Kruja also known as the city of Skanderbeg, a national hero for Albania, is a historic city and one that shouldn’t be missed if you decided to travel to Albania. Only 30km away from the bustling and busy capital of Tirana is a great spot for a getaway for some peace and quiet. I instantly fell in love with this place as it’s located high into the mountains and gives you a chance to dive deep into Albanian history. Oh, and the antique shops and markets will pull you in if the history doesn’t!
The city sits over 600meters above sea level and from the top, you gain the most picturesque panoramic views.
What to do in Kruja
1. Visit Skanderbeg Castle and museum
You simply must visit Skanderbeg castle as this is the main things to see in Kruja. They also have a museum attached where you can learn more about Skanderbeg and the history of this castle and surroundings. Entry is 200lek. Skanderbeg was a national hero in Albania as he battled against the Ottomans and stopped them from taking over Albania. From the castle, you get magnificent views of the city and mountains.
2. Wander the bazaar (Pazari i Krujës)
You simply cannot visit Kruja without visiting the bazaar located in the old part of town next to the castle. This market dates back to the 14th century and has a wonderful selection of things to buy. Homemade rugs and carpets, traditional clothing, silver and copper objects, handmade wooden articles and an abundance of antique shops filled with interesting knickknacks. You will want to buy nearly everything you see so make sure to take some cash with you!
3. Enjoy the sunset from Emiliano Rooms
Located within the castle grounds is a 400-year-old house which is also accommodation (more on that below). At sunset, this is the best spot in my opinion! Grab a drink and take in the serenity and quietness of Kruja.
How to get to Kruja
It only takes 45 minutes from the capital of Tirana. To get to Kruja by bus you need to go to the bus station called Stacioni Autobusave Zona e Veriut. The bus costs 100lek and departs at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, 5 pm, 6 pm but, keep in mind this is Albania and bus times change regularly so it’s best to ask a local when you are in Tirana. If travelling by car you can park at the carpark just above the bazaar and walk. The old town is very small so it’s easily walkable. There are barriers for cars in front of the road to the castle which opens at 6 pm and closes again in the morning.
You could easily do Kruja as a day-trip as there’s not a whole lot to see and do but I recommend staying at least the night. Kruja is a beautiful place to relax in the mountains for some time away!
Where to stay in Kruja
Emiliano Rooms is the number one choice, you shouldn’t stay anywhere else in my opinion because this place is the best. It also has the best location, within the castle! The original house is over 500 years old and has a great job keeping the place in its original form. They have rooms in the house and little cabins which I stayed in. It was so beautiful! The little cabins have an ensuite and the BEST view of the mountains. It really feels like you’re staying on the middle of nowhere when you look out your window.
The staff were incredibly friendly and one of the highlights of staying here. They also do excellent food! For 5 euro each you can get dinner which included about 5-6 different dinner dishes and dessert. Everything is homemade and so delicious!
There’s your full guide on things to do in Kruja – what to do, where to stay and how to get there! Kruja is one of the best places to visit in Albania and it’s an all-year-round destination! I visited in October and it was so quiet which was lovely. In the winter you get to experience Kruja as a winter wonderland. If you have any further questions, then leave them down below.
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