Cost of Living in Albania as a Tourist
Last Updated on September 3, 2023
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Everyone is always interested in the cost of living in Albania because as a tourist it’s very affordable. This article is all about how much it costs me to live here.
Is Albania cheap to live as a foreigner?
Yes! The cost of living in Albania compared to UK and the rest of Western Europe is incredibly low, and you will be able to live much nicer for much less.
But why is Albania so cheap?
Well, please keep in mind that this is coming from my perspective as a foreigner who is not earning a local wage here in Albania.
These costs are considered high for Albania prices as the wage for locals is very low.
The average salary in Albania is around €150-400 per month if they are in a job that’s considered average (like a waiter), so the prices in Albania are considered high.
So, how much does it cost to live in Albania? Is Albania cheap or expensive? Is Albania cheaper than Greece? How much is a pint in Albania?! Let’s have a look below!
📚 P.S. Grab access to my Travelling Albania Guide on Amazon to get a comprehensive insight into the best places to visit in Albania (including secret spots that are not recommended in the usual guides!)
Table of Contents
Renting in Albania
How cheap is Albania? How much is rent in Albania? What is the cost of living in Albania?
As someone who rents an apartment in Saranda, these are the top questions about the cost of living in Albania that I am frequently asked.
The average rent in Albania will, of course, vary from city to city, but Saranda is a good place to gauge the higher end of rental costs in Albania as it is a major city and a popular tourist destination.
The cost of living in Tirana, the capital, is often a little higher than Saranda, especially in the winter.
It’s hard to say what the cheapest place to live in Albania is, but the average prices in Albania will definitely be lower in smaller towns or villages than major cities.
In Saranda, there are many apartments available to rent in the city.
During the wintertime, the city is empty which means you can grab an apartment for very cheap here.
However, during the months of July and August, the prices in Albania double in the cities because places like Saranda are full.
I rent a 2 bed, 2-bathroom apartment and it costs me €150 per month (around 16250 lek in Albanian currency).
I live about a 5-minute walk away from the beach which is ideal for me, because visiting the beach is one of the best things to do in Albania.
It’s very local so there are not too many tourists renting out apartments in my block.
People sometimes don’t believe a city can be this low and will ask is Saranda safe? And is Albania safe to live in general? The answer is yes, it is! All of Albania is extremely safe.
The Albania crime rate is very low, though of course major cities will always have some degree of crime, including petty theft.
But the standard of living in Albania may be a bit different than you are used to.
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Most apartments are tiles only so in the winter it can get a bit cold as the houses are really made for summer to keep the hot air out.
To compare, in 2017 I rented a new studio which was right on the beachfront and it cost me €150 also, so it does depend on where you want to be and how new the apartment is.
But as you can see, the cost of living in Albania can be very affordable by European standards.
As I update this article (2022), prices have increased for cheap apartments in Albania.
You can still find the rare €150 apartment but you may have to look more in the €200+ range in Saranda now.
For those coming from the USA, this means therental cost of living in Albania in U.S. dollars can be found for aroudn $220 a month.
My advice to find an affordable apartment anywhere in Albania is to look to live in a local area rather than a tourist area.
For example, in Saranda (the city where I live currently), one side of the city is considered for tourists and you will be paying 2, 3 and sometimes even 4x the normal cost of living in Albania.
Not only with apartments but with food, etc, as well.
Albania real estate prices are very reasonable if you do want to buy property, but just make sure you go with a reputable agent because the system can be a bit of a nightmare.
If you don’t want to commit to an apartment, there are plenty of cheap hotels in Albania that you can stay in while you find a neighbourhood or city you love.
Cost of Power in Albania
Obviously, power differs each month but generally, the prices in Albania for power are reasonable.
On average I pay between €19 – 35 per month (2500-4500 lek in Albania currency). There are not regular power cuts in Albania like there are elsewhere in the world.
In the wintertime, if there is a storm there’s a chance of a power cut but it’s not something that is a problem all the time.
Cost of Water in Albania
One unexpected living cost in Albania for many tourists is that you must pay a monthly charge for water here.
It’s something you don’t normally think about when working out the Albania cost of living compared to US, for example. This is usually about 2000 lek (€15 Euro).
You shouldn’t drink the tap water in Albania as there have been reports of high levels of chlorine and heavy metals – it’s just a part of life in Albania.
I used to drink the tap water until I started to get regular stomach cramps. I stopped when I realised that most, if not all, of the locals don’t drink the tap water in Saranda.
While I prefer to drink tap water to save on plastic use, this is just one of of those extra Albania living costs you have to pay.
Since the Albania cost for water are low, it is a necessary cost for my health.
However, you can find springs to fill up your water bottles if you prefer that. Just ask a local where the nearest drinking water spring is!
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cost of Wi-Fi in Albania
With the internet having cemented itself as another necessity in life for the vast majority of people, many potential new residents have to ask, is it cheap to live in Albania if you work online?
Fortunately, the internet here is surprisingly good, and prices in Albania are great for what you get!
When I arrived, I signed a Wi-Fi contract for 1 year with the company called Meno. I purchased the highest speed internet (unlimited) and each month it costs me 2500 lek (17 euro).
The internet is amazing, it’s better than New Zealand which surprises me every day.
Albanian Food Prices
I love to cook so I only eat out once a week, sometimes once every two weeks. Because of this, I am more than familiar with the cost of food in Albania.
But how expensive are Albania food prices? How much is food in Albania per month and, more importantly, how much is beer in Albania?
Actually, sometimes it can be cheaper to eat – or drink – out than to cook!
Here are some examples of how much the basics cost me, such as how much is a coffee in Albania.
Keep in mind I live in Saranda and the cost of living in Albania is different throughout the country.
If you ask how much is a meal in Albania in 3 different Albanian cities, you may well get 3 different answers.
I have heard from Albanians that asking “Is Saranda expensive?” is a silly question; Saranda is considered the most expensive place to Albanians.
So while the food prices in Albania might not seem high to you, they are more expensive than elsewhere.
Also, quite often they charge tourists double if you buy fruits and vegetables at the markets, so you have to keep an eye out for that.
A loaf of fresh bread at the bakery: 50 lek
An espresso: 50 lek
Cost of Eating out in Albania
A souvlaki: 180 lek
Greek salad: 350 lek (average)
Small draft beer: 150 lek
4 cheese Pizza: 700 lek
Random other costs
2 sunbeds in Ksamil – 1000 lek
2 sunbeds in Saranda – 500-700 lek
Transport Costs in Albania
For tourists, one of the most important questions is: Is Albania expensive to visit and travel around?
I find transport prices in Albania affordable when I first look at the costs. But as I said the cost of living in Albania is very different for locals based on wages.
I don’t think transport doesn’t reflect the wages here. It’s a little expensive for the locals to catch buses and furgons to different cities to enjoy the Albania nightlife, for example.
Bus from Saranda to Tirana/ bus from Tirana to Saranda: 1300 lek
As you can see the cost of living in Albania as a tourist is very affordable for many expats. Likewise, the Albania standard of living is often very higher compared to their home country.
Just remember that in the summer, in popular cities like Saranda, the average price in Albania does sometimes double in all aspects as there is a higher demand.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes and no. For people moving to Albania from the USA, Western Europe or other countries with a high standard of living, then the cost of living in Albania is very low. However, for Albanians the prices can still be quite high compared to their incomes.
Again, this depends on where you are coming from. But for many people travelling to Albania, it will be considered a very affordable country.
150 lek. Or, around €1.25 ($1.34).
So now that you know how expensive is Albania, do you have any other questions about the cost of living in Albania?
If you have any questions on other Albanian prices, then please join my Facebook group ‘Travelling Albania‘ where you can ask any questions you may have!
Articles you will love:
- How to Find an Apartment to Rent in Saranda, Albania
- What It’s Like Living in Albania As a Tourist
- Getting an Albanian Visa: Staying Long-Term in Albania
- Q&A Albania: Favourite places, Costs and What I Dislike About Albania
- Facts About Albania You Didn’t Know
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