Pyramid of Tirana, Tirana, Albania

Tirana Digital Nomad Guide – What To Know About The Albanian Capital

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Tirana is becoming more and more popular for digital nomads looking for a place to base themselves whilst working online. With tourism in Albania booming in general, digital nomadism is also continuing to grow and nowhere more so in the country than in the capital.

There are many great places to stay in Albania and places to work as a digital nomad, but Tirana is the most popular by far acting as a jumping off point for many travellers that first arrive in Albania.

After my second time in the country and having passed through Tirana many more times, I can confidently put together this guide for any digital nomad that is looking to move to Tirana for the first time.

Where is Tirana

Tirana is located close to the centre of Albania, not far from the coast of Durres, 3 hours north of Vlora and 90 minutes south of Shkodër.

Albania is part of the Balkans in south eastern Europe with Greece to the south, Montenegro to the north and Macedonia to the east. One entire side is the Adriatic Sea.

Why You Should Visit

Tirana is a place that is on the up. If you want a destination that already has it all and a booming community like Chiang Mai or Bali, Tirana isn’t the place for you.

However, if you’re the sort of person that likes to go somewhere before it gets too popular and overrun by the hoards (as well as the humble brag of “I was there before it was popular”) then Tirana is the place to go to right now.

Since coming out of communism in the early 1990’s, growth has been slow but its now on an upward tick with investment coming in from all over Europe. Recent additions to the city include the brand new Air Albania national football stadium and a big redesign of the pyramid that sits in the centre of the city that was originally built as a museum to the communist leader Enver Hoxha.

Today, Albania feel like a modern eastern European capital. A strong coffee culture, great bars & restaurants and a handful of museums, where you can visit to learn more about the country, make it a strong destination to visit for a short break.

But along with that, the smaller neighbourhoods and easy transport links to cities that make great day trips gives digital nomads a reason to stick around for longer.

Air Albania Stadium, Tirana, Albania

Where to stay in Tirana as a digital nomad

Tirana has an abundance of AirBnb’s in the city. Many of these are rented out by Albanians that live abroad and now have a spare room or apartment that they can rent out when they aren’t in the country. Most of my AirBnB’s I’ve stayed in throughout Albania have this set up and I have regularly been welcomed by parents or family members of the host.

It goes back to the traditional side of AirBnB of renting off people with spare space instead of corporations.

Of course there are shorter term rentals available as well and some budget hotels although I have noticed that the price of hotels has shot up in recent years and the quality may not always be what you’re expecting.

I’ve stayed in various parts of the city. Blloku was where the high and mighty of the former dictatorship lived during communism but is now the most popular district in the city with bars and coffee shops attracting Tirana’s young and wealthy population.

Prices are slightly more expensive in Blloku but still affordable compared to western Europe.

21 Dhjetori is another option and I’ve stayed close to Kavaja Street a couple of times. It’s quieter than Blloku but still has bars and restaurants lining the streets. It feels more local than Blloku and one of my favourite areas.

All areas of Tirana within a 20-30 minute walk of Skanderbeg Square have good transport links with buses running all over the city and close to coffee shops and restaurants.

What to do in Tirana

Being a capital city, there is always plenty to see and do in Tirana. I’ve passed through the city a number of times now and there always seems to be some form of festival on.

I always recommend a free walking tour in any city I visit and the one in Tirana is especially good, giving an overview of the city in a few hours.

BunkaArt, Tirana, Albania
BunkArt2 in central Tirana

For a greater understanding of the communist era, BunkArt 2 is a must see. With one museum in the city centre and another in the hills, these were the bunkers where the old dictator would go to run the country if they were ever invaded.

Other sites to visit in Tirana include:

  • Pyramid of Tirana
  • BunkArt 1
  • Tirana Castle
  • Enver Hoxha’s Former Residence
  • Tirana Park

Where to work as a digital nomad in Tirana

With a young, tech savvy and educated population, coworking spaces are popping up all over Tirana. There are now greater number than when I first visited a few years ago.

My favourite coworking space is Social Hub. I first went there in 2022 and returned when I visited again in 2024. It is a coffee shop, social area and coworking space all rolled into one that proves great coffee, lots of options for working and monthly membership options with excellent desks for those looking to stay long term.

Being open from 7am to 10pm means that it is available no matter when you may have to work or what time zone you work from. Even if you don’t want to sign up for a long time, its possible to sit in the coffee shop area or outside and work with their excellent wifi.

Monthly members get 24/7 access as well as access to member only events.

There are also coworking spaces at The Arc, Dutch Hub and inside the Pyramid in Tirana with more popping up all the time.

With the coffee culture that Albania has, there is no shortage of coffee shops and bars to work at as well. Some popular coffee shops for digital nomads include Antigua Coffee and City Art Cafe. Mon Cheri is a chain of coffee shops all over Albania with many branches in Tirana which is set up for remote workers. Think of it like an Albanian Starbucks. Since it has recently reopened, its also possible to work inside the Pyramid of Tirana at one of the coffee shops there (with rumours that a coworking space is coming soon, let me know if you know!).

Social hub social zone, Tirana, Albania
Social Hub Tirana

What’s the internet like in Tirana

The internet in Tirana is mixed, but on the whole very good. Some AirBnB’s I’ve stayed in have had speeds closer to 10-20mbps, which is good enough for working but may cut out at times.

When I have worked in a coworking, I’ve always found they have excellent internet as you would expect. Social Hub, as mentioned above, has speeds of 100mbps and faster.

Strangely, there are some coffee shops that have even faster internet with one that my friend went to having speeds of 200mbsp!!!

If you ever do struggle for wifi, getting a SIM card on arrival in Tirana will mean you have access to 4G data that I have never struggled with.

Is There A Digital Nomad Community in Tirana

As Tirana becomes more popular with digital nomads there is growing community who set up shop and stay in Tirana long term as well as many that pass through for short periods of time.

The Albania Digital Nomad Association is trying to start a community for digital nomads and to create a space for digital nomads to network with locals and international nomads alike. They are trying to lobby the government of Albania to promote the country as a destination for digital nomads bringing skills, knowledge and capital expenditure to the country.

Cost of living as a digital nomad in Tirana

For those earning a wage that is similar to what you would expect to earn in Western Europe, Tirana is very affordable. Rents have gone up in recent years, but the general cost of living is still low.

For Albanians, who’s average wage is €800 per month, Tirana may seem costly. But compared to the cost of living in my home city of London, it will seem cheap.

Long term rentals for a one bedroom apartment can start as low as €300 per month with AirBnb prices normally around €600-800 and luxury apartments even more. A coffee can start at €1 for a quality espresso, a beer not much more than €2 and its possible to find a cheap meal for €4-5 with city centre restaurants designed for tourists costing slightly more (€10-15).

All buses around the city cost 40Lek (€0.40) but taxi’s cost slightly more. With no standard taxi app available (Uber is not available in Tirana), it may be up to you to negotiate a price before setting off.

It is perfectly reasonable that a digital nomad could live on less than €800 per month in Tirana if staying for a long time with a budget of €1000-1200 giving a life of good quality for a one month stay.

Albanian Lek
Albanian Lek

My personal experience in Tirana and would I go again?

I have been to Tirana a number of times, mostly just passing through for a few days before heading elsewhere in Albania. I genuinely love Albania and travelling around it and I’m sure I will return again soon.

Although I have never done it, thanks to Albania’s generous visa policy, I would happily spend three months in Tirana working as a digital nomad.

How to get around Tirana

If you are staying close to the centre of Tirana, it is very easy to walk around everywhere in close to the city centre. In Blokku or near Kavaja Street where I stayed, everything you may want to see and do is within a 30 minute walk.

Tirana has an extensive bus network with many buses criss crossing the city at all times of day. Since March 2024, the bus network is now live on Google Maps so it is even easier to work out where to go. I use Google maps to catch buses and it worked perfectly for me.

If you are wondering how to buy a ticket for a bus in Tirana, it is very simple. Get onto the bus from any door. Some of the longer “bendy buses” have 3 or 4 doors. A person in a high vis vest will come around and collect the money from you. Every bus in Tirana costs 40Lek (€0.40 or £0.30).

Having small coins or change is best. A 200Lek note is fine but I don’t think they will be happy to exchange a 5000Lek note you’ve just got from the ATM. Card payment is NOT accepted on Tirana buses.

How to get to Tirana

Tirana is very well connected to the rest of Albania and the rest of Europe.

All cities in Albania will have at least one daily bus going to and from Tirana. The bus station and its network is vast with the timetable below.

Tirana bus station time table 2024, Tirana, Albania
The bus timetable at Tirana bus station

If you’re coming from further afield, there are buses from Ohrid, Skopje, Athens and Montenegro to Tirana.

Tirana International Airport has expanded massively in recent years. The number of airlines and destinations seems to grow every few months as Albania becomes a more popular tourist destination. The airport also boasts a new lounge which is well worth a visit if you travel through.

Wizz Air and Ryanair are popular carriers with flights to Tirana from all over Europe with Germany, Italy and Romania being popular destinations for them.

Iberia, British Airways, Lufthansa, LOT and Turkish Airlines also offer flights to Tirana daily with connections with those airlines to around the world.

FAQs about digital nomads in Tirana

Is there a digital nomad visa for Tirana?

Tirana and Albania do not have a strict digital nomad visa like other countries. However there is a small work around with this by getting a Type D residence permit.

However if you would just like to visit Tirana on a tourist visa, most western nationalities get a 90 day visa on arrival where you can visit for 90 days out of every 180 days. Citizens of the USA can stay for one year visa free.

Social Hub, Tirana, Albania

When is the best time to visit Tirana?

For me, the best time to visit Tirana is March to June. This is when the weather is good, but it is not yet busy with tourists.

From July to August, Tirana is a lot busier and the temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees. September and October are good times to visit again.

November to March is cool to cold with snow on the surrounding hills. There are few tourists and nomads and the city can feel empty.

What are payments and money like in Tirana?

Albania is still a cash based society.

Many tourist cafes, hotels, bars and restaurants do accept card payments, such as with a Wise card, but many smaller places do not. Even some larger places you may expect to take card do not so it is always best to have cash.

The currency of Albania is the Lek with 100 Lek equal to €1. Although the currency is not pegged to the Euro officially, it is as close as you can get to a pegged currency. Many shops and restaurants in tourist areas will accept Euros in cash as payment but its better to have Lek.

Summing up being a digital nomad in Tirana

Tirana is a growing digital nomad destination. As with the rest of Albania, Tirana has more and more digital nomads arriving all the time.

With a cheap cost of living, a growing and lively social scene and enough activities around to keep a digital nomad busy in their downtime, Tirana is a great place to be a digital nomad. I’ve passed through the city a number of times now and have worked and stayed in variety of places in the city and it is one I can’t wait to return to.

 

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