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!
📚 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
I 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?
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!
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?
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.
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.
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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.
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?!
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.
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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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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Definitely. In fact, Albania is probably my favourite place that I’ve ever lived.
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!
Other articles you will love:
- Lessons I learned from living in Albania
- Incredible Cities in Albania to Explore
- How to Hire a Car in Albania (Everything You Need To Know!)
- Albania Itinerary: 1 week in Albania (7 days)
- The Best Summer and Music Festivals in Albania
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