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How To Spend a Day in Kruja

Plan the perfect day in Kruja, Albania with our comprehensive guide, exploring historic sites, museums, markets and indulging in traditional Albanian cuisine.

If you’re planning a trip to Albania, make sure to put Kruja on your list of must-visit places!

Not only is this town picturesque and conveniently close to Tirana, but it also holds a special place in every Albanian’s heart.

Kruja is the birthplace of Skanderbeg, our National Hero, and you can delve into his legacy at the “Skanderbeg Museum” located in this lovely town.

Today, in this blog post, we’ll guide you on how to spend a day in Kruja for an unforgettable trip!

Getting From Tirana To Kruja

Scenic view on our way to Kruja
  • By Bus: A bus ride takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Regular buses from Tirana to Kruja are at your service. Check the schedule beforehand for a smooth journey.
  • By Car: If you prefer driving, it’s a 45-minute to 1-hour ride. Renting a car is convenient, allowing you to explore the region at your own pace.
  • By Taxi: Taxis are readily available in Tirana, and a ride to Kruja takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour. Negotiate the fare before starting your journey to ensure a fair deal.
  • Organized Tours: Consider organized tours from Tirana to Kruja. These often include transportation, a guide, and visits to key attractions. It’s a great option if you prefer a guided exploration of Kruja’s treasures.

What To Do in Kruja

For your reference, all points of interest, like tourist attractions and restaurants mentioned in this article, are shown in the map below.

Here’s the itinerary we have designed for you to have the best day ever in Kruja!

Have a Walk Around the Castle

Take a walk around the castle to enjoy the views and discover architectural treasures from centuries past. 

Built-in 1190, Kruja’s ancient castle is the silent witness to centuries of Albanian history. Its elliptical form has a 2637 ft (804 meters) perimeter and sprawls across 6.1 acres (2.5 hectares) of land.

The castle was a very important center in the 13th-14th century for the state of Arbri and served as the stronghold during Skanderbeg’s stand against the Ottoman occupation.

Explore Skanderbeg Museum and National Ethnographic Museum

Picture taken inside the Skanderbeg Museum

Inside the castle, don’t miss the Skanderbeg Museum. It’s a journey into the life of our national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. The museum’s displays tell Skanderbeg’s heroic feats and his role in Albanian history.

To get a glimpse into the traditional Albanian life, step into an old Ottoman house hosting the Ethnographic Museum. Discover artifacts, clothing, and tools highlighting the region’s rich cultural heritage. 

Visit the Old Bazaar

Old Bazaar in Kruja

Get lost in the lively Bazaar of Kruja, a spot famous for local crafts and souvenirs. There you can have a walk through the cobblestone streets, interact with friendly locals, and discover unique handmade items that make the perfect memory pieces for this trip!

Taste Traditional Albanian Cuisine

Treat your taste buds to traditional Albanian dishes at local restaurants or cozy eateries. Kruja offers a variety of culinary delights, from hearty stews to delectable pastries. 

Barbeque in a pottery pan

Here are our top 5 restaurant suggestions:

1. Hotel and Restaurant Panorama

Located in the heart of Kruje, Hotel, and Restaurant Panorama is known for its tasty cuisine, accompanied by beautiful terraces with breathtaking views. The rooftop is a standout, providing an amazing panorama (like the name suggests) of Kruja. The friendly staff and delicious food make it a delightful experience. 

2. Rooms & Restaurant Emiliano

Rooms & Restaurant Emiliano

Located within the old castle walls, this spot offers a perfect setting with panoramic views over Kruja. The vegetarian-friendly menu, both for lunch and dinner, receives high praise. And, if you prefer to spend the night there, the small yet clean rooms, especially those overlooking the valley, complete the charming experience.

3. Restaurant Bardhi

Positioned with a spectacular view near Krujë Castle, Restaurant Bardhi is lauded for its impeccable service and attention to seating and dietary requests. The fresh, high-quality traditional Albanian fare, including perfectly prepared roast lamb and savory pastries, makes it a top choice. The ambiance and the attentive staff contribute to a memorable dining experience.

4. KROI Restaurant

Restaurant KROI

For a culinary delight in Albania, KROI Restaurant stands out with its marvelous view of Kruja city. Guests rave about the delicious offerings, from pizza to veal steak, all cooked with evident love and care. The friendly staff adds to the positive experience, making it a must-try regional restaurant.

5. Restaurant Kalaja

Restaurant Kalaja

Situated across from the castle entrance, Restaurant Kalaja offers a picturesque setting with great views of the valley below. The extensive salads and well-prepared chicken fillet and French fries showcase the culinary prowess. 

Hike to Sari Salltik Shrine

If you love hiking, consider a trek to Sari Salltik for breathtaking views that will make your heart skip a beat and discover the interesting story of this place!

Fun Fact: Sari Salltik’s Shrine in Krujë, Albania, is a revered site dedicated to the 13th-century Alevi Turkish dervish, a significant figure in the spread of Islam to the Balkans.

Positioned on the slopes of Kruja’s Mount, the shrine is located at the end of a road designed solely for its access. Shrouded in historical mystery, Sari Salltik’s origins, life, and death are subjects of various accounts, with his final resting place claimed by several locations, including this shrine.

Visitors can explore a cave housing the shrine and Sari Salltik’s tomb, along with other religious figures, and find a ram-shaped fountain and areas for animal sacrifice.

The site offers a stunning view of Krujë and, in clear weather, the Adriatic Sea. Adventurous visitors can follow a mountain trail to the shrine, rumored to have been used by the national hero Scanderbeg, adding historical intrigue to the journey.

Take in the Beautiful Views

Beautiful view from Kruja’s Castle

Everywhere you turn, Kruja offers stunning views of the Albanian landscape. Don’t forget to pause and soak in the beauty. Find a quiet spot, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and let the surroundings leave an indelible imprint on your travel memories.

Tips From a Native

  • Confirm the bus schedule beforehand, as timings may vary. Planning ahead ensures you catch the right bus for a smooth journey.
  • Always negotiate the taxi fare before starting your journey. This practice ensures transparency and avoids any misunderstandings.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your GPS or navigation system is updated. The road to Kruja is well-marked, but a reliable navigation tool can be helpful.

Have a fantastic trip! 💌 

And, of course, don’t forget to capture those unforgettable moments with some great pics! 📸

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