Skanderbeg Square and monument in Tirana in a beautiful summer day.
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Arriving in Albania

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

There are several ways to enter Albania easily. Options for international visitors include flying into the capital city, Tirana, arriving via ferry from Italy or Greece, or by land borders. There are numerous land borders to choose from, as Albania shares borders with:

  • Montenegro (north)

  • Kosovo (northeast)

  • North Macedonia (east)

  • Greece (South, more than one border)

Visas and entry into Albania

Over 88 countries can enter Albania visa-free and stay for 90 days within a 180-day period. The list includes all of the Schengen countries, plus other European countries, Australia, UK, Turkey and others who have liberalization treaties with the EU.

USA citizens are allowed one year in Albania, visa-free. 

All visitors should have three additional months validity on their passport, and some countries are also required to show an additional identification card.

Until December of 2023, citizens of Thailand, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Oman with valid passports, may enter Albania and stay for 90 days within a 180-day period, visa-free.

Travellers from India, Pakistan, most Middle Eastern countries and African countries will require visas to enter Albania.

Please check with a visa authority to understand your visa requirements.

You’ll find that entry into Albania via land borders is quite simple and doesn’t take much time (as long as it’s not a crowded holiday, during which land borders could have long lines).

If you take an international bus to Albania from a neighbouring country, you will exit the bus at the border, pass through immigration and then all bus passengers will enter the bus again and continue on to the destination.

Do note that Albanian immigration agents do not provide a physical visa “stamp” in your passport upon entry, either via land borders, at the airport, or by ferry; your entry is noted electronically – but don’t worry, it is noted!

Keep track of the day you entered to be sure that you do not overstay your granted period.

Customs and restricted items

Albania prohibits:

  • counterfeit items

  • pirated items

  • radioactive materials

  • firearms/ammunition

Restricted Items:

  • Tobacco – up to 200 cigarettes, 250 grams of tobacco

  • Cigarillos: up to 100

  • Cigars – up to 50

If you are carrying prescription narcotic medication, be sure to have your doctor’s prescription with you and the medication in its original packaging.

Free to import: 

  • All personal items and goods in personal luggage

  • Up to 3 kg of coffee

  • Currency up to 10,000 USD (9,857€)

Tirana International Airport, Nënë Tereza (TIA)

Albania’s only large international airport honours Mother Teresa who was born in Skopje, now the capital of North Macedonia. Skopje was part of the expanded Ottoman Empire at the time, so several Balkan nations adore Mother Tereza and claim her as their own, including Albania.

The Tirana airport sees almost all of Albania’s air travel, excepting a few European flights (Switzerland, Austria) from the tiny Kukes Airport in the east of the country.

Numerous international, regional and low-cost airlines including Wizz Air, Air Albania, Pegasus and others, make regular flights in and out of the airport daily.

Duty-Free Shopping

The Tirana airport has duty-free shopping (only in the Departures area) and it is also possible to visit Greek duty-free shops at the Greece-Albania land borders (of which there are four), when exiting Greece to enter Albania.

SIM Cards and ATMs

You can buy a local SIM card at the airport or wait until you get into town. If you have prearranged your trip to your hotel/accommodation, you won’t really need a SIM card until you land in the city center, unless you want to make personal calls.

Vodaphone is the most widely used SIM card in Albania, and there is more than one Vodaphone shop or kiosk in every city; practically, every few hundred feet in Tirana and in larger cities, such as Vlore.

You can get a SIM card and buy minutes without a plan for local use, but international minutes and calls are limited without a plan, and are more expensive. You’ll need your passport and just a few minutes time to get set up with a local SIM card.

ATMs are available at the airport, as well as throughout Albania. Most cities will have many ATMs and even small towns will have at least one. Be aware that all bank ATMs charge between €5-6 ATM usage fee.

If you do research online you will find many blogs suggesting that you look for Credins Bank, because they used to be fee-free for withdrawals. That changed in July 2023, and now even Credins charges a €6 ATM usage fee, so there are no longer bank ATMs in Albania that are fee-free.

Getting to your accommodation

If you’ve prearranged your first night’s stay, it’s easiest to ask your hotel/apartment to arrange an airport pick-up for you. Then you’ll have no need to bother with the how-to’s upon arrival.

If you opt to take a bus from the airport into Tirana, however, the airport bus is operational between 8am-midnight. The fee is approximately €2,50.

You’ll be dropped in Tirana’s city center at the airport bus station (there’s a special bus station just for airport travel) and can make your way via walking, or take a taxi to your hotel.

Taxi’s are also available from the airport and will deliver you right to your hotel. The rate will be between 20-25€.

Airport taxis, the airport bus, and pre-arranged taxis will all probably accept your euros, if you’ve not stopped at an ATM or money exchange booth before leaving the airport.

If you arrive via ferry, taxis will be available at the port upon arrival to get you to your accommodation, and they will accept euros for payment.

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 17 May 2024

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