Buying a SIM Card in Tirana for Travelers 2024: Guide from Locals

Buying a SIM card in Tirana is also a popular form, second only to buying at the airport. Specific instructions will be revealed in the article below.

If you don’t choose to line up to buy a SIM card at the airport, buying a SIM card in Tirana is also not a bad choice. This article is for travelers to the beautiful Albanian capital of Tirana who need guidance on purchasing SIM cards in the city. Hopefully Gigago’s article will be the information you are looking for.

I. Why buy a SIM card in Tirana?

Tirana city thrives on telecommunications
Tirana city thrives on telecommunications

To explain why you should buy a SIM card in Tirana, here are some reasons:

  • Easy to find: For a big city like Tirana, finding a store that sells SIM cards is not difficult, this helps visitors find an address more quickly.
  • Local plans: Buying a SIM card locally means having all the plan options as diverse as a resident buying a SIM card. However, for tourists, you can ask to buy a short-term travel package.
  • Access speed: SIM cards purchased in the city or at any address have better access than other forms.
  • Reputation: Buying a SIM card in the city, especially at an official store, ensures the reputation of the network operator without fear of fraud.
  • No roaming fees: Just buy a SIM card according to the package you need, you don’t need to pay exorbitant roaming costs
  • Additional services: If you choose to buy online and order delivery to your home, of course the city is more convenient than ever.

Important note: Just like buying a SIM card in many other places, you need to make sure with the provider that your phone is unlocked and completely ready to use the carrier's SIM card.

II. Which mobile internet carrier is the best in Tirana?

Popular network operators in Tirana
Popular network operators in Tirana

Previously, in Tirana in particular and Albania in general, there were 3 major network operators: Vodafone, Telekom and ALBtelecom. However, currently Telekom and ALBtelecom have merged into one and are called ONE Mobile (or ONE Albania). Below are the evaluation criteria for you to choose a good SIM card:

Access speedSuper fastFast
PopularityStrong coverage nationwide, in which Tirana city is the most populous city so it is the most popular3G network alone covers up to 91% nationwide, followed by 4G/LTE
Plans for touristsDaily data plan options abound, and there’s no shortage of plans for travelersIn addition to packages that include full calling minutes and SMS messages, this network has data-only calls specifically for tourists who do not need to text or call.
CostMany are affordableMany are affordable

For a famous city like the capital Tirana, most network coverage areas and access speeds do not vary too much. The main difference is in plan details and customer support. However, based on its popularity with residents and the choice of many tourists, Vodafone is still the most popular.

III. Best Tirana SIM Card Plans and Price

Among the network operators in Albania, Vodafone and One Mobile are the two major network operators after ALBtelecom merged with One into one. Data package options for travelers from carriers are as follows:

Best Vodafone SIM cards for tourists

Paketa Tourist is a 21-day limited traveler data plan with a purchase price of 2000 Lek ($21.07 USD). This plan includes 35GB data, 10 minutes for IDD, unlimited calling minutes and SMS. In addition, visitors can also choose some other packages below:

  • 300 Lek ($3.16 USD) = 300 MB data + 300 minutes calling (valid 3 days)
  • 700 Lek ($7.37 USD) = 1,5 GB data + 300 minutes calling (valid 10 days)
  • 1500 Lek ($15.8 USD) = 15 GB data + 500 minutes calling (valid 21 days)
Vodafone plans for tourists in Tirana
Vodafone plans for tourists in Tirana

Best One SIM cards for tourists

Not inferior to Vodafone, One also offers packages specifically for tourists and foreigners coming to Tirana for a short period of time. One’s data package for tourists costs around 1500 Lek ($15.8 USD) and includes 15 GB data, 500 minutes of domestic calls, 100 minutes of international calls that can be called home, and 100 SMS messages valid for 21 days. day. In addition, additional data is 5 GB data for social networks such as WhatApps, Viber,…

One plans for tourists in Tirana
One plans for tourists in Tirana

In addition, some data-only SIM card packages of One can refer to:

  • 200 Lek ($2.11 USD) = 1 GB data (valid 1 day)
  • 400 Lek ($4.21 USD) = 2 GB data (valid 7 days)
  • 600 Lek ($6.32 USD) = 2 GB data (valid 30 days)
  • 1200 Lek ($12.64 USD) = 8 GB data (valid 30 days)

IV. Where to Buy a SIM Card in Tirana?

Because many guests choose to buy a SIM card when arriving in Tirana, Gigago suggests the best place to buy a SIM card in Tirana is: Buy at the airport, buy in the city center. Some specific instructions are provided below.

1. Buy a SIM card at Tirana airport

Given Albania’s modest size, the only airport in Tirana where tourists can buy a SIM card is Tirana International Airport. For buying here, visitors can connect to the internet to update their relatives on the situation. However, you need time to line up, so if your flight is too close to the tour departure time, it will not be comfortable at all.

Map of Tirana international airport
Map of Tirana international airport

After going through immigration and going to the arrivals hall, you will immediately see the One and Vodafone kiosks right next to each other. These stores are open 24/7 so you are not limited in your shopping time even late at night. You need to prepare your identification documents (passport) to buy a SIM card.

One and Vodafone kiosks at Tirana international airport
One and Vodafone kiosks at Tirana international airport

2. Buy a SIM card in center city

In the capital Tirana, if you do not choose to buy a SIM card at the airport, you can still buy it in the city at a number of locations such as:

  • Buy at official stores of mobile network carriers
  • Buy online from your SIM provider
  • Buy at convenience store
Vodafone store in Tirana
Vodafone store in Tirana

Our recommendation: In our opinion, travelers should buy a SIM card at the airport or buy eSIM online before departure from eSIM providers (not mobile network carriers because they will have to present their passport but are not sure about information security with airport security). Note that the phone must be compatible with eSIM.

V. Albania eSIM card for Tirana – Alternative to SIM Card for travelers

If the phone works with eSIM, there is no reason not to try eSIM. When using this method, you do not need to remove and install the physical SIM but use an embedded SIM to save space for the device.

Gigago offers Albania eSIM
Gigago offers Albania eSIM

There are 2 ways to buy eSIM for Tirana:

  • Buy at websites of network carriers offering eSIM services: Both network operators Vodafone and One offer eSIM to travelers. Normally, buyers still have to present ID/passport.
  • Buy at eSIM carriers or retailers: Suggested Gigago is a reputable retailer trusted by many tourists. With Albania eSIM, there are options from 300MB/day to 10GB for only $11/1 USD to $36.5 USD.

VI. What to Prepare to buy SIM card in Tirana

As with many ways to buy for international tourists in other cities, you need to prepare the following:

  • Required Documentation: In some cases, it is necessary to provide air ticket stubs
  • Passport: Present your passport to verify your identity
  • Cash (can also be credit card): In case the credit card fails, you can use cash for convenience
  • Unlocked phone: This certainly made it possible to activate and use the SIM card in Albania.
Prepare cash
Prepare cash

VII. Extra Tips when buying SIM card in Tirana

To buy the best SIM card, you must remember the following:

  • Compare between network operators: You need to visit the network operator’s website to search for data packages, usage time, and cost to compare between network operators. Then, make the best choice that fits your travel schedule.
  • Be sure about the cost before buying: Make sure with the seller what services are included in the package
  • Search for a store: You should locate it near the hotel you will stay at so you can get the fastest support
Comparison between network operators
Comparison between network operators


Can I use 5G in Tirana?

Currently, both Vodafone and One offer 4G/LTE but are not ready for 5G networks.

Can I use an EU SIM card in Tirana?

No, you can’t. Because Albania is not part of the EU. If you want to use a local SIM card, you will have to pay quite expensive roaming fees.

Which eSIM provider is available when arriving in Tirana?

Besides network operators, Gigago is a perfect offer for you with many data options.

IX. Conclusion

The above information is about how to buy a SIM card in Tirana. Hope it is truly meaningful to you and your friends if you share it. Don’t forget to visit Gigago to receive eSIM deals too!