Useful info about Tirana, Albania
Here you will find useful info, culture tips, and basic phrases for tourists visiting Tirana, Albania.
Tirana is the capital city of Albania a country in South-Eastern Europe bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea. It is situated in the southwestern region of the Balkan Peninsula, between Greece in south, Republic of Macedonia in the east and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north. Tirana itself is positioned almost in the centre of the country with the Adriatic coast only 30 kms away.
Being 30 kms from the coast Tirana enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with an average of 260-290 sunny days per year.
People and culture of Albania
Albanians are Mediterranean people who are passionate and animated so do not be put off, if hearing loud discussions in buses, cafés etc. It is just a normal thing. One of the most noticeable differences once you arrive will be the head shake. When approving something Albanians will shake their head from side to side, but in a round sort of motion while to deny things they will nod their head up and down in a short movement. This is changing however and it applies more to older generations, as many of the young people who have lived abroad apply the international head signs.
Tirana is the capital of art and active life, with major cultural institutions such as the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the Academy of Arts, National Theatre, Art Gallery, Palace of Concerts, etc, developing a rich cultural life, setting an artistic agenda, which starts in September and ends in early summer. Tirana is the mixing of different cultures from Albanian provinces, due to its heterogeneous population, which has brought in a bit of the culture and traditions of the country or area of origin. But Tirana also reflects the radiance of culture and world experience, brought in from the outside by those who live and work for years around the world, creating an endless variety of activities, names, forms and colors with real trends of a metropolis. In Tirana, you will find tens of cafes bars and nightclubs of different styles, where you can enjoy the music that you like in the company of one of the youngest crowds in Europe.
Albanian cuisine is fresh, simple, and healthy. It is a rich blend of its historic past; a fusion of traditional mountain kitchen and Balkan meat dishes, Italian cuisine and Greek and Turkish flavors. The favorable geographical position provides
Albanian kitchens with a large range of fresh agricultural products, fish and seafood; and the cuisine is still very seasonal. Almost every region in Albania offers particular specialties and dishes so unique in flavour and aroma. Beer, “raki”, the local grappa like liquor, and coffee are most popular drinks in Albania. Albanian indigenous grape varieties, like Kallmet, Puls or Vlosh are churning out some rather good local wines. However Albanian winemakers face fierce competition from Italian and French imports. Tirana offers a variety of restaurants for all tastes, from simple local specialities to gourmet restaurants at incredibly reasonable prices.
Having grown to a city with a population of nearly 1 million people Tirana does offer good opportunities for shopping. The best shopping in Tirana can be done in one of its suburban malls Tirana East Gate known as TEG, QTU and City Park which can be easily reached with dedicated bus connections from city centre. These centres offer an array of stylish shops including international brands like Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti etc. If you prefer high street shopping “Myslym Shyri” street provides a similar experience.
Exchanging currency in Albania is straight forward. There are many licensed currency places in Tirana with quite a few located around the centre just behind the National historic Museum. We advise you always ask for a receipt from the exchange place.
Some basic phrases in Albanian and their comparable English pronunciations:
Miredita = meer-detae = Good Day
Mirmengjes = meer – men – jazz = Good Morning
Faleminderit = fall – ae – minter – it = Thank you
Si jeni ? = See – ye – ne ? = How are you?
Mire = Me – rae = Good
Po = Po = Yes
Jo = Yo = No
Useful numbers in Albania
Airport Tel. +355 4 2381 600
Lost Luggage Tel. +355 4 2381 681
Police Information Tel. 122
Police Emergency Tel. 129
Traffic Police Tel. 126
Fire Department Tel. 128
Emergency Room Tel. +355 4 2222 235
24 hour Pharmacy Tel. +355 4 2222 241
Albania Public Holidays
New Year (1/2 January),
Catolic and Orthodox Easter
Labour Day (1 May)
Independence Day (28 November)
Liberation Day (29 November)
Christmas (25 December).
Ramadan Bajram or Eid al-Fitr Festival (end of Ramadan)
Kurban Bajram or Greater Eid Festival