Visiting Albania: Favourite places, Costs and What I Dislike About Albania
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Last Updated on July 2, 2021
As there’s not a mountain of information on the internet for people visiting Albania I decided to bunch up the most common questions I get asked daily into one post. If you have any other questions about visiting Albania, living or anything else then be sure to add a comment below and I will answer and add it to this post to keep it updated!
How do I find a long-term rental in Albania?
Not online, by networking! To find the best apartment for the best price you have to come to Albania first and ask as many of the locals as you can. If you book online beforehand then you will most likely be paying double. Also, if you’re looking for a long-term rental specifically in Saranda then don’t come in July and August as the prices rise due to these being the busiest months. I have a full guide on how to find a long-term rental in Saranda here.
What’s it’s like buying a house/apartment in Albania? Is it easy?
Due to having no personal experience myself of buying a house here I can’t really comment. However, I have heard that the number one thing you need to make sure of when purchasing any house or land here is to get the official documents. After communism fell, most of the land was taken over by whoever wants it. There are still many land disputes to this day as many houses don’t have official papers.
How do I get around in Albania?
The best way is by car if you want to explore the likes of the Albanian Riviera so you can stop over at all the hidden beaches and coves. You have to watch other people’s driving though and road rules are simply just suggestions to Albanians. There are also buses and furgons (small buses), which are usually reliable but sometimes the timetables change so it’s best to ask the locals about bus times.
Hitchhiking is also very popular with backpackers. Albanians are very accommodating and friendly, so you’ll never wait long for a ride somewhere. Here’s a full guide on transport in Albania.
What’s the easiest way to get to Albania from elsewhere in Europe?
It totally depends where in Albania you want to start. If you want to start in Tirana, then you can fly into the airport. They are also building another airport in Vlore which should be open in the next couple of years. There are also a lot of buses coming from Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Greece.
If you want to start in Saranda (the south) then the best option is to fly into Corfu, Greece which is an island not far from Saranda. It takes a 30-minute ferry ride and is the best way to get to here from the UK as EasyJet offer very affordable flights to and from Corfu. I have full Albania travel guide which goes into detail about how you can get to Albania easily!
Where are the airports?
There’s only one in Tirana for now but they are building another in Vlore (south Albania) which should be open in a couple of years.
Does Albania have a high pollution rate?
I am not sure of the official statistics for this, but I guess it depends where you are situated. If you are living in Tirana, then pollution is going to be higher because you are in a city with a lot of traffic etc. If you’re in a city like Saranda then it’s going to be less because it’s quieter.
Can you drink the water in Albania?
The government says you can but as I have found out in Saranda none of the locals drinks the local water because they believe it’s not healthy and it’s known there are high levels of chlorine. Recently I have stopped drinking the local water because I was getting cramps, so now I only drink bottled water. I have read in Tirana that an expat got their water tested and the results said that it was not safe for human consumption.
What are your favourite places in Albania?
My favourite region – The Albanian Riviera! Beautiful beaches, delicious food and lots of sunshine! More specifically, I love Saranda, Dhermi, Himare, and Borsh! Read this to see 24 places to visit in Albania that I recommend!
What places do you recommend tourists to see?
I have written a post here with all my recommendations! Make sure you read it to find out the best places I recommend to tourists.
What are your expenses/cost of living as an expat in Albania?
Recently I put all my costs into one article as this is a question I get asked a lot. You can read all about my cost of living in Albania here.
Can you visit Himara as a day trip on the bus from Saranda?
Technically yes, but I assure you once you arrive in Himare you will want to stay longer, so if you can stay a little longer then I recommend you do so!
What is the internet like in Albania?
Really amazing! For 2000 lek (€15) I get the highest speed of internet (unlimited). Therefore, I recommend Albania as the best place for digital nomads in Europe!
Is Albania good for a digital nomad?
Yes, absolutely! I wrote a big blog post on why you should pick Albania if you’re a digital nomad on my other website Anita be a digital nomad. Read it here!
What is the language like? Is it hard to learn?
Albanian is a hard language to learn because a lot of it is hard or impossible to translate into. Once you get the alphabet though it’s easy to read. I can read Albanian easily except I don’t know what any of it means. It’s on the to-do list!
Is there anything you dislike about Albania?
Like every destination in the world, there are always things I don’t like about the country. I have many things I don’t like about Albania. I don’t like the mentality towards rubbish. Most of the time rubbish is everywhere and there’s no recycling. So, if you’re a tourist you might find Albania dirty. Another thing I don’t like is also the general attitude towards dogs. The government cover-up poisoning the street dogs here. I adopted a street dog and after having him for a few months whilst on our walk, he ate poison on the side of the road and it was horrific. Thank god he survived (you can read about it here).
Is Albania safe to visit?
Yes, Albania is safe to visit. Despite the cat calling from men which I mentioned above, it is safe for foreigners and women travelling alone. I have travelled around Albania mostly by myself and have never had a problem. You can read my article here about safety in Albania. Albania has a lot of misconceptions, especially about safety which is all in fact, untrue. By the way ‘Taken’ was played by Croatian actors not Albanian?
Other articles you will love:
- Backpacking Albania: The Best Hostels in Albania
- Albania Travel Guide for First Timers: Everything You Need to Know!
- 14 Important Tips Before You Travel to Albania
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