What It’s Like Living in Albania As a Tourist

Last Updated on April 24, 2022


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Nearly every day I have to slap myself that I am living in Albania. This is a country that I knew nothing about at the start of 2017, but have since committed fully to Albania life.

Now as I sit here overlooking the ocean, I thought it would be the perfect time for a little life update and tell you guys what is Albania like to live in, and why I chose to move to Albania over all the other amazing places I’ve visited.

Moving to Albania was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I encourage others to do the same if they can.

But like anywhere, living in Albania has pros and cons, so I have included some of the downsides, as well!

So, what is it like to live in Albania? Is Albania a nice place to live? Is albania safe? Keep reading to find out!

what it's like living in Albania, person sitting on stone pier looking out across blue sea with mountains in distance

📚 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!)

Why I Chose to Live in Albania

fell in love with Albania in March 2017 when I took an overnight road trip with some people I met in a hostel in Kotor, Montenegro. We decided on a spontaneous trip to Albania.

By the time we got to the north of Albania – Shkodër it was late afternoon and we were excited for some Albania travel.

We checked into our hostel (The Wanderers, the best hostel!) and for €5 we got a bed, a beer, and free breakfast, I couldn’t believe it.

It was almost like we had transported ourselves to Asia where the prices are incredibly low.

We then went out for a meal we ordered a table full of different dishes plus wine and it cost no more than €6 or €7 each. What was this place?

Living in Albania pros and cons, Aerial view of Albanian architecture with rooftops, trees and skyline

If you haven’t already noticed Albania’s prices are outrageously cheap compared to the rest of Europe, especially for tourists.

A hostel will cost you next to nothing and neither will your meals. It’s the perfect place if you want to explore somewhere that’s affordable. 

And it isn’t just visiting, the general cost of living in Albania is lower than most of Europe. This isn’t the only reason I chose to move to Albania, but it definitely didn’t hurt!

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. I recommend either SafetyWing or World Nomads.

Example of Prices in Albania

For reference, 1 USD ≈ 110 LEK

  • A loaf of bread – 50-100 LEK
  • Souvlaki – 180 LEK
  • A draught beer – 150 LEK
  • A Greek salad – 300 LEK
  • 1.5 litre of raki (the local homemade spirit) – 600 LEK
  • Byrek – 50 LEK
  • Single Expresso – 50 LEK
  • 7-hour bus ride – 1300LEK

what is life like in albania?

When I decided to live in Albania, I choose a city called Saranda, which is along the Albanian Riveria. I don’t consider it as a city, though, because it’s super small.

This is the best place to live in albania in my opinion! It’s a fantastic base because it has an abundance of good restaurants, pumping nightlife in the summer.

From Saranda, there is also good transportation throughout Albania and onwards to Athens or Corfu (Greece).

If I am catching a flight to Europe I will catch the ferry over to Corfu (which takes half an hour), as flights are normally cheap and easy to get from there.

One of my favourite things about living in Albania actually is how easily I can travel around this part of Europe.

is Albania a good place to live, person sitting on stairs in mezzanine apartment

I found an apartment to rent in Sarana right on the beach and about a 15-minute walk if I want to be right in the heart of the city.

Where I am located now is lovely because it’s a little quieter than if I was to live in the city and the beaches are nicer here.

To live in Albania I pay €150 per month for rent and then €80 on top of that for power, water and fast WIFI.

All together that’s €230 a month for my own space right on the beach, which are my ideal Albania living conditions.

A beachfront spot is perfect for me because, according to studies, living by the beach is where you are the most creative, and as a blogger, I need my creative juices to be flowing always!

You could say my lifestyle in Albania is literally better for this blog.

Update 2022:  I am still living in Albania, but now live 1 minute from the beach in a 2/3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment and still pay €150 per month! 

You can read my full guide on the cost of living in Albania.

moving to Albania from USA, boat in blue water with beaches and people in swimwear, mountains in the distance

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Is Living in Albania Safe?

“Is Albania a safe place to live?”

This is probably the number one question I get asked about life in Albania. There are a lot of misconceptions about Albania and its safety.

Albania is not full of gangsters, sex traffickers and mafia walking around on the streets.

Every country in this world has its share of bad people but living in Albania, I haven’t met any yet. I feel safer living and travelling here than in most western European countries. 

The tourist crime rate here is very low. Albania also has a code of Besa which is the highest ethical code and roughly translates to ‘to keep the promise’.

Albanians are very loyal people and if they see tourists they feel it is their duty to keep them safe and feel welcome.

For these reasons, I have never felt unsafe living in Albania, and consider Albania travel very safe.

You can read my full guide on safety in Albania.

travelling albania

Not only is Albanian life very safe, but Albanians are very kind and helpful. There have also been multiple occasions where Albanians have helped me tremendously.

When I arrived in Tirana in April, I needed to catch a bus down to Saranda. There were about 15 men asking where I was going.

When I yelled Saranda they all look worried and as I looked up, the bus was pulling onto the highway.

All of them started yelling at the bus driver to stop, some even stood in front of the bus, one man picked up my (huge and heavy) bag and another waved me to come hop on.

Another time when I was catching the overnight bus from Athens to Albania I sat next to an Albanian lady who insisted on feeding me.

She pulled out toasted sandwiches from her bag and even though I said no thank you, she grabbed my hand and insisted I eat it.

Then at around 1 am, we had a stop near the border. She noticed that I was running low on water so she went into the shop and bought me a new one. How sweet is that?!

how to move to Albania, person looking out over beach resort and bay, mountains in the distance

Instances like these happen nearly every day and it’s a big part why I love living in Albania so much.

Is Albania nice? I think experiences like these speak for themselves!

Not only that, but as a digital nomad this is an affordable place to base myself and it’s not part of the Schengen zone. I can stay here for 3 months at a time.

When I decided to move to Albania, I went to my local Saranda police office to apply for Albanian residency and stay longer. Immigration in Albania isn’t impossible to navigate, but it isn’t easy.

If you’re planning on moving to albania from USA, you can technically stay here for up to a year without a visa!

Disadvantages of Moving to Albania

As I said before, I would discuss living in Albania pros AND cons. There are many reasons to visit Albania, but like anywhere, there is a downside to living in Albania.

There have definitely been struggles to moving to Albania.

In addition to my visa process, another downside is that food is very limited in variety. Yes, you will find an abundance of Greek food, Italian and obviously Albanian food!

But if you’re craving something spicy or even just a burger, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find one unless you’re in Tirana.

But I feel like that’s a small price to pay to live in such an untouched and beautifully raw destination like Albania.

So, is albania a good country to live? Yes! Absolutely, but like anywhere you live, there will be trade-offs.

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quality of life in Albania, Albanian national flag blowing in the wind amongst trees and blue sky

Is Albania a Good Place to Retire?

Albanian life is slow-paced, relaxed and it’s probably my favourite place I have lived in so far as it’s so different from anything I have experienced.

There are even a number of expats who decide to retire to Albania. If you have money, the quality of life in Albania is much higher for most expats than it would be at home.

Thus retiring in Albania is an attractive option. Especially as it is much more affordable to buy property in Albania.

Tirana and Saranda are two of the best places to live in Albania. So it’s not surprise that they are popular choices to move to for expats in Albania.

However, it is of course possible to live elsewhere. Living in Albania is a great option for old and young.

🛌🏼 Click to check out the best accommodation in Albania here

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ Is Albania safe to live?

Yes! I get asked is Albania safe all the time, but in reality, it is possibly the safest country I have ever been to. Albanians are extremely friendly and will go out of their way to help you. I have never felt unsafe here.

✅ Is Albania a good place to live?

Definitely. In fact, Albania is probably my favourite place that I’ve ever lived.

✅ How is life in Albania?

Life in Albania is easy. It is a slower paced life than a lot of other countries, and very laid back. When people ask me “what’s Albania like” I usually just say “very relaxed.”

If you have any other questions about how to move to albania, me in living in albania as an expat, or about life in Albania feel free to leave them below! I promise, moving to Albania doesn’t need to be scary!


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The Comments

  • Pier @ The wind behind me
    September 14, 2017

    Very well written and catching post. It makes makes me want to visit Albania.

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Pier @ The wind behind me
      September 15, 2017

      Thank you 🙂 I hope you come to visit Albania soon!

      • Sam Goddard
        > Anita Hendrieka
        November 13, 2018

        Hi Anita,

        How fast is the high speed internet?

        Thanks in advance.

        Regards,

        TErry

        • Anita Hendrieka
          > Sam Goddard
          November 14, 2018

          I’m unsure of the numbers but here in Albania I have faster and better quality than in New Zealand and I pay 1/5th of the price! Hope that gives you a good idea 😉

    • Teela
      > Pier @ The wind behind me
      May 4, 2019

      Hello, this is a good read. I would love to travel and visit Albania one day. What is the cost in USD you do not note that. So like what is your rent if you used USD.

      Thank you for sharing

      • Anita Hendrieka
        > Teela
        May 7, 2019

        Hey there, the best thing to do is use a converter as the price depends on what your currency rate is at the time! XE is a good currency converter 🙂

  • sanpedroscoop
    September 15, 2017

    SUPER interesting. I’ve wanted to visit Albania since I went to Croatia like 15 years ago. It’s even better than I thought! Super cool move.

  • emmajayneknapp
    September 15, 2017

    Living in Albania sounds amazing! I was hoping to visit on my travels earlier this year but didn’t quite make it that way – will definitely make sure it’s on the ‘must-visit’ list when I am back in Europe soon! x

  • Wilbur's Travels
    September 17, 2017

    Hi Anita, great post and well done on taking the plunge. A friend of mine and me are coming to Saranda next Friday and plan to visit Butrint & Blue Eye from there and travel to Tirana on Saturday. Do you know the easiest way to travel. I saw there was a Riviera bus via Durres but not sure if it is running. We would love to go by train but I hear this may be hit and miss. Any insight you have will be fabulous. Wilbur.

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Wilbur’s Travels
      September 22, 2017

      Hey, thank you for reading 🙂 That’s amazing, I hope you love Saranda. Yes, there are local buses running from Saranda to Butrint and Blue Eye. To the blue eye, you will need to catch the bus that goes towards Gijrokastor. On the way back you will need to hitchhike though as its never sure when the buses come back through. You can also catch a taxi which is much easier and for a very good price (they will wait at the blue eye and then take you back) as soon as you are limited in time. To Butrint there are buses every half an hour leaving from Saranda and a ticket costs 100lek. Don’t catch the Riveria bus, it’s over-priced! There are a few buses to Tirana, including an overnight one. I think the ticket is about 8-10 euro if I remember correctly. There are no trains here unfortunately so it’s all buses! If you are confused on times just ask a local as they will know exactly when they leave etc, especially as it’s the end of the season and bus times may change a little. Have fun!

      • Wilbur's Travels
        > Anita Hendrieka
        September 22, 2017

        Thanks Anita, we will put it into practice tomorrow. Wilbur.

  • AZ (@SciCommWoman)
    September 18, 2017

    Nice article. I have been in Tirana 2 years ago, when we crossed the Balkans towards Greece. I can confirm that food is super cheap and people are nice. It was surprising to see all the last decades at the same place (’50s, ’60s, etc until now).
    PS. One correction though. Albania doesn’t have an ocean but a sea.

  • Nina | Lemons and Luggage
    September 20, 2017

    I really enjoyed my recent trip to Tirana. You are so right about how friendly and honest the people are, they’re a big part of why I loved Tirana so much: http://www.lemonsandluggage.com/blog/eight-reasons-tirana-is-my-favorite-city-in-the-balkans-so-far

    It sounds like you’re living a great life over there. I live in Athens, and I would say it’s similarly difficult to find international food here, but it’s a big city, so in Saranda it’s even more expected, I guess. Slowly, slowly there is more variety here though and even some vegan places. I like that you wrote an honest post about the pros and cons, and I always try to do the same when I write about Greece: http://www.lemonsandluggage.com/blog/whats-it-like-in-athens

  • Jensen
    November 29, 2017

    I visited Albania August 2016 and am constantly missing its beauty and the people. Reading your post makes me want to move there!

  • Doru Varlan
    January 29, 2018

    Wonderful story !
    For one like me and my family who will travel for the first time, to spend one week at Hotel Paradise Beach (Vlore), what would you advise us ? Do we need to have local currency upon us, or it is enough to have our credit cards ? I’d like to meet people to tell us more about Albania, to take us and show Vlore etc. etc. Who is eager to meet us between 17 – 24 august 2018 ???
    I’ll appreciate anyone’s experience that may assist us.

    Yours cordially,

    Doru Varlan
    varlandoru@gmail.com

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Doru Varlan
      May 30, 2018

      Hello Doru, Thanks for reading 🙂 Yes, you will need local currency (LEK) as credit cards are not widely accepted. It’s still very much a cash society. Hope you have a great time on your first trip to Albania!

  • Matt
    February 26, 2018

    I’m an open water swimmer and I’m looking for a coastal town in Albania so I can train a lot, but not have to spend a fortune. What places in Albania would you recommend? Does anyone play water polo there? How are the roads for cycling? Thanks, Matt

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Matt
      February 27, 2018

      All of the coastal towns in Albania are inexpensive. Saranda is the most expensive seaside city in Albania but even then it’s incredibly affordable. I haven’t heard of anyone playing water polo there but maybe I am wrong! A lot of people cycle around Albania. The roads are pretty good, the drivers are what you have to watch out for 😛

      • Linda
        > Anita Hendrieka
        September 9, 2021

        Hi!
        How would you say family life is there? I have a husband and two little kids and often consider resettling somewhere else in the future. Is it a family friendly type of place?

  • Lisa
    March 6, 2018

    That’s such a helpful article – thanks so much Anita! We are currently considering to stay in Albania for a while after Romania and Croatia so the fact that I found this post now is perfect. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you find your apartment? Paying less than 300 Euro a month seems too good to be true, haha.

    All the Best,

    Lisa

    • Silas Potter
      > Lisa
      May 30, 2018

      I am curious how to find one in this price range as well!

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Lisa
      May 30, 2018

      Hey Lisa, I always find my apartments by asking locals and getting them before or after the busy season (July, August) as during the busy season apartments are double the price. If you get them online or through a real estate agent you will be paying a lot more. It’s better to rent an Airbnb for a week and whilst you’re there to ask as many people as possible and make some good contacts!

  • dhruv manocha
    March 21, 2018

    That was very nice 🙂

    What about the pollution levels in albania ?

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > dhruv manocha
      May 30, 2018

      The pollution levels are not something you have to worry about. Of course, in the capital Tirana, there will be some pollution from the transport but it’s no different to most cities in Europe.

  • Karen
    April 1, 2018

    I plan on moving to durress in oct any info for how to ship clothes or any thing ? Thankyou for your artical i enjoyed it you are right so beautiful and i plan on marrying aman there do you know those laws?thankyou

  • Frankie
    April 17, 2018

    Hi! I hope all is well and that youre enjoying your stay.
    As ive been doing some research, ive found that i may want to live there. Havent had the chance to travel yet (so anxious to do so!). I have been looking into private schools since i do have 2 young daughters (grade school aged)- so far Tirana has what im looking for. Do you have any advice or where to look concerning education for children? This would be a major determining factor, if and/or when i decide to make Albania our new home.
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Frankie
      May 30, 2018

      Hello Frankie, thanks for reading! As I don’t have children myself I cannot comment on the education here, but there are two great Facebook groups which you should join as there are a lot of families on there that regularly talk about education in Albania. The groups are both called ‘Expats in Albania’. Hope that helps!

  • Bill Steele
    April 30, 2018

    Hi! Anita.
    Met you very briefly as you were leaving the Hairy Lemon last Thursday and plan to return very soon.
    Would love to meet you and share a beer,
    Bill.

  • Silas Potter
    May 21, 2018

    Is it possible to get in contact with you? I currently live in South Korea teaching but am American. I will be leaving here soon and want to continue teaching but online. I am seriously considering Albania, and after seeing your post, knowing the prices and the good air quality, I think your area is one I would like to live in! Is the WiFi pretty good there? Able to get organic or atleast good quality produce? Fruits veggies. If you are able to email I would be so happy. mrsilaspotter@yahoo.com

  • Silas
    May 23, 2018

    Hello! I am planning on moving for close to a year hopefully to near your current location based on your blog, and my own personal research. I would love to be able to ask you some questions! If you’re willing to chat, my email is mrsilaspotter@yahoo.com

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Silas
      May 25, 2018

      Hey there, Yes feel free to email me on contact@anitahendrieka.com I am happy to answer your questions over there 🙂

      • Mike Smart
        > Anita Hendrieka
        October 3, 2019

        I’m highly impressed with this your rightup and I would like to have my 2019 holiday in Albania.
        I will send you mail for personal talks. Thanks

  • Adam
    July 10, 2018

    That was a great read, thanks for writing! Definitely at least Tirana on my travel schedule.

  • Natalie
    July 11, 2018

    Hi Anita,
    Thanks for the nice blog. I’m planning to visit Albania in October & stay there for about a year if possible.
    I won’t be working there. I was wondering how I can transfer money for my living expenses. Can I open a bank account there as a tourist? I’ll appreciate any info you can give me. I live in California.
    Thanks
    Natalie

    • Jürgen
      > Natalie
      September 14, 2018

      Hi Natalie
      I ve been staying in Saranda for the month of September and want to go back for one year starting in October maybe we can prospect together i am living for the moment in Brussels 49 years old travelagent i won t be xorking there neither hope to hear from you Jürgen

  • Hazel Blumberg-McKee
    July 31, 2018

    How difficult is it to learn Albanian? I know it’s not related to any other languages–except to ones that are dead. If one doesn’t speak Albanian, what other languages are helpful to know? I’m fluent in English (my native language) and German, but I don’t know how much of a help they’ll be.

  • Dwight Felton
    July 31, 2018

    Hi, I am coming too Albania in September an I am planning living there as a retired voice actor,Filmmaker.
    It would be great too net work with you.
    My email address is soulpwr1@yahoo.com.
    Iam from the southern California and I need too live near the water like you.
    I draw my creative energy that way too.Dwight

  • Jurate
    August 29, 2018

    Hi,

    Anita, Thank You so much for sharing information. I am looking to move in for a month or two in Albania near the beach in October/November 2018. Maybe You or somebody else know something good to rent like in this article, under 300 euros per month? I am looking to rent a studio or a private room near the beach, or something even better :-). At the moment I am looking nice place to relax but at the same time I want to start working online, still early days, also my interests are self development/spirituality/raw foods/holistic living/relationships/fashion… Also I like laugh, have a fun and explore a new things.

    Have a great time everyone! Jurate, gniustuke@gmail.com

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Jurate
      September 9, 2018

      Hello Jurate, Yes, I know of one studio which I rented for those months last year which is right on the beach, about a 15-minute walk to the center. If you’re interested then please email me at contact@anitahendrieka.com and I will give you his details. I paid 150 euro for this studio apartment and it’s beautiful!

  • Jürgen
    September 14, 2018

    Hi Natalie
    I ve been staying in Saranda for the month of September and want to go back for one year starting in October maybe we can prospect together i am living for the moment in Brussels 49 years old travelagent i won t be xorking there neither hope to hear from you Jürgen

  • Karen
    September 21, 2018

    Hi Anita, thanks so much for your take on Albania! I’ve been searching for months for a good alternative for myself and hubby from South Africa. I have a fee questions… Are there job opportunities for people like us, 50 and 57 years old, eith very little cash to start?

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Karen
      September 21, 2018

      Hey Karen, thanks for reading 🙂 I guess it depends where you go. If you plan to live in the capital of Tirana then I’m sure you could try pick up something like teaching or working in the embassies. There are two good Facebook groups called ‘Expats in Albania’. You could ask on there if anyone knows of any job opportunities.

  • Jack
    September 28, 2018

    Can you tell me the best resource for renting locally (as opposed to paying premiums through sites like Airbnb)?

  • Dani
    October 2, 2018

    Great article! Very informative. How is the medical care and cost there?

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Dani
      October 16, 2018

      Extremely affordable. I had a wisdom tooth extracted for 15 euros.

  • Emilia Fuller
    October 16, 2018

    Hi! I’m considering moving to Albania for longterm – possibly Sarande – and I have a couple of questions! Firstly, and most importantly: finding an apartment! I’m a little nervous about showing up with nowhere to live, so I thought I’d book an airbnb to begin with, but the question is, for how long? How long does it take to find an apartment? Is it hard to do? Should I book my airbnb in Sarande or in Tirana if I am looking for an apartment in Sarande? The second question is just about winter, and again, how that will affect how easy it is to find an apartment. If you have any contact details of estate agents that would be wonderful! Thanks so much, and for your blog! Emilia

  • Merita
    November 12, 2018

    Hi Anita,

    I Ioved your post about my country. If you come to Tirana I would love to offer a coffee/ raki with you.
    Merita

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Merita
      November 14, 2018

      Thank you for thr kind offer Merita <3

  • Linda
    December 9, 2018

    Wonderful article! You mentioned that your internet connection was good. The possibility of slow internet was one of the things really holding me back from visiting. Do you happen to know what the actual download, upload, and ping speeds were for the internet in Saranda? Thanks so much for writing this article, Anita!

  • Walter
    January 22, 2019

    Loved what you wrote about Albania. My girl and I travel around a lot mostly in Asia. So now it’s time for Europe.I was hoping to get a place to stay as a base that was cheap enough that I could keep and come back to and of course I thought about Sarande and Vlore as well as Kotor in Montenegro and Split in Croatia or even Dubroadnick. Sarande looks beautiful but so does Kotor etc. I read you went to Kotor and maybe most other places I mentioned so, why Sarande Please compare if you would.

    How cold is it there now in general? Please talk about getting around accessibility. You mentioned that the town itself was about 15 min. Away? You get around by taxi, buss?
    Please tell us more and those videos I love! Compare those towns mentioned if you can.
    Thank you!

  • Shehab
    January 24, 2019

    Hello
    You gave very good information I was looking for
    I’m travelling to armenia in February coming and planing to visite Albania in March
    Can you advice me
    Thanks a lot

  • Kieran
    February 4, 2019

    I have a question. What do you (personally) do once your 3 months are up? Do you apply for extra time (If so and you have done this can you expand on the process and difficulty of extending your stay?) If not, again what do you do?

  • Patricia Love
    March 26, 2019

    I’ve lived in Tirana for three years and fell in love with Sarande last summer on several visits. While I’m in the USA for a few weeks, I’m considering returning and settling in Sarande this time. I’d appreciate if you’d email me with rental information for one person with a nice and well-mannered cat! My plan is to stay for a full year’s lease. Something near the beach would be ideal – one or two bedrooms. Thanks in advance for getting back to me Your blog is positive and cheery. Great!

  • Gordon
    April 8, 2019

    Hi Anita thank you for your blog it was well written and informative. I am wanting to come to Albania, near Saranda in May, I want to look at how I can get involved in any environmental volunteering while there. I did this work in the UK and in India, I set up a registered charity to do this work in India. Ultimately I want to look at settling in Albania? Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated
    Thanks

  • Qybare Pula
    April 12, 2019

    Great story! Being of Albanian decent and born in America, I loved the fact you are living in Albania! It is a beautiful country! I will be visiting in August in Sarande. Hope to see you there!

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Qybare Pula
      April 17, 2019

      That’s fantastic! As you can tell, I love Albania a lot ;p Have a great summer in Saranda! Feel free to message me closer to the time and we can meet for coffee 🙂

  • Owen
    April 18, 2019

    Nice article! I’m living in Ksamil now and I was curious how you found your apartment. The picture of yours looks really nice, if you have any info to pass along it would be greatly appreciated! I’m going to Saranda today to look around. Thanks, enjoy the sun! 🙂

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Owen
      April 21, 2019

      Hey Owen, that’s great! I would suggest joining the Facebook group ‘Saranda expats’ and asking about apartments. There are a few people in that group that have/know apartments available to rent for expats 🙂

  • Mike
    April 28, 2019

    Great info. Thanks

  • Claire
    April 29, 2019

    You have so much interesting information! I’m enjoying reading it and following your links.

    I’m visiting Albania in June and renting a car. The route my husband planned goes through North Macedonia, and we’re seeing inconsistent information on whether this would be a problem. Do you know what the rules are now? Thanks very much for anything you can tell us.

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Claire
      May 2, 2019

      Hey Claire, thanks so much for the comment! Glad you are liking my content <3

      I'm not too sure about the rules from travelling into North Macedonia. Do you mean rules in terms of the car hire company allowing you to go there? or just the safety situation? I would advise joining my Facebook group 'Travelling Albania' on Facebook and maybe ask on there, someone may have been there recently and will be able to tell you more about their experience driving there!

  • Anthony Traino
    May 10, 2019

    Hi Anita,

    My wife is Albanian and we have been thinking about moving to Albania to raise our two children. We currently live in America, my wife immigrated when she was 14. We both dislike the hustle and the lack of community here. How is living in Saranda during the winter? Also, how easy is it to get good healthy groceries? We were there last year, but I don’t remember if it is easy to get healthy vegetables and meats in the middle of town or if you have to go out to some of the villages. Thanks for keeping this blog updated. Please continue to enjoy Albania!

    Anthony

  • Sandeep Sharma
    May 21, 2019

    Thank you very much Anita..
    I just started loving Albania. Can you please let me know if how is this place suitable for people from Sub continent, considering the cultural and tropical differences.

    Also, how would be the case if we would shift entire family of 4.

    Thank again.!!
    Sandeep Sharma
    INDIA

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Sandeep Sharma
      May 24, 2019

      To be honest, everyone is different. I have a different culture from yours so I cannot comment on cultural differences between you and Albania. The best thing would be to come for a holiday first and see if you like it 🙂

  • Hap
    June 2, 2019

    Hi, Anita. Do you find that there is a huge language barrier or is English spoken there at all?

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Hap
      June 5, 2019

      The younger generation usually speaks at least a little English so it’s not hard. Just be prepared to do some hand signals, you’ll be fine!

  • Rob Geiser
    July 7, 2019

    Hello Anita, I am recently retired from the military and researching some areas I might want to visit or live. Is there an area of Albania that you could enjoy living in the alps maybe near a small town but still be close enough to travel and enjoy the sea and some of the larger cities. I just really love mountains and views and some solitude. Thanks for your help. Please feel free to email me with any info also. Thanks again.

  • Kayla
    August 19, 2019

    Hello Anita!

    I work remotely as well and am considering moving to Albania for a year. I noticed you also work remotely and wanted to ask about any issues you experience with power outages and/or internet connection. I read a few articles online about how power outages are common, but those articles where a bit outdated. How would you describe your experience here?

    Thank you and I appreciate the help!

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Kayla
      August 21, 2019

      Hey Kayla, you may experience the odd power outages in the winter when there are storms but I haven’t noticed anything alarming or unusual 🙂

  • Eri
    October 7, 2019

    Hello Anita:).
    Thank you for the great post. I am an Albanian living in Germany for three years now. Sadly, here Albania has a somehow bad reputation and the first question that people ask me is as always about mafia and safety. Hence, thank you so much for sharing your experience, helping in the promotion of Albania and cut down stereotype-based judgments.
    Thanks and all the best! Eri

  • Axl
    October 13, 2019

    Hi!

    How about living in Saranda october to april in terms of the weather and temperatures?
    What about heating in apartments and practical things like that?

    Thanks! /Axl

  • Tigerlilee
    November 19, 2019

    Anita, thank you so much for enlightening the world as to this wonderful country. My question is for a single woman in the country. Not regarding safety but rather regarding the degree of sexism that exists. Living in Sarande is doubtless better than inner country but can you shed some light on this please?? I mean, how would it compare to say, Sicily? I am contemplating a move that area of the world but I don’t think I could take being treated as a lesser day in and day out. Thoughts?

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Tigerlilee
      November 20, 2019

      Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment. In Saranda, I don’t have to deal with sexism. I’m not sure how it compares to Siciliy as I have never lived there but I don’t think you will notice sexism in Albania as a tourist. Gender roles do play a role in Albanian society, however. You will see mostly men in the coffee shops and the women usually stay home to clean and cook. Saying that, that is changing too. But as a tourist, who also has an Albanian boyfriend, sexism doesn’t come into my life. My boyfriend and I are treated equally. You can always come for a holiday and see for yourself how you are treated 🙂

  • Gail Dawson Gray
    February 1, 2020

    Anita, what a thorough and encouraging look at Saranda. Thank you so much! I’m American and plan to move to Saranda soon. I have a question about pharmacies in Saranda. I need to take some daily medication and am wondering if I will find a doctor to prescribe and then a pharmacy to fill the prescription.
    Thank you.
    Gail

  • Bogar Vallejo
    February 26, 2020

    I’m thinkink of making Albania my home. I was considering Sarandë but I’ve been told that in winter time it becomes a ghost town. What are your thoughts? People tell me that it’s better to choose Tirana and maybe go to Sarandë during summer time.

  • Mathew
    March 28, 2020

    My name is Mathew and after this Corona Virus disaster I plan to not only visit the Adriatic Coast from Zadar, Croatia to Saranda, Albania BUT to choose a place along the way that best fits me to move to. I see youre based in Albania and so any help, advice and info would be gratefully received. Im a single 41 year old Englishman who loves good weather, sports and a relaxed way of life.

  • Azar Alex
    June 21, 2020

    Hi Anita,

    I am a Canadian and wanna move to Albania by the end of the year. Saranda looks great. Would I be able to find a studio/room for a 100 Euro?. Thanks.

    • Franta Dopil
      > Azar Alex
      November 6, 2020

      Hi Alex, I own such a studio in the center of Saranda. If you are still interested.

  • Kevin
    July 18, 2020

    How do you go about finding affordable housing in albania? Sarande or Tirana. I only speak english is that going to be difficult?

  • L J
    September 27, 2020

    Albania sounds very nice, but how welcoming of people of color there? Some other parts of Europe are welcoming and some are not.

  • Linman
    September 30, 2020

    How is life like there in the “covid world”? I am considering going to Albania to spend a month or longer, since I can work remotely anywhere. Are places open, can you go out walking, see anything, are the beaches open, any thoughts? Would you recommend it? Thanks!

    • Franta Dopil
      > Linman
      November 6, 2020

      Hi Linman, it is fantastic here. I have been here for a month working remotely for my company. I drove here from Western Europe without any issues (via Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro). I got a One Communication service (20 GB for 800 LEK) and the speed is OK. Nobody from my company could tell that I am not working from my country. The weather has been great. On top of that, you get incredible fruit, vegetables, fish & stuff to live a very healthy life here (and it is very very cheap). My neighbor from Sweden complains that living here is a bit boring. In my case, I do not want to go back to my country anytime soon.

  • Kat
    October 15, 2020

    This post is super helpful! Thanks for sharing.

  • michael hanes
    November 3, 2020

    I’m considering moving from the US. There are many places to consider. I am in my 60’s, have health care coverage and retirement income. I’m getting too old to endure the US anymore. I love my country…well, what was my country. But I dont recognize it anymore. So, is it possible to relocate to Albania permanently? Would it be necessary to apply for citizenship? Any insight would be helpful.

  • jack
    March 3, 2021

    Përshëndetje Anita.
    Did you stop the travelling albania group ?
    Faleminderit.

  • Lawrence Johnson
    March 8, 2021

    Your post is a good read. I am planning to visit Albania and would love to connect and network with you.

    Thanks

    Lawrence

  • Natalie
    April 4, 2021

    Hi Anita,
    Thanks for all the info.
    I’m an American stranded somewhere out there 🙂 planning to come to Albania in the near future.
    Do you know of any whatsapp group around Saranda that I can join to get current info.?
    Thanks

  • Guy
    May 28, 2021

    Great, great article and blog. Curious to know are you still living in Albania?
    We are a family with 3 kids, considering coming to Albania. We are slow-travel family, on the road on and off for 9 years.
    As a Muslim-majority country, do you think Israelis are welcome?

  • David Wrathall
    July 10, 2021

    Hi Anita
    I have really enjoyed reading your blog. You cover everything anyone could possibly want to know and I love the pictures and videos too.
    My wife and i have a long term plan to move to Albania, preferably Saranda. However, my wife likes to swim every day and is concerned that there are no indoor pools she might use during the winter. I just wondered if you know of any hotels with indoor pools that might allow non residents to use on a regular basis for a small fee?
    Many thanks
    Dave

  • Ian
    July 30, 2021

    Hi are you still living in Albania, a freind of mine told me it’s pretty open over there regarding COVID obstructions, I’m looking for a place to spend long periods of time without COVID restrictions and been controlled

    Regards

    Ian from England

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Ian
      August 4, 2021

      Hello, yes I’m still here. There are currently no real restrictions in place. We have a curfew from midnight, however, no one is following it.

  • Julie-Ann Sherlock
    September 3, 2021

    Hi Anita

    Thank you for your amazing guides.

    I am currently in the planning stage of escaping Ireland for a few months. I usually live in Malaysia but returned to my home country in November and am dying to get away again.

    Albania seems the most affordable option, similar to SEA, and mild climate.

    I am hoping to rent an apartment on the beach or close to it with sea views from mid Oct to early Dec. Any recommendations on particular buildings or do you know anyone renting somewhere?

    I need good wifi as will be working while there and would like a location close to a supermarket as I have allergies so will be mainly cooking for myself.

    Is it safe there as a single woman (my mum’s question!) and is it easy to travel around?

    Lastly, am Irish, so of course I enjoy a good night out, are there any lively bars in the city during the winter months?

    Thanks again for all your help so far, you really have made me think that Saranda is the place for me!

    Julie-Ann

  • Niels
    November 17, 2021

    Hi

    How is the infrastructure concerning charging of electric cars?

    I plan to explore Albania in the coming summer and do only drive electric.

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Niels
      November 18, 2021

      That’s a great question. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure since I don’t drive an electric car. I believe there might only be charging ports in the big city of Tirana

  • Abiodun
    January 13, 2022

    I am a Nigerian and i want to come as a Tourist to Tirana Albania, what best way of arriving because i have checked and discovered that there is no Albania embassy in Nigeria. Moreover, i am eligible for applying for Albania E-visa. What are your advices?

  • Jay
    April 25, 2022

    Hi, I read your blog a couple of years ago. Glad things are still working out for you in Sarande. I wound up in Vlore, although I like to visit Sarande, I find the city easy to maneuver – and fewer steps! 🙂
    You know, the thing about Albania is that once you slow down a bit and let things work out – life is really easy here.

  • Fran
    May 18, 2022

    Hi Anita,
    Just stumbled across your blog while researching expat groups in Albania.

    I just returned from a 3-week Balkan trip with 12 days spent in Albania. We went from north to south and ended up in Tirana for our flight out.

    This country is amazing and you’ve hit the nail on the head with your comments and suggestions.

    I loved what I saw so much that I am considering spending 2-3 months there, hence the reading up. I only had a fleeting glimpse of life there and as a tourist, you don’t come into contact with other aspects of daily life.

    We spent 2 nights in Sarande but I wasn’t impressed with the beaches. Actually, beach as in one beach, cos all we saw was the city beach. The road that runs to Butrint is high up and it being cold (April), we didn’t seek out any beaches. Are there any sandy beaches there? We only visited Ksamil which was beautiful, but I can imagine, will be a nightmare of tourists in season.

    Are there any expat forums you know of that I can join?

    Lovely to read that you took the plunge.

  • Erika
    July 5, 2022

    Hi! I have recently started investigating Albania as a place for long term living and stumbled across your blog. Your articles have really inspired me and have kept me digging deeper into the country. Thank you so much for your work!

  • michael
    November 6, 2022

    Greats Reads. I’m going back to immerse myself in the culture with the intent of making it my permanent home. Albania is about the people. Good people with big hearts who have suffered many hardships. Go Bless Albania.

  • Jack
    November 9, 2022

    I’d look on FB, where most expat groups are living…

  • Gary
    February 16, 2023

    Retired military and fireman moving there in May to live. Been traveling the world for the last 11 years looking for my paradise and can’t wait to try this part of Europe.

  • Lucinda
    May 4, 2023

    Thank you so much for writing these articles. I am looking for places that are cost-effective to retire but still beautiful… Moving from ice cold Alberta, Canada and I don’t know what to do… I thought about Portugal?? Mexico??

  • Jules Abate
    August 6, 2023

    Hello Anita!
    Thank you for writing this blog! I am retired living in California, I am seriously considering moving to Saranda to save money while I wait to become a grandmother (it could be a while-my twins are in their early twenties).
    I am wondering if you are still there and if you plan on writing an update soon. I am thinking of traveling to Albania in February of 2024 for a couple of weeks to check out the off season. I will likely come once more in the summer before I make up my mind.
    Thank you again,
    Sincerely,

    Jules Abate

  • Markus
    August 31, 2023

    Dear Anita,
    thanks for your interesting article about living in Albania. Maybe you can explain more detailed how to get a residence permit…
    – How to open a bank account (for which an Albanian address is sometimes needed)?
    – How to apply for certificate of health insurance (which insurance would you recommend)?
    – Where do you get the judicial records certificate evidence?
    – And what did you write into the “individual statement on the motive of stay in Albania”?
    Thanks a lot, best wishes
    Markus

  • Gaby
    November 8, 2023

    Are you still in Albania?

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Gaby
      November 8, 2023

      Yes still here!

  • Gabriela
    November 8, 2023

    Hello again
    I just want to know if this bloc is still up to date? Questions, I’m in Durres at the moment, if I stay there for Christmas, will I find foreigners celebrating Christmas? where? Thanks for your answer, or is Saranda more lively in winter?
    A hug Gaby

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Gabriela
      November 10, 2023

      Hey there, I’m living in Saranda so I’m not sure about where to find foreigners in Durres and the situation around Xmas, but I’m assuming it would be more lively as it’s a much bigger city than Saranda. I would try and find some Durres expat Facebook groups and ask in there 🙂

  • Gaby
    December 17, 2023

    Hello
    Do you now some expats to celebrate in Durres Christmas?
    Thanks gabriela