You will learn about the current situation regarding the coronavirus Covid-19 in Albania from this article. There will also be a lot of useful information specifically for tourists planning to visit here. Everything about PCR testing within Albania, where to get it done, how much it costs, and what the best approach is.

covid-19 in Albania
The main vaccination center in Albania is located in the country’s main square. The vaccine available is only AstraZeneca, and it is free for Albanian citizens.

Coronavirus in Albania: brief history

Although this point may not be the most interesting, it is important. It is necessary to understand the overall situation within Albania. Therefore, I will provide a brief summary:

  • April 2020: Albania goes into lockdown, along with the rest of the world.
  • June 2020: The country lifts the lockdown, but it remains closed for tourism.
  • January 2021: The authorities of the poorest country in Europe do not want to miss another tourist season, and the country chooses to ignore COVID-19.
    • Albania opens its doors to tourists.
    • Numerous charter flights are launched. Here is a useful article: direct flights to Albania, how and where to find tickets, and how long it takes to fly to Albania.
    • All restrictions for incoming travelers are lifted. No vaccination or PCR testing is required. Everything is as it was before the COVID-19 era.
    • The goal is simple: to save the 2021 tourist season.
  • However, the European Union, where Albania aspires to join and is a candidate, strongly opposes this policy of dealing with the coronavirus.
    • As a result, the European Parliament forces the Albanian government to impose mandatory PCR testing or vaccination for all incoming travelers.
    • For a complete and up-to-date list of COVID-19 entry requirements for the country and the current information on whether Albania is open, please read the linked article. It covers everything from required documents to the vaccines accepted in Albania and who can enter without PCR testing, and more.
  • Starting from May 1, 2022, Albania lifts all COVID-19 entry restrictions. No vaccination, PCR testing, or quarantine is required.
albania pcr
PCR testing facilities at Tirana Airport operate 24/7, and results are available within 90 minutes, often sooner.

The current situation with COVID-19 in Albania

As with everywhere else, the country is experiencing its fourth or fifth wave. It’s difficult to keep track. As mentioned earlier, the Albanian government tries to ignore the problem and pretend that everything is fine.

Every day, dozens of COVID-19 cases are reported in small Albania, unfortunately accompanied by deaths. The local population believes that the authorities significantly underestimate the actual numbers and distrust the statistics.

Important note:

While healthcare is essentially free for Albanians, it is quite expensive for foreigners. You will understand this better when you see the prices for PCR testing for tourists. It is essential to have insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment. The linked article provides information on comprehensive medical insurance in Albania.

Until recently, there was only one restriction for everyone, both locals and tourists: wearing masks in public places. However, the interesting part is that there was no enforcement of this requirement. It seemed like everyone didn’t care. After the World Health Organization declared the end of the pandemic in spring 2023, these restrictions were also lifted.

Approximately 90% of visitors to stores, markets, public transportation, and other places do not wear masks. Even employees at establishments often go without masks. What can be said when the nurse who took my PCR test was not wearing a mask?

In summary:

The situation with the coronavirus in Albania exists, but nobody knows the real numbers. The entire country, from the top authorities to ordinary citizens, tries to ignore the problem. Life goes on.
november 2021 coronavirus skanderberg square
November 2021. Tirana city center. The fourth or fifth wave of the coronavirus. Everyone without masks.

Where to get a PCR test in Albania

This chapter is useful for those who are planning to leave Albania after their vacation to a country that requires a mandatory PCR test or antigen test, or simply want to get tested.

I must say, in Albania, everything is good in this regard, and there are no difficulties whatsoever. I will now explain where, how, the price of the PCR test, and how everything is organized.

  • The market of medical services in Albania is represented by American, German, or local clinics.
  • Pricing for medical services, including PCR testing, is not regulated by the government. It operates on the principles of capitalism.
  • There are several dozen certified laboratories in the country that can perform PCR tests.
  • For a complete list with addresses, refer to the official website:
    • Observant readers might have noticed that the above link provides addresses without house numbers, only streets. This is a unique feature of Albania, where you are given an address without a house number, so you have to find it yourself. Read more about it in the article: accommodation in Albania and its peculiarities. You will be surprised.
  • At Tirana Airport, there are two 24/7 laboratories that perform PCR tests. The points are marked on the Travel Map. The coordinates of both are:
    • 41.4203, 19.71275
    • 41.42003, 19.71225
    • They are located about 30 meters apart.
pcr test in Albania
This is what the PCR testing point looks like at Tirana Airport. It is a simple 6×3-meter cabin.
  • There are also many laboratories operating in all major cities in Albania.
  • While express testing and results within an hour are available at the airport, in all other locations, results are provided within 4-5 hours. If you take the test in the morning, you can collect the results after lunch.

Are there many PCR testing points in Tirana?

Yes, there are many. The link to the laboratories was provided earlier, but those are actual laboratories. There are numerous testing points. Here’s how it works:

  • A large number of small clinics, dental offices, and private doctors have agreements with certified laboratories.
  • While walking around Tirana, look for the coveted words – PCR – on signs, as shown in the photo below.
albania coronavirus covid19
There are laboratories like this on the streets of Tirana. As you can see, they perform PCR tests. In this specific case, the price is 40 euros. I marked the point on the Travel Map.
  • Even if you don’t see those words, simply enter and ask.
  • Here’s how it works:
    • You take the PCR test at such a mini-clinic.
    • A courier collects your sample and takes it to a certified laboratory.
    • After a couple of hours, the result from the certified laboratory arrives at the clinic’s email, where you took the test, complete with seals, signatures, and a QR code.
    • You just need to print it out and collect it.
    • This is how the network of testing points in Albania has expanded.

Coronavirus in Albania: How much does a PCR test cost?

As I mentioned earlier, this niche in the country operates on the principles of capitalism. Prices change monthly, if not weekly. There are significant variations across the country. The more upscale the clinic, the higher the cost.

  • The cheapest option is at the airport in both locations. The coordinates were provided earlier. The price is 30 euros, and you can pay for the PCR test in euros everywhere.
  • The most expensive PCR tests are available at German and American clinics, which have a network in Albania. The cost ranges from 55 euros to 75 euros, depending on the city and clinic.
  • In Tirana, there are many small local clinics where the test costs 35-40 euros.
  • On the Travel Map (link in the guide’s header), I marked several local clinics in Tirana where you can get a PCR test for 35-40 euros within 4-5 hours. I marked the ones I personally visited. But in reality, there are many more, and the count goes into the hundreds.
coronavirus in Albania
When you enter such local private clinics, look for the phrase “TAMPON PCR” on their signs. This means they perform PCR tests.
  • Important note: Until autumn 2021, the price in almost all clinics was 75 euros. Within 2-3 months, the price dropped to 35 euros in Tirana.
  • During my penultimate visit to Tirana Airport, the PCR test cost 35 euros. In my last visit, it was already 30 euros. So if prices have changed during your visit to Albania, please write it in the comments. By the way, for everything about prices and why Albania is not a cheap country, read the article: prices in Albania.
pcr test price in Albania
The cost of a PCR test at Tirana Airport

Travel tips

Global advice for everyone: Get vaccinated. Yes, everyone has their own reasons and thoughts on this matter. But we must defeat this disease; we can’t live like this anymore. And for those who fear being microchipped, don’t worry. I attached a magnet to the vaccination site, and it falls off. So everything will be fine.

Advice for saving money:

If the country you’re traveling to from Albania accepts not only PCR tests but also antigen tests, consider this option. In Albania, an antigen test is half the price, costing 15 euros.

In conclusion, COVID-19 in Albania exists today. However, it does not hinder traveling within the country. You won’t notice any restrictions. As for the authorities and the Albanian people themselves ignoring this disease at all levels, there’s nothing we can do about it. The most important thing is to be conscious ourselves: have comprehensive medical insurance, wear masks in public places, and get vaccinated to minimize the chances of any COVID-related issues during your vacation.

Wishing everyone good health and open borders!

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Albania

  • Flights at the best prices with juicy discounts
  • Car rental in Albania (cheaper – only by bus):
    • DiscoverCars – a major international resource
    • LocalRent – the leader in the Albanian car rental market. Very low deposits, even in cash.
  • Hotels and apartments throughout the country: Booking
  • Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
    • GYG – more than 150 tours
    • Viator – 700+ excursions and activities throughout the country
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • eSIM virtual sim card in Albania
  • Taxi and transfers: Intui.Travel