Tirana, Albania A Rising Star on the Digital Nomad Circuit

Spotlight on Tirana, Albania: A Rising Star on the Digital Nomad Circuit

I’ve been curious about Tirana, Albania since I first started traveling as a digital nomad in 2017. I read rave reviews about it in the Digital Nomad World City Guide to Tirana and had a fellow nomad participate in Tirana’s first ever digital nomad conference in 2022. After watching yet another YouTube channel rave out their recent two-month stay in Tirana, I decided to add it to the end of my first trip to the Balkans in May 2024. 

Digital Nomad Infrastructure in Tirana

Although I only stayed for a week, I have to say that Tirana has a fresh, infectious energy like no other place I’ve encountered in Europe and could possibly be the most affordable capital city for digital nomads this summer.

Hear me out. One of the first things you will notice when you arrive in Tirana is how much is under construction. Things are constantly improving here. From new apartment buildings to a new national theater and a brand-new convention center, Tirana has at least 25 major projects currently under construction. Albania only became a fully functioning democratic government in 1998 and now seems to be playing catch up with the rest of Europe—and they are catching up fast. Despite the vast plans for the city, Tirana is also still affordable compared to other European capitals, possibly helped by the fact that the country still doesn’t use the euro. Bus tickets are the equivalent of .40 Euro, and you can have lunch for 4-5 euro and dinner for around 10 euro in typical restaurants. 

There is now high-speed internet throughout the capital city and generous data packages for tourists, with many plans starting at 100 GB. Ride sharing services still do not exist, but you can use taxi-hailing apps such as SpeedTaxiAlbania to call a taxi and pay the driver in cash. Tirana also does not have a subway system, but it has a bus network and just received 110 million in financing at the end of 2023 to create a bus rapid transit system of three lines with battery-powered electric buses. RyanAir also started flying to Albania in winter 2023, with plans to continue expanding their routes.

Tirana, Albania

Unique Advantages for Digital Nomads in Tirana

Albania stands out in two very important ways for digital nomads not from the European Union. First, it is not part of the Schengen Zone, making it a strategic destination for those needing to remain outside of the Schengen for 90 days before they can reenter. Secondly, Albania allows US citizens to stay for one year visa-free, an interesting anomaly in the region only shared by the country of Georgia. 

In Tirana, there are now five coworking spaces including Coolab, Innospace, Hot Spot Tirana, Dutch Hub Coworking, and #TECHSPACE. Many smaller spaces dot the city along with coffee shops on almost every corner. According to the guide on my Tirana walking tour, the locals are used to spending hours with one coffee so it may not be a problem for you to do the same if you’re looking to work in a café instead of a coworking. 

Another huge benefit for staying in the capital is the 230-hectare (568-acre) Grand Park of Tirana with its large lake, trails, and cafés dotting the park. With mild weather all year round, it’s easy to use the park as your free gym while you’re in the city. 

Besides the low costs, great weather, and interesting culture, the most impressive aspect of Albania for me was the people. I have seriously never encountered such friendly and hospitable people. I tried to buy a bottle of water from a small shop and didn’t have small change, so the man told me to keep the bottle and pay later. Another man walked by with an open pack of Oreos and offered me one on the street right then and there. These small gestures of kindness for complete strangers make a huge difference when you’re trying to adjust to life in a new country. 

So, if you’re looking for a place to spend an extended period of time this summer, Tirana just might be the place for you. I’m already planning my trip back!

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