For years considered a destination of little appeal, Albania, in a short time, has been able to recover. Today, it is considered to be an emerging destination, and one of the most sought after on the web.
Sea, sun and relaxation. Many major events. And very low cost prices.
HOW TO GET
The plane is the most practical and convenient solution to reach the country. The Tirana airport it is the only international airport that offers direct flights to the main European destinations.
From here, renting a car, you can easily move around the country.
Alternatively, you can use Corfu airport as a starting point. The direct flights with the Greek island are particularly frequent, and numerous, in high season.
Ferries to Saranda are guaranteed every day in summer.
Also by sea, you can arrive in Albania from Italy, from the ports of Ancona, Bari or Brindisi.
From Bari, it is possible to use the fast ship that reaches the port of Durres in around 3 hours.
Buses and cars are other excellent alternatives to reach Albania. Several operators offer bus connections with Tirana and Korca, from Athens, Istanbul, Larisa, Pristina, Salinicco, Sofia. The vehicles are particularly cheap, with prices starting from 10€.
By car, there are no particular difficulties, with the infrastructure having just enough level. The highways are not particularly extensive. You pay nothing when you enter the country.
GETTING AROUND ALBANIA
The car is the most widely used vehicle to travel around the country, although the infrastructure is not exactly excellent. With your vehicle, you will be free to move in total autonomy.
Between the capital and the major tourist centers, numerous companies offer intercity or tourist connections by road.
Buses are appreciated for their excellent value for money and efficient connections.
From the capital, for Durazzo, 30 ‘are used, with tickets to 130lek. Kukës is reached in 2 hours and the ticket costs 400 lek.
Rail connections, on the other hand, are rather limited and infrastructure is not up to par. Moreover, the capital itself does not have a railway station.
DOCUMENTS AND CUSTOMS
Albania is not yet part of the European Union. However, EU citizens should not encounter particular difficulties entering the country. Expect, however, frequent checks at sea and airport borders. And above all, on the roads. The tendency is to systematically stop cars with foreign number plates.
The CI will be sufficient, provided it is in good condition. The passport is recommended.
It is also recommended to bring the CI of their minor children, even if you travel by car or train. See our special section, about that.
Dogs and cats enter freely, provided they have a health certificate and a recent certificate from the veterinarian of the ASL of residence, attesting to good health. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies for at least 21 days.
Please note that the appropriate microchip must be applied to the animals.
To fly with animals, please refer to the individual section Airline companies.
CURRENCY AND CHANGE
The official Albanian currency is the LEK. At 2019, the official exchange rate is 1 lek for 0.0081€; 1€ is equal to approximately 123 lek.
In circulation you will find coins from 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 lekë, and notes from 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 lekë.
Almost everywhere, you can pay directly by credit card and withdraw cash at ATMs. Keep in mind, however, that in some small cities, and less touristy places, you may find it difficult to make credit card payments. A cash reserve is always recommended.
Those who need to enter the bank, keep in mind that, generally, in summer, it is open from Monday to Saturday, from 07:30 to 14:30; Monday and Tuesday afternoon opening, from 17 to 20. In winter, they are open from Monday to Saturday, from 07:30 to 14:30, with afternoon opening on Monday and Tuesday from 16 to 19:00. Everywhere, they are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
In the country, the hands of the clock are placed one hour ahead, compared to the Greenwich meridian (UTC/GMT + 1). Daylight saving time begins on the last Sunday of March and ends on the last Sunday of October, with the hands forward an additional hour compared to Greenwich (UTC/GMT + 2).
Across the country, the voltage is 220 volts, with 50Hz frequency. The electrical sockets are type C and, alternatively, F. The first is the standard European socket to 2 poli. The second, however, is the German 2 poles with lateral ground contacts, also known as Shuko. In any case, it is advisable to always use a special adapter. To the most prudent, we recommend taking a look at this link.
Founded in the distant 1912, Posta Shqiptare is the company that manages the Albanian national post office. Generally, it is identified, on the outside, by the color yellow, written and symbol in evidence, of blue color
The company offers all common shipping and financial services throughout the country.
Post offices, with some exceptions, are open from Monday to Saturday, from 07:00 to 14:00. Always closed on Sundays and public holidays. Times vary depending on the area and offices. On the official postashqiptare.com website you can view the updated timetables of individual offices.
Shops are open from 09:00 to 13:00, and from 16:00 to 20:00.
The exercises are generally open from Monday to Saturday, while they are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
PHARMACIES AND HOSPITALS
Pharmacies are identified, on the outside, by the PHARMACY sign in English, or in Albanian, FARMACI. Outside, the symbol of the cross is almost always present. Many medicines are issued without prescription.
Generally, they observe the same shop hours, and are closed on Sundays and holidays. These days, some pharmacies observe rotation opening.
Remember that not being part of the European Union, your health card will have no value within the country. Our advice, therefore, is to take out medical insurance, which includes total health coverage. We invite you to read the information folder to learn about costs and coverage.
In the country, the frequencies Gsm 800 / 1800 Mhz and W-CDMA 2100 are used, the same as in the main European countries. So you can easily use your smartphone.
To call phones in Albania, you must enter the international prefix 00335, followed by the telephone number.
The main Maltese telephone operators are Telekom Albania, Vodafone Albania and Eagle Mobile.
With the lowering of roaming costs, you can easily call from Poland at your national rate. Alternatively, you can use the classic VoIP calls, or make video calls, using a free WI-FI line.