We will write about Albania travel tips and all the cool facts about Albania and things to know before visiting Albania for first timers. This post will be your go-to guide to get to know more of Albania and what awaits you from amazing beaches, places to visit, how to move around to delicious food to try in Albania.
I did a road trip in Albania and I can recommend you to do the same. The traffic is crazy and the roads aren’t the best. But it will give you so much freedom to go on your own car. The culture, beaches and cheap prices are the best attractions to visit Albania.
Albania Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Albania For First Timers
1. IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL IN ALBANIA
When you visit Albania your will feel pretty safe during the day and at night. You can feel safe everywhere, literally. Make sure that you keep your valuables with you in crowded places and that should be more than enough. So yes, it is safe to travel in Albania.
2. EASY VISA IN ALBANIA
Tthings to know before visiting Albania the visa is easy for Albania. US and Canadian Citizens may enter Albania for up to 90-days only for tourist and business purposes without visa. Staying more than 90 days needs visa. Passports should also be valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of stay. EU nationals may stay for an unlimited period. So you know all the things to know before visiting Albania about visa.
If you are from a country of citizenship that is not covered under the Schengen Agreement, you’ll need a visa even if it’s just a short stay. Read here our article for the Schengen Visa Philippines where Rachel explained step by step how to get Schengen Visa Philippines.
3. CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE RATE IN ALBANIA AND ATMS
The currency of Albania is called Albanian Lek and this is the money you will use while you travel around the country. And the exchange rate is €1= 125 Leks. Also if you are bringing debit card you will find many ATM’s all over Albania and most of them charge around €5-6 commission for withdrawal. There are many places to exchange money in the airport and outside the airport offering great exchange rates.
4. BEST TIME TO VISIT IN ALBANIA
The weather in Albania varies from time to time so better be prepared for the sudden change of weather during your stay. The best time to visit Albania are the months of April-June (Spring) and September-October (Autumn) is when the Shoulder season takes place. In this time it offers you to enjoy and embrace the fun that Albania has to offer. In these times you’ll see that prices for tour and hotels go down.
5. HEALTH TRAVEL INSURANCE
Things to know before visiting Albania we recommend always bringing travel insurance when traveling abroad just in case you have any problems. You can always have food Poisson, fever or any other kind of disease.
BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
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FACTS ABOUT ALBANIA
6. ALBANIA IS SO CHEAP
Facts about Albania if you have been traveling around Southeast Asia Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines are so cheap and prices in Albania are so affordable. Especially for accommodation where is easy to find a room for less than €10 for a dorm, alcohol is not expensive and prices for food and transportation are more affordable. Keep reading below!
7. ACCOMMODATION BUDGET IN ALBANIA
A lot of budget option is available for accommodation in Albania. Where you can sleep in a dorm room or a room from less than $10 USD while you can stay in a budget hotel for as low as $20-30 USD. There are so many to choose from depending on what type and how luxurious you want your stay to be starting from $50 USD.
If you are traveling in Albania outside the peak season prices will be much cheaper. Places like Tirana and Saranda will be the most expensive and you will find great deals in not-so-touristic cities. There are AirBnB options in Albania where you can have budget accommodation and a local experience at the same time.
8. FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL ALBANIA
For food budget travel in Albania we have to say that’s affordable. You can get snack meals in local places for €1-2 per person trying different choices like sufllaqe, donner and sandwiches. For breakfast byrek can cost less than €1. For decent meals expect to pay €4-5 per person in a restaurant.
9. WI-FI AND INTERNET CONNECTION IN ALBANIA
Internet in Albania works great in big cities and you will have internet connection in most of the places you will have 4G except in remote areas. You can access free WiFi at hostels and hotels and there are lots of restaurants that are offering free WiFi.
You can find the cheapest Albanian eSim with Albania eSim prepaid for $8 USD with 1 GB data valid for 7 days (USING DISCOUNT CODE GAMINTRAVELER 10%). For $24 USD with 5 GB data and for $36 USD with 10 GB data.
Ubigi Albania eSim for $8 USD with 1 GB data valid for 30 days and for $14 USD with 3 GB data valid for 30 days. (USING DISCOUNT CODE GAMINTRAVELER 10%). Holafly Albania eSim for $42 USD if you use our code GAMINTRAVELER coming with 6 GB data valid for 15 days.
10. ADAPTER IN ALBANIA
In our Albania travel tips you should know they use the European adapter. A few places make it possible to fit your American adapter in the plug. If you are coming from American countries, we recommend you to bring an European adapter to be able to charge everywhere.
11. LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IN ALBANIA
Local transportation in Albania the cheapest way is by bus around €1-2 for a ticket inside the cities. If you prefer more comfort taxis can cost around €5 depending on the distance. You can rent a car in Albania so convenient to move around and prices are around €30-40.
For longer distances there are buses connecting the largest cities in Albania. The roads aren’t good but the distances aren’t so big. You will find prices for less than €10 to move around Albania by bus.
12. Albanian Time
You can expect Albanian time for transportation since buses and vans they have schedule but it’s flexible. Also people are very laid back in Albania. You will feel so comfortable traveling in Albania in general Albanian are relaxed people.
13. ALBANIA IS NOT PART OF EUROPEAN UNION
Albania is not part of European Union yet. Albania is applying and it was rejected in the past and expecting to get approved soon. Anyway if they got approved it will take a few years to officially take part of the European Union. So for Visa rules Albania isn’t part of the Schengen and they don’t use Euro as official currency.
14. LANGUAGE IN ALBANIA
The official language in Albania is Albanian. You will find people in Albania can speak Italian and Greek. In tourist areas English is spoken. Young people will be able to communicate in English but not always!
15. LEARNING ALBANIAN LANGUAGE
As Albanian people don’t usually speak English. The challenge is learning Albanian language at least the essentials to move around. It’s very useful if you will be traveling around Albania for a few weeks.
There are some basics that you need to learn to communicate with them, for example numbers, asking daily questions like, “How much is this?” and “Where is it?” – It will be hard but it will be very helpful for meeting locals.
16. BORDER CROSSINGS IN ALBANIA
Albania border crossing are open and easy if you have visa to next country there is no problem. Albania shares borders with Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and Kosovo.
17. RELIGION IN ALBANIA
The most popular religion in Albania is Muslim around 70%. You will find other religions in Albania like Catholic around 10% and Orthodox around 5%.
18. History And Bunkers in Albania
Albania history declared independence from Turkey in November 1912. Many wars happened in the past in Albania World War I and World War II. In those years Communism and Republic until 1991. There are around Albania 750,000 cold war bunkers from communist dictator Enver Hoxha.
19. ALBANIAN PEOPLE ARE VERY FRIENDLY
Are the Albanian people very friendly? Albanian people are very friendly. Not all of them will be able to communicate in English don’t forget their language is Albanian. But most of them will show to you how nice they are trying to communicate with you.
20. Visit the Bazaars in Albania
There are many local markets called Bazaars in Albania. You will find fruits, vegetables, bread, clothes in the city center and small towns. Prices are so cheap and local people are really nice. Kruja has one of the most popular bazaars to visit in Albania.
21. Experience Xhiro in Albania
Experience Xhiro in Albania where locals go outside in the evening for a walk to have a talk and catching up with friends and family. You will see around people selling street food and you can sit and have it.
22. Crazy Traffic And Bad Roads in Albania
There is crazy traffic in Albania. I did a road trip in Albania and driving in big cities like Tirana is hard. Albanian people drive fast in the roads and the roads aren’t the best. Make sure you are careful when driving in Albania but no worries is safe!
23. Mother Teresa Was Albanian
Mother Teresa was born in Skopje but she has Albanian descent. You can see if you visit next Skopje Mother Teresa was grown in Kosovo before leaving to India.
24. BEACHES ARE SO INCREDIBLE
Beaches are so incredible in the Albanian Riviera. Starting from Saranda and Ksamil area you will realize that Albanian beaches can be like Caribbean with white sand and clear water. The South part of Albania is the most touristic close to Greece.
FACTS ABOUT ALBANIA FOOD
Sufllaqe was my favorite street food in Albania. Kind of shawarma in Albania with chicken or lamb, sauce ketchup, mayonnaise and French fries. You will find everywhere and prices are around €1-2.
Qofte is a popular dish to try in Albania especially in winter time. Qofte is made of meatballs with a soup broth with onions and tomato sauce plus other species. You can eat qofte for lunch or dinner served with bread, salad or mashed potatoes.
27. Tavë Kosi
Tavë Kosi is one of the traditional dishes to try in Albania. Tavë Kosi is made of lamb, eggs and yogurt. You can serve it with salad and Tavë Kosi is also cooked in North Macedonia and Greece. Prices are around €4 in local restaurants.
Fërgesë is a typical dish from Albania in Central region. Fërgesë is made with peppers, tomatoes and cottage cheese. You can add meat to the stew if you wish. You usually eat with bread.
Byrek is one of the most popular breakfast in Albania. Byrek is a baked bread with cheese and it can be with meat or vegetarian with spinaches. You can see everywhere in the bakeries in Albania and prices are for less than €1.
Pizza is also popular in Albania as Italian influence. You will find a lot of restaurants offering pizza for affordable prices especially in places like Tirana and South Albania.
31. HAVING COFFEE IN ALBANIA
Having coffee in Albania is part of the culture also in the Balkans countries like Croatia and Serbia too. You will see people sitting outside the bars holding a cup of coffee. The most popular coffee in Albania is Turkish coffee and prices are less than €1 in a local bar.
Trilece is one of the most popular desserts in Albania. Trilece is a sponge cake made of milk and it tastes really good. Trilece is a must to try in Albania.
Baklava is also popular in Albania but maybe you know as a Turkish dessert too. Baklava is baked and made of pistachios, butter and syrup. You will find in most of the bakeries in South of Albania for affordable prices. Baklava tastes so sweet!
Ayran is a cold savory yoghurt that you can find in East Europe. You can have it anytime of the day for breakfast, lunch and even dinner. I loved ayran when eating street food and prices are less than €1.
Raki is the most popular drink in Albania. Raki is usually served for dinner and locals love to drink with foreigners. Be careful Raki is distilled grapes and anise with 40-50%.
36. Wine in Albania
Albanian wine is one of the oldest in the world. Albania has a Mediterranean climate great for the wine with a lot of varieties of grapes. There are a couple of places where you can go for a wine tour in Albania: Mrizi i Zanave and Uka Farm.
More Albania Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Albania For First Timers
PLACES TO VISIT IN ALBANIA
Tirana is the capital of Albania and a must to visit. Apart from walking around city center, bazaars, museums and art galleries. You will find a great offer of bars and restaurant in Tirana one of the best nightlife in Albania.
Sarandë is the most popular places to visit in Albania. Sarandë has a lot of cafes, restaurants and hotels for accommodation. But the beaches aren’t the best in this area since there are many rocks. You can go for a day trip 20 minutes driving to Ksamil area with white sand and blue water.
Ksamil is located in South of Albania near Saranda. Ksamil is the best beach in Albania with clear waters and white sand perfect for swimming. In Ksamil area there are a few hotels for accommodation and it’s crowded in summer. Ksamil is perfect to visit off season.
Berat is an ancient city in Albania and the most beautiful place to visit in Albania. Berat is small and quiet with the Castle on the top nice place to walk around the day and night with bars and restaurants. Berat is UNESCO Site in Albania!
41. Blue Eye
Blue Eye is located 20 minutes driving from Saranda. You will find a huge whole with clear water around and a few places to do small hikes. A perfect plan to go for picnic and you have to watch out because a few parts aren’t allowed for swimming. If you like taking pictures and the nature is a must visit in Albania.
Read here full Blue Eye travel guide!
42. Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake in the Balkans near the border with North Macedonia. Lake Ohrid is a perfect place to spend the weekend near the lake. During the day you can swim and relax. At night time you will find bars and restaurants one of the most toursitic places to visit in Albania.
Gjirokaster is another UNESCO Site in Albania. Gjirokaster is small and called City of Stones. Locals love to visit in the weekend and vacation with shops and restaurants. Gjirokaster is an ancient city with a century tower as example of Ottoman architecture.
44. Llogara National Park
Llogara National Park is a beautiful spot to visit in Central area in Albania on the way to the South beaches. The views are so incredible to the beach. Apart of hiking you can stop everywhere and enjoy the sunset and view points.
45. Theth National Park
Theth National Park is your place if you love the nature and hiking located in the North of Albania. Theth National Park with small villages, waterfalls perfect for refreshing in summer at the mountains.
Durres is a small city less than 1 hour driving from Tirana the capital of Albania. In Durres you will enjoy the beach, sunsets for affordable prices. You can go to Durres for a day trip from Tirana or even staying a couple of days!
Shkoder was my first stop in Albania in the North coming from Montenegro. Shkoder is a local area full of bazaars and really busy. Prices for food are so affordable and the vibe in Shkoder is totally different to the South beaches, mountains and other touristic places in Albania.
Progadec is near to the border with North Macedonia and Lake Ohrid. Progadec is an off the beaten path to visit in Albania with a beautiful beach for swimming and near the mountains. You can visit a few bazaars and most of the people are visiting on the way to North Macedonia.
49. Borsh Beach
Borsh Beach is located 1-2 hours driving from Saranda in Albania. I passed by with the car and you will find beautiful views from the cliffs and a quiet beach for swimming. Borsh is quiet compared to the South beaches, long beaches to walk around and not so many bars and restuarants.
Kruja is located in the North in Albania. Kruja is popular because of the market, ruins and castle. Kruja is near Tirana less than 1-hour drive. Kruja is touristic, quiet during weekdays and busy during the weekends and holidays.
Hope you liked our Albania travel tips. Let us know if we missed things to know before visiting Albania and facts about Albania in the comments below.
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