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The Tujan Stairs, part of an ancient fortification complex, may be situated only a few kilometers from the capital, but their ancient roots and gorgeous nature are enough to catapult you into another universe.
People tend to travel far and wide in order to find truly exotic places. Yet, it happens, at times, that only a short distance from a city, you can find the most unexpected places imaginable. Such is the case with a place locally referred to as the Tujan Stairs (Shkallët e Tujanit), situated right outside the capital of Tirana. No one knows where the name comes from, but most assume it is the gorgeous rock formations that resemble stairs. You will get it once you set eyes on this beauty!
If you find yourself in Tirana, on a nice Saturday or Sunday with no plans, get in your car and head toward the northeastern part of town. The Tujan Stairs are located less than 15 km away from the city center so you may even hop on a bike if time and weather allow.
If you take your car, be prepared to be immersed in a gorgeous rugged landscape in less than twenty minutes. The road is situated among giant canyons, with smooth and rocky surfaces that rise over the banks of the Tirana River. Traffic noise is already a thing of the past, by now replaced with the twittering of birds, the rustling of leaves, and the calming gurgling of the quiet river.
The Tujan Stairs were always a favorite among those who know the best secret places around Tirana. Back when people did not own cars, during the Communist period in Albania, the city guys would get on their bikes and fly to their favorite oasis for a quick swim. On an especially hot day, Tirana River was and continues to be a great substitute to the beach.
As it often happens with such ruggedly beautiful destinations, a little patience goes a long way. While a major part of the road is unproblematic, there are about 3 kilometers of unpaved road on the way to your destination. Though there are no reliable road signs, the way there is fairly easy. Take Dibra Road (Rruga e Dibrës) and follow it until the end. Then, head toward the famous Brrari Bridge (Ura e Brrarit) and soon enough you will reach your spot. In any case, you can always ask the very helpful locals.
If you suddenly feel hungry, not to worry! You will find a perfectly nice restaurant with a menu rich in meat and a great quality/price ratio.
If, by mistake, you set your GPS on Tujan Village instead of Tujan Stairs, you will find yourself on a partially paved, narrow road that winds up and down through fields and ancient olive trees. Once in a while, albeit rarely, you will spot a house. Our advice is to enjoy it as it is adorably picturesque! Upon reaching the village – not your destination – you will have to take the same mischievous but scenic road to return and head toward Tujan Stairs.
In the end, we promise that the beautiful landscape will more than make up for the time spent (or lost) here. Make sure to take your camera because this very Instagrammable place is sure to impress your friends and followers!
If time allows: Tujan Fortress
Also located in Tujan Village but a bit further from Tujan Stairs, in the hills west of the Dajti Mountain, stands the Tujani Fortress. A rectangular-shaped vast space of about 30,000 m2, the original fortress is thought to have been built in the early Iron age and reconstructed in the 4th century AD. If you have time to explore more around Tujan Village, don’t miss this ancient beauty!