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Travel Advice – Albania

The advisory below is that which is normally issued by the British and Canadian governments for the respective countries. We have provided this again as a service to expats living abroad to ensure that they understand the workings of the country they will live in or be having a holiday in.

If you have any questions about Albania then email the British Consulate in Albania for more information.

Advisories

You are hereby advised than non-essential travel in Albania to the northeastern border area between Albania and Kosovo due to the persistent presence of unexploded ordnance. De-mining is still an ongoing operation in the area. You also advised not to travel to the district of Tropojë and also the city of Bajram Curri due to limited police coverage and protection for expatriates and visiting foreigners.

Crime

There are many reports of petty crime such as pickpockets, muggings and also bag snatching which mainly occurs on the public transport system. Security in Tirana is very good however always exercise caution. Women traveling alone are at risk and when in Albania do not travel alone at night or into secluded areas. The northern districts of Has, Kukës and Tropojë are places to avoid as many criminal gangs are operating along roads in remote areas, mainly on the northern borders where it crosses over into Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro.The Macedonian border region is the most dangerous of them all as security is limited. Also avoid all demonstrations as they normally turn violent.

Road travel

Road travel in Albania is very difficult as the roads are not up to standard and signage is a luxury they don’t have. Getting lost is not a good idea. Always try and hire an approved taxi operator to take you around and negotiate the price and schedule before hand as disputes are common. You should also only hire yellow cab taxis available on street corners. Do no travel outside of the city unless you know where you are going and you have a proper guide.

Emergency services

You can use emergency services in Tirana by dialing 129. The service is not the best but that is what is available in the city.

Visa

Check with the British Embassy in Albania by sending them an email as normally a visa is not needed unless you are staying for more than 90 days.

Medical facilities

You are best not to use government hospitals as there is normally a lack basic drugs and medical equipment. Hygiene standards are also not the best. You would be better served bringing your own medical supplies and prescription medicine. If you need a good dentist or good quality health care then contact the British Embassy in Tirana for an approved list of medical facilities in country.

Identification

You have to have your passport on you at all times or at least a photocopy of your passport showing the face page, visa page and your entry stamp. You only need to have the original on you when you travel outside of the capital city. As stated above that is not a good idea.

Money

The currency of Albania is the lek (ALL) and most transactions are cash based with very little use of credit cards and travelers cheques. There are ATM machines available and all the international hotels do accept credit cards. Travelers cheques can be exchanged at the National Bank of Albania in Tirana.

Illegal activities

Do not do drugs or take photos of soldiers or military installations.

Disasters & Climate

Albania is in an earthquake zone so always be aware of this. The summers are hot and overall they have an excellent climate.

Note that Albania is a very conservative society and even though being gay is not illegal it is not widely accepted. If you are gay then try not to show it in public openly as it might invite problems you don’t really need.

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