Albania, the last secret of Europe!
Albania is a relatively unknown destination in Europe. There are still some prejudices about this country, most of which date from 15 years ago when the country was unstable. But thousands of travelers now know to find their way to this fascinating country. Infrastructure develops quickly, but traveling through the country still means a relatively long travel time. The side effect of this is the untouched and traditional atmosphere.
On this page you can read general information about Albania.
The Albanian language is a difficult language. Albanian has many Turkish , Slavic, Italian and Romanian words. Many Albanians, especially young people, speaking foreign languages perfectly, although difference in level can be noticed. Many Albanians speak Italian.
The currency of Albania is Lek, thousand Lek being about € 8. Throughout the country there are international ATMs. Paying with euros is not always possible, but generally accepted. Expect to receive Leks back instead of euro coins.
Look here for the exchange rates >
Visa, Customs and Security
There are no visa requirements for citizens of the EU when traveling to Albania. At the borders you will be checked thoroughly but friendly. Don’t bring a stranger’s luggage to Albania. Avoid any risk with drugs.
Imported Italian designer clothing is expensive in Albania too, but an average holiday you can spend relatively inexpensive. Access to the Museum of Modern Art in Tirana , for example, costs 200 Lek (€ 1,60).
Food and Drink
Lovers of Balkan cuisine will enjoy Suvlaki and Qoftë. Fish is fresh and extraordinary good in Albania and the (Greek oriented) salads are not to be despised. Albanian wine is sometimes very good.
Albania has about 70 % Muslims , 20 % Orthodox and 10 % Catholics. The prohibition of religion, in the sixties, has led to many mixed families. In general, the different religions live together peacefully.
As the state of the environment in Albania leaves to be desired, it is advisable to be cautious with swimming. The coast between Saranda and Vlora (‘Albanian Riviera’) is cleaner than the north coast near Durrës.
Hiking and climbing
Infrastructure is yet little developed because of the lack of mass tourism under communism rule. Marked hiking hardly exists. In the rougher areas in the north a guide is indispensable . Getting lost is very easy. Do not rely on the coverage of your mobile phone. Always tell the hotel owner where you go.
Hiking and road maps
Adrion in Tirana ( Skanderbeg Square or at the airport) has a good selection of travel guides and maps of Albania.
Traffic and transport
Until the end of the communist regime, Albania was a country virtually without cars. Nowadays every Albanian seems to have one. Driving requires a high level of vigilance. Driving after dark should be avoided.
Albanian public transport is very attractive for lovers of this ways of traveling. Bus (cheap) and minibuses (‘furgon’, a bit more expensive) are public means mostly used. There are good and regular connections between several cities. Taxis are more expensive but sometimes you might find no alternative, although some patience might lower the rate. Timetables are scarce; you might need to find out your schedule on the day before departure.
Need more information?
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