Cost of Living in Albania as a Tourist
Last Updated on January 17, 2021 by Anita Hendrieka
What is the cost of living in Albania?
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. Albania living costs are so low compared to the rest of Europe, you will be able to live much nicer for much less.
But 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 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.
Renting in Albania
I rent an apartment in Saranda. There are many apartments here to rent. During the wintertime, the city is empty which means you can grab an apartment for very cheap here. 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. I live about a 5-minute walk away from the beach which is ideal for me. It’s very local so there are not too many tourists renting out apartments in my block. The Albania standard of living may be a bit different than you are used to. 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 (2021), prices have increased for apartments. You can still find the rare €150 apartment but you may have to look more in the €200 range in Saranda now.
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. Here’s how you can find an apartment to rent long-term in Saranda.
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.
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 2500-4500lek (€19 – 35 per month). 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 of the unexpected costs of living in Albania for many tourists is that you must pay a monthly charge for water here. 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. 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 prices in Albania 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!
Wi-Fi in Albania
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.
Albania food prices
I love to cook so I only eat out once a week, sometimes once every two weeks. But how expensive are Albania food prices? Actually, sometimes it can be cheaper to eat out than to cook. Here are some examples of how much the basics cost me.
Keep in mind I live in Saranda and the cost of living in Albania is different throughout Albania. I have heard from Albanians that Saranda is considered the most expensive place. So while the food prices 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 expresso: 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
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 and it’s a little expensive for the locals to catch buses and furgons to different cities.
Bus from Saranda to Tirana: 1300 lek
As you can see the cost of living in Albania as a tourist is very affordable. Just remember that in the summer, in popular cities like Saranda, prices do sometimes double in all aspects as there is a higher demand. 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
- 13 Facts About Albania You Didn’t Know
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