We recognise that you will have questions regarding the impact on existing and future bookings with us. So that you can make the right travel decisions for you, we are providing factual, balanced and pragmatic information with links to primary, trusted sources.
Current Situation in Albania and the Balkans
Fully vaccinated travelers can move freely through all countries.
🟢/🟡 Entry requirements: To enter Albania requires proof of full vaccination or recovery (14-180 days), a negative PCR/antigen test no older than 72/48 hours. A nightly curfew is in place (23:00 – 06:00) and you’re required to wear a mask at all times.
Corona cases in Albania as per the lastest update.
🟢 Tirana Airport is fully operational – click for a list of airlines that operate flights.
🟢 Land borders with the neighboring countries are open.
🟢 There are no travel restrictions within the country since June 2020.
🟢 Accommodation, restaurants and sights are open.
🟢 Small group activities such as hiking and cycling are permitted.
🟢 Public transport operates normally.
Neighboring countries: Currently all countries require proof of vaccination or recovery, a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours, negative antigen test no older than 48 hours.
🟢/🟡 Kosovo: Single dose of vaccination sufficient, recovery between 21 and 180 days. Transit up to three hours is exempt.
🟢/🟡 Montenegro: Single dose of vaccination sufficient, citizens from neighboring countries exempt.
🟢/🟡 Northern Macedonia: Proof of recovery within the last 45 days in English. Transit up to five hours is exempt.
🟢/🟡 Greece: Pre-arrival online registration is mandatory
Frequently updated, reliable information is available on the websites of the German and American embassies of the respective countries.
Please note the above applies to citizens from select countries only. We recommend you check your own government advice with regards to travel to Albania and the Balkans
Albania has suffered one of the lowest tolls on human life in the world.
testing regimes vary vastly between countries,
Zbulo! Discover Albania’s Advice
- Like everyone else we are closely monitoring the situation, have taken steps to protect our guests and have assemble sound advice how to minimize risk. We’re happy to answer any questions this article may leave.
- While remotely the entire Zbulo team is working as usual to provide the service and quality you expect.
- With widespread travel advisories in place and a rapidly changing situation, please contact us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +355 69 6731 932 should you be unable to travel so that we can arrange postponement – read on about options in the next chapter.
- Check your flights itinerary to see if any border closures/restrictions have been put in place. Updates are published on the International Air Transport Association website.
- As we always do, we strongly encourage you to take out travel insurance that will provide adequate cover.
- If you want or need to cancel your plans, see the options below and contact your insurance to see if it covers your reason for cancellation. See more under insurance below.
- Once you have booked a trip with Zbulo! Discover Albania, our terms and conditions apply for any cancellation or postponement of your trip.
- While dashed travel dreams are certainly disappointing, the impact on the individuals and businesses whose livelihoods depend on income generated by tourism promises to be devastating as described by Forbes.
- For more information please read the following chapters.
Your Current Travel Options with Zbulo
We want to be clear and transparent, so that you know exactly where you stand if you have booked a holiday with us or are planning to do so.
Cancellations from our side
Zbulo does not typically cancel trips, however, local restrictions beyond our control may force us do so. We we will consider cancelling a trip in the 30 days prior to the tour start date based on the current information available. Deposits are automatically converted into “credit on future tours”.
Steps We’re Taking to Protect Travellers on Our Tours
Our client’s health and safety is of the utmost importance to us and with that in mind you will see below the steps that we are taking to protect you and mitigate the risk of contracting & spreading Coronavirus / COVID-19 while you are travelling on our tours.
- Each van will be thoroughly sanitized at start and end of the trip.
- Your van will be provided with hand sanitiser and tissues.
- We will dispose of any rubbish bag with tissues at the end of every day.
- We use the sanitizing spray to wipe down van surfaces daily.
- Notify your guide if you are feeling unwell at the earliest opportunity.
- Meet and greet your guide and other participants with the namaste gesture.
- Avoid unnecessary personal contact (hugs, kisses, high-fives etc.) and passing around of objects.
- Please make the effort not to touch your face and follow the personal hygiene recommendations.
- Wash your hands properly and often.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
- Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are not well.
- Stay at home if you are sick to help stop the spread of whatever infection you may have.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Do not share objects that touch your mouth – for example, bottles.
- Do not pass your phone or camera to others.
Above all we want to be as respectful of each of our client’s feelings and concerns surrounding Coronavirus / COVID-19 and we would request that if you are travelling with us, that you make your feelings known in an understanding and respectful way to your guide, so that they, in turn, can make any necessary adjustments and relay information as appropriate to the group.
COVID-19 PT-PCR Test Centers in the Balkans
Please find below a selection of test centers ordered by location. Click to access further details like website, contact information, location and pricing. In June Tirana Airport launched a test center outside the terminal, simply arrive at least three hours prior to your flight, queue up and receive your result within 90 min. For tests completed at the Tirana Central labs of Intermedica, ALNET and Genius until 18:00, results are guaranteed within the same day. The expected turn-around across the country is 3-8 hours.
As a Zbulo client, ask us or your guide for further details. Testing at your hotel can also be arranged with prior notice. This allows to complete the test upon return to the city in the afternoon and travel with the results on the next day. If you’re not staying overnight in one of the below listed locations before flying out (a place where testing is not available) we recommend adding an extension night in Tirana or arriving early to the airport.
Staying Healthy While Traveling on Our Tours
- Bring extra medication in case you are delayed returning home due to quarantines or border closures.
daily updates on the situation, which we’re closely following.
As always it is important that you have adequate travel insurance which covers your specific needs, including any known medical conditions or activities you plan to do.
It is also worth checking the detail of the policy around travel disruption including delays or cancellations as policies do vary.
If any restrictions were put in place by government, the impact of this is likely to be covered by your travel insurance policy, however, you should check this with your provider. Insurance does not usually cover “disinclination to travel” where Government does not advise against travel. You may be able to pay a premium for cancellation for any reason but you must speak to your insurance company about this.
What to do if you Feel Unwell on the Trip
The symptoms of Coronavirus / COVID-19 are:
- A dry cough
- A raised temperature (over 37.3 C)
- Shortness of breath
While this does not necessarily mean that you have the virus, the local government and national health services advice is that you call 0800 40 40, a free 24/7 hotline, if you suspect you have symptoms. They can also advise about travel restrictions and other measures in place.
It is requested that you do not visit a doctor’s surgery, hospital or pharmacy. For medical emergencies first call 127 in order to receive instructions before visiting any hospital. For any other forms of urgent support the police will be at hand at 129.
- 06.09.2021 Albania reintroduces entry restrictions for all travelers, also domestic ones, for the first time since June 2020, who must show proof of vaccination or recovery, a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours, negative antigen test no older than 48 hours.
- 01.09.2021 North Macedonia reintroduces entry restrictions for all travelers who must show proof of vaccination or recovery, a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours, negative antigen test no older than 48 hours.
- 30.08.2021 Kosovo requires Peaks of the Balkans hikers to submit proof of vaccination or recovery together with their border crossing application.
- 29.08.2021 Kosovo reintroduces a night curfew from 22:00 to 5:00. Restaurants close by 21:30.
- 24.08.2021 Kosovo reintroduces entry restrictions for overland travelers after a two months break. Bars, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs start requiring similar proof. In practice this rule seems not to be enforced.
- 24.08.2021 Montenegro reintroduces entry restrictions for travelers (except nationals from the region) for entering via air or overland after four months. Bars, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs start requiring similar proof. In practice this rule seems not to be enforced.
- 20.08.2021 North Macedonia requires visitors to bars, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs to provide proof of vaccination, antibodies, recovery or a RT-PCR test. In practice this rule seems not to be enforced.
- 15.07.2021 Albania’s second international airport is being inaugurated. For starters Kukes in Northern Albania will be served by flag carrier Air Albania with low cost flights from Zurich and Istanbul, convenient for overseas arrivals and our High Scardus Trail tours.
- 08.07.2021 Kosovo removes entry restrictions for all overland travelers.
- 01.07.2021 Due to an increase in demand airlines are adding new flights to Tirana.
- Lufthansa: three times daily from Frankfurt, once from Munich.
- Austrian: twice daily from Vienna with several connecting flights.
- Swiss & Edelweiss: twice weekly from Zurich.
- Eurowings: once per week from Dusseldorf and Cologne.
- 15.06.2021 29 summer health centers open that provide COVID-19 rapid tests across Albania.
- 10.06.2021 Active COVID cases in Albania have dropped below 200. New infections are <10 per million inhabitants. There are no entry restrictions since June 2020.
- 05.06.2021 Montenegro removes entry restrictions for all EU citizens that spent the previous 15 days in the EU. All travelers arriving overland or traveling the Peaks of the Balkans were already exempt from regulations in May.
- 01.06.2021 Albania relaxes local regulations. Masks remain mandatory indoors and in public transport, but not outside or in public spaces. Gatherings of up to 50 persons are permitted now. The curfew lasts from 23:00 to 06:00.
- 01.06.2021 Tirana Airport opens a rapid testing facility, arrive at least three hours prior to your flight, complete a PCR tests outside the arrivals terminal and receive a result within 90 min.
- 24.05.2021 Kosovo creates a travel bubble for the green mountain border to facilitate cross-border outdoor adventures like the Peaks of the Balkans trail and Via Dinarica. There are no entry and testing requirements. Beware that this doesn’t apply to regular land borders and the airport.
- 16.05.2021 Germany’s Robert Koch Institute updates its advice on Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia. Returnees from those countries are freed from obligatory testing and quarantine in Germany.
- 11.05.2021 At Pristina’s airport Eurolab (see test centers) offers antigen tests with 20 min turnaround time.
- 09.05.2021 Albania consecutively reports fewer than 100 new cases per 100.000 inhabits for the last week. Germany and other countries remove their travel advisory. As a result travelers don’t require testing or quarantine upon return home.
- 07.05.2021 Montenegro established a travel bubble with its neighboring countries. Travelers entering from Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia or Serbia are except from travel restrictions. Flying in from abroad, proof of vaccination, antibodies or a negative PCR test is still required.
- 30.04.2021 Mass vaccination of tourism and hospitality workers start. They’re inoculated with AstraZeneca.
- 12.04.2021 The curfew is relaxed from 22:00 – 06:00, all bars and restaurants are open following this schedule.
- 11.02.2021 The curfew is tightened from 20:30 – 06:00. All schooling takes place online only. The government announces that there will be no further lockdowns this year.
- 11.01.2021 Schools reopen, universities remain online.
- 04.01.2021 The curfew is relaxed from 22:00 – 06:00.
- 24.12.2021 The curfew is tightened from 20:30 – 06:00 for the period of Christmas & New Years Eve celebrations.
- 04.11.2021 The curfew is reintroduced from 22:00 – 06:00.
- 25.09.2021 The government announces that there will be no lockdowns in case of a second wave.
- 01.07.2020 WizzAir launches a new base in Tirana with 16 new routes.
- 23.06.2020 The state of emergency ends.
- 15.06.2020 At Tirana Airport regular flights with a temporary reduced schedule are restarting.
- 10.06.2020 Public beaches are open.
- 01.06.2020 Land borders with the neighboring countries are open. Travel restrictions throughout the entire country are lifted. Private beaches are accessible.
- 23.05.2020 Highschool students preparing for exit exams return to school.
- 18.05.2020 Touristic infrastructure is reopening, this includes accommodation, restaurants and the Tirana Airport. Public transport, schools and businesses considered high risk remain closed.
- 11.05.2020 In a second step private transport is allowed and domestic travel restrictions in unaffected “green” areas are lifted.
- 27.04.2020 Albania enters the first phase of a staged normalization process, a range of non-critical businesses opens for the first time in six weeks.
- 31.03.2020 All flights are cancelled and the curfew is tightened. People above 65 are required to stay home, one person per household can apply to leave home for one hour per day.
- 21.03.2020 All remaining flights are cancelled until further notice, only a single connection with Istanbul remains. The curfew allows pedestrians to move between morning hours and noon time.
- 16.03.2020 All of the above measures will be extended until March 28 and April 3 respectively and apply nationwide. A general curfew restricts people to stay home, except a short time window to complete urgent tasks outside in the morning and afternoon. Air traffic is slowing down with more flights being cancelled due to low passenger numbers. The government adds emergency care capacity and orders additional equipment, it requires private healthcare to enlist for public service should the situation require it.
- 13.03.2020 Land and sea borders with the neighboring countries are closed, air traffic continues except of Italy and Greece. A three day travel ban for private and public transport is enforced in central Albania by police and military. This exempts the transportation of goods, those traveling from/to the airport or equipped with a special permit. All retail shops are closed, except of pharmacies, groceries and crucial infrastructure. Banks have closed or limited working hours, ATMs are working.
- 12.03.2020 In Tirana and Durres all leisure venues such as cafes, bars, restaurants, gyms and parks are closed. Public events are cancelled nationwide.
- 11.03.2020 Travelers arriving from Italy and Greece are barred from entering Albania. Those who visited Italy in the last two weeks are ordered a 14-day self-quarantine.
- 09.03.2020 Schools and kindergartens are closed. Public institutions who provide onsite services are shut down, including museums and government managed sights. The public transport network in Tirana and Durres ceases operations.
- 08.03.2020 First case of the Coronavirus in Albania.