Krujë is the origin of Albania, the heart of its national identity and the cradle of the national hero Skanderbeg. It is a small town located in central Albania, about 20 miles north of the capital city of Tirana and very close to the airport. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, as well as its stunning natural beauty. 

This is an excellent plan to spend a day from Tirana or a good stopover on your Albania tour. You could do as well as we did on our last visit to Albania. We landed in the evening at Tirana International Airport – Nënë Tereza and we rented a car and we jumped in less than 30 minutes to the castle of Krujë for the night. 

How is Krujë in Albania?

Overall, Krujë is a fascinating destination for travelers interested in history, culture, and natural beauty. Its well-preserved landmarks and museums, along with its stunning scenery, make it a must-see destination in Albania. Krujë is small, cute and unspoiled. Nevertheless is not an off-beat path since it is very close to Tirana and very handy from Nënë Tereza Tirana International Airport. 

The castle is up on a hill and you may need to go up in order to visit the most interesting part of the town. It is worth it, this is a very spot with excellent panoramic views. On your way up, you will be invited to go into the shops of the traditional bazaar (every year more touristy) and you will find some restaurants, cafés and cool accommodations on your way. Even though the tourism industry is developing fast in the country and the number of tourists is increasing (20 years ago you could find almost nobody else visiting the town), this is still a very pleasant visit. 

A bit of History of Krujë

The area around Krujë has been inhabited since ancient times, with evidence of human settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. In the 5th century BC, the region was conquered by the Illyrian tribe of the Albanoi, who gave their name to Albania. Krujë became an important center of Illyrian culture and was known for its skilled metalworkers and artisans.

In the Middle Ages, Krujë became the capital of the Kingdom of Albania under the rule of the Albanian national hero, Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg was a nobleman who had fought against the Ottoman Empire for many years and succeeded in establishing an independent Albanian state in the late 15th century. Krujë played a key role in Skanderbeg’s resistance against the Ottomans, as it was the site of his castle and stronghold. However, after Skanderbeg’s death, the Ottoman Empire eventually conquered Albania and Krujë became part of the Ottoman Empire.

During the 19th century, Krujë was a center of Albanian nationalism and played an important role in the Albanian national awakening. In 1912, Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire and Krujë was one of the cities where the flag of independent Albania was first raised. In the decades that followed, Krujë suffered significant damage during World War II and the communist era that followed. However, in recent years, the city has been restored and is now a popular tourist destination, with many visitors coming to see Skanderbeg’s castle and learn about Albania’s rich history and culture.

What to do in Krujë

Here are some of the top tourist attractions and experiences in Krujë:

Krujë Castle

Skanderbeg, the national hero, lived in Krujë Castle during the 15th century. Today, the castle serves as a museum exhibiting Albanian history and culture. The fortress is a historic structure dating back to the 5th century and sits on a rocky hill overlooking the city. It played a significant role in Albanian history. The castle served as a strategic base for Skanderbeg and his army to launch attacks against Ottoman forces. He successfully defended the castle against multiple Ottoman sieges.

The castle is built in a rectangular shape with two towers at the corners and a large courtyard in the center. The walls of the castle are made of large stones and are several meters thick in some places. Inside the castle, there are several buildings, including a mosque, a hammam, and a watchtower. There is also a museum dedicated to Skanderbeg’s life and achievements.

Today, Krujë Castle is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of Albanian national pride. Visitors can explore the castle and its various structures and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area. The castle is also home to various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating Albania’s rich history and traditions.

Skanderbeg Museum

Skanderbeg Museum pays attention to the life and legacy of Skanderbeg, who fought the Ottoman Empire. It features a collection of artifacts, weapons, and documents related to Skanderbeg and Albanian history. 

Visitors can see weapons, armor, and other objects used by Skanderbeg and his army. They can also view paintings, sculptures, and documents related to Albanian history. The museum offers a unique insight into Albanian culture and history, and is a must-see attraction for visitors to Krujë. The building is from the late 20th Century even looks more historic. 

Old Bazaar

The Old Bazaar is a charming marketplace located in the heart of Krujë. Here, visitors can find a variety of traditional Albanian handicrafts, including textiles, ceramics, and jewelry.

The Old Bazaar in Krujë is a traditional market and a popular tourist destination and a great place to experience Albanian culture and history. The bazaar dates back to the Ottoman era and has preserved its traditional architecture and charm. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and alleys of the bazaar to buy local products such as honey, olive oil… There are also several cafes and restaurants where visitors can try traditional Albanian cuisine. The Old Bazaar is a vibrant and bustling place, and a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting Krujë.

Mosque of Murat Bey

The Mosque of Murat Bey is a historic mosque located in the center of Krujë, Albania. It was built in 1536 by the Ottoman general Murat Bey. He was also responsible for the construction of several other important buildings in the region. The mosque is a fine example of Ottoman architecture, with a large dome and a minaret that reaches over 25 meters in height. It is one of the oldest and most important mosques in Albania, and it still serves as a place of worship for the local Muslim community. Visitors can admire the intricate design and decoration of the mosque’s interior, which features colorful tiles and intricate calligraphy.

National Park of Qafe Shtama

The National Park of Qafe Shtama is located about 12 miles from Krujë. It is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, with peaks reaching over 2000 meters in altitude. The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare and endemic species. Visitors can enjoy hiking, bird-watching, and exploring the park’s numerous caves and waterfalls. The park also has several historic and cultural sites, including traditional Albanian villages and Ottoman-era bridges. The National Park of Qafe Shtama is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Mali i Krujes

The Krujë Mountain is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. This is a mountain range with its highest peak reaching 2125 meters above sea level. Many people know the area for its stunning natural beauty, which includes diverse flora and fauna, as well as numerous bird species. The mountain range is home to historical landmarks such as Albanopolis and Kruja castle. The mausoleum of Skanderbeg is also there. Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the rich history and culture of the region.

The best experience in Krujë

We can tell that undoubtedly our best experience is to spend the night in the castle of Krujë. It is possible to do so since there are accommodations up there within the walls. We chose Rooms Emiliano and we don’t regret our choice. The dinner was excellent, the rooms fine, the views on the tower of the castle from the place are the best and the option of having breakfast at the outdoor terrace is superb!

Useful information about Krujë

How to get to Krujë in Albania?

Krujë can be easily reached by bus or taxi from Tirana, the capital city of Albania, which is approximately 20 kilometers away. There are also organized tours that include transportation to and from Krujë.

Is Krujë in Albania safe for tourists?

Yes, Krujë in Albania is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. Albania, in general, is a safe country for travelers, with low rates of violent crime. However, as with any destination, visitors should exercise common sense and take precautions to ensure their safety, such as staying aware of their surroundings, keeping valuable items secure, and avoiding isolated areas at night. It’s always a good idea to check the latest travel advice from your government before traveling to any destination.

What are the main attractions in Krujë Albania?

The main attractions in Krujë Albania are the Krujë Castle, the Old Bazaar and the Skanderbeg Museum.

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