Tirana Car Rental
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Taking a trip to Tirana? If it’s your first time, you’re in for a treat in Albania’s unique capital. Located bang in the middle of the nation in the Plain of Tirana, it’s surrounded by mountains (with the majestic Dajti to the east) and a north-western valley which eventually reaches the Adriatic Sea. Also close to the Mediterranean, it’s one of Europe’s sunniest cities and was founded (in its incarnation as a modern city) in 1614 by Albanian Ottoman general Sylejman Pasha Bargjini. Often dismissed as a drab, concrete capital during the Communist era, today’s Tirana has transformed into a colorful, vibrant and dynamic city, where civic pride, culture and passion are present in every nook and cranny.
With brightly painted buildings, expansive public squares and a network of pedestrianized streets, modern Tirana is rebuilt for pleasure.With a hip crown hanging out in fashionable Blloku, a collection of first-class museums and boulevards blessed by architecture reflecting Ottoman, Italian and Brutalist influences (the famous Pyramid being a prime example), this city is truly like nowhere else on Earth.
Renting a car in Tirana and Albania is yours to explore, with top deals from trusted providers available right here at Enjoy Travel. For instance, book as early as possible and an economy car like a Hyundai Accent is around $37 a day to rent, a mini-elite Citroen C1 is around $41 a day, and a compact car like a Hyundai i30 costs $45 a day. Get behind the wheel in Tirana and explore the city and beyond on your own terms.
Guide of Tirana
Humans have been frequenting the Tirana area since long before general Bargjini founded it as a city in the 17th century. In fact, it has been inhabited uninterrupted since the Iron Age. Some historians believe this area was the heart of Taulantii, an Ilyrian kingdom, after which it was annexed by the Romans, followed by the Byzantine Empire in the 4th century, who built Petrele Castle during Justinian I’s reign. Tirana developed at a leisurely pace in the following centuries and didn’t come to prominence again until the 20th century, when it became Albania’s capital after the 1912 Declaration of Independence. Captured by Fascist forces at the start of WWII, Tirana became the HQ for Albanian Communists, whose resistance campaign eventually helped expel German forces in November 1944, following a fierce struggle.
With a notable music, media, entertainment, fashion and arts output, Tirana’s culture is deep and rich. Diverse architectural highlights include the Palace of Brigades, Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard and Skanderbeg Square and it’s impressive collection of museums include the National Historic Museum (featuring some of the nation’s greatest archaeological treasures) and the Natural Sciences Museum, while the National Art Gallery has a flourishing collection of over 5000 pieces. Tirana’s festival calendar is also packed – featuring the annual Summer Festival on March 14th (Albania’s biggest Pagan gathering), the Tirana International Film Festival, Guitar Sounds Festival and Tirana Jazz Festival. The Blloku area is the heart of Tirana’s nightlife – bristling with cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs.
Thanks to its tumultuous modern history and post-Communist reinvention, Tirana offers lots of unusual sights and activities. The most iconic building is the somewhat notorious Pyramid of Tirana, a crumbling, graffiti-covered relic of its Stalinist past, while the eye-popping paint jobs on its high-rise apartment blocks came courtesy of mayor (and artist) Edi Rama. You’ll find Communist-era statues in a small courtyard behind the National Art Gallery, a George Bush Jr statue in the main square and, at Bunk’Art, a combined contemporary art gallery and history museum space housed in a former fallout shelter built for dictator Enver Hoxha in the 1970s.
Things To Do in Tirana
Explore Skanderbeg Square
Skanderbeg Square is a vital social hub in Tirana, and it’s named after the heroic figure who lead a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century and heroically defended independence against all the odds. Born George Kastrioti in 1405, Skanderbeg and his forces repelled 13 Turkish invasions between 1444-66, securing the nation’s autonomy until after his death. As you might expect, there’s a huge statue dedicated to him in the square, but it also hosts the scared 18th century Et’hem Bey Mosque and the National Historic Museum, which is embellished with a vast socialist mural depicting victorious partisans.
During the Communist Era, Blloku (‘The Block’) was an area few ordinary Albanians had ever set foot in – it was reserved strictly for the use of leader Enver Hoxha and his cronies. Today it’s home to a different type of exclusivity, with several high-end hotels, trendy cafes, haute cuisine restaurants and designer boutiques. The Block is where you’ll see Tirana’s beautiful people hang out and look good, but there’s also a more relaxed side, evident in venues like the Duff Bar – named after the fictional Simpsons beer brand, it serves ice cold brews and delicious burgers. Nom nom.
Discover Grand Park
Want to chill out in a gorgeous green space after all that socializing? Grand Park is a vast, forested green space where you can walk, cycle, fish in the lake or settle down on the grass for a picnic and snooze – there’s always something special about waking up to the sound of birdsong. Other attractions in the park include the Open-Air Theatre, which hosts live music gigs with popular artists, and courts for several types of sports. It’s also close to the family-friendly Aquadrom Swimming Pool complex, Tirana Zoo and the Botanical Gardens.
Eating Out in Tirana
Sky Hotel Tirana is one of the best places to stay in the Albanian capital and it’s also home to one of its finest eateries, the Sky Club Restaurant. Located on the 16th floor of the building, you’ll enjoy panoramic views as different light qualities alter the cityscape during breakfast, lunch and dinner. And after dark, this gently revolving restaurant is the ideal place to treat yourself to cocktails as the sun goes down and the city lights are illuminated.
Treats on the terrace
Located in the plush Padam Boutique Hotel, Padam Restaurant is the place to be if you fancy some sophisticated dining in a terrific terrace setting. Led by world-class chef FundimGjepali, it’s a top spot for breakfast and dinner, with a wonderful ambience. Superb starters include poached egg confit with yogurt, broccoli and black truffle, premium pasta dishes like linguine with sea bass, tuna, and squid are perpetually popular, and for a main, try the pan-fried calf sweetbread with potatoes, cream and parmesan chips. If you’ve got a sweet tooth meanwhile, don’t miss the alchimia dessert. Composed of yogurt mousse, corn flakes, biscuits, pistachios, caramel chocolate, raspberry sorbet and pea sprouts, it’s a true taste sensation!
Italian cuisine is popular around the globe and if you’re yearning for pasta, pizza and other treats in Tirana, make a bee line for Artigiano Villa. This top-rated restaurant is located in a Tuscan-style villa originally constructed for an aristocratic Tirana family and the service and atmosphere are amazing. If you’re a meat eater, the signature dish here is Bistecca alla Fiorentina served on a traditional Tuscan hot grill – delectable. But there’s also a full range of traditional appetizers, perfectly prepared pastas and wood-fired pizzas, as well as a selection of fine wines and liqueurs. For a romantic night out, dinner with colleagues or family meal, Artigiano Villa is ideal.
Transport in Tirana
The main airport is Tirana International Airport Nene Tereza (TIA). Sometimes referred to as Rinas International Airport, it’s 7 miles north of the city and offers several international connections in Europe, including Istanbul, Milan, Rome and London. You’ll find carriers like WizzAir, Albawings and Air Albania and it’s a convenient place to pick up your rental car – which you can organize right here.
The main public transport provision in Tirana is the bus system. There are 12 routes across the city, and they run between 5am and 10pm.However, if you want to explore further afield, having access to a car is more convenient.
In Albania, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. The driver and all passengers should wear seatbelts, and using a mobile phone is only permitted if the system is hands-free. Drink-driving is forbidden, and the blood-alcohol limit is 0.01mg/ml. Speed limits in residential areas are 31mph, 56mph outside residential areas and 68mph on motorways.
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