A quarter of a century after the birth of modern Albanian capitalism and Tirana now boasts more or less everything the modern shopper requires, much of it conveniently tucked away inside the city’s growing collection of Western-style shopping centres. If you prefer doing what the less well-paid locals do and would like to go native, there remain plenty of cheap and cheerful shops staffed by a battalion of grinning proprietors, many of them more concerned with where you’re from and if you have a husband or wife than what you want to buy. Outside the city centre, certain streets often cater to singular tastes such as bicycles, second-hand clothes and furniture, almost all of it available for cash only.
Books etc.Tirana boasts a number of shops selling English-language literature, although the selection isn’t great. It’s recommended you bring books or an e-reader/tablet if you want to read anything specific whilst you’re here. A small selection of foreign newspapers and magazines can be found at Adrion International Books as well as in the Xheko Imperial and Sheraton hotels, although the internet is slowly killing this trend off.
Shopping centresUntil fairly recently, Tirana’s shopping centres were predominantly upmarket affairs pandering to the sophisticated tastes of the city’s fashion-conscious wives and girlfriends. This all changed with the opening of TEG, a massive complex on the edge of the city reminiscent of any shopping centre found in Western Europe.
MarketsAnyone with a cardboard box, a few packets of cigarettes and a square metre of pavement is effectively a market trader in Tirana. Whenever it rains, people will appear as if by magic, armed with a clutch of overpriced umbrellas designed to stay in one piece just long enough to outlive the downpour.