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, located on the country’s main square during 2021-2022, offered the AstraZeneca vaccine. It is provided free of charge 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
In 2022, PCR testing points at Tirana Airport operated 24/7. Now, the schedule needs to be checked upon arrival

The current situation with COVID-19 in Albania

Like everywhere, Albania is experiencing its 6th or 7th wave of the pandemic. People have lost count. COVID-19 has become more of a seasonal illness. Dozens of cases are reported daily in small Albania, but attention has shifted elsewhere.

Important note:

While healthcare is essentially free for Albanians, it is quite expensive for foreigners. It is essential to have insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment. The linked article provides information on comprehensive medical insurance in Albania.

Masks are no longer mandatory, although responsible citizens are more common than before the pandemic. Albanians often wear masks casually. Approximately 90% of visitors to stores, markets, public transportation, and other places go without masks. It’s unlikely that anyone will comment if you are not wearing one. To illustrate the situation, even the nurse who conducted my PCR test was without a mask.

In summary:

The situation with the coronavirus in Albania still exists, but nobody knows the real numbers. 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

If, for any reason, you need to undergo a PCR test, this section is for you.

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 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.
  • If you are at the airport, you can get the result within an hour. In other locations, it may take until the next day or around 5 hours.

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. 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.

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 best 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:
    • Hotellook – compares prices among dozens of platforms and offer you the best one.
    • Booking – large online booking platform.
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Albania.
  • Tours, excursions and activities:
    • GetYourGuide – more than 550 tours
    • Viator – 920+ excursions and activities throughout the country
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • Internet and Calls:
    • Airalo eSIM in Albania from $4.5
    • DRIMSIM – universal SIM card (or eSIM) in any country in the world.
  • Taxi and airport transfer: Intui.Travel