Tag Archives: tirana

Tirana, Albania

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Albania is one of the few places I’ve been where I had to handle my own accommodations in any real sense (missionary perks y’all). While Hostel Propaganda is the only hostel I’ve ever stayed at, from what I hear finding this place is like winning the lottery.

Located in Tirana, the capital city, for an incredible 10 euros a night you get a clean place to stay with sheets changed as often as you like (room with private bathroom costs a bit more), a simple breakfast, quiet hours at 11PM with access to any desired non-quietness right outside, wifi, and a public desktop for the non-techie travelers.

They even have a Wii in the sitting area for all those Wii Sports and Just Dance fans. (Anyone who knows me understands that this alone would have had me hooked on this place…)

Friendly staff with just enough English skills seals the deal on this one for me.

Do note though that with a name like Hostel Propaganda and considering Albania’s past dabblings in communism, decors must follow suit. This is not the place for you if seeing pictures of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and other folks of similar ilk will distress you.

Tirana’s lovely artificial lake is a 10-15 minute walk away, and since it’s basically walking in a straight line, I’m pretty sure you can’t get lost on your way there. Go during the day to enjoy the scenery, or in the evening to enjoy one of the many lakeside bars and nearby clubs.

I didn’t make it to Tirana’s national museum but I heard it’s lovely. It’s also across the street from a green space and other nice center city walking areas.

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For food, check out world famous Creperie, which is within walking distance of the hostel. Also within walking distance, though a bit further, is the pizzeria where you will find some of the best pizza you’ll ever have outside of Italy. All throughout Tirana you can find any number of shops that serve Kofta, a type of meatball often served with lettuce, tomatoes, yogurt, and bread. 100 lek ($10) or less at any of these places will get you a satisfying meal and a couple beers to boot.

If you’re really on a budget, you can find burek, a savory dish of stuffed baked pastry dough, almost anywhere for under a lek.

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If you’ve got the time and space in your suitcase, check out the markets and outdoor stalls for fun fashion finds. Bartering is welcome.

Tips:

  • Albania gets very hot in the summer. And I mean very hot. Try cooler times like June-mid July and September, or make sure to stay hydrated and protected.
  • Be aware of yourself. Unfortunately there are many Roma children whose parents send them out begging on the streets all day, whatever the weather. They are persistent, and you need to pay attention. In order to encourage Roma families to stop this practice, Tirana officials caution against giving these children money. Since this policy has been in place, there have been reductions in the amount of children sent out.
  • Albanian currency has just changed. 10 lek is now 1 dollar. Previously 100 lek was a dollar, so double check your purchases if the numbers seems off. I almost got into an argument with a fruit and vegetable vendor because of the misunderstanding.