Tirana: Europe’s hidden jewel

The city of Tirana is located in the central-west part of Albania. It is not only the most populated city in Albania, but also the administrative, economic and cultural center in the country and one of the largest cities in the Balkans. With a population of over 800,000, Tirana has become one of the busiest cities in the region with a fast growing expansion.

Tirana also is the center of the Tirana Region. From the last territorial – administrative reform in 2015, the Tirana Region (or county) incorporates the municipalities of Tirana, the municipality of Kavaja, the municipality of Rrogozhine, that of Vora and the municipality of Kamez.

All of these municipalities, cover an area that starts with the beautiful Dajti mountain on the east of the city of Tirana which is surrounded also by beautiful hills in the west and a slight valley opening on the north-west overlooking the Adriatic Sea in the distance.

With an administrative unit that is spread in a 41.8 kmarea, the city of Tirana, is beautiful from north to south and from east to west. You can start your adventure by getting the cable car to get on top of the Dajti Mountain, where you find not only an amazing view of the city, but also amazing nature sights and a plenty of other activities such as a newly open Adventure Park. But the east part of Tirana, is not only about the Dajti Mountain. There are plenty of hidden jewels in the small villages of the area. For those passionate about hiking, there are locations such as Pellumbas, the Bovilla Lake, Shengjergj, etc.

Once you start descending the mountain, you will easily get to the center of the city. Now with a new renovated city center, you can start your tour of Tirana from the National Museum, where you will find pavilions starting from antiquity to modern history. In front of the museum, you will find the statue of Gjergj Kastriot Skenderbeu, the countries national hero. The whole structure of the city center is pretty simple and easy. The main boulevard will expand in front of you making it easy to navigate the city. The boulevard ends at mother Tereza Square with the main piece of it being the Tirana University building. In the south- west part of the city, you can find the beautiful lake hills and the artificial lake of Tirana. This part of the city, being one of the few green areas of Tirana, has become a pretty popular area for the citizens of the capital wanting to escape the loud and busy city life.

What is interesting about the city of Tirana, is that it was become, in a very short period of time, after the fall of communism, from a 200,000 inhabitants city, to a more than 800,000 inhabitants. It also has kept track with modern capitals of Europe, becoming an attractive city not only for tourist but also for the youth of the country wanting a better life, better chances of an education, of employment and of a better quality life.

With the ‘Bllok” area, a former area only for the communist ruling elite, now the trendiest part of Tirana, you can not only find some of the best clubs, restaurants or bars in the country, but also probably in the Balkans. But this is not only an ‘entertaining’ area, it also houses some of the biggest and best private financial or legal enterprises offices.

With one of the youngest populations in Europe, Tirana is a fast growing city that never stops and never sleeps. It gives you a positive vibe with certainly a most welcoming population.

If you take the highway outside of the city, to get to the municipality of Kavaja, you will have to pass the municipalities of Kamez and that of Vora.

With Kamez, situated in the north-western part of Tirana, and Vora in the south-western part of Tirana, these once state owned cooperative villages have become largely populated and incorporate every service for its citizens. With modern infrastructure and jobs being created, they have become an alternative to the people who come from other cities of Albania, but cannot afford the capital life.

Some 40 minutes drive from Tirana, you can easily reach the municipality of Kavaja, centrally located in the western lowlands region of Albania. It borders Durres to the north and Tirana to the east and Rrogozhine to the south. To the west it lays the Adriatic Sea.

With the new territorial administrative reform of 2015, the municipalities of Golem, Helmas, Luz I Vogel and Synej were merged with that of Kavaja and also with the municipality of Rrogozhine, they all now belong to the county of Tirana making the region an attractive one from the mountains of Tirana, to the Adriatic Sea.

The city of Kavaja is relatively smaller than that of Tirana, with a population of almost 20,000 inhabitants, it does not compare to that of Tirana. Kavaja is becoming from a small-secluded city during the time of communism, to a more lively and diverse city offering more possibilities to its citizens.

It offers a long sea line, one of the most beautiful in the country and still yet not populated in most parts. Starting with Golem, the most busy and populated seaside area in the region, the more south the coast you go, the less populated areas you find.

Tracy Trebicka
Copyright: Mina Skuqi

As of Rrogozhina, it’s one the news cities created by the territorial administrative reform in 2015. The total population is 22,148 in a total area of 223.50 km2.

A mix of sky&sand, mountains&sea, the region of Tirana, offers a vast variety of possibilities and scenery that is both beautiful and to discover. With the city of Tirana as its main attraction, you can go from a city of lights, noise and an active fast life, culturally, politically and socially, to calmer scenery in Kavaja and Rrogozhine, this region offers infinity of possibilities for tourists who can either chose to hike in the mountains of Tirana and explore the areas to those who want to camp with the Adriatic Sea as their view in Karpen in the Kavaja area.

The region of Tirana is all to discover and enjoy. The culture, the life, the food, the people and the rich history of the country, will give everyone a challenge in discovering and enjoying the city as much as possible.