Did you know that Tirana has the highest number of coffee shops per person compared to anywhere else in Europe? It is no secret that Albanians take their coffee very seriously and that pretty much any important decision, meeting, or discussion takes place over a cup of something hot, strong, and caffeinated.
With literally hundreds of places to choose from, where should you head for your morning, lunch, afternoon, or evening brew? Here are 9 suggestions.
(Note that many of these places are also great for a slightly stronger drink, if you are so inclined and depending on what time of day you feel is acceptable to start on the booze!)
Home of one of the quirkiest interiors in Tirana, Nouvelle Vague is also famed for whipping up fantastic cocktails. But for those that are looking for somewhere bright, colourful, quiet, and friendly to have a morning coffee, then it is a great choice. The staff are super friendly and you are right in the heart of the city, nearby to pretty much everything you could need. Oh and it is also frequented by a very cute cat and a friendly stray doggo or two- bonus points for this!
One of my favourite sanctuaries for working, Bufe has a lovely, leafy outdoor area with shabby-chic decor and jazz on the stereo. Inside is cosy and quaint, and the coffee is excellent. You can also enjoy some of the best petulla in town along with service with a smile.
Lounge 18 Grade
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Located in Komuna Parisit, this lovely little place is well hidden if you aren’t sure where you are going. Well worth the walk, it has a plant-filled garden, a small terrace, and a beautifully decorated interior. Effortlessly cool and full of interesting objects to keep you entertained and amused, the staff are extremely friendly as well.
If you are someone that likes pastries, cakes, or chocolate with your coffee then Le Bon has to be top of your list. With two locations in Tirana- one near Ring Centre, and one not far from Nobis, it is the sort of place you can put on weight, just looking through the window. Sit back and watch the world go by whilst sipping on a cuppa and tucking into something delightfully sweet, sugary, and decadent.
Situated a stone’s throw from Skanderbeg Square, Noor is a delightful oasis of calm in the heart of the city. With a small terrace up a rickety flight of stairs, a covered terrace downstairs, or a spacious and cool interior, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a good spot to welcome the day. Serving great coffee and food as well, put Noor on your list of coffee shops to try!
I love to go and work in the Tirana Times library, but did you know there is a rooftop terrace as well? Climb to the top floor and you can sit and enjoy your coffee under the shade of the leaves right in the middle of bustling Blloku. Up there, you feel a million miles away from the chaos of the streets below- a real oasis of tranquility, with great coffee to boot.
Everyone knows that Radio is one of the coolest night spots in Tirana, but did you know it is great for daytime chilling as well? The interior is decked out with relics of communist past, antiques, and colourful curiosities, and the garden at the back is quiet and breezy during the day. A great place to grab a coffee, or just to chill with a book.
Ok, this is not strictly a coffee shop, but if you are someone that likes to start your day with a smoothie- this is the best place in town to go. Two minutes away from Toptani, this small and unassuming place serves up the best icy, fruity, smoothie concoction I have ever tasted! They offer an amazing array of drinks, all beautifully presented- do not visit Tirana without going here!
Tirana International Hotel
So I don’t usually give publicity to chains or big businesses, but I will make one exception here. If you are a tourist visiting Tirana, you should sit on the terrace of the Tirana International Hotel and enjoy your coffee whilst overlooking Skanderbeg Square. From here you can visit the National History Museum, Adrion Bookstore, the National Library, Sita Foodtruck, the colourful government buildings, and of course Bunkart. A stone’s throw from a number of attractions, this is a great place to sit and drink in the atmosphere of central Tirana.
This article was originally published on The Balkanista.