Cost of Living in Albania as a Tourist
Last Updated on April 25, 2022
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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 are 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 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 is Albania cheap or expensive? How much is a pint in Albania? Let’s have a look below!
📚 P.S. Grab access to my Travelling Albania Guide to get a comprehensive insight into more places to visit in Albania (including secret spots that are not recommended in the usual guides!)
Renting in Albania
How cheap is albania? How much is rent 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.
It 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 smaller towns or villages will definitely be cheaper 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.
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.
People sometimes don’t believe a city can be this low and will ask is Saranda safe? And 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.
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.
Read my full guide on how to find an apartment to rent 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.
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.
🛌🏼 Click to check out the best accommodation in Albania here
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 unexpected living cost 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 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!
📦 PACKING TIP: Don’t leave home without a solar powered battery pack so you can keep your devices connected at all times.
cost of 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.
Albanian 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? And more importantly, how much is a 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.
Keep in mind I live in Saranda and the cost of living in Albania is different throughout the country.
I have heard from Albanians that Saranda is considered the most expensive place. 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.
🎫 TOP TIP: Looking for tickets to some of the best shows, activities and passes? I highly recommend booking via Viator for the best prices and deals!
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
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 and it’s a little expensive for the locals to catch buses and furgons to different cities.
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 standard of living in Albania is often very higher compared to their home country.
Just remember that in the summer, in popular cities like Saranda, prices do sometimes double in all aspects as there is a higher demand.
🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. I recommend either SafetyWing or World Nomads.
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
- 13 Facts About Albania You Didn’t Know
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Hi again, what about gas prices?
Anita Hendrieka> Lavinia Dieac
Gas prices actually don’t reflect the wages here so gas is expensive compared to everything else here in Albania. You will be paying the same price as you would in western Europe unfortunately!
Lovely, we are having thoughts about having our own apartment in Saranda. Where do you suggest, which part of town? We have been strolling in the area where your picture is taken, we like that area of town. But I havent seen so much of the rest of town to make sure what can be a good choice or investment. Since I would like to visit during the year in the future it cant be to empty wintertime, maybe.
Interesting info. What is their most popular dishes? I saw something on the picture that looks like a dessert (a peach pie, perhaps?)
I am moving to Saranda in December. Will rent via Airbnb for a few months while looking for a long term apt. What is the best way to find an apt in a “locals” area? Any comments about leasing are appreciated.
Anita Hendrieka> Wes Smith
Hello Wes, great to hear that you’re coming to Saranda! I have written a guide on how to find an apartment here: https://anitahendrieka.com/find-apartment-to-rent-in-saranda-albania/
Thanks for the link to your post on renting in Saranda. You provided some great tips. I look forward to becoming a long term resident!
What a wonderful site 🙂
I am interested in living in Albania for about half a year, just relax the pressure of life and the life of the strangest living in my country.
As a result, I booked a month’s vacation around Albania this June to enjoy a tourist trip and also to see if it was suitable for me.
Since I will not work and I plan to use the money planned in advance I will be happy to get an answer.
1) Do you think 1000 euros a month would be sufficient for living under Western conditions?
2) How does it work with local medicine in case I need to, and what is the nature of medicine there? (Headaches / Teeth)
3) In the matter of the visa, after 3 months, beyond visiting a neighboring country and returning the following day, will I get a 3-month visa again without a problem?
(I do not need a visa in advance, I get automatic entry to the country)
**I’m a young guy who learns through the computer, I’m not going to make expensive attractions or fancy restaurants.
Just live there calmly, enjoy the sea, and local culture.
Thanks in advance, I really appreciate it, and again thanks for this wonderful site 🙂
It’s a bit late and you should have finished your relax time, but I am replying since Anita has missed your comment. And I think this are some questions a lot of other readers have:
1. 1,00 Euros are enough to have a decent western lifestyle. I make about the same amount and after paying around 300 Euros in mortgage and utilities, I live just fine, and sometimes leave 100-200 Euro aside. 200 Euros should cover a decent apartment (2 bedroom flats) and utilities (electricity, gas, water, council tax etc. Yes, council tax is very cheap, around 50-60 Euros a year, unlike in UK where it averages around GBP 1,500-2,000/year). In Tirana you could find a 1 bedroom house for around 250 Euros, but not too close to the centre.
If you eat in restaurants 2 meals a day with side dishes and drink, fancy or not (there are not very fancy restaurants here),the cost would be around 20 Euros for both meals, 10 Euros each. Alternatively, you can eat for half that and cheaper at local eateries/restaurants with traditional food, or zgara (barbecue) restaurants, qofte (meatballs) small restaurants for 2-3 Euros. That would total to 800 Euros a month, including rent and utilities.
So, even if you eat outside twice a day in restaurants, you would be just about fine with 1,000 Euros, If you don’t eat in restaurants every day (fast food is extremely cheap, 1-2 Euros for souvlakis (Greek), burgers, hot dogs, personal pizzas, meatball buns etc), then you can actually buy/do quite a few other activities with 1,000 after removing rent expenses, such as weekend holidays anywhere in the country (food, travel accommodation). To wrap it up regarding expenses, 1,000 is more then enough if you are not reckless with money. Gosh, such a long answer, but money and expenses are one of he main things people are interested to hear in some detail, so my insight or it.
2. Regarding teeth, you can find a dentist anywhere and it’s pretty cheap compared to developed countries. Around 35 Euros for a full tooth filling/fixing, around 20 Euros top take them out (if you need it), 60-100 Euros for a tooth replacement depending on the material, (60-70 for porcelain, 90-100 for zircon teeth, which are stronger apparently).
State System Hospitals
You could be treated and/or hospitalized in the state system hospitals/local ambulances in case of an emergency, if not en emergency, I’m pretty certain you will be accepted somehow. Usually, everything is free apart from a small fee if you are a foreigner, I assume, and you might have to buy some medicaments by yourself (someone with you) that the hospital doesn’t offer. When I fractured my wrist the trauma hospital only offered to put my arm in plaster. If I wanted to place it in a plastic thingy, I would have to buy it myself. I tried to but the Pharmacies around there didn’t have any long enough, so I accepted the plaster from the hospital.
Speaking of headaches and pharmacies, you could find them everywhere and you won’t have problems buying whatever you need. Pharmacists will also advice you on what you need to take for whatever symptom you might have.
There are also private clinics. The ones run by locals, are not too expensive. Kidney, or pre-birth, or other sort of visits cost around 20 Euros, including the prescription. The foreign owned ones, are a bit more expensive. Foreign private hospitals offer w wide range of services and conditions are on par with Western hospitals, but they are quite expensive to Albanian locals, but i don’t think they would seem too pricey for Westerners.
I don’t know much about the visa issue. Although, my advice for someone who would want to stay in Albania for 6 months is, rent an apartment in Tirana, especially near the artificial Lake of Tirana, or the lake of Farka (great view of the lake and mountains), enjoy the urban life (theaters, operas, concerts, outside life and activities, the artificial lake park (which is great, particularly in spring), the cuisine and the coast is still 30 mils away, 30 minute drive. Then, in summer months, you could move to a coastal town.
NOTE ANITA, a partial blog may have been sent accidentally. If it came through, just delete it.The first paragraph below is for posting. Past the first paragraph might be best to not post. OR cherry-pick whatever you think appropriate for posting. You’re a good writer.
The reasons for writing is to congratulate you on a successful and informational blog. I first read your posts last year when I was debating whether to remain in very cold New England or to return to the lands of Italy, Albania and Greece. Well, I’ve now been in Tirana for three months so there’s your answer. I’m recently retired, here to consider whether I will some international volunteer work or simply relax for a while. The second option is sounding better each day, at least for a while. Keep up the good words!
The second reason to write to you is that your latest posting introduced me to Ksamil from a different perspective: financial. Since my arrival in early January, I have been a guest in two different apartments. This is the first week that I’ve had the apartment to myself since my arrival. This week alone has confirmed that (a) I am more productive in my writing while living along, and (b) that to stay within my budget, I must leave Tirana, which was my plan, and on which I am on schedule.
Your writing of the economic benefit of relocating to Ksamil is compelling. Thank you for your detailed list of your housing costs. I had not linked your budgetary article to last year’s posting of the beauty of the beaches in Ksamil last year. When I had first read of the beauty of the water and white sand, I presumed that to be a nice place to visit, but I thought it too costly to live there. I am glad to know that I was wrong.
I would like to visit Ksamil, possibly the first week of April. Might you have time for us to meet and talk? Perhaps you could introduce me to your favored cafe or restaurant, at my expense. If it seems a viable idea for me to move there, I’d be glad to pay you to assist me in the process of finding the right place and negotiating the rent close to what you posted. That would be most appreciated. I’m retired, with a modest monthly income savings sufficient that – if I watch my budget – I could live in Albania for quite some time. That is my hope Best regards, Susan C.
How much does it cost to eat in small family restaurants
I’m also from New Zealand. This was a very useful article. Thank you very much 🙂
I’m considering a stay in Tirana for a year. Is there an animal rescue group there I can help if I don’t have a car? Are there vets and shelters or foster homes for stray dogs and cats? I would be able to pay some vet bills and for food etc. Is it true there are many strays on the streets? Thank you, Luann Miniatis.
Thank you so very much for your insightful article, really very helpful. My wife an I are looking for a retirement place in Albania with focus on Sarande , not in the tourist areas. Perhaps you can recommend whihc areas or surbs to look at.
Jacques and Lynn