Albania’s capital city is a vibrant, busy, and exciting place from which to get acquainted with this incredible part of the world, marked by some of the Western world’s most impressive civilizations. Tirana’s inhabitants have responded to the most recent change in civilizations – with their emergence from communism in 1990 – by painting the city’s housing vibrant primary colors and reclaiming streets as pedestrian areas. Rent a car to see as much of Tirana and its beautiful countryside as possible.
The best time to visit Albania is during the summer months, spanning from May to September, when the weather is warm and dry. An added benefit of spending your summer vacation in and around Tirana is that few other tourists do!
Albanian, a unique Indo-European language, is the official language of the country and is also the language most spoken by its inhabitants. However, many Albanians also speak Greek, Italian, German, French, or English, so try your hand at any European language if you’re in need of assistance.
Albania is located in the Central European Time Zone, UTC+1.
The currency is the Albanian lek. ATMs serving both Maestro and Visa are available throughout Tirana; one is also available at the airport. Albania still has a cash culture, so it’s a good idea to have local currency on hand.
If you are arriving by air, you’ll likely land at Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, also known as Rinas International Airport. Located 17 kilometers from central Tirana, this is a great place to book and pick up a rental car. You can also pick up a rental car at various points throughout the city, particularly along the main road, Rruga Dritan Hoxha.
Tirana is ideally located for day trips to the Albanian countryside or coast. Dajti National Park is a beautiful place to get acquainted with Albanian flora and fauna around Mount Dajti and is located less than an hour’s drive outside the city. A 40-minute drive east will have you at the historic port city of Durrës, Albania’s second largest city, and home to one of the Balkans’ largest amphitheaters.
Citizens of over 80 countries can enter Albania without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days, though a passport is required for all entries. Double-check requirements for your nationality, as some people will have to apply for a visa from an Albanian diplomatic mission before they arrive.
Roads are hit and miss in Tirana, so be on the lookout for quickly changing road conditions, even from pavement to gravel in unexpected places. Damaged roads – including on the highways – are unlikely to be marked. Drive defensively and react quickly and you will be driving like a local in no time.