General information

Citizens and residents from the European Union, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States do not require a visa to enter Albania for up to a 90-day stay. Only a valid passport or EU identity card is required for travel to Albania. Passports must be valid for at least three months after the date you plan to leave Albania. Holding a valid multiple-entry Schengen, US or UK visa also permits you to enter Albania. For other countries and further information about visa regulations, please visit the following webpage. Note that visas cannot be obtained at border crossings.
The monetary unit in Albania is the Lek (ALL) – Lekë in plural. The Lek is a stable currency that has more or less held its own with respect to the euro, US dollar and British pound in recent years (€1 = US$1 = ALL 118). 
Currency can be exchanged in banks or any of the country’s currency exchange offices. ATMs are also widely available. Note that Euros are widely accepted across the country.
Large Albanian hotels, restaurants, stores, and petrol stations commonly accept standard credit and debit cards (mainly Visa and MasterCard) and Euro banknotes. They may even quote rates in Euros. However, you cannot rely on using a credit card and Euro banknotes exclusively in Albania. You will need to exchange some foreign currency for Albanian Lekë. We recommend that you keep some cash in Albanian Lekë on hand for small expenses in shops and cafes and tips for waiters. 
Lastly, note that Albanian Lekë is only available in the country. As a result, you will not be able to exchange foreign currency for Lekë prior to your trip. That is why you should bring some cash with you, Euros if possible. 
Albania is a very safe country, and the people are very friendly and hospitable. It has been a NATO member since 2009 and an official candidate for accession to the European Union since 2014. The crime level is low. The threat of terrorism is also relatively low, even lower than in Western Europe. However, you should always take care of yourself and your belongings in the same way you would in your country. 
Travelling around Albania with children is also very safe. Likewise, women travellers will not find any trouble. Note that women might be requested to wear appropriate clothes covering their heads and shoulders with a headscarf to enter churches and mosques.
No vaccinations are required for travel to Albania. Concerning the Covid-19 requirements, please contact us before departure. 
It is strongly recommended that all travellers take out adequate insurance coverage for medical expenses arising from illness or accident and including emergency repatriation. Note that credit cards sometimes provide such insurance but there is commonly a high insurance excess amount. Velstana offers comprehensive travel insurance via its partner Chapka Assurances powered by Europ Assistance. Contact us for further information. 
In Albania, it is better to purchase bottled water, as tap water is not safe in most places. Bottled mineral water is cheap and widely available. Tap water may be generally safe and drinkable in the mountains only but check with the locals first. 
The country’s emergency phone number is 112.
The overall climate in Albania is pleasant. It is one of the sunniest European countries with an average of 300 days of sun per year. As a result, it is ideal for relaxing holidays and outdoor activities. 
On the coastline, the climate is the Mediterranean including mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Average highs during the summer are 29 °C (85°F).
In alpine areas and the central part of the country, it is continental with cold, snowy winters and temperate summers.
Albania offers a wide range of accommodations. Hotels are the most common type of accommodation in the country, from standard to top-end. Some places come with an on-site swimming pool or beachfront. Family-run guest houses can be found in towns and villages. They are comfortable and provide an opportunity to spend a night in unique places and get to know locals better. Tasty home-cooked breakfast is often offered. 
Velstana handpicks the best accommodation matching your requirements and tastes.
There are several kinds of places to eat. Restaurants can be found everywhere and offer all kinds of possible cuisine. Most of them serve continuously.
Albanian cuisine is fresh, rich and diverse. It is a blend of Balkan, Turkish and Mediterranean cuisines, with a special flavour that sets it apart. Recipes are based on healthy ingredients including vegetables, fresh fish, grilled meat, fruit, dairy products, herbs and olive oil. 
Note that tips are usually not included in the bill. Leaving a 10%-tip to the waiter or rounding up the bill is recommended.
Velstana will provide you with tips and suggestions about where to eat and drink throughout your journey. 


Albania has its main international airport located in its capital city, Tirana. It is well connected by air transport (direct flights) to many European cities and the Middle East. 
During the summer season, there are additional direct flights scheduled from European cities to Tirana. 
Note that there is another small international airport in Kukës, a city situated in the northeastern part of the country. It offers a few seasonal flights on a weekly basis. 
An alternative is to book a direct flight to Corfu, Greece, and take a ferry boat from there. It takes 35 minutes from Corfu town to reach Saranda, the main city of the Albanian Riviera. 
You can also reach Albania by ferry boat from Italy. The most popular route leads from Bari to Durrës and takes around 8 hours. Note that there are additional routes from other Italian ports such as Ancona and Trieste. The shortest route is from Brindisi to Vlora – the journey lasts 5 to 7 hours. A ferry boat is a convenient option, as you can bring your own car onboard.
Cars remain the most convenient way to explore Albania, compared to other transport, such as buses and furgons (i.e. mini buses) which are slower and offer more limited services. 
In order to make your tailor-made journey as smooth as possible, Velstana recommends and arranges for you the best ways to get around the country, including car rental, private transfers, or car rental with a driver via its partner companies.
European driving licences are valid in Albania. Driving licences issued by a country that ratified the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic are also valid. If that is not the case, the foreign driving licence must be accompanied by an international driving licence. 
When driving in Albania, always stay alert as all roads are not in very good condition (particularly in remote rural areas) even though their quality has significantly improved over the recent years, especially in touristic areas such as the Albania Riviera. In addition, there are a few highways in good condition and no toll roads in the country. Also, avoid driving at night as street lighting is not always present. Note as well that petrol stations are generally open from 8 am to 8 pm in the major cities.
Albania’s road rules are similar to many other countries. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Everyone must wear a seatbelt and using a mobile phone is forbidden while driving unless operating from a hands-free set. 
Speed limits for cars are 50 km/h in populated areas; 90 km/h outside populated areas, and 110 km/h on highways. They are regularly enforced by the police. 
Albanian laws are very strict concerning drinking and driving: drunk driving is prohibited and the blood alcohol content limit is 0.01 mg/ml.


Albanian is the official language, and its alphabet is a variant of the Latin alphabet consisting of 36 letters. In major towns and cities and tourist areas, you will meet locals understanding and/or speaking English and/or Italian. You may also find people speaking other European languages such as German and French due to the large Albanian diaspora. You may find locals speaking Greek as well, as you get closer to the border with Greece in the south.  
Travellers from abroad will face roaming surcharges that may be relatively high when using their mobile phones in Albania. As a result, the best option for you is likely to buy a local SIM card. There are three service providers in the country, namely Vodafone, Alb Telecom and One Telecom. Basic mobile phone packages are cheap so that you can notably enjoy 4G internet access throughout your journey. Note that there may be interference with Greek networks in the south of the country, as Corfu island is a short sail away. 
Albania’s phone code is +355. 
Most hotels and guest houses in Albania offer free internet access to guests. Restaurants, bars, and cafes may also share their wireless access to the internet for free.

Other practical information

Albania is known for its high level of religious tolerance. Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox, Betkashis and Atheists live together in harmony, making it an example for the world according to Pope Francis. As a result, no matter your religion, you will feel safe and welcome in Albania.  
In Albania, the power plugs and sockets are European-type with a standard voltage of 220V or 230V.
Albania is located in the Central European Time Zone (UTC +1), meaning it is the same time as in Paris, Brussels or Rome and one hour ahead of London.  

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