Some Facts About Tirana
This page provides information about some difficult to classify useful facts that anybody might need to know during his / her daily life in Tirana.
Electricity network is a 220 V network which is the European standart. About half of the electric plugs in the new buildings don't have ground connection, which also means that the other half have (we are talking about the plugs in the same building, half of the plugs in the same building). The electric plugs have round wholes. Ground connection at the grounded plugs is not made through the third whole but through the flat conductor on outsite border of the circle. It might be a good idea to get a grounded multiplexer if a traveler is expecting to use more than one electric device which requires grounded electricity connection. These might include laptops, hair driers, electric shavors etc. Electric black outs are not surprising, so it is a good idea not to postpone charging devices such as cellular phones or laptops.
ATM (Automated Teller Machine) devices are relatively new, considering the whole Europe. They are quite easy to find and frequent, on the other hand. Most ATM machines would give only Albanian Leks, it is possible to find some ATM's which give Euros, however. The banks usually close at around 15:00. It shouldn't be surprising to see information systems of the banks not to work for some time like half an hour. So it is strongly recommended to go to the banks as early as possible to process the bank related issues. The incoming transfer fee is quite high, even inside Albania. It is strongly recommended to ask how much the cost is, before processing any transaction.
Albanian Lek, which is the official monetary union of Albania, is used in daily life. Cash payments can be made also by Euro. It is not as common as Lek, though. Exchanging money to leks would ease the daily life. Money exchange is not a problem at all. It is very easy to find exchange offices on the streets. In the downtown, you can see many exchange offices even next to each other. The exchange rate might change from office to office. For the people who are sensitive about exchange rates, it is recommended to check exchange rates at a few different offices before exchanging any money.
Credit cards are not widely accepted. Almost all of the transactions are made in cash.
The local language is Albanian. The most common foreign languages are English, Turkish and Italian. People are very friendly, helpful and would be open to communication. The life for an individual who cannot speak Albanian is not very hard in terms of communication.
Official holidays are always in the weekdays. To express more clearly, when the date of an official holiday meets the weekend, the following weekdays (Monday, Tuesday, depending on the number of off days) are off. For example November 28th is official holiday. If November 28th is on Sunday, then the following weekday, Monday, is official holiday. The official holidays are usually not long (longest one being 3 days). Major holy days in Islam and Orthodox Christianity are official holidays.
Per minute price of GSM operators are quite expensive. As a result of this, roaming is also very expensive. For the budget traveller, it is a must to consider.
Internet is easily accessible. It is easy to find internet cafes all around the city. They are not expensive. Since electric black outs are not uncommon, most internet cafes have uninterrupted power supplies available.
Addressing system is not well organised yet. This results in many confusions. The ownership documents about real estate might be confusing for a foreigner.