommend you rent a car. Buses are rarely running to these places.
Another option would be to take a bus to Dürres and then try to find a taxi driver who could drive you to the Cape of Rhodon. But again, as you can see, it’s much easier getting there by car.
Distance Tirana –} Cape of Rhodon by car: 1 hour & 30 minutes (60km)
Distance Cape of Rhodon –} Fishte by car: 2 hours & 20 minutes (98km)
5. VLORE & ZVERNEC ISLAND
I’ve included these places in the list of day trips from Tirana mainly because of the beautiful Zvernec Island. It has a unique atmosphere and is worth a visit for sure. It’s a perfect day trip for you if you want to see a historical and religious site, natural phenomenon, and also make it to the sea and relax on the beach.
Zvernec Island is located only 12km from the city of Vlore. If you have a car or you’ve rented one (which I highly recommend when visiting Albania), you can leave your car in Vlore, get a bike, and cycle to Zvernec Island. But you can also get there directly by car.
Zvernec Island is connected to the mainland only with a tiny pedestrian bridge. It’s famous for the St. Mary’s Monastery and its beautiful tall pines, which shelter the island. The monastery was built on this island between the 12th and 13th centuries and reminds visitors of the Byzantine Era. It’s famous for two things.
Firstly, it was abandoned during the Communist Era, once religion was banned. After the fall of communism, Zvernec Island became a popular Albanian pilgrimage site. Locals and pilgrims come here every year on the 15th of August to celebrate the woman who gave birth to Jesus Christ.
Secondly, it’s popular for another woman who embroidered the original flag of Albanian Independence back in 1912. Her tomb is located in the local cemetery.
Vlore & Its Beaches
Once you visit Zvernec Island, you can stay in Vlore for a couple of hours. Enjoy local beaches and swim in the Adriatic Sea. Vlore has a beautiful seaside.
If you want to spend more time on the beach, I recommend you drive slightly further to the Bora Bora beach or the Radhime beach.
Before, get some good lunch in Vlore on the main street Boulevard Ismail Quemali or buy something for your afternoon on the beach.
How To Get To Vlore & Zvernec Island
It’s also quite easy to get to Vlore from Tirana from the regional bus terminal. Just ask about the bus departure the day before (at the bus terminal or in the tourist office in Tirana) so that you know when the bus is leaving.
If you travel by bus, I suggest staying overnight in Vlore as there might not be a bus later in the afternoon driving to Tirana. Inform yourself on the way and plan accordingly. Also, if you want to go to the nearby beach mentioned above, renting a car is a better option here.
Distance Tirana –} Vlore by car: 2 hours & 10 minutes (157km)
Tirana –} Vlore by bus: 3 hours: approx 700LEK
Vlore –} Zvernec Island by car: 15 minutes (12km)
6. DHERMI & HIMARE
If you feel more like relaxing and spending a day on the beach and swimming in the sea, visit Dhermi or Himare as one of the day trips from Tirana. Both towns are located on the Albanian coast, also known as the Albanian Riviera.
Enjoy the Adriatic Sea and spend a day or two in one of the nice resorts with everything you need.
Before reaching these towns, you’ll drive on the Llogara Pass, which is an experience on its own. Enjoy the stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and the ride down until you reach Dhermi, or drive further to Himare and relax on the beach.
How To Get To Dhermi & Himare
For this day trip, I suggest renting a car. There is only one bus running from Tirana to Dhermi and Himare (direction Saranda). You might have to change buses in Vlore.
The timetable is not fixed so unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly. Again, inform yourself at the bus terminal the day before.
Distance Tirana –} Dhermi by car: 3 hours & 40 minutes (213km)
Distance Tirana –} Himare by car: 4 hours & 10 minutes (234km)
Distance Tirana –} Dhermi & Himare by bus: 4 hours: between 900LEK and 1000LEK – tell the bus driver you want to get off in Dhermi/Himare
That’s the list of the best places worth visiting as day trips from Tirana. If you’re a history fanatic, choose definitely Kruje, Berat, or Shkodra. If you like to match your day trip with swimming and beach time, choose Zvernec and Vlore.
Visit Fishte village if you love agrotourism and want to learn more about Albanian culture and traditions. Or choose Dhermi and Himare if you need some time off and want to enjoy purely Albanian beaches.
More Tips For Albania Travel
Let me know which day trip from Tirana have you chosen and how it was. If you have 3 or 4 days more, I highly recommend you go to the Albanian Alps and spend some time there doing beautiful hiking excursions or just chilling. If you want to see more of Albania, get my Albania road trip itinerary. You can see the entire land with its highlights in 10 days.
If you like more ideas for your trip to Albania, check out my article with 5 itineraries to travel in Albania. It includes itineraries based on your interests. Choose one if you are a history and culture lover, a nature and beach lover, or a gastronomy and food lover.
For general information about getting around Albania, don’t forget to check out my article about Albanian buses and getting around Albania.
For general information about Albania, its most beautiful places, economy and budget you’ll need and food you have to try, check out my Albania travel guide.