Tirana is the capital of Albania. It lies in the center of our country and it is considered a city of religious coexistence, as well as the center of culture, art, politics, and the economy. Tirana became the capital of Albania in 1920 with more than 763,634 inhabitants today. It is an old settlement as confirmed by the Mosaic of Tirana, which was part of an old Roman villa build in the III century. One famous building is the Clock Tower in the center of Tirana, which was built in XIX century, between 1822 – 1840.
Part of the cultural heritage of the city are also the old houses, which are known as the real architectural ensemble of the historical core of Tirana. Just to mention a few, the house of Toptanas was built in XVIII century, the house of Sali Shijaku in 1400, the house of Bunec in XVII, and the mosque in the center of the city was built in 1793.
TRAVELING TO ALBANIA
The only airport in Albania with international service is “Mother Theresa” International Airport located in Rinas, just 17 km northwest of Tirana. The most convenient way to get from the airport to Tirana is by taxi. The journey from Tirana to the airport takes twenty to thirty minutes, depending on traffic, and costs about 2,500 ALL (or 20 EURO) each way. The “Rinas Express” departs every hour between 7am and 7pm. It is a 12-hour bus service between the airport and the National Museum in the center of Tirana. The bus departs hourly and the single fare is 250 ALL (approx. 2 EURO), the bus leaves you behind the Palace of Culture of Tirana at the center. Mobile phone: +355 69 20 98908
“Mother Teresa” airport
Airport facilities include free Wi-Fi and an Adrion press shop. Beside the baggage carousel in arrivals, there’s an ATM, a currency exchange office, and the airport’s tourism information desk. The airport has a duty-free shop and customs operates 24 hours a day.
Public transportation in Tirana consists of a number of intra-city bus lines. A single trip costs 40 leks (there are only single tickets available) and tickets are sold in the bus by a conductor. Buses marked ‘Unaze’ are for the ring road and travel in a loop around the city centre. There are also lines serving suburban shopping centers and the Tirana Airport.
The city centre is small enough to be explored through walking. Walking is a rewarding experience, but beware that there is no continuity in sidewalk width, construction material or condition. Sidewalks frequently end abruptly, have large holes, or are very narrow. Pay attention while walking or you may end up spraining your ankle or falling in a hole. Street names are subject to change, so locals rarely know them. It is advised to navigate by landmarks instead of addresses or street names. You can orient yourself using the intersection between the Lana River and “Dëshmorët e Kombit” street, which roughly bisects the central part of Tirana into four sections. At this intersection are the recognizable “Pyramid” and “Taiwan Center”.
The fastest way to get around is by taxi. Public transportation is not always reliable and doesn’t run after 8 or 10-11 p.m depending on the line. Some of the services you can use from the biggests companies here are: – MerrTaxi – Number: +355 67400 6610 , You can also use the taxi fair calulator online: http://merrtaxi.com/tirana-taxi-fare-calculator. – SpeedTaxi – Fixed line: 04 222 2555 Website: http://speedtaxi.al/ – GreenTaxi – Fixed line: 0800 2000
Costs for a taxi are are not too expensive and generally range from 2-6€. Note: Do not enter a taxi without a taxi meter!
The Ecovolis bicycle sharing program was launched in 2011. Bicycles can be rented from a number of locations at Rinia Park and along Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard. A full-day ride costs 100 lek. The system is not electronic in that you must interact with a salesperson. Bicycles should be returned to the station of origin. Ecovolis also offers bikes for longer 24/7 rentals at the shop.
Mobike, a mean of shared transportation was also introduced in Tirana last year. You can get one by downloading the app, and the cost for one trip is 39 ALL for 20 min of biking. The bikes are available in different locations on the city, and you can check them up through the app.
For all other bike equipment or repairs, Rruga Qemal Stafa is Tirana’s unofficial “bike street” with lots of little, inexpensive bike shops. New combined bus and bike lanes have been opened recently on some main streets. Bike-only lanes are located on Skanderbeg Square, Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard and on sidewalks along Lana River and Kavaja Street. However, cycling in the main street can be quite dangerous as lanes are narrow or occupied by parked vehicles (but car drivers have become more careful during the last few years).
You can install “Tirana Ime” for Android on Google Play, an application that will help you related transport (bicycle lanes, public urban, public interurban, taxi, parking), tourism, traffic and cleaning in Tirana.
The Lek (Albanian: Leku Shqiptar; plural Lekë) (sign: L; code: ALL) is the official currency of Albania. Official exchange rates are found at bankofalbania.org. And one of the most known exchanges is Iliria’98 which has no commisions.
Getting an Albanian SIM card
You can get an Albanian SIM card at the airport, in one of the shops at the airport, which are very easy to spot from ALBtelecom and Vodafone.
The SIM card costs 200-500 ALL (around 2-3 EUR), depending on plans you choose, it also has left money you can use to communicate or buy a package which is a good deal to not spend during your stay here.
You will need to have a passport in order to buy the number.
Also if not buying a number be carefull with roaming usage. Some of our speakers have been charged a lot previously.