A Few Things I Found Really Funny While Travelling To Tirana, Albania

Travel guide to Tirana, Albania

Albania was actually one of the few countries I couldn’t get a grip of at all. People were really friendly and the food was absolutely outstanding. I can’t really put a finger on it at all but I guess it just means I’ll need to spend another few weeks there again sometime. Here are a few things I found funny while travelling to Albania.

Shaking your head means yes

I guess many people have heard that in Greece shaking your head means yes and nodding means no. I couldn’t see that practice in Greece, neither did I see it in the rest of the Balkans but in Albania I finally encountered it. I ordered some grilled corn from a street vendor (a must try) and got confused while he was shaking his head.
I tried again and got the same response. I was baffled and about to leave when I saw that
he still started to prepare the corn for me. A few minutes of waiting and I got to sink my teeth in that freshly barbecued piece of corn.

Going to the cinema

Although this is one that I missed but heard repeated several times during my stay
in Tirana. Going to the cinema is not as much about the movie as it is to hang out
with friends, smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. Rumours has it that no one is
quiet and people end up fairly merry after their 2 hours in the hall. Sign me up
next time!


Although totally common everywhere only a few years ago, the anti-smoking mafia has still not gotten its foothold in Albania (read: illegal but no one gives a shit). Care to have a smoke while shopping at the mall? Well go ahead, the food court is totally okay too.

Evening strolls

In the evenings you can see a lot of people walking the streets. Up and down, up and down the same strip. It starts in the evening and goes on until nightfall, it´s called the Xhiro. It was told to me that this was something that has stuck since the day of Enver Hoxha. During his socialist leadership, this was one of the most important ways to be able to talk politics without having to fear for getting caught by the Sigurimi (Albania’s secret police).


Last we have the amazing Albania Fried Chicken (picture below). Pretty amazing as the logo is almost a complete rip-off of the world famous KFC and the menu is strikingly similar. Albania gives a welcomed middle finger to many global brands. Go Albania!

P.S: If someone could explain to me the subtle traffic rules of Albania I´d be a very happy man.


Travel blogger & Music enthusiast

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34 Responses

  1. gerdi says:

    Traffic Rules in Albania. 1 – check if there is no police on the way. 2 – go ahead and break all the rules.

    The funniest thing in Albania is that when a car stops for pedestrians to pass, they thank the driver for stopping wth!

    Gerdi from Albania.

  2. Denis says:

    Traffic Rules in Albania, the simple meaning of the traffic lights :
    Green – Go
    Yellow – Go fast
    Red – Check if there’s no police, and go

  3. Keti says:

    The thing about the cinema is not true at all. It may happen that when is a very popular film you may hear some talking now and than during the movie, but this is not often. The smoking part in the cinema is totally not true. Hellooooo of course you can not smoke in a cinema, unless with cinema you mean an open space or bar that is screening a movie. Finally I have to say that AFC is no longer available in Tirana.

    • Anisa says:

      I agree with Keti. Who told you can smoke inside the cinema?? I have gone several times and never experienced such a thing. Probably the guys you have met were the wrong people to ask, because there are so many liars and other evil albanian people that can say every humiliating dump stuff about their own country. They are not always true, unfortunately

    • Olsi says:

      Yes, the cinema thing is not true at all. Nobody smokes or drinks at the cinema. There are people who talk during the movie, but I’ve happened to sit beside Americans and they weren’t that quiet themselves.

  4. Luca says:

    The article seems “bit” old, because:

    Smoking, is forbidden in closed places.

    AFC, there is another business from several weeks

  5. bora says:

    Half of the things you write are not true, so untrue makes me wonder if you really visited Tirana.

  6. Jola says:

    There’s so much more to Albania, you just wasted your time in Tirana

  7. AI says:

    Traffic rules? There is no Traffic for terrific rules buddy, just the fast and the furious! Now days things have been change in “some how” if you get caught, you’re fucked.

    Mostly, smoking inside public places is forbidden, at least in capital… weed, cocaine and stuff probably not because,
    “The real Top Level Mafia” (government) took place and ready to go.

    Advice for girls, if you don’t want to be rapped or sold out… avoid night life here in certain places “with random ppl.” Boys, if you are a part of a rich family… be careful, you could be robed of kidnapped…

    • eni says:

      It’s sounds like someone has raped and robbed you dude. That’s no sense… Albania it’s beautiful and safe.

      • Anisa says:

        emmm….no i would not classify Albania as “safe” Since I’ve been here I’ve been stalked many times, had a knife pulled on me as well as other “incidents” which I’d say were pretty dangerous. Also it’s true about the selling of girls.

        • eri says:

          Totally agree with eni. None of what these two said its true. No one will harm you in albania. I have traveled the balkans and europe, and albania is one of the safest countries. Albanians are peaceful people and very respectful to foreigners, no matter where they are from (even greeks and serbs).
          As for what the storyteller said, you cannot smoke in closed places, you cannot drive through a red light, you cannot smoke and have conversations at the cinema (if staff will ignore you, other people will yell you tos shut up). As for the afc, who cares? You can have chicken wings everywhere, or a full roasted chicken.
          For the people acting tough, saying there are no laws, they are just pussies, liers, dont believe them. Respect the laws like in every other countries or you’ll get fucked

  8. Florian says:

    there is so much to discover in albania, next time check out the north side and the west, both of them are amazing, Take care

  9. Olsi says:

    Only the females want to show justice and order..lol

  10. Rubi says:

    What the?! Half of that is not true at all, especially about the cinema and smoking.

  11. Blerina says:

    I suggest you reconsider revisiting Tirana and rewriting half of the article.

    I find correct only the number 1 item ?

  12. John says:

    Wtf , i am checking comments here , and i am confused. are some guys here writing bullish, they said you can cross when is red . are you fukin out of your mind ,please don’t watch to many movies pls…. i live tirana and no one can do that .and I don’t agree with some of your opinion here dude sorry but some of them are fake …whatever thanks coz are kinda free adss for us ,all of them good and bad comments you say …???

    • Shayne says:

      I see people running red light all the time. They will also drive down the middle of the road passing people while all cars will move to their right. I’ve seen more while I drive and live here in Tirana, Albania.

  13. John says:

    and you should visit North of Albania , there are the oldest Church of the balkans. and great valleys and hills,rivers but valleys are really good , just in my zone where i have born there are 40 000 (40K) Tourists in one year so you should.???⛪️ bye.

  14. Alba says:

    Sooo where have you been in Albania exactly??? Because 80% of the things u sad are not true at all,first of all “xhiro” is smth people do not do anymore,or at least in Tirana, we have soooo many bars and clubs ect that people just go there and hang out(before they didnt have so many bars and they would just go around).I have never ever been in cinema that wasnt quiet,is like any other cinema in the world,no smoking,no talking.and actually you can not smoke when ever you want,or could get a high bill to pay, and for sure not in the mall.I know tou intended to be funny saying strange things about albania,and there are a lot of strange things but these are not

  15. Pupupk says:

    If we knew, we would’ve fix the problem. I guess once you get used to it, it feels normal.

    Ps: let me know if you have found the “cure” lol

  16. Dyson says:

    Perhaps it is funny that some of the material isn’t funny at all. But most of it is. Some of the selections like the Jonathan Ames piece and the Ian Frazier piece are laugh out loud in bed at night funny.

  17. Qifja says:

    Albania is awsome! One time in the movies I farted so loud that everybody started laughing and ordering more beers and we got to singing some country music and then the police came so we ordered them a few beers and they started farting and singing until the movie was over. I had so much fun. And then we got arrested outside the cinema.

    Another time I was in Xhiro with my friend Brizholi we were drinking beer and smoking a little Lazarat grass and we asked some old man for directions on hot to get to the main street he says to us “you are on the main street you fucking fags” and thenwe started laughing and gave the old man some grass and some beer and then he started laughing with us and fartin and then he says “sorry I called you guys fags please forgive..if you want we can go to my place and you guys can fuck me up the ass until I pass out” but we said no to that.

  18. Ardit says:

    When i found this article on the web, i smiled and thought “Good, another nice blog article for Albania”, but i have to agree just with the first paragraph. All the rest are just “urban legends”, from more than a year you cant smoke on bar cafe’s or other public places, you cant smoke on the cinema, no one croses the road with a red light ( if you do, you risk to lose your driving licencse ). About the XHIRO, it happens in some small towns, but not in Tirana ( or at least not the last 10 years i have moved to Tirana ).

    In the end, i think the article is good if we was at 1995, but things have changed, and you should really re-visit Albania, and not just Tirana, you must visit Theth, Valbona, Shkoder, Vlore, Sarande, Korce, Berat.

    Thank you.

  19. arvit says:

    Here we Go!!! what is that 1919′ or some, many years a go we use to say and do….. Ok!! 1 step forward 2 steps back. now we are 2000 and what??!! lol………..

    welcome and pleas come….. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  20. But sometimes I find really inappropriate things funny … things that aren t funny to others. What if you re the only one who thinks something is funny?

  21. ledi says:

    Traffic what? get a gun and make your own rules !

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