Local landmarks from which you can peer down on Tirana include the slopes of Mount Dajtiand the hilltop town of Kruja, both of which can be visited on a day-trip from the capital.
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Lofty Kruja, 35km from Tirana, was the focal point of national hero Skanderbeg’s resistance to the Ottoman invasions of the fifteenth century, and you’ll see his likeness all over town. Most people make a beeline straight to the castle, which houses a number of restaurants and an excellent History Museum (Tues–Sun 9am–2pm & 4–7pm; 200L),whose diverting collection of weaponry, icons and the like is augmented by an impressive modern interior. Also within the castle walls is the Ethnographic Museum (Tues–Sun 9am–4pm; 300L), housed in a gorgeous building with a serene outdoor courtyard. Souvenir sellers have taken over the town, and the best place to buy your Albania-flag T-shirt, Skanderbeg statuette or Mother Teresa lighter is the restored Ottoman bazaar, just below the castle access road. Furgons from Tirana (1hr; 200L) leave regularly from the Zogu i Zi roundabout northwest of the city centre.
The dark, looming shape of Mount Dajti is easily visible from Tirana, a temptation that can prove too much for city-dwellers, who head to the forested slopes in droves on sunny weekends. The mountain’s network of paths feel surprisingly remote even though you’re only 25km from the capital. There’s no public transport to the mountain, but by taxi it should be no more than 700L to the base of the cable-car system (Mon & Wed–Sun: summer 10am–10pm; winter 10am–7pm; 800L return; (dajtiekspres.com) that whisks passengers to within a slog of the summit. There are a number of restaurants in the area, useful if you fancy refuelling before heading back down. It’s worth combining this with an afternoon visit to Bunk’Art, which is located near the cable-car station in Tirana.