Where can I find the time schedule for public transport in Albania?

Navigating public transport while enjoying the enchanting beauty of Albania has become a breeze, thanks to the government-created eTransport.al website. This dedicated platform offers tourists a hassle-free solution to access essential information about destinations, arrival times, schedules, detailed itineraries, and even transfers to your desired locations. With just a few clicks, visitors can seamlessly plan their journeys, ensuring an efficient and enjoyable travel experience throughout Albania.

Where do tourists originate from when visiting Albania?

The majority of tourists in Albania come from European countries. Here are the main source regions for tourists visiting Albania in 2022:

  • Europe: 6.9M tourists
    1. Central / Eastern Europe: 429k
    2. Northern Europe: 258k
    3. Southern Europe: 5.66M
    4. Western Europe: 4468k
    5. East / Mediterranean Europe: 103k
  • America: 177k
  • Middle East: 41k
  • East Asia and Pacific: 26k
  • South Asia: 10k
  • Africa 4.6k
  • Other / Not specified: 360k

When looking at specific countries, here are some of the main source countries for tourists visiting Albania:

  • Kosovo
  • North Macedonia
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Germany, Poland, UK, France, other EU countries

Is visiting Albania with no knowledge of the Albanian language a bad idea?

Visiting Albania without any knowledge of the Albanian language is not a bad idea at all. While knowing the local language can certainly enhance your travel experience and make interactions smoother, Albania is a welcoming and tourist-friendly country where you can manage well with English and sometimes even other languages like Italian (mainly spoken in Durrës or Vlorë by the older generation) or Greek (mainly spoken in the south of Albania).

Best hidden gems in Albania

Albania is home to numerous hidden gems that offer unique and authentic experiences for travelers. Here are some of the best hidden gems in Albania:

  • Gjirokastër
  • Krujë
  • Berat
  • Apollonia
  • Butrint
  • Blue Eye
  • Korçë
  • Theth
  • Përmet
  • The following beaches:
    • Drymades Beach
    • Llaman Beach
    • Rodon Beach
    • Palasa Beach
    • Dhërmi Beach
    • Gjipe Beach
    • Jale Beach
    • Qeparo Beach
    • Himara Beach
    • Ksamil Beach

Even the most popular tourist spots in Albania can be considered hidden gems, as the country is progressively gaining popularity as a tourist destination, yet it remains a relatively lesser-known choice compared to destinations like Greece or Croatia.

List of entry points to Albania

Here is a list of entry points to Albania:

  • Land borders
    The following is a list of some of the main border crossings between Albania and its neighbours.
    • Montenegro
      • Hani i Hotit - Bozaj
      • Muriqan - Sukobin
    • Kosovo
      • Morinë (Kukës) - Vërmicë (Prizren)
      • Qafë Morinë (Tropojë) – Gjakovë
    • North Macedonia
      • Qafë Thanë (Pogradec) - Kjafasan (Struga)
      • Tushemisht (Pogradec) - Sveti Naum (Ohrid)
    • Greece
      • Kakavijë (Rrethi i Gjirokastrës) - Kakavija (Ktismata)
      • Kapshticë (Devoll) - Krystallopigi (Prespes)
  • Airports
    • Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza (TIA) also known as Rinas Airport
      As of 2023, almost all flights in Albania go through this airport.
    • Kukës International Airport (opened 2021)
      A small airport located in Kukës, a small city in the north of Albania. There aren't that many flights that go through this airport, but the ones that do, are generally cheaper than the ones that go through Rinas Airport.
    • Vlora International Airport
      The newest international airport in Albania. The airport is still under construction, but is located in the south in Vlora, Albania near the Albanian Riviera. This will be the biggest airport in the country.
  • Seaports
    • Durrës Port
    • Vlorë Port
    • Sarandë Port (mainly to travel from Corfu, Greece to Sarandë, Albania)

What does the international media say about Albania?

What's the best way to get around in Albania?

Public transportation in Albania is generally dependable and highly cost-effective where it is available, but it does have its limitations.

For a more seamless and flexible way to explore the country, traveling by car emerges as the optimal choice. Albania offers remarkably affordable car rental options, with daily rates ranging from 20 to 90 USD, accompanied by an additional 10 to 20 USD for comprehensive insurance coverage. Your final cost will be influenced by factors such as the vehicle model you opt for and the length of your rental period. This mode of transport grants you the freedom to navigate the diverse landscapes of Albania at your own pace, ensuring a memorable and personalized travel experience.

When is the right time to go to the beach in Albania?

The best time to go to the beach in Albania is during the summer months, from June to September. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C. The sea is also warm and clear, making it perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

However, if you are looking for a quieter beach vacation, you may want to consider going in the spring (in May) or fall. The weather is still warm and sunny, but the crowds are smaller and prices are lower.

We kindly urge all beach-loving tourists to exercise caution and prioritize sun safety, especially during the hours of 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The sun's intensity during this period can be scorching, potentially leading to sunburn and heat-related discomfort. To ensure a safe and enjoyable beach experience, it's crucial to take proactive measures. Seek shade whenever possible, use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, wear protective clothing, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. By adhering to these precautions, you can fully relish the beauty of the Albanian coastline while safeguarding your health and well-being. Your sun-soaked adventures can be even more delightful when balanced with responsible sun care practices.

Will I be able to rely on the locals for help?

Albanians are very friendly and welcoming. They will go out of their own way to try and help you and will do their best to talk to you even if they can't speak your language. If you are lost or are not sure where to go, ask politely locals that you can find nearby and they will help you.

Despite Albania not being as prosperous as other countries in western Europe, Albanians are also generous. As a tourist, you might receive a free meal, drink, ride from random people that you will meet.

Are there any common tourist scams and how to avoid them?

While the majority of locals are genuinely friendly and welcoming, like any popular tourist destination, there might be some unscrupulous individuals looking to take advantage of unsuspecting visitors. However, by staying informed and vigilant, you can easily avoid falling prey to tourist scams in Albania. Here are some common scams and tips to steer clear of them:

  • Unlicensed Currency Exchange
  • Overpriced Items and Services
  • Avoid paying in foreign currency

Is Albania a cheap country to visit?

One of the primary attractions for Western tourists in Albania is its reputation as one of the most budget-friendly countries to visit in Europe, offering excellent value for money.

As of July 2023, the minimum salary in Albania stands at 40,000 LEK, equivalent to approximately 380 Euros or 420 USD per month. Meanwhile, the average salary, as of Q4/2022, is around 66,000 LEK, approximately 620 EUR/month or 690 USD/month.

For transportation, single-use bus tickets within Tirana, the capital city, cost just 40 Euro cents. Traveling between cities is also remarkably affordable. For instance, a one-way ticket from Tirana to Vlorë—southern Albania's prominent tourist destination—costs only 500 LEK, which translates to approximately 5 Euros as of July 2023, per person.

Best places to go rafting in Albania

Albania is a great place for rafting, with a variety of rivers to choose from, ranging from easy to challenging. Here are some of the best places to go rafting in Albania:

  • Vjosa River: The Vjosa River, one of Europe's last wild rivers, provides thrilling rafting experiences. It offers various sections with different difficulty levels, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters. The river flows through stunning landscapes and canyons, offering a perfect mix of adventure and natural beauty.
  • Osumi Canyons: While the Osumi Canyons are also excellent for canoeing, they are equally captivating for rafting. The river's winding course through the steep canyons creates a sense of exhilaration and awe, making it an unforgettable rafting destination.
  • Lumi i Drinit (Drin River): The Drin River, Albania's longest river, offers rafting opportunities in various sections. The stretch near the town of Përmet is particularly popular for rafting, providing exciting rapids and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.
  • Lumi i Vjosës (Vjosa Tributary): Besides the main Vjosa River, its tributaries also offer fantastic rafting experiences. The Vjosa tributary section near the village of Tepelena is known for its Class III and IV rapids, attracting more experienced rafters looking for a thrilling ride.
  • Seman River: This river is located in the southern part of Albania, and it is known for its clear waters and its beautiful scenery. The Seman River is a popular spot for both whitewater rafting and flatwater rafting.

These are just a few of the many great places to go rafting in Albania. With its diverse landscape, Albania has something to offer rafters of all levels.

Best places to go canoeing in Albania

Here are some of the best places to go canoeing in Albania:

  • Buna River: This river is located in the north of Albania, and it is known for its clear waters and its beautiful scenery. The Buna River is a popular spot for both whitewater canoeing and flatwater canoeing.

  • Osum Canyon: This canyon is located in the southeastern part of Albania, and it is known for its dramatic scenery and its challenging whitewater. The Osum Canyon is a popular spot for experienced canoeists.

  • Lake Shkodër: This lake is located in the north of Albania, and it is the largest lake in the country. Lake Shkodër is a popular spot for both flatwater canoeing and fishing.

  • Vjosa River: The Vjosa River, also known as the "Blue Heart of Europe," offers fantastic canoeing opportunities. Flowing through the Albanian countryside, this free-flowing river provides various sections suitable for both beginners and experienced paddlers. The Vjosa's crystal-clear waters, stunning canyons, and lush surroundings make it a must-visit destination for canoeing adventures.

These are just a few of the many great places to go canoeing in Albania.

Where are sandy and pebble beaches found in Albania?

Albania boasts a diverse coastline that offers both sandy and pebble beaches, catering to various preferences of beachgoers. Here are some popular locations where you can find each type of beach:

Sandy Beaches are mainly located from the very north of Albania to the beaches located in the city of Vlora (with a few small exceptions in very south of the country). Some of the most popular ones are:

Pebble Beaches are located only in the south of the country, from the city of Vlora to the border with Greece. Some of the most popular ones are:

You can find a complete list of all the beaches in Albania here.

Visa requirements to visit Albania

Albania has visa-free entry for citizens of many countries for short stays. Citizens of the European Union (EU), European Free Trade Association (EFTA), United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and several other countries can visit Albania for tourism, business, or family visits without a visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. US citizens can visit Albania for up to 1 (one) year without a visa.

For more detailed information, please visit the official website from the government of Albania.
Visa regime for foreign citizens

If you need an E-Visa, you can apply here: https://e-visa.al/

The full Visa Regime For Foreign Citizens as of August 2023 announced by the government can be found here:

Is Albania safe to visit?

Albania is one of the safest countries in Europe.

Theft, assault, burglary, robbery rates, etc. in Albania are one of the lowest in Europe and the world. Men and women can walk alone in the streets of any city at any time of the day or night in the country and be completely safe. There are no off-limit/ghetto areas anywhere in the country.

The people are very kind and welcoming. They will go out of their way to try to help you even if they can't speak your language.

Besides all the positives, Albania isn't perfect. Drivers are dangerous here and you need to pay attention to cars while driving, walking or waiting to cross the road on foot.

Stray dogs are not as big a problem in 2023 as they were before, but if you happen to encounter them, you need to be careful.

Another thing you need to pay attention to are people who try to overcharge for a service or product. Try to avoid paying in euros or USD and rather convert your money to LEK in an official money exchange.

However, just like in any other country around the world, it's essential to exercise normal security precautions during your stay.

What are some traditional foods in Albania?

Albania has a huge variety of traditional foods. Besides being a small country, each region (northern, central and southern Albania) has its own dishes. Some of the dishes are vegetarian and some are meat based.

Below you can see a list of some of the most popular ones:

  • Tavë kosi
  • Fërgesë e Tiranës
  • Byrek me qumësht
  • Turli me perime
  • Speca te mbushura
  • Trahana
  • and a lot more

List of beaches to visit in Albania

Ksamil Beach