Top five things to do in Tirana with kids
Exploring Tirana with kids is super easy to do. We spent two days in Albania’s capital during our 10 day itinerary for Albania and found it to be really child-friendly. There’s lots of green spaces and quirky places to visit that kids of all ages will enjoy. From underground museums to cable car adventures, to giant parks and a playground on every corner, it’s easy to fill a few days in Albania’s capital city.
Tirana with kids
The plus side of travelling in Tirana with kids is that everywhere is really family friendly. While there might not always be the same facilities you’re used to seeing at home (especially if you’re travelling with a baby) everyone is so welcoming. You’ll never feel that you can’t take your children somewhere.
We also found Tirana quite an easy city to navigate around. Although like many places when you’re driving in Albania, be prepared for narrow streets and somewhat haphazard signaling!
We spent two days in Tirana during our holiday in Albania with kids. We then combined it with a beach holiday in Ksamil.
If you’re thinking about visiting, here are my top five things to do in Tirana with kids:
1. Dajti Ekspres Cable car
Is there anything more exciting to small children than a cable car? There’s something about that feeling of slowly climbing up into the sky that’s quite magical. This is especially true when it’s the side of Dajti mountain you’re going up. It was definitely our one-year-old’s highlight of the entire holiday.
So my number one recommendation of things to do in Tirana with kids is definitely the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car.
Dajti mountain is about a 20 minute drive from the centre of Tirana. You can either take a taxi there or there’s free parking on site if you have a hire car. You can buy tickets when you arrive and the journey up the side of the mountain takes about 15 minutes.
As well as watching the city of Tirana appear in the distance, it’s fun looking down at the treetops, lakes and farms down below. Our little adventurers also loved waving to passengers in the cable cars going in the opposite direction!
The only negative I would warn about with the cable cars is that unfortunately the windows have been quite scratched by people. This means it’s quite tricky to get photos, although it doesn’t detract from the view itself.
At the top of Dajti mountain there is a viewing platform, which is 1613 metres above sea level. It provides great views of the city and on a clear day you can see all the way to the Adriatic Sea.
Once you’re at the top of the mountain there’s also plenty of activities to keep kids entertained. These include a crazy golf course and the best play park we found on our entire trip! There is also an Adventure Park for children aged 5 and over. We didn’t try this out, but it offers a variety of obstacles including nets, ropes and zip lines.
There is also a rotating bar at the top of the Dajti Tower hotel, which sounds cool. Although unfortunately this was closed during our visit.
We did however have a lovely meal at the Resturant Ballkoni Dajtit, which serves lot of Albanian specialities. If you want a table with a view over Tirana, I’d advise reserving a spot when you arrive, as they fill up quickly. Although this was one of the more expensive restaurants we ate in during our trip, it was still very family-friendly.
In addition, outside of the main compound itself, there were activities on offer including horseback and buggy riding, as well as a shooting range. I would note that health and safety seemed quite lax here, so it may depend on your child’s age how comfortable you feel allowing them to take part in them.
2. Bunk’Art 1
One of the things you’ll notice a lot when travelling through Albania is the concrete bunkers dotted around the landscape. These are a stark reminder of the communist ruler Enver Hoxha who governed the country until 1985.
Hoxha was convinced that Albania was going to be attacked by another country so he ordered 173,000 bunkers to be built across the country. However, no such attack ever took place.
No longer in use, some of the abandoned bunkers have been given a new lease of life, including two which are now art galleries.
Bunk’Art 2 is in the centre of Tirana and provides an insight into the Albanian Ministry of Internal Affairs from 1912 to 1991. It also has a video exhibition dedicated to the video museum exhibition dedicated to the victims of communist terror. This is probably a good option if you have older children or you are looking for a more central location to visit.
However, if you’re happy to travel the 20 minutes to it, then I would really recommend a visit to Bunk’Art 1, which is underneath Dajti mountain. This is an absolutely huge bunker complex, which Hoxha built for himself and his political friends.
It was built in secret and was only opened to the public in 2014. It is absolutely crazy to walk around, as it includes bedrooms, a control room and even an auditorium.
This is a really interesting thing to do in Tirana with kids, as it offers something for all ages. It’s a great introduction to the history of the country for teenagers, with lots of artefacts and explanations from the time. (There are good English explanations about it all.)
However, smaller children will also be excited by the sheer uniqueness of the place. Our little adventurers were just one and four when we visited, but they loved the fact that the bunker is underground and exploring all of the different rooms.
There are also a number of art projects dotted around the museum and they loved interacting with them, especially the mirrored room.
If you want to gain a deeper insight into the history of Tirana, it might be worth doing one of these tours:
3. The Grand Park
If you’re visiting Tirana with kids who like the freedom to run about a bit (and, let’s face it, which child doesn’t?) then The Grand Park is a great option.
Tirana’s biggest park is about a 25 minute walk from Skanderbeg Square, but has lots to explore. There’s a large lake with paths around which can be walked, jogged or cycled on. Plus, there’s plenty of green space for little ones to run around in, as well as the obligatory play parks.
There’s also lots of places to buy food and drink, so it would be easy to spend the day here. It’s perfect if your children find city life a bit overwhelming and would appreciate a more relaxed day.
The park also offers water sports, which might be a good option for teenagers. Plus, there’s a zoo and a small train which circles the park in 30 minutes, which is always a winner with big kids and little kids alike.
4. Skanderbeg Square
Skanderbeg Square is at the heart of Tirana and it’s likely that you’ll visit at some point during your stay. Surrounded by the National Opera House, the National Museum and a number of mosques and churches, it’s a great place to familarise yourself with the city.
If you’re planning to do a walking tour of Tirana. This is also where many tour guides meet.
The other thing our little adventures loved, were the fountains dotted around the square. Which are perfect for running through and cooling down in on a hot day.
It’s worth keeping an eye out for electric scooters and bikes if your children are running around. Locals do tend to speed through the square quite quickly on them.
5. The New Bazaar
If you’re interested in sampling some local foods and seeing some traditional handicrafts then The New Bazaar is worth a visit. It’s just eight minutes from the centre of Tirana and is housed in a contemporary painted building.
It has a variety of different stalls inside and is a good place to pick up little holiday gifts.
It’s busier at the weekends, when there are sometimes different performances.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to visiting Tirana with kids. Please do let me know if you end up going, I’d love to hear what your favourite thing was!
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If you are planning to visit Albania, you may find this guide to how to spend 24 hours in Berat helpful. Plus, make sure you check out my tips about how to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint from Ksamil.