Country guides Europe
Electrical current in Albania is 220-240 volts, 50Hz. Round pin attachment plugs and Shuko plugs and receptacles with side grounding contacts are in use. Voltage fluctuations are common.
The official language of Albania is Albanian but Greek is also spoken in many areas. English is not widely understood but is spoken in some of the hotels and restaurants.
The currency in Albania is the Lek (ALL). There are numerous ATMs in Tirana and other main towns, as well as bureaux de change where Pounds, US Dollars, and Euros are widely accepted for exchange. Although street money changers operate openly, they do so illegally. Credit cards are not as widely accepted as one would expect, except in a few of the most up-market hotels and restaurants in Tirana. Foreign currency can be changed in banks' exchange offices (kambim valutor). The most commonly accepted currencies are the US dollar and the Euro. Keep in mind that Lek may not be exchanged outside of Albania. Banks are open only on weekdays, from 8.30am to 2.30pm.
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Travellers spending time in rural areas and eating outside of hotels and restaurants may want to consider a vaccination for typhoid, and those at risk of animal bites should consider a rabies vaccination. Tap water is not safe to drink unless it has first been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected.
Medical facilities are limited in Albania, particularly outside Tirana. Comprehensive travel insurance, including evacuation by air ambulance, is essential before travelling to Albania. All essential medications should be brought into Albania. It's generally advisable to take along a signed letter from a doctor detailing what the medications are and why they are needed.
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The Albanian attitude towards women is still conservative, especially in rural areas where modest clothing and behaviour is the norm. Homosexuality is not illegal but outside of urban areas it's still controversial and public displays of affection may attract unwanted attention. Penalties for drug related crimes are severe.
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The import and export of local currency is prohibited. Travellers to Albania may bring with them: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 250ml of eau de toilette or 50ml of perfume; one litre of spirits and two litres of wine.
The international access code for Albania is +355, and city codes are in use (e.g. 04 for Tirana and 052 for Durres). Most hotels have free WiFi access. In the larger towns, restaurants may also offer free WiFi. Vodafone, ALBtelecom Mobile and One Albania are three of the bigger mobile phone companies.
Passport & Visa
We recommend that travellers always have six months validity remaining on their passports because occasionally passport control can get pedantic about it, despite what the official guidelines say. However, officially, all travellers entering Albania must have at least three months' validity remaining on their passports. They also require onward/return tickets, all documents for their next destination, and sufficient funds for the duration of their stay. Those arriving from yellow fever risk countries must have proof of vaccination against the disease. It is possible for most visa-exempt travellers to stay in Albania longer than 90 days but they may be required to register with the authorities after this point.
United States citizens are exempt from holding a passport if they have a national ID card. Otherwise, US passport holders require a passport valid for three months beyond date of arrival. Americans do not require a visa for stays of up to one year.
British passport holders require a passport valid for three months beyond date of arrival. Passengers with a British passport do not requre a visa for a maximum stay of 90 days.
Canadian passport holders require a passport valid for three months beyond date of arrival. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
Australian passport holders require a passport valid for three months beyond date of arrival, nationals of Australia with a national ID do not require a passport. Australians do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
South African passport holders require a passport valid for three months beyond date of arrival as well as a visa, unless they already hold a valid Schengen Type 'C' or Type 'D' visa, or a multiple entry visa issued by either the UK or USA, in which case they are exempt from needing a visa for up to 90 days.
Irish passport holders require a passport valid for three months beyond date of arrival, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
New Zealand passport holders require a passport valid for three months beyond date of arrival, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
Useful contacts112 (General)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
The Albanian Embassy, Washington: (1) 202 223 4942
Embassy of Albania, London: (44) 20 7828 8897
Embassy of Albania, Ottawa: (613) 236 3053
Consulate General of Albania, Brisbane: (07) 3219 5571
Consulate General of Albania, Johannesburg (27) 11 884 1617
Embassies / consulates in Albania
Embassy of United States, Tirana: (355) 4 224 7285
British Embassy, Tirana: (355) 4 223 4973
Consulate of Canada to the Republic of Albania, Tirana: (355) 4 225 7274