Getting a SIM card in Tirana is the most optimal way to remain connected there! It’s super convenient and lets you use your phone just like at home. This blog post is perfect for anyone visiting Tirana who wants to easily navigate the city, call local businesses, or share their awesome adventures with friends and family. We’ll give you insider tips from locals to make buying a SIM card in Tirana an exciting adventure ever!

How to Buy A SIM Card in Tirana

I. Which mobile operator is the best in Tirana?

Picking the “best” mobile operator in Tirana depends on your individual needs and priorities. Both ONE and Vodafone Albania offer great options for tourists, each with its own strengths. Let’s break down a comparison to help you decide:

Operator ONE Vodafone Albania
Coverage Excellent coverage across Albania, including rural areas. Strong coverage in urban areas and good coverage in most rural areas.
Speeds Offers the fastest 4G and 5G speeds in the country. Provides reliable 4G speeds, with 5G rollout in progress.
Tourist Plans Flexible pay-as-you-go SIM plans ideal for short stays. Plans start from ~$1. Limited short-stay plans. Cheapest 30-day plan is ~5.3 with 1GB data.
Reliability Known for consistent and reliable service. Can experience occasional connection drops in some areas of Tirana.
Pros Fastest speeds. Widest coverage. Ideal short-stay plans. Established network. Provides international roaming.
Cons No truly unlimited data plans. Slower speeds. Limited coverage in rural tourist sites.

So in general, ONE might be your ideal choice if you prioritize speed and extensive coverage, especially if you’re venturing beyond city limits. Their tourist plans offer generous data allowances, perfect for heavy internet users.

Vodafone Albania provides a balance of affordability and reliable service, making it a solid option for city explorers and budget-conscious travelers.

II. Best Tirana SIM Card and cost

The prices for SIM cards in Tirana are quite reasonable. Here are the tourist packages from the 2 leading operators in Albania – ONE and Vodafone Albania:

Operators Tourist Pack Price (USD) Data Local Calls Messages Validity Total Cost (USD)
ONE ONE Tourist Advance ~$23 40GB 1000 Mins 1000 SMS 15 Days ~$23
ONE Tourist Ultra ~$29 100GB Unlimited Unlimited 21 Days ~$29
Vodafone Albania 3 Day Package ~$3 300MB 300 mins 30 SMS 3 days ~$8
10 Day Package ~$7 1.5GB 300 mins 30 SMS 10 days ~$12
GIGAMAX Package ~$15 15GB 500 mins 100 SMS 21 days ~$20
Tourist Pack ~$23 40GB 1000 mins - 15 days ~$28
Tourist GIGA Pack ~$29 100GB Unlimited - 21 days ~$34

So you should plan to spend around $10-15 for a SIM card and a 5 GB data plan that lasts 7-10 days for average use. 

III. Where to buy a SIM card in Tirana?

Landing in a new country often means needing an international SIM card for calls and data. In Tirana, you have 2 primary options: acquiring one at the airport upon arrival or venturing into the city center to explore various providers.

1. Buy A SIM card at Tirana Airport

Buy a SIM card at Tirana Airport (TIA) for instant connection when you land. Here’s what to know:

Vodafone store  

It’s found in the arrival area. It offers different mobile phones, accessories, and SIM cards for tourists. More information includes:

  • Hours open: 7 AM to 10 PM
  • Place: In the Arrivals Hall, past passport check and baggage claim.
  • Languages spoken: Albanian and English
  • Ways to pay: Cash (in Albanian lek or euros), credit card, debit card

ONE Store

Like the Vodafone shop, this place sells ONE SIM card too, along with cell phones and stuff. Here’s more info:

  • Place: Departure Area
  • Hours open: 7:45 AM to 9:15 PM, every day
  • Languages spoken: Albanian and English
  • Ways to pay: Cash (in Albanian lek or euros), or by credit or debit card

Every kiosk at Tirana airport has big signs and ads, making them easy to find right after you leave customs. The costs and deals for starting service can differ from one kiosk to another, so you guys should look around and compare before you buy a SIM card at Tirana Airport.

buy sim card at tirana airport

2. Getting a Prepaid SIM Card in the city 

The airport has quick options, but the city center has more choices and providers. Here are some:

  • Mobile carrier stores like Vodafone and ONE can be found around the city such as on Rruga e Durresit street.
  • Supermarkets like Albapharm inside Tirana Mall food court sell SIM cards.
  • Convenience stores like Western Union at the Bulevardi Dëshmorët e Kombit intersection supply SIMs.
  • Online websites like Amazon for you to refer to.
buy sim card in tirana city

IV. eSIM for Tirana travelers – A Smart Alternative

Perhaps we do not need to say too much about the benefits of eSIM when traveling. We should talk more deeply about how to make every trip easier than ever with an eSIM. When coming to Albania, there are 2 ways for you:

1. Major carrier websites

Carrier websites like and offer plans for roaming customers. Plans tend to be more expensive and signing up can be complicated compared to specialized eSIM retailers.

2. eSIM provider

Albania eSIM provides inexpensive short-term plans starting from $5 for 1GB/7 days. Benefits include:

  • No documentation required – just purchase online
  • Plans delivered via QR code for easy setup on compatible devices
  • 24/7 customer support via WhatsApp, email and online chat
  • Affordable plans from 1GB/week to 10GB/month

Visitors can purchase pocket-friendly eSIM plans from this retailer, with prices starting as low as $5 for 1GB of data over 7 days. This presents a convenient alternative to physical SIM cards for travelers exploring Tirana.

Get Albania eSIM
Beat roaming fees and bypass airport SIM shops1

V. Things to prepare when buying SIM cards in Tirana

While eSIMs offer a convenient option, you might still prefer a traditional SIM card. Here’s what to prepare when purchasing a SIM card in Tirana:

  • ID: Have your ID ready for sign-up.
  • Unlocked Phone: Make sure your phone works with Albanian networks.
  • Check Carriers: Look into Vodafone Albania or ONE for plans.
  • Locate Stores: Find places at the airport or city center to buy SIM cards.
  • Cash or Card: Bring both, but cash can be handy.
  • Learn Albanian: Knowing some basic phrases helps.

VI. Tips and Recommendations

Let’s check out some of the most useful tips when buying a SIM card in Tirana:

  • Buy a SIM card at Tirana Airport only for convenience. The stores are in the arrival hall and departure area.
  • Choose weekly/monthly plans if staying over 5 days to save money. Add data before running out.
  • You can also get SIMs in the city center, near Skanderbeg Square. Shops have English help and easy payment options.
  • Try an eSIM from Order before and activate instantly when you land with no waiting or paperwork.
  • Check for extra fees like activation, taxes, or roaming to avoid surprises.
  • Activate eSIM before coming to Albania to stay connected, especially since airport WiFi can be unreliable.
  • Ask shop staff for help picking the best carrier or data plan for your needs.


Do I have to show ID to get a SIM card in Albania?

Yes, you have to show your passport when you buy a SIM card to register it. This is a rule for everyone in Albania, including tourists and locals.

Do I need to unlock my phone to use SIM card in Tirana?

Yes, your phone has to be unlocked to use a different SIM card. Ask your current service provider to unlock it before you go on your trip.

How long does it take to activate a SIM card in Tirana?

Most prepaid SIM cards are activated within minutes after purchase and proof of identity is shown.

Can I buy monthly or weekly data-only SIM cards in Tirana?

Yes, carriers offer both short-term and long-stay packages without a local number. Data can be topped up too

VIII. Conclusion

In conclusion, buying a SIM card in Tirana is an easy process with the right advice from locals. Remember to bring your ID, choose a plan that suits your needs, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from shop staff. With a SIM card there, you’ll enjoy seamless communication during your stay. Keep these tips in mind to make your purchase smooth.