A visit to Tirana is for those interested in new city escapes a must-do. Still pretty unknown inside the Balkans, Tirana enjoys a nice location directly below the Dajti Mountain National Park and it's not so far away from the Adriatic Sea - about 40min by car from clear-blue paradisiac beaches. Only this fact can be a game-changer for any city that wishes to bet on tourism. While not being so forward-looking as perhaps Skopje, and for the best, Tirana has its own charm and an amazing nightlife in the famed Blloku neighbourhood. Its compact size and busy scene means that there's a lot of drinking within easy walking distance. But note that Albanians still prefer sipping coffee to serious drinking, with foreigners often being the only ones "exaggerating". Also some sky bars, and in this sense some new high buildings, are now starting to show up in Tirana's skyline. Just next to the Blloku area is the Pyramid of Tirana, a conference centre inaugurated in 1988 as a museum and now landmark (not sure if it's still open). On the north side, after crossing the Lana River, it's old town with many art galleries and museums spread out, and the Palace of Culture located in the main square. However, the best that the city can offer is located about 20min by bus in the outskirts. The Dajti Ekspres Cable Car can take you up to a 1000m above sea level, where also the Dajti Tower Belvedere Hotel and other restaurants await your visit. The sight from above is fully worth the 6€ fee, but first check the weather report and the visibility. On the return, you can still pass by the Bunk'Art, a cold war bunker now converted into a history and contemporary art museum.

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