Tirana, an unexpected surprise. In the best way possible.Read More →
Mother Teresa's given name was Anjezë Gonxhe, which means "rosebud" or "little flower" in Albanian. She was born on August 26th, 1910 into a Kosovar Albanian family in Skopje, Ottoman Empire
Albania is the same time zone as France, which is GMT+1. For example, if it is 2 p.m. in United States EST, it would be 8 p.m. in Albania.
U.S. citizens do not need a visa for tourist or business travel to Albania but need to have a valid passport for at least three months from the date of arrival. Americans can also stay up to ONE YEAR in Albania without applying for a residency permit.
Albania is NOT part of Schengen or European Union. For European citizens, you can enter Albania visa-free for 90 days.
Click here for more visa information.
Albania has one international airport, Nënë Tereza (ITA,) it’s located in Tirana. The route from the airport to city center is approximately 30 minutes by car. There are taxis outside of the airport, the ride should be between 22€-25€.
If you’re traveling to other cities, either rent a car in Tirana. Or use the bus or fly into other domestic airports in Sarandë, Gjirokastër, and Korçë.
There are no metros in Tirana. You can choose to ride the bus, but most of the major landmarks are within walking distance.
Uber or other ride-sharing apps do not exist in Tirana. But there are many taxis on the road that you can flag down. It’s important to make sure the driver has the meter on as soon as you enter. If he says “the meter doesn’t work,” then negotiate a price before the route begins.
Tirana is safe for female solo travelers, but exercise normal street-smart practices.
Summertime typically averages at 24°C (75°F) while winters are mostly at 7°C (45°F.) But if you’re heading to coastal region too, keep in mind that those cities have similar weather conditions as the Mediterranean.
Albania is spoken throughout the country, though there are two dialects: Tosk in the south and Gheg in the north. English is widely taught in school, so you can get around speaking English, but it’s always helpful to know a few words in Albanian:
Hello = Përshëndetje
Good morning = Miremengjes
Good afternoon/Good evening = Mirembrema
Good night = naten e mire
Goodbye = mirupafshim
No = nr
Please = ju lutem
Thank you = faleminderit
You’re welcome = ju jeni të mirëpritur
I’m sorry = më vjen keq
Excuse me = me falni
I’m sorry = më vjen keq
Do you speak English? = A flisni anglisht
I don’t speak Albanian = Unë nuk flas shqip
In general, Albanians are extremely friendly and hospitable to travelers because the country doesn’t receive as many foreigners as other regions in the Balkans or the Mediterranean.
After 1976’s Cultural Revolution, religious practice was mostly wiped out. Therefore, despite that 70% of Albanians are Muslims, they’re non-practicing and the same for the rest of the Christian population.
Here are some important gestures to remember:
- Greeting: Shake hands even if it’s seeing each other daily, and shake hands again before saying goodbye.
- Greeting between friends: A kiss on both cheeks.
- Indicating YES: Move the head from side to side.
- Smoking: Although smoking in public places was officially prohibited in 2007, police are too busy smoking themselves to fine anyone else. Ashtrays are prevalent at restaurants and cafés.
Albania uses lek (symbol: L) but some places or drivers also takes Euros.
Tipping! When you’re spending more, 10% is expected. If it’s a smaller bill (less than 10 euros, for example,) then rounding up to the nearest lek is expected.
Albanian and European electrical plugs are the same. It carries two different plug types- types C and E. Plug C has two round pins and Plug E has two round pins and a hole for the socket’s male earthing pin. The standard voltage is a 230V supply voltage and the frequency is 50Hz.
Your converter should look like this: This is a Plug C.
You cannot drink tap water in Albania, so you’ll need to buy water from grocery stores.
Most cafés and restaurants have Wi-Fi available for guests to use, especially in Tirana when café culture is prevalent.
You can buy a SIM card at the Tirana Airport or at these stores: Vodafone, ALB Telecom or One Telecom. The most basic package is 500 Lek (4€,) it includes 50 minutes, 50 SMS and 50 MB Internet 3G/4G.
Since the fall of Communism in 1991, local government has made efforts to protect LGBTQIA+ people by banning discrimination. But by law, Albania has yet to legalize same-sex marriage and homophobia persists in the country. So be careful when it comes to PDA. Since Tirana is still on the rise in terms of tourism, there aren’t any official gay-friendly neighborhoods or bars.
Albania is a fantastic choice for slow tourism since it’s yet to be discovered by commercialized markets and it’s incredibly affordable to travel from north to south with longer stays. But here are some organizations that are more eco-friendly, you can reach out to both Ecotour Albania and Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania for more information prior to your trip.