Living in Albania as a Digital Nomad
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Last Updated on July 27, 2021
If you follow my travel website Anita Hendrieka then you will know that I’m based in Albania currently. I have been living in Albania for the past 2 years and now I have a residency visa which allows me to stay for a year at a time.
There’s an abundance of reasons why I choose to live in Albania. In my opinion, Albania is the best location in Europe for digital nomads, easily. Here’s why.
To my surprise, Albania has extremely fast internet, faster than anything I ever had in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. The best part? I pay 2000 lek per month (€15) for the fastest speed.
In the 2 years, I have lived here I have only ever had one problem with the internet. It’s easy to set up. I’m with a company called Meno here in Saranda.
There is also reasonable Wi-Fi in cafes, restaurants etc so you can always find a good place to work. Obviously, the internet is the most important point when it comes to being a digital nomad. You always have to have a good, reliable fast connection and Albania really offers that.
Value for money
Albania is among the top 3 countries in Europe when it comes to affordability. The cost of living here as a tourist is extremely reasonable. For a 2-bedroom, 2 bathrooms I pay €150 per month. Power is roughly 2500-4000 lek (€19 – €31), water is roughly 2000 lek (€15) and Wi-Fi is 2000 lek (€15).
That means my monthly total cost to live here is roughly €200 per month (not including food). In terms of food, you can grab a full meal here for €1-3, beer will be under €1 and, a loaf of bread is 50 lek (€0.39).
The rich culture and fascinating history
I decided to stay in Albania primarily because I am really fascinated by the culture and history here. The culture is still so rich unlike anywhere else in Europe. I feel sometimes when I’m travelling in Europe that some countries have lost a lot of the culture they had only 20 years ago, but Albania is different.
There’s so much to learn here and I find it truly fascinating. The south and north are completely different too. I live in the south (Saranda) they believe in curses, take afternoon siestas and even talk backwards sometimes.
The history in Albania is also fascinating as communism only fell in 1990, and then in 1997, civil unrest broke out after a pyramid scheme meant a majority of Albanians lost everything they own.
During communism, Albania is compared to have the same awful regimes like North Korea. During communism over 600,000 bunkers were built throughout the country and you will still find around 160,000 still standing. Some have even been turned into hotels, restaurants, and even tattoo parlours.
The history is very recent, and the country is still recovering but they are recovering at a rapid rate. Even since the first time I travelled here, I can notice a small difference.
I love food, maybe too much, so when visiting a country, I eat my heart out, literally. Food is so important when travelling. You can really experience a country just by eating and Balkan food is some of the best, particularly in Albania!
In the south, you can find the freshest, most delicious seafood and in the north, you can find lots of delicious casseroles and soups. What I love about Albania is the use of fresh ingredients. I feel full and I feel healthy after eating a meal in Albania because there are no preservatives and all the ingredients are fresh and usually out of their own gardens.
The great news for vegetarians is that there are several dishes without meat too. They have a dish called Speca te mbushura which is stuffed peppers, or the simple dish of grilled vegetables is always delicious.
If you’re a meat-eater then you will be in heaven also because they do great grilled chicken, pork and lamb. There’s really something for everyone when living in Albania. When arriving in Albania make sure you start with a food tour to get familiar with the local food!
Lots to do and see in your spare time
There’s SO much to do in Albania. I live right in the south of Albania on the coast and I can confirm that the Albanian Riviera has the most beautiful beaches I have seen in Europe.
There are so many hidden beaches and coves as well as traditional small villages, vibrant capital and more. You will never be bored when living in Albania because there are lots to see and do.
Epic neighbouring countries
If you get itchy feet and want to see and experience new countries, then it’s easy to do so. Albania borders Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro – all really beautiful countries with fascinating history and culture also.
I highly recommend visiting Kosovo if you decide to settle in Albania. Nature is stunning, food is incredible, and Pristina is one of the coolest cities I have been to!
Have I convinced you to come live and work in Albania as a digital nomad yet? I hope so! If you have any questions about living in Albania, then make sure you leave them below so I can answer them for you. Living in Albania is such a great choice for digital nomads as you can see!
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I live in France and I know an Albanian family with 3 kids here. What could I buy them in terms of specialty Albanian food that they would love to have but that might be too expensive for them to buy here? Any particular grains or beans? I can find international stuff in the health food store. They’re too shy to tell me when I ask. I’ve checked the internet, but I thought you might have a good idea! Albania is such a beautiful country! I was there for a short time. Love the painted buildings in Tirana.
It sounds incredible! I would love to visit as looks lovely, but I’ve heard that Albania is not particularly safe. What are your thoughts about it?
Author: Anita HendriekaLiliana Ventura
Hey there, thanks for your comment! Albania is a safe country. Unfortunately, Albania suffers from many misconceptions that are mostly bad. I have an article covering this exact topic which will be live next week so look out for that <3
Thank you for this intersting article and thanks for sharing your experience. I am interested to stay in Albania a little longer than just the 90 days I would be granted as a tourist. You memtioned that you already lived there the last 2 years and have now a permanent residency. How does that work?
Author: Anita HendriekaTobias
Hey Tobias! Thank you for the comment, I am glad you found it interesting! You can apply for a 1 or 2-year residency visa. There are a lot of different options and it’s sometimes hard to understand exactly what you need. I would allow at least 2-3 months gathering all the documents you need because everything here takes time. You can find more info here: https://e-albania.al/eAlbaniaServices/UseService.aspx?service_code=9759 They have only just introduced an online visa application so expect lots of bugs and crashes!
Dear Anita, I follow your blog and am on your Facebook group, too. I’ve been planning to give Saranda a try as a summer base, hopefully this year. Where would you suggest is the best place to start looking online for accommodation on a not-so-generous budget, even a flat share?
Thanks and regards! Great work!
I work remotely, how can apply for a Digital Nomad Visa in Albania?
Can we, as EU citizens (Im Belgian, my GF is Spanish) stay for long term without visa ? We want to stay a year (or more)
Do you have a link to a website to find a house to rent ?
Have a wonderful day !!! Paloma & Philip
Thank you for this wonderful insight into nomading in Albania!
I am considering moving there in the next weeks and I was wondering if you have some advice on where to find cheap accomodation before I arrive and also which city to choose! I would love to be close to the beach but at the same time I really like vibrant and multi-cultural vibes- is that something that can be found outside of Tirana, the capital?
In general I would love to have a chat with you if you have the time, and maybe we could even meet there when I arrive!
Love and light,
I love your blog, and I am only just diving into your posts! I was wondering if you had a recommendation for a city in Albania, that has either good local transport… I am considering visiting Albania for a month or two and wanted to stay in a city where I don’t necessarily need a car. Thank you so much!
If you wish to stay in a town or village where no car is required you could try Himara or Dhermi in Southern Albanian riviera…