I have been coming to Tirana regularly the past 11 years and whenever I am in Tirana I always stay at a place called Tirana Backpacker, cause the owner is a good friend and I kinda stayed at the place before it actually existed.
When I first came to Tirana 11 years ago the city had very few hotels and no places catering to young budget travelers. I ended up staying with a very friendly guy called Ilir, whop had a cafe in Tirana and I suggested to him and his friends that starting up a backpacker hostel would most likely be a good business. They were a little sceptical at first cause Tirana had no backpacker back in 2004, but I told them that they would soon be coming and there would be even more of them coming if there was a nice, cheap place with a cool vibe, where they could stay. So Ilir and Edvin started what became the first backpacker hostel in Albania and now 10 years had gone and Ilir still has his hostel in Tirana as well as a couple of hostels in some smaller towns around Romania.
What makes Tirana Backpacker such a cool place?
What I really like about Tirana Backpacker is that it’s being run by some very nice people and Ilir who runs the place is good at getting some really cool people to work there that makes you feel welcome and gives the place a good vibe. It’s run in a very bohemian style with paintings on the wall, hammocks, cosy corners in the cafe, where you can sit and socialize. The style is alternative and it attracts a lot of alternative people, both albanians and foreigners and this is just the way I like it. Anyway, most people who visits Albania tend to be a little different from other tourists, as they tend to be quite well traveled and it tends to be people who travel for longer periods, so there are plenty of people with good stories to tell at the place on a regular day at Tirana Backpacker.
Helping to build up sustainable tourism in Albania.
Ilir who runs Tirana Backpacker spends a lot of time and money, trying to build up sustainable tourism in Albania and has started some projects in rural areas, so that tourism is not just in Tirana in and a couple of beach towns, but also in the rural part, where there is a great need for jobs and development that can benefit both locals and visitors. So he organizes work camps through the organisation Outdoor Albania Association, where albanian and foreign volunteers set up rural hostels, clean up places, and make them more suitable for visitors and generally tries to build up a healthy tourism infrastructure. Having traveled for more than 25 years and working in tourism, this is something that really interests me and I think it’s really cool that we have people like Ilir who makes these kind of initiatives.
If you want to stay at Tirana Backpacker.
Should you want to come by and stay at the place then it’s located at a street called Rruge e Bogdaneva, which is around 300 meters from the main square in Tirana, that is called Skanderbeg Square. Best thing is to look at the map at the website of the hostel which is Tiranahostel