Return Migration in Albania: Economic Reasons, not Live Projects

Albanian emigrants tend to move to Greece and Italy, two countries hat were affected severely by the Great Recession. It comes at no surprise then, than the number of return migrants increased sharply after 2008.


Now, we don’t know whether this is really due to the economic situation in Greece and Italy, or whether there was simply an increase of individuals who had planned to return to Albania during that period from the onset.

There are two ways to address this. We could ask the returning migrants, which is what Maroukis and Gema (2013) have done. They suggest that most of these returnees look into re-emigrating in the future: a temporary return to Albania. Perhaps we could call this circular migration.

Another way is to compare the countries from which Albanians are returning. We can see that the number of returnees has increased for those returning from Greece (green) and Italy (blue), but there was no equivalent increase for returnees from Germany (light green) and Switzerland (red).


This corroborates the qualitative studies. The number of Albanians who planned to return was probably stable over the period considered. What has changes is that for some (Greece, Italy), the economic situation has put a — temporary — halt to their life projects. For those in countries less affected by the Great Recession, the migration projects are not affected.

Maroukis, Thanos, and Edi Gema. 2013. “Albanian Circular Migration in Greece: Beyond the State?” In Circular Migration between Europe and its Neighbourhood, edited by Anna Triandafyllidou. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rinas Express: Taking the Bus to Tirana’s Airport

Note: Here’s an update from May 2019: Taking the Bus to Tirana’s Airport. The information below is no longer accurate.

Photo-0311It is possible to take a bus to Tirana’s airport, but unfortunately the service hasn’t got a web presence. The bus service is called Rinas Express, and operates every day between 7:00 and 19:00. It leaves on the hour every hour, both from the airport and from the town centre. It costs 250 Lek for a ride, which takes around 25 to 30 minutes. You buy the ticket in the bus (once it’s ready to depart; just sit in if you arrive earlier).

Finding the bus can be a bit trickier. At the airport, you simply walk straight on (don’t turn right towards the taxis when you leave the terminal building). In town, head to Skanderbeg Square, more specifically the National Museum. Rinas Express departs slightly off the square at the beginning of Rruga e Durrësit.

Or just get a taxi…