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You are here: TRAVEL GUIDE Traveling to Albania
 
 

Traveling to Albania

Languages: Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects

Religions: Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
Nationality: Montenegrin(s)
Ethnic groups: Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2%
Area: total: 28,748 sq km, land: 27,398 sq km, water: 1,350 sq km
Climate: Mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
Terrain: mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast
Major cities Top 5: Tirana the capital,which is also the largest city. Next is Vlora,in Southwest of Albania - the most attracted by tourists.The third one is Shkodra,in North of Albania.the forth is Korca,in Southeast of Albania. And Durress as the last.

 

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PASSPORT / VISA REQUIREMENTS

A valid passport is required by all nationals . All the foreigners* from the following countries enter the Republic of Albania without a visa, with the passport and by paying 10 Euros. The foreigners that enter without a visa have the right to stay in Albania only 30 days for an entry and they may stay up to 90 days within the calendar year. VISA The European Union, U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand nationals can enter Albania without obtaining a visa but you'll have to pay an entry fee of €1 (if you visit Albania on a daytrip it can be free, for short stays it can be €1). Be sure to receive a reciept and keep it with you, as guards may request it upon exiting the country as proof of payment. The Albania guards are very nice and do their best to help out and will, on occasion, allow fees to be paid in dollars or will forget to charge you. It's worth making sure you've got the Euros on you as the customs officers at Mother Teresa airport don't give change. As of 2008 the entry fee has been changed from €10 into €1. There is a scam going on at the border with Montenegro: guards ask for €10, but when you give them €1 they agree and let you in. As well as paying to get in, you need to pay €1 to leave the country- although on occasion tourists are allowed to leave via the Macedonian border without paying. When crossing the border with Macedonia on foot, the guards only accept €1 and €2 coins, you can not pay with two €0.50 coins. You can check the up to date Visa regim of Albania following this link.

TRAVELLING...

By plane
The "Mother Teresa" International Airport is located 15 minutes away from Tirana. It is served by European flag carriers such as British Airways, Alitalia, Lufthansa, Austrian, and the low cost carriers Germanwings and Belle Air.
At the airport exit, there are numerous taxis 24/7 that can take you to the city. The taxi fee to the city center is around €15 (2000 Lek).
There is a bus that runs once an hour between the airport and Skanderberg Square in the centre of Tirana. It costs 2€ each way, It runs from about 8AM to 7PM.

By train
It is not possible to enter or leave Albania via train. There are, however, trains that operate within the country. Though the service is limited, the price is inexpensive, and the line from Pogradec to Elbasan in particular is scenic.The trains in Albania are still in extremely poor condition.

By bus
You can reach Tirana by coach from
Istanbul, Turkey (20hr, €35 one-way)
Athens, Greece (12 hr, €30-35)
Sofia, Bulgaria (22 hr, €25)
Tetovo, Republic of Macedonia (7 hr,€ 15)
Prishtina, Kosovo (5 hr, 20)
There is now a daily bus link between Ulcinj in Montenegro and Shkoder. There is also a shared taxi (mini buss) from the parking place next to the market in Ulcinj. It goes at 1PM and costs €5 euros, it takes 1.5 hr.There are no scheduled buses from any other point in Montenegro into Albania.
There are also buses running daily from Ioannina to the border at Kakavia (9 daily, €5.70, 1 hour). From there it's a short walk between the Greek and Albanian checkpoints. Just make sure you don't delay, as the furgon (minibus) to Gjirokastra won't wait for one extra passenger and you will be forced to haggle with predatory cab drivers.

By boat
Ferries to Durrës arrive from Bari (9h, €50) and Ancona (19h, €70). A high-speed service operates from Bari (3h, €60).
There is also a reliable overnight ferry service operated by Skenderbeg Lines from Brindisi to Vlore Skenderbeg Lines
Ferries from Corfu to Saranda run every day.

By car
You can reach Albania by car from anywhere crossing through major cities of the neighbour countries such as:
Podgorica, Montenegro
Ohrid , Macedonia
Prizren, Kosovo
Thessaloniki, Greece
Ioannina, Greece
There is a 10-euro/person tax, which must be paid upon entering Albania. After payment of the tax to the police, the customs officer will issue a "road tax certificate", which you must keep until you leave the country. When you exit the country, you'll pay €2/day and return the certificate.
To enter the country, ensure that your International Motor Insurance Card is valid for Albania (AL) along with the Vehicle Registration and a Power of Attorney from the owner if the car is not yours. The border guards are very strict about allowing cars through without these documents.

By taxi
Albania is geographically a small country and as such it is possible to leave by taxi. Note, however, that the roads are not of western standard and can take several times longer than expected to traverse.
Your hotel will be able to arrange a taxi to the border, where you should be able to change to a taxi at the other side. For example, a taxi from Tirana to the Macedonian border, a distance of 70 miles, will take three hours and cost about €100. A metered Macedonian taxi from the border to Struga should be around €6 and takes 20 minutes, while a taxi on to Skopje would take 3 hours on much better roads and would cost about €120. Passport control will take about 30 mins.

MISCELLANEOUS

Stay safe
Take the usual precautions. Foreigners are generally not targeted by the local crime scene, though pickpocketings do occur.

Stay healthy
It's best to drink bottled water, but potted water is usually drinkable too. The food in Albania is mostly healthy anywhere you go in the country. You can walk around to stay fit, as many people do in the capital. Be careful at the beaches because shards of glass and sea urchins are common on the sea floor. Also, pharmacies and other stores are closed from about 12PM-4PM; so, bring all necessary medicine with you. Also, many Albanians smoke cigarettes. It is a normal thing and expect it everywhere. The government has banned smoking in restaurants but this is not really observed