Favorite 10: A Day in Tirana with Kleitia Vaso - Into Albania

Favorite 10: A Day in Tirana with Kleitia Vaso

The author of “Flight,” a collection of essays on the city, and Tirana native gives us her step-by-step perfect day around Albania’s capital while counting her favorite things.

 1. Café

Cioccolatitaliani for the delicious coffee and drinks, people watching, and to cool off from the summer heat. Friend’s Book House to work and socialize, simultaneously.

 2. Landmark

The Pyramid. I always use it as a reference point when giving directions to others. While it may have grown into something not exactly beautiful, it is an ever-changing and, thus, living part of the city.

Tirana pyramid

Pyramid of Tirana, photo by IntoAlbania.

3. Random spot

Walking is the best way to get to know and become part of a city and Tirana is full of unexpected surprises and photo ops, if you just pay attention. One of the spots that has taken me off course is the backyard of the National Gallery of Arts, where you find a strange collection of abandoned statues.

The statues behind the National Gallery of Arts. Photo by IntoAlbania.

4. Go-to lunch restaurant

Pizzeria Era or Artigiano. When in doubt, these two have the most variety and are always consistent.

5. Dish in a local restaurant

Shrimp Tabbouleh at à la Santé. The most perfect appetizer that can substitute for a light main dish. Fresh, healthy, filling. Perfect for spring/summer and it never gets boring.

6. Happy hour drink and place

Definitely Toni’s Bloody Mary at Pass! Just a few steps from Blloku (but far enough to be relaxed!), the veranda at Pass is perfect for a casual weekday evening and happy hour drink.

7. Culture Spot

Adrion bookstore, for the best selection of books and notebooks. If I find myself in the main boulevard, I may step in the National Gallery of Arts to check it out. But, I feel like in Tirana, the best culture spots are the provisory ones – like last summer’s Tulla-Nouvelle Vague Terrace with live music and open-air cinema.

 8. Guilty Pleasure

Met Kodra’s authentic and nostalgic meatballs at the New Bazaar. It’s a stable fast food shop in a city that is always changing!

Met Kodra's Shop

Met Kodra’s Shop, photo by IntoAlbania.

 9. Go-to dinner restaurant

Fishop. It’s always delicious and the first one I recommend to others. I especially love their fresh appetizers.

 10. Bar/Club

Bufe or Nouvelle Vague. For a more relaxing atmosphere, Bufe is great and has raki! Nouvelle Vague is similar but a bit more rowdy and with very nice cocktails.

Inside Nouvelle Vague, photo by IntoAlbania.

To read Kleitia’s essays please visit mindtriggers.org or find her Albanian-English dual language essay collection “Fluturim/Flight” at Adrion and Albania bookstores.

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