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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Albania’s phone code is +355.
Other practical information
Got a question?
What is tailor-made travel?
It is a private tour which is fully personalised to your needs, interests, tastes and budget. We believe that one-size-fits-all travel packages are not the most appropriate option to truly discover a region or country because everyone expects a different travel experience.
I am interested in a tailor-made journey, but I have no clear ideas of what I am looking for?
Do not worry! You do not need to have a clear idea of your next travel experience. We will guide you through the design of your trip and provide advice and recommendations.
Is Bulgaria safe for tourists?
Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union and NATO since 2007 and 2004, respectively. It is a very safe country, and the people are friendly and welcoming. Crime level is low. The threat of terrorism is also relatively low, even lower than in Western Europe.