04/05/2021

Massive vaccination in Albania before tourist season

The situation of Coronavirus in Albania is coming to ease and we feel optimistic about the opening of the tourist season. About 517 0000 vaccinations have been administered so far in Albania. Vaccinations have been carried out on the elderly and also the risked people. It is expected that this month to be vaccinated people working in the field of tourism, staff of hotels, bars, restaurants, tour operators, travel agencies in order to start the tourist season.

Massive vaccination in Albania before tourist season

Security measures continue to be the same: wearing the mask in public places, physical distancing and hygiene care.

There will be a daily curfew from 22:00 to 6:00am. Bars, restaurants, fast food, and other similar activities are prohibited from operating between 22:00pm and 6:00am, except for delivery services. Public movement is restricted during these hours except for work reasons, health care emergencies, or urgent needs. The e-Albania portal must be used for special permission to move during this time.

More information on COVID-19 and vaccination can be found at this link.

01/05/2021

What to do in Tirana in May 2021

Welcome May! One of the most beautiful months in Tirana with delightful sunny days.

It’s the perfect weather to you enjoy the long walks in the parks of Tirana or taking short trips to the natural attractions of Tirana.

Things to do in May in Tirana

With the explosion of spring everywhere in Tirana, it seems that the best days are coming for tourism with the ease of the coronavirus restrictions.

The situation of COVID-19

The numbers have been declining and the vaccination campaign has gone very well. This month is expected to be vaccinated people working in the field of tourism, tour operators, to be ready to start the tourism season.

The situation seems optimistic but still we have to be vigilant, wear masks in public, keep physical distance and take care of hygiene.

Art and culture

For art lovers, museums and galleries are open and welcome visitors. Visits should be in line with coronavirus protection rules. You can see the new events here.

Things to do in May in Tirana

While theaters continue to show performances weekly livestreaming on their Facebook channels.

Official holidays in May

Things to do in May in Tirana

Orthodox Easter is celebrated on Sunday (May 2). Every year, believers participate in the Easter services at the Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

May 1 is Workers' Day and is a holiday in Albania, while May 5 is the day to commemorate the fallen martyrs of Albania.

Outdoor activities

May is the month where daily excursions start in the suburbs of Tirana. Tirana is surrounded by natural beauty in every village, you can visit waterfalls, canyons or lakes. In this link you will find a list of natural attractions of Tirana.

 
 
 
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Do not forget to participate in the seasonal photo competition #TiranaSpring2021! The competition closes at the end of May.

Stay safe and enjoy May in Tirana!

19/04/2021

Noor-one of the coolest places in Tirana

‘Noor’ is that kind of bar that invites you to get cozy and warm in cold winter days. It is that place that inspires you even on rainy days, and on summer evenings where the terrace becomes very vivid.

Noor-one of the best bars bistros in Tirana

Noor is a bar and bistro, located in the heart of Tirana, near the shopping center "Toptani". With a pleasantly furnished modern ambience with traditional elements, Noor invites you for a breakfast, business lunch or aperitif with friends in the afternoons.

Noor-one of the best bars bistros in Tirana

If you like to look outside, the terrace environment is just for you, from where you can see, Toptan Palace, Abdi Toptani Street, and the multi-storey building of Maritim Plaza.

When you want a piadine or good Italian pastas, do not look further but go to ‘Noor’.

Noor-one of the best bars bistros in Tirana

The menu starts with appetizers, Italian piadine and delicious pasta.

Every Wednesday-Thursday is Aperitif’s Day. At Noor you’ll find a limitless finger food buffet, and all you need to do is order a drink, which will cost relatively more than in the other days of the week, and all the finger foods in the buffet can be yours.

While on weekends you can enjoy a brunch with different specialties.

Noor-one of the best bars bistros in Tirana

Here you can enjoy lunch with your colleagues, you can combine a business lunch package with your favorite dishes.

What makes a good place besides good food, modern and cozy environment? Definitely the service of the staff, for which it is worth noting that Noor’s staff is very friendly and professional.

Noor-one of the best bars bistros in Tirana

 You know the feeling when you find a place and you can’t wait to show it to your friends, this is the same feeling when we found out about Noor. Can’t recommend this place so much.

08/04/2021

Best restaurants in Tirana

Albanian culinary is getting a high reputation around the world for its unique flavour and delicious recipes. Many bloggers are writing articles about our traditional cuisine, praising the traditional recipes which are a mix between Albanian, Turkish, Greek and Italian culinary . The best restaurants are located in Tirana, where you can always find a good place to eat almost in every corner or street of the city. Visit Tirana is promoting the city every day and we know well what are the best things to do here, so if you are visiting Tirana these days and need some hints about the best restaurants, here are our suggestions:

Gambero Gourmet

If you are looking for fine dinning restaurant in Tirana, then head to Gambero Gourmet, the place where you will get a superb culinary experience and service.

The first quality of the products, the latest word of technology used in the kitchen, the desire of the chiefs of the kitchen to bring you the best of you but not only, very reasonable and economical prices accompanied by over 140 different walnut labels make up the luxury of really in Gambero Gourmet.

 

Ballkoni i Dajtit

If you want to eat with a view go to Ballkoni i Dajtit, located on the top of the Dajti mountain. It is the last stop of “Dajti Ekspres” Cable Car. The restaurant offers a comfortable interior where you can dine and enjoy a wonderful view over Tirana. From there you have the city in the palm of your hand. Traditional and Mediterranean cuisine is offered here with a variety of choices. The restaurant is stylish, modern, comfortable and of course very warm and attractive for customers. If you visit Tirana, don't miss Ballkoni Dajtit!

UKA Farm

If you need to try the best of farm food, in a rural area, go to UKA Farm. Try the best wine and the tasty food and for sure you will come back. Uka is situated in Laknas, 15 minutes far from Tirana, close to Tirana International Airport. This two acres farm includes the restaurant, vineyard and the winery where the family produces its wine. The open air restaurant is set in the middle of a farm and provides a unique opportunity to taste and enjoy the local favor.

Uka Farm

Season Restaurant

Season Restaurant can tell by its name that you can go there and find the best dishes of each season.

This modern restaurant is located in the newly renovated area Pazari Ri (New Bazaar) offering freshly wood baked pizza, a selection of beverages and tasty dishes. The cuisine it’s mostly Italian, where you should go for pasta and pizza. The restaurant location at one of the oldest neighborhoods of Tirana, New Bazaar has preserved some traditional elements in the painting and pillows of the couches.

Season Restaurant

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Hotel Colosseo Restaurant

Looking for somewhere to enjoy a romantic treat, or a group night out? Hotel Colosseo Resturant is the perfect place to relax, for lunch or dinner. Enjoy the tasty lunch and dinner menu from midday to 11 pm.

Tuck into a satisfying menu: seafood variety, classic Caesar salad, pasta and risotto, fresh fish and meat cooked with love from the Chef.

Hotel Colosseo Tirana

Elite Palace Restaurant

With a fine Mediterranean cuisine, the restaurant of Elite Palace is on those places that once you try, it’s hard to forget the experience. Located in an uphill overlooking Tirana, this a perfect place to get out the buzzling capital and enjoy some time in the serenity of nature. This restaurant isn’t just about having a lunch or dinner, but to dine with style. The charming decoration with gold and white makes you feel like dining in a royal palace, not to mention watering-mouth and art food served here. And the best is that prices are very reasonable.

Elite Palace Hotel Tirana

25/03/2021

Info about Covid-19 in Albania

Information you need to know before travelling to Albania. What are the measurements and actual situation regarding Covid-19. The Ministry of Health announced updated movement restrictions in May 3, 2021. 

There will be a daily curfew from 22:00 to 6:00am. Bars, restaurants, fast food, and other similar activities are prohibited from operating between 22:00pm and 6:00am, except for delivery services. Public movement is restricted during these hours except for work reasons, health care emergencies, or urgent needs. The e-Albania portal must be used for special permission to move during this time.

All travelers coming from different states from ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel.

  • The Ministry of Health announced that the movemant restrictions will continue the same. There will be a daily curfew from 22:00pm to 6:00am. Bars, restaurants, fast food, and other similar activities are prohibited from operating between 22:00pm and 6:00am, except for delivery services. Public movement is restricted during these hours except for work reasons, health care emergencies, or urgent needs. The e-Albania portal must be used for special permission to move during this time.
  • The Ministry of Health reopened all direct civilian air traffic to and from Great Britain.

— Public administration will telework; except for those providing essential services under strict security protocols.

— Wearing a mask in public areas, indoors and outdoors, for any individual 11 years old and above is mandatory.

— Preschools and kindergartens reopened.

— All cultural events and other large public gatherings in Albania are cancelled indefinitely.

— Professional sporting events have resumed, with no spectators allowed to attend.

— Malls and shops are open with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

— Hairdressers and dentists are open with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

— Restaurants and cafes are open.

— All indoor activity centers reopened.

— Beaches are open.

— Outdoor exercise is permitted.

— Libraries and museums are open.

— Public transportation has resumed.

— All maritime and air borders have reopened.

 

COVID-19 Testing:

In Albania PCR and/or antigen tests are available for foreign citizens. Test results are available within 72 hours.

Public Health Labs:

Currently, in order to be tested for COVID-19 by the Albanian public health authority one must have symptoms and a recommendation from the public health authority’s family doctor.  However, private testing labs will perform a test for a fee, and no symptoms or a doctor’s recommendation is required (see details below).

If you have an Albanian social security number you also have an assigned public health family doctor.

To learn who your public health family doctor is, call the IPH green line at 0-800-4040 to find out.

Tests are free of charge if done by the Albanian Institute of Public Health (IPH).

Private Labs:

Individuals can also arrange private testing by going to a private testing lab.  No symptoms or doctor’s order is required to arrange a private test, and no advance appointment is necessary.

According to the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection, there are six private labs authorized to perform SARS-CoV-2 testing for administrative issues:

— American Hospital Laboratory (Tel: +355 4 222 5640)

— Biocheck Diagnostic (Tel: +355 4 242 7025)

— Genius Lab (Cell: +355 69 303 3026)

— German Hospital International (Cell: +355 67 200 4282)

— Intermedica (Tel: +355 4 220 0600)

— Noval Diagnostic (Cell: +355 68 804 2045)

— SALUS Lab (Cell: +355 68 205 3180)

The average cost for testing is: (PCR = 8,500 ALL or 85 USD) – (Antigen = 4,000 ALL or 40 USD). 

Hard copy letters of test results are provided within 24 to 72 hrs.  You can choose another method of delivery (e.g.: email or text) with the individual labs.

Stay home and contact the Albanian National Medical Emergency line at 127 if you believe that you have contracted the COVID-19 virus.

Wait for guidance before going to a medical facility.

More information can be obtained by calling the national green line at 0-800-4040 to find out.

Visit the website of the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the Institute of Public Health for additional information.

For information on limited humanitarian exemptions, please review the following page “Covid-19 Testing Required for U.S. Entry”.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

According to Albanian health authorities, the government is currently administering Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, Gamaleya and Sinovac vaccines.

Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.

2021-05-03

According to Ministry of Health 517,000 doses vaccine have been administred. 

Mass vaccination for the elderly has begun in health centers and centralized vaccination centers across the country. 
According to the age group, based on the national vaccination plan, initially follows the age group +85 years and +80 years who will be vaccinated in their health centers, while the age group +75 years and descending to +60 years, will be vaccinated in centralized vaccination centers.

It is expected that this month to be vaccinated people working in the field of tourism, staff of hotels, bars, restaurants, tour operators, travel agencies in order to start the tourist season.
The vaccination process is being carried out according to all safety and quality parameters by trained vaccination teams.

Visit the website of the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the Institute of Public Health for additional information.

24/03/2021

What to do in April in Tirana

We are living in difficult times, but this doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy life. The revitalization of nature comes as a message to cherish life with what is offered to us. That is why, Visit Tirana editors write monthly articles with recommendations on what to do on a specific month.

Weather gets warmer in April; the sunny days invites you for a walk or a picnic under the blooming trees.

COVID-19 updates

Before planning to visit Tirana, Albania get information from your embassy and information about COVID-19 situation. The Ministry of Health announced updated movement restrictions in March 25th. There will be a daily curfew from 20:00 to 6:00am. Bars, restaurants, fast food, and other similar activities are prohibited from operating between 20:00pm and 6:00am, except for delivery services. Public movement is restricted during these hours except for work reasons, health care emergencies, or urgent needs.

Art and Culture

For art lovers, museums and galleries are open and welcome visitors. Visits should be in line with coronavirus protection rules. You can see the new events here.

While theaters continue to show performances weekly livestreaming on their Facebook channels.

Happy Easters!

April 2,3,4 are the dates marked for Catholic believers who celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Every year, they  attend the Catholic Easter services at St. Paul's Cathedral in Tirana.

Celebrate-easters-in-Tirana-Albania

 

Nature activities

Weather is ideal for hiking, biking or a picnic with the family. The Artificial Park Lake is the most frequented as there are more facilities and a playground for children as well as reactive areas. While Farka Lake Park remains less crowed and you can quietly enjoy nature.

For those of you who are passionate about nature trips, climbing and hiking in the mountains, we have a list of natural places in Tirana.

 
 
 
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Do not forget to participate in the Instagram photo contest #TiranaSpring2021, post photos of spring in Tirana.

Stay safe and enjoy April in Tirana!

22/03/2021

Nowruz Day-How is celebrated in Albania

Nowruz is a Public Holiday in Albania, and is much celebrated, especially by Bektashi believers.  Nowruz (literally "new day") is the name of the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year.  Sultan Novruz's Day is related to the birthday of Imam Ali in Kaaba. In this day everything is revived, there is hope, a resurrection for all mankind. It is a new day when everyone is hoping for a better future.

Nowruz Day in Albania

"Nevruzi" comes from Persian and means "New Day", while "Sultan" is the high title that points to the importance of this day.  Sultan Novruz's holiday has arrived in Albanian lands along with Bektashi faith in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the twentieth century and especially amongst it, this celebration has become a nationwide manifestation.

Nowruz Day in Albania

Communist dictatorship in Albania, inclined towards atheism, closed in 1967 all cult objects, including those of Bektashi faith. In Albania Novruz Day, the most important holiday of Bektashism, was proclaimed as a national holiday in 1996. The Bektashi Sect is largely located in the south of the country, while it has a considerable extension in the territory of the Republic of Albania. The Bektashis are also spread in Kosovo and Macedonia, where, alongside the Sunnis, they constitute the Albanian population of Muslim faith.

Nowruz Day in Albania

Tirana, Albania is home of the Bektashi World Center.  The Bektashi World Centre in the north-eastern suburbs of Tirana features a vast and impressive tekke (teqe) with a fascinating museum in the basement and a small gift shop where visitors can buy various Bektashi-related souvenirs. The Teqe is adorned from top to bottom with marbled mosaics in the most breath-taking array of colours and patterns. The Bektashi Order is a dervish sect that fuses elements of predominantly Shia and Sufi thought into a unique blend of Islamic belief and philosophy.

Banned briefly by the Ottoman authorities in 1826, the Bektashi Order re-emerged later in the 19th century only to be outlawed again by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk soon after the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, an event that led the order to move its headquarters to Albania in 1925.

Nowruz Day in Albania

The final restoration of the religious complex was inaugurated on 8th September 2015 in the presence of the heads of all religious communities in Albania and representatives of Islam communities from elsewhere in the Balkans, Europe and beyond. Albania is well known throughout the world for its religious tolerance.

14/03/2021

Summer Day, a unique festive day of Albania

14 March is a unique festive day in Albania, not known or celebrated elsewhere. Locals call it Summer Day, even though it is celebrated in the first days of spring. Summer day was the first day year of an ancient calendar of Albanians, a day celebrated centuries before the birth of Christianity. It was celebrated by March 1st of the Julian calendar, the first day of the New Year (according to the Gregorian calendar, "March 14").

Summer Day in Tirana

It started to be celebrated massively in all over the country only the last decade, but its roots are deep in the ancient time in the city of Elbasan.  Now every year on March 14, Albanians celebrate Dita e Verës (Summer Day), the country's largest pagan festival. People celebrate the end of winter, the rebirth of nature, and a rejuvenation of spirit among Albanians. Although the epicenter of this festival is around Shkumbin region in Elbasan, the festival is widely celebrated in Tirana. In 2004, Summer Day became an official holiday in Albania. On this day and even since March 1st, many people usually wear a traditional bracelet called Verore (a word derived from summer) made of two thin braided strings usually red and white. At the end of the day, the bracelet is hung on a tree branch for good luck, and is believed that birds use it to build their nests.

The history

Dita e Veres is one of the oldest traditional day mostly celebrated in Elbasan. This festival origin is tracked to the temple of the Mountain Muse (Zana Malit) that was built near the city of Shkumbin (Elbasan). Muse was the goddess of hunting, forests and nature and she would come out of her temple only on March 14, which marked the beginning of the summer. This legend was passed from the generation to generation, and Summer Day festival is known for its unique cultural heritage and traditions. This popular celebration was a tradition that today identifies the city of Elbasan, known for special cultural traditions. It is a community wide event, with families often exchanging the traditional Ballokume, a sugar and corn flour cookie. Each family has its own recipe, considered a source of pride.  Some decades ago people went to Elbasan to celebrate this day, but now it became a national festival. In every city, people celebrate the end of winter in very festive atmosphere and the tradition of cooking ballokume now is expanded from north to south of Albania.

Summer Day, a unique festive day of Albania

 

 

Street Party in Tirana

10/03/2021

Winners of #TiranaWinter2021 photo contest

Visit Tirana organized the 18th social media photo contest in Instagram with hashtag #TiranaWinter2021.

More than 500 photos were posted during 3 months, from 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021.

Various winter photos around Tirana were posted, from rainy days to sunny and cold were the most submitted photos. On February 14th, Tirana was covered in snow after three years and people were excited and posted a bunch of photos on Instagram. Amateur and professional photographers posted their photos on Instagram using the hashtag of our contest.

 Top 3 photos were chosen to be part of Tirana Photo Festival 2021.

Arend Rrada

Ardis Hasa

Luljeta Mustafaj

08/03/2021

Women's Day in Tirana

8 March is the International Women´s Day and is celebrated differently all over the world.

#ChoosetoChallange for International Women's Day 2021. "A challenged world is an alert world," the International Women's Day website says. "We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality."

What are International Women's Day's origins?

The earliest observance of a Woman's Day was held in New York on February 28, 1909, and was organised by the Socialist Party of America. A year later, at the International Women's Conference in Copenhagen, Socialist representatives proposed that there be an International Women's Day, inspired by the demonstration in New York. The delegates agreed that an international day should be formed as part of a strategy to promote equal rights for women and women's suffrage. It was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911. Two years later, in 1913, it was proposed that the date be moved to March 8 and it has been celebrated on this day ever since.

Womans Day in Tirana Albania

Albanian women are celebrating Woman’s Day in different ways. Some are organizing protests for more rights, some are celebrating their achievements through online forums or events to praise the Successful Women. The rights of women in Albania are improved. We have good representation of women in Government and Parliament, but still there are many problems women here are facing. Domestic violence, trafficking of women are still problems in Albania, also the inequality of pay etc. But the culture of protests is not so popular in Albania.

This Day is used more to celebrate, so is a Festive day. For Women in Albania, 8 March is more like a Freedom Day, a day off from their family obligations and duties, a day when they can celebrate without their husbands, only in others women company. The usually have a lunch or dinner at a restaurant where they can also dance. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no celebrations and most events will be virtual.

Womans Day in Tirana Albania

So if you are in Tirana on 8 March, don’t be surprised if you see big groups of women, wondering to find a good restaurant, having flowers in their hands, or gathered in bars especially around the center of Tirana. This is their day. Restaurants are making their offers, special menu, and invite musicians to entertain women.

Womans Day in Tirana Albania

The shoppers are so happy as well, because the presents should be special for this day. People spend money to buy the best gift to their mother, sister, wife, or daughter. In fact we confuse the Woman day with Mother Day, so the first in line to get a present or flowers are the mothers. For many years for Albanians, “Woman day” is also the “Mother’s Day”, since we don’t have other special day for Mothers, as other countries do.  

Womans Day in Tirana Albania

03/03/2021

Top 10 photos of winter in Tirana

Visit Tirana organized the 18th photography photo contest on Instagram, # TiranaWinter2021. The competition was open for 3 months, from December 2020 until February 28, 2021. Professional and amateur photographers participated in the competition with photos taken during the winter season in Tirana. Over 400 posts with the hashtag of our contest from which were selected 10 best photos.

See the gallery below:

Arend Rrada

Andia Tafa

Duli Kasmi

Hysen Xhebexhiu

Ardis Hasa

Luljeta Mustafaj

Rozana Xhaferaj

Valter Zhara

Florjan Jaupani

Nertil Zhuri

26/02/2021

What to do in March in Tirana

Spring has sprung in Tirana! Time to enjoy sunny days and the blossom of this lovely month in the liveliest capital Tirana. Admire the long walks amid blooming trees in Grand Park of Tirana, Kavaja Street, Xhamlliku and Lana River.

Albanians celebrate 4 special days on March: 7 March -Teacher’s Day, 8 March- Mother’s Day, 14 March “Summer Day” and 22 March “Nowruz Day”.

7-8 March “Teachers and Women's Day”

7-8 March have always been seen as festive days. Since the communist regime, 7-8 March were two days celebrated widely for all Albanians. The first one, is 7 March, the Teacher’s Day, related with opening of first Albanian School in Korca in 1887. On this day pupils and students give flowers to their teachers as to show their gratitude.  

In Albania the 8th March was mostly celebrated as Mother’s Day not Women's Day. It was a day to buy gifts to mothers and grandmothers, and to thank them for raising us. But now has changed. It is celebrated as International Women’s Day. Many women celebrate with their colleagues, others protest for better life and opportunities.

14 March- Summer Day

In 14th March we celebrate the Summer Day. It is a unique festival for Albania. It was a festive tradition which was celebrated only in Elbasan area (see the story here), but the last decade it has been spread all over the country. Now 14th March is a public holiday for all Albanians and is a day when we celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is interesting that we call it ‘Summer Day” and not Spring Day, since the warm days starts very soon in our country, which have 300 sunny days per year.

22 March- Nowruz Day

Nowruz is a Public Holiday in Albania, and is much celebrated, especially by Bektashi believers.  Nowruz (literally "new day") is the name of the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year.  In Albania Novruz Day, the most important holiday of Bektashism, was proclaimed as a national holiday in 1996.

Art and Culture

For art lovers, they can see exhibitions at the National Gallery of Arts as well as at the COD center, which is inside the Prime Ministry building.

While theater shows will continue to broadcast live stream on Facebook. All theaters in Albania have join together to bring their best performances to the online public. The Opera and Ballet Theater will also continue broadcasting online the best performances.

The International Watercolor Biennale is a very interesting event worth attending. This is the fourth edition and will take place from 13 to 24 March 2021 at the National Historical Museum.

Enjoy nature! There are many beautiful natural places in Tirana where you can enjoy the springtime. For a unique experience we recommend the cable car ride with the Dajti Express to Dajti Mountain.

If you want to explore other places and natural attractions in Tirana, here you will find a list of tours that we organize. The seasonal photo contest # TiranaSpring2021 opens at the beginning of March. You can participate by posting on Instagram photos taken during spring in Tirana.

Be safe and enjoy March in Tirana!