While it may be off the beaten path for some travelers, the capital city of Albania, Tirana, will thrill the adventurous backpacker with its exciting discoveries.
Nestled in a fertile valley on the Ishm River and surrounded by lush forested hills, Tirana has a rich and complex history, from Ottoman rule to Soviet times.
The city’s cultural history, combined with its gorgeous mountainous landscape and a national park in its backyard, makes it a backpacker’s dream for new travel encounters.
We’ve rounded up six of the best hostels in Tirana to make your visit all-around incredible.
Trip n Hostel
- Price: $12 / 12-dorm
- Google maps rating: 4.7 / 5
- solarium rooftop terrace,
- lots of green space,
- outdoor dining,
- cozy vintage common area,
- hot breakfast with vegetarian and vegan options.
Located in the Pasar I Ri quarter of Tirana, and just a couple minutes walk to Skanderberg Square, this hostel is housed in a delightful historic Italian style villa, built-in 1910. Surrounded by gardens and with cozy rooms with chimneys, the hostel is a relaxing place to restore and rejuvenate after a long day of exploring the city.
You can choose between dorm-style rooms (bunk beds with privacy curtains) if traveling solo, or a private room with a double bed and a bunk bed if you’re traveling with friends.
Relax and socialize in the common areas, which boast eclectic and vintage décor or eat and hang out in one of the two beautiful gardens. With multiple seating and dining areas, these gardens are a green oasis in an urban setting.
Tirana Backpacker Hostel
- Price: starts from $6 / 10-dorm
- Google maps rating: 4.5 / 5
- bike rentals,
- special day tours,
- large outdoor space with patio and hammocks,
Between the tropical fruit tree backyard, free breakfast loaded with fruits and veggies, vegan dinners, hammocks, and instruments for hostel visitors’ use, this funky and charming hostel will make you feel right at home. Bright and eclectic art and furniture fill the hostel, and the warm backyard patio lights transform the space into a tropical oasis.
Play games and make art with the other hostel stayers, or pick up the nearest accordion, all of the activities and fun make this hostel a destination in its own right.
- Price: starts from $11 / 10-dorm
- Google maps rating: 4.9 / 5
- beautiful interior design throughout the entire hostel – from the common areas and bathrooms to the hostel bedrooms,
- lovely outdoor garden space.
This gorgeous, lux hostel is decorated in a clean, Mediterranean style. With crisp white walls, earthen tone brickwork, and exposed beams, this airy hostel is a must for the aesthetically driven backpacker.
The hostel owners consider shared spaces sacred, which shows in their dedicated interior decorating and beautiful artwork. Their deli menu has also rotating and healthy meal options. This refined and beautiful hostel may be the nicest hostel you’ll ever end up staying in.
Milingona City Centre
- Price: starts from $10 / 12-dorm
- Google maps rating: 4.4 / 5
- located in Tirana’s city center,
- right next to the art and music scenes,
- hosts live gigs occasionally.
This happening hostel is right in the heart of the city, right next door to the music and art scenes of Tirana’s Blloku district. A perfect hostel experience for the backpacker looking for a contemporary and hip encounter with Tirana.
The hostel boasts its own organic craft draft beer and homemade Raki so you can party with the other backpackers either in or out of the hostel! You can’t beat this location’s centrality, party or funky vibes.
- Price: starts from $10 / 8-dorm
- Google maps rating: 4.4 / 5
- rooftop tent sleeping area,
- large lockers underneath beds,
- friendly atmosphere.
The biggest highlight by far of this hostel is its huge rooftop terrace with stunning views of Tirana’s skyline. Soak up some rays in the hammocks, play cards in the evening, or sip a cocktail in the covered lounge area with your fellow backpackers.
The hostel also organizes rooftop BBQs, dinners, and pub crawls. The interior is more modest compared to some of the other top hostels in Tirana, but the rooftop terrace makes up for what the interior might lack in niceties.
Buff Hostel Tirana
- Price: starts from $9 / 6-dorm
- Google maps rating: 4.5 / 5
- private rooms with balconies,
- quiet and relaxing atmosphere,
- comfortable beds.
Are you ready for a good night’s sleep? Clean and crisp with little frills, this hostel is a dream space for the minimalist backpacker. The hostel is quieter compared to some of its neighboring hostels, and perfect for the backpacker who likes to take a breath and relax without too much fuss after touring all day.
The private rooms are lovely; one private attic room has wooden beam ceilings with a large, comfortable bed. The double bed private rooms also have balconies. If you’ve been dorming it up during your trip, this may be the hostel to splurge a little and get some alone time.
More of Tirana: Must-Sees
Central City Sights
Skanderbeg Monument and Skanderbeg Square are a must-visit in the central city, and only a couple minutes walk away from many of the city’s hostels, including some on this list. Skanderbeg was a general famous for leading a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.
While an independent Albanian state was not created until the early 20th century, Skanderbeg is seen as an important figure in Albanian national identity. Skanderbeg Monument rests in Skanderbeg Square, and is an arresting statue of him on a horse. Just around the corner, you can check out the Enver Hoxha Pyramid, a fascinating reminder of the Communist regime. The odd, derelict building was meant to be a museum dedicated to the dictator, and now is a magnet for graffiti artist and skaters. Finally, end your day in the city center by visiting the Block district for a trendy cocktail with the city’s younger crowd and ex-pat community.
Day Trips from the City
If you’re traveling in the summer and the city heat is getting to you in Tirana, the coastline and its beaches, known as the Albanian Riviera, is less than an hour away. The craggy coast of Albania has crystal clear waters and golden sandy beaches that will take your breath away. The contrast between the lush green local coastal vegetation and the white sand and golden rocks on the coastline is stunning. Check out the beaches near the beautiful historic city of Durres. Durres, an ancient port city, is a destination in its own right, and features some incredible Roman ruins and castles. The Durres Archaeological Museum is a great visit for the history and archaeology-loving adventurer, with Greek and Roman artifacts. Spille beach is a local favorite, a long sandy beach featuring some excellent seafood restaurants.
Remember our man, Skanderbeg? Check out the ruins of castle built by him in 1463 along the rocky coastline north of Durres while visiting one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania, Kepi I Rodonit. If you’re looking for some people watching, white sand, and a good time, head to Golem Beach, less than an hour from Tirana and hopping with locals in the summer time.
For cultural discoveries, visit the National Historic Museum to delve into the country’s multifaceted history and then tour Et’hem Bey Mosque, a stunning and historic 19th-century mosque, unique in Islamic culture due to its artwork. For a funky combination of both modern history and contemporary art, check out the Bunk Art; the sprawling bunker was once the nuclear fallout shelter for a dictatorship and contains over a hundred rooms. Now, the bunker houses a museum that explores the government’s past as well as cutting-edge contemporary art. With its incredible natural landscape and fascinating history, Tirana is a must for backpackers with wanderlust.