The best things to do in Tirana this summer!

Lifestyle Opinion Travel
  1. Sit and enjoy a frappe by the fountains at the Taiwan centre. Enjoy the smell of the cut grass, let the spray from the fountains cool you, and enjoy watching all the people pass by.
  2. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail or 3 in Nouvelle Vague. The outdoor area is perfect for retreating from the midday sun (or the occasional suprise thunderstorm) and their cocktail menu has a perfect range of refreshing and fruity drinks. I recommend the Amaretto Sour personally.
  3. Wander around and try and find some live music- during the summer months, the city comes alive with acoustic bands, pop-up stages, and outdoor concerts that offer a superbly diverse range of genres. From classical to Rita Ora, cover bands to traditional music- Tirana has got it covered.
  4. Go for a walk around the lake at dusk- the lake looks beautiful as the sun sets and you can stop for a coffee at one of the several cafes that line the shores. Alternatively, take a picnic with you, but be sure to take your rubbish with you when you have finished.
  5. Find a spot to watch the sunset as the summertime sundowns are truly spectacular. Expect bright pinks and oranges combined with dramatic mauve clouds for a daily Instagram ready occurrence.
  6. Cook more based on the delicious seasonal fruit and veg that bulge from every street vendors stall. Ditch the supermarkets and shop local, fresh, and organic. Think qershi, mana, luleshtrudyhe, fat courgettes, sweet peppers, and of course, lashings of spinach. Make jams and preserves to keep for winter, and collect and dry herbs that are not available in the winter months.
  7. Stroll the streets at night and take in the heady smell of the jasmine flower. Soak up the atmosphere of the city at night, as well as its sights, smells and sounds.
  8. Ditch fizzy drinks and instead, brew and then chill loose leaf teas- keep in the fridge and add slices of fruit and ice cubes to help keep you refreshed on a hot summers day. Remember that during the summer heat, you sweat out a lot of liquid, minerals, and other health essentials- be sure to replace them with something other than cola. I recommend black tea with lemon, green tea with mint, fruit teas, and anything with rose or jasmine in. Delicious!
  9. Visit the botanical gardens and the zoo. Enjoy the sunshine combined with a bit of nature and then call into Pavarotti for an ice cream afterwards.
  10. Go for a dip at Aquadromi- located next to the lake there are several clean, cool, outdoor pools, slides for children and grassy areas complete with sunbeds and parasols where you can chill out and relax all day. Swimming works out every muscle in your body and is an excellent form of cardio- whilst the sun is shining there really is no excuse.
  11. Speaking of health- if you are a lapsed yogi or someone who is considering taking it up, summer is a great time to start. When I practice in the summer months, I  really get a sweat on meaning I am flushing all of those toxins right out of my body. Free Flow Yoga are great at getting you to work up your perspiration and they are located in a great, central area.
  12. Go on a graffiti photography tour. There is so much beautiful street art (both official and unofficial) in Tirana’s streets, you could spend quite a wonderful afternoon seeking out backstreets where these wonderful pieces reside.
  13. Tirana has some wonderfully unique boutiques and the combination of eastern, Italian and Balkan style is quite special. You can pick up some fantastic bargains in some of the shops that lie off the beaten track. Think oversized, colourful, embellished, and vibrant and you will get an idea of Tirana summer style.
  14. Visit Bunkart 1&2. As they are located metres underground they offer the perfect refuge from the midday sun- but be aware, this is not a pleasant experience. If you visit Albania, you need to make an effort to find out about its past. These underground communist era bunkers offer a moving and at times, harrowing look at its volatile past. I left Bunkart 2 in tears and in search of a stiff drink, do it but be warned.
  15. Tirana is famous for its café culture and summertime is no exception. Take a tour of the coolest and quirkiest coffee houses you can find and talk to a local in each place you visit. Albanians are incredibly friendly and are more than happy to chat away to locals and foreigners alike. Just don’t mention politics.
  16. Get lost- literally Tirana is the most incredible mixture of architecture, colour, style, and hidden gems and there is no way that you could ever get bored of wonderering around. Spend an afternoon exploring, burn off some calories, and fill your Instagram feed with some delicious pictures of this fascinating city.
  17. Have a museum day- visit the National History Museum, The House of Leaves, the National Museum of Archaeology, The National Art Gallery, Gallery70 Contemporary Art Gallery, and the Clocks Museum. An exciting and educational day out for all.
  18. Eat alfresco and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere.
  19. Wear sunscreen! As I have learnt to my detriment, even just taking a stroll down by the river and back can result in quite a painful sunburn. Factor 30 and above, guys!

 

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