With a backpack on his back and wanting to see other cultures, flavors and places, we went to the country of the TikTok trends to understand the tourist phenomenon that Albania is experiencing and let me tell you, we have not been disappointed.
We left Porto on the 30th towards Tirana or Mother Teresa, as the locals call the airport in the capital, and we made a short stop in Barcelona because, at the moment, there are still no direct flights from Portugal to Albania.
With a very late arrival, around 1 am, we immediately try to buy tourist cards to have access to data-Albania is not part of the European Union so much beloved roaming does not exist there.
Due to the time, we no longer had a bus from the airport to the city so we opted for a taxi that was around 2,000 Lek-approximately 19 €.
I believe that the first moment of shock was the look of the houses outside compared to the renovated interiors, which made us very much remember this type of TikToks that we were seeing- https://www.tiktok.com /@ Grinchorshakira/video/72684928095419666? _ r = 1 & _ t = 8flj5INVFnF
Day 1 was a new day and we were ready to know more about the Albanian capital and so, as with all the trips I do, we started with a Free Walking Tour that covered all the essential points of the city.
The Free Walking Tour finished, we went to lunch and wanted to start immediately with the most typical we could find, The meatballs! Very different from the ones we ate in Portugal, these had a certain barbecue flavor and the texture was more crunchy on the outside. They came with two white sauces with Greek influence.
After lunch we chose to visit Bunk'Art 2, the bunker that exists in the center of the city, created by the dictator Enver Hoxha who believed that Albania was always in imminent danger of an attack. Bunk'Art 2 is just one of 173,000 the dictator has built.
The Skanderbeg Square Is right next to the Bunk'Art And is the central point of the city, full of life and history, overlooking the National Historical Museum , The Palace of Culture And the Et'hem Bej Mosque .
The Pyramid of Tirana Is a building with which, in fact, they never quite knew what to do, but the view from the top is very worthwhile!
We also managed to pass Pazari i Ri, the Albanian version of Mercado do Bolhão, where we tasted some of the typical sweets. After that, it was time to relax a little and we went to the Millennium Garden For Mojitos and Long Island Ice Teas
The place for dinner was suggested by an Albanian friend whom I met on a trip to Brussels. Oda - Traditional Albanian Restaurant , The signature already told us everything. We entered a restaurant that looked like a house, with two extremely beautiful and perfect patios to accompany the pleasant warmth that was felt during the night. The choice was obviously the typical dish of the restaurant, lamb (I was in doubt whether it translated to lamb or anho) with potato. When we finished the meal, we ordered the famous Rakia, a digestive typical of Albanian families. Surprise mine, it was the Portuguese brandy, but marketed
With the 40% alcohol shot of Rakia , We follow the search for the best Long Island Ice Tea in the Blloku , The neighborhood where the dictator used to live and, ironically, where all the bars are currently.
After the cocktail we went home and ended our day in Tirana, after all, we had the Albanian coast waiting for us
Text Francisco Barros