From this extensive article, you will learn everything about the internet in Albania for tourists. I will tell you which mobile network is the best and what data packages are available for travelers. Additionally, I will provide you with advice that you won’t find in any other guidebook.

Vodafone tirana
Spoiler alert: The best network coverage throughout the country is provided by Albanian Vodafone. Look for their service centers.

Mobile Communication and Internet in Albania

In today’s era of widespread internet development and implementation, phone calls and text messages have taken a back seat. This applies to Albania as well. Many of my friends believed that mobile internet in Albania is of terrible quality and is still in its early stages of development. However, that’s not the case, and you’ll find out more below.

Useful to Know:

While just five years ago, most tourists traveled around the country without a local SIM card, which was considered normal, today almost everyone buys a local SIM upon entering the country. Phone calls are no longer necessary since having a reliable internet connection allows you to address all your needs.

Important:

Having good mobile internet is essential when traveling in Albania, and it won’t significantly impact your budget.
internet in albania
One of the mobile operators in Albania is ALBTelecom.

Free Wi-Fi in Albania

This section is for those who don’t require internet access during their travels. If checking your email once a day suffices and you can forget about your phone’s existence, the following are places in Albania where you can find Wi-Fi.

  • 90% of all accommodation options, even in the mountains, offer free Wi-Fi.
    • However, there are apartments where it’s not available. If this point is critical for you, always inquire about the availability of Wi-Fi in advance.

Useful to Know:

Many restaurants and cafes don’t offer Wi-Fi to their guests. I would even say that 80% of cafes and restaurants don’t have Wi-Fi. Regional buses in Albania also lack Wi-Fi, unlike other parts of Europe.
  • In the center of Tirana, on the main square and some adjacent streets, there is a free Wi-Fi network called “Tirana Free Wi-fi.” No registration is required, and the speed is decent.
    • Among all the cities in Albania, this network is only available in the center of Tirana.
  • Additionally, there is a free Wi-Fi network at Tirana International Airport.

Conclusion:

The reality is that you can guarantee free internet access during your travels in Albania only at your hotel or apartment. In all other places, it’s a matter of luck, and there’s no guarantee that you will have connectivity with the outside world.
Mobile communications in the mountains of Albania
And if you have a SIM card (read below), you’ll have internet even in the Prokletije Mountains in Albania.

Roaming and International SIM Card for Tourists

Roaming is the easiest but most expensive option to stay connected at all times. You won’t allow yourself any unnecessary actions on the internet. However, if you urgently need it or your work requires you to be online 24/7, this option is worth considering.

To find out the cost of roaming in Albania

you need to check the rates with your service provider. Usually, internet and communication services in roaming are quite expensive.

Therefore, in my personal opinion as the author, using roaming with your native SIM card is the last option to consider today. All other options are much cheaper and more convenient.

International SIM Card for Tourists

There are several options for such SIM cards:

The first option is DrimSim, you can check out the terms, rates, and so on at the link.

  • PROS: One SIM card works in 190 countries worldwide. No need to buy a new SIM card in each country. For example, if you’re traveling through five European countries by car, or frequently go on short business trips.
  • It can be either a SIM card or an eSIM.
  • It costs 10 euros + internet rates vary in each country but are much cheaper than roaming.
  • No prepayment, you only pay for each megabyte used.
    • The rates specifically in Albania: 0.01€/MB. That’s 1 euro for 100MB. 10.24 euros for 1GB.
      • Expensive for continuous use, but convenient for quickly getting in touch at any moment in any country worldwide.
  • The SIM card is everlasting, the money on the account never expires, and can be used for communication in any country worldwide.
  • CONS: In Albania, you can only pay for parking in the center of Tirana via SMS from a local number. And such a SIM card won’t work. By the way, you can read all about parking, traffic rules, and roads in Albania here.
728*90

The second option: eSIM in Albania from a virtual operator. You can find prices, rates, and even purchase through the link. Here are the features:

  • Only eSIM (no possibility to order a SIM card).
  • Not universal, you need to buy your eSIM in each country or region.
  • Different rates both by countries and regions (Europe, Asia, etc.).
  • Prepayment – you pay upfront for a package for a specified period.
  • Cheaper than roaming, and cheaper than DrimSim if you need to use the internet a lot in a particular country.
  • Not always cheaper than local operators, but it’s more convenient to buy – no need to go to a sales office; you can purchase it sitting on your couch at home, and the connection will be available immediately upon arrival.
  • SUMMARY: Convenient for a trip to a specific country if you plan to actively use the internet.
  • For new customers a 15% discount is available until April 30th using the promo code APR15, and for existing customers a 10% discount can be applied with the promo code APR10 (limited to the first 10000 orders).
esim in albania
Rates for the eSIM from a regional virtual operator specifically for Albania.

Mobile Operators in Albania

Let’s move on to the main topic of the article. Next, I will tell you everything about mobile communication and internet in Albania provided by local operators.

There are two mobile operators in Albania:

  • One (part of a German telecommunications conglomerate)
  • Vodafone (the largest European operator, present in more than 20 European countries)

Useful to Know:

You might come across information on the internet that T-Mobile and Plus are also operators. That’s false; they no longer exist. Today, there are only two operators in the market.

Each of the three mobile operators has prepaid tariffs for tourists. To obtain such a SIM card, you only need your passport or ID card.

Useful to Know:

In Albania, you can’t buy a SIM card without a passport or ID card, even for locals. You won’t find sim cards at the cashier of a store or a newsstand. Only in a mobile communication store. A prepaid tariff means that you can’t go into debt on such a SIM card. So, if you no longer need it, you can simply dispose of it and fly back home without any debts.
buy sim in albania
Service centers for all three operators are available at Tirana Airport. I took the photo at night, and only Vodafone was open, but usually, all of them are open.

In short, the most popular mobile operator in Albania is Vodafone. It offers the best mobile internet quality, which is both my opinion and official statistics. It has the largest base in the country, and its prices are slightly higher than its competitors.

  • However, for you as tourists, spending 13 euros or 11 euros for good internet during a two-week vacation, I believe the price difference doesn’t matter.

Therefore, I will now provide you with all the information about the services offered by Vodafone because it objectively offers the best quality.

mobile rates for tourists
Rates for tourists from Vodafone. I apologize for the poor quality; I don’t have another photo.

Mobile Internet in Albania from Vodafone: Rates, Conditions, Prices

Before I talk about the rates, a few more points:

  • In Albania, 4G network coverage is almost everywhere, provided by all three operators. However, only Vodafone offers LTE-A Pro, while the others have LTE-A. The addition of “Pro” in the standard gives me more confidence 🙂
  • Service centers for all operators are available throughout the country in major cities. All three operators are present at Tirana Airport. It’s worth mentioning that paying by card for SIM cards is rare in Albania.
  • Vodafone and One have the widest network of service centers, while finding ALBTelecom might require some effort.

So, the Vodafone tourist pack:

  • Validity: 21 days. Afterward, all minutes and megabytes expire.
  • Internet: 20 GB
    • Out of which, 15 GB is regular data that we need.
    • The remaining 5 GB is a video package that works when you watch YouTube, Netflix, etc.
    • All data works on the 4G network.
  • 500 minutes for all calls within Albania. It may not be necessary, but sometimes you might need to call your accommodation host or a car rental company. However, in most cases, they are available online on WhatsApp.
  • 10 international minutes for calls to neighboring countries such as Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, etc.
  • 100 SMS.
  • Price of the package: 1500 Lek (approximately 14 euros).
  • You can check your balance and remaining MBs using the USSD code: #123#, then select 7 to switch the language to English, followed by 1 (BUNDLES), and then 8 (BALANCE CHECK).
  • They provide a universal SIM card with adapters for micro and nano sizes.
tourist sim card albania
Here’s the SIM card they provide. It works with any phone.

Quality of Communication and Mobile Internet

You will be pleasantly surprised to know that Albania is way ahead of us in this aspect. Whether it’s Vodafone doing an excellent job or our operators falling short, we have many concerns about the quality of internet in the plains outside the city. However, in Albania, 99.6% of the territory is covered by the 4G network, despite 71% of the country being mountainous.

  • During your travels in Albania, you will find 4G coverage practically everywhere:
    • Even in the mountains
    • Across mountain passes
    • In canyons and gorges
    • There are only a few places where there’s no coverage, but you won’t even notice it.
  • The overall speed of mobile internet is really good, consistently exceeding 20 Mbps.

Travel Tips about Internet in Albania

I strongly recommend having mobile internet during your travels in the country. Trust me, it will often help and simplify your life. Not to mention the ability to post real-time photos on Instagram or Facebook.

Whether it’s your roaming SIM, eSIM, or a local SIM card, you decide. Read about the pros and cons of vacationing in Albania in the article linked. However, when it comes to the quality of mobile internet in Albania, it’s definitely an advantage.

In conclusion, mobile communication and internet in Albania are essential today. And the expenses for these services in your travel budget will go unnoticed.

Wishing you fast and reliable internet even in the most remote corners of Albania!


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