This Albania travel guide will give you some quick answers to the most asked questions when planning a trip to Albania.
Albania travel guide
How to reach Albania?
- Your own transport
If you are based in Europe, you might plan an overland trip to Albania. Traveling to Albania with a 4WD, a motorbike, a car and even a camper have been very popular in recent years.
The roads are much better than few years back, but you will still come across to bad roads, narrow ones or roads with potholes. If you are traveling to Albania with 4×4, you will want to find them for sure and luckily for you, Albania still offers many off-roading.
Some scenic roads are pretty steep and if you’ll be traveling with a camper, prepare yourself to be slow.
- Flying to Albania
Not all can or are willing to travel to Albania overland and that is why you will mostly be flying there. You will land in the capital Tirana.
Traveling around Albania
- Your own transport
If you will be traveling to Albania with your own transport, you have nothing to think about it and explore the country on your own.
- Renting a car in Albania
If you will be flying to Albania, you might want to rent a car to explore the country yourself and independently. The roads are much better than few years ago and the drivers have become better too – except from the chaotic Tirana.
Check out the renting price at Carrentalnet.com – the price in most cases is lower if you book up-front.
You can find more practical tips on renting a car here.
Driving around Albania is still free of charge, without any tolls.
Things to do in Albania
Some of the best things to do in Albania are very unique and diverse. No matter why you are traveling to Albania, I am sure everyone will find something for themselves. Wilderness nature, picturesque villages, stunning views, turquoise sea, beautiful beaches, friendly locals, good food, ancient ruins, chaotic Tirana… Check out the list of best things to do in Albania.
Food in Albania
Albania has not been only developing touristically, it has reached a milestone in culinary too. Instead of eating only byrek, you can now indulge with lots of delicious food.
You will find really good seafood at the coast. If you are looking for a slow-food experience, try the eco-farm Mrizi i Zanave. We have not test it, but everyone who did, said it is delicious and affordable too. Traveling with a camper, you can even stay the night there.
Accommodations in Albania
Hotels in Albania are being constructed every day. In fact, they have literally taken (almost) all of the coast. Some hotels are basic, but some are luxurious resorts. You can check them out at booking.com.
Apart from the bigger hotels, you can find some smaller ones, local guest houses and apartments too. There are many camping spots in the country as well.
We have done wilderness camping in Albania for most of our stay, except for the last night, when we spend a night in a camp Legjenda in Skhoder, just underneath its old castle. We paid 18 EUR for a car, two adults and one child (4 year old). The camp is nice, clean and has even a pool. It is also close to cafes, shops, bakeries and you can even walk on foot up to the castle from it.
Less popular and wilder camping spots are even cheaper (around 10 EUR for a car, two adults and a child).
Albania still allows wilderness camping and if you know how to respect nature and you are not on someone elses garden, you will not have any problems doing it. Some restaurants / cafes even allow you to use their parking, if you will spend some money on food there.
Prices in Albania
Albania is a good bargain destination. If you’ll be eating in local (not meant for tourists) restaurants, you will definitely see, there’s no reason to cook by yourself.
We spent 1,70 EUR for the main meal of pasta. We regularly bought bread in bakeries and paid around 0,60 EUR for it. A scoop of ice cream was mostly around 0,30 EUR (except in Kruje where we paid 1,50 EUR for it).
We once afford a meal with seafood in Vlore – in a local trattoria, but it was more or less meant for tourists, so the prices were higher, but the pasta still was around 7 EUR, the grilled octopus was around 10 EUR.
Where ever we ate, the food was very good.
If you are looking for a local beer (go for Tirana, as it is much better than Korce), you will pay around 0,70 EUR per 0,5l can in a grocery store or around 2,50 EUR in a local restaurant.
Methods of payment in Albania
If you will stay in touristic places almost everyone will take your Euros, so you might even thing it is not worth exchanging the money into Lek – Albanian currency.
But the truth is that if you’ll be paying in Euros, the exchange rate might not be so kind to your wallet. When we were in Albania the rate was 117,50 Lek for 1 EUR, but when we paid in Euros, majority took the conversation rate 100 LEK for 1 EUR.
In some places payment by credit card is possible, but not everywhere, so it is always good to have some local currency with you. Not all gas station accepts credit cards and not even Euros. We once needed to change three gas stations before finding one, which accepted the credit card payment.
Communication in Albania
English is still a bit unique for Albania. Some younger people in tourist areas know how to speak it, but that is about it.
As many people from Albania work in Italy, you will be better off with Italian, but in majority you will need to use show and tell.
But in general people are really nice, friendly and always prepared to help – at least our experiences were like this.
Hygiene and health care
Luckily for us, we have not needed to use the health care in Albania, but if we would need it, we would definitely go to some international hospital, so make sure to have a good travel health insurance with you.
In general, the hygiene in the country is much better than few years ago. The streets are cleaner and there is less trash in the nature too.
But of course you will need to close one eye for some local restaurant toilets or less popular camping spots.
Best time to travel to Albania
The best time to visit Albania depends on what you want from your travel. If you cannot imagine your exploration of Albania without swimming in the sea, you will definitely need to come during the summer months. The downsize is that it is super-hot then, also in the mountains.
If you prefer milder temperatures for sightseeing, you need to plan your travel for spring or autumn. Autumn is actually perfect for sightseeing and swimming too.
How long you should stay in Albania
If you really want to have the feel of the whole country, I would suggest to spend 2 weeks in Albania. Drive around the coast, visit some villages, mountain passes and other tourist attractions. The country is big and it becomes even bigger with all the zig-zagging roads, which makes your travel slower.
Traveling to Albania is interesting and for many also exotic, but the country is definitely worth visiting. I hope that our Albania travel guide will help you with planning your travel to Albania and make it even more enjoyable.