Albania Travel Tips
Albania was a complete surprise for us. We had no clue what to expect and we had read some not so positive blogs online about Albania. So we were completely surprised when we arrived in Shkoder from Montenegro. We had read about Albania being underdeveloped, very difficult to travel in etc. but we got shown the complete opposite in this beautiful country. Super friendly people, very easy to travel in, and Tirana that felt modern. We did not experience any of what other people had experienced traveling through Albania. On this page you can read all our Albania travel tips to make your trip great. For more tips and ideas, head to the bottom of this page, where you can find all our blog posts from Albania.
Albania is quite of the radar for many travellers, and the ones that do go, usually stay by the coast. But it is a country that definitely should be on everyones bucket list. With beautiful nature, amazing food, traditional villages, communist landmarks, it is a very interesting country to travel through and get to know more.
In our experiences it was very easy and safe to travel in. Many people think Albania is unsafe.. but we did not get that feeling at all. Whenever we had issues we could just ask the closest person for help and they would go all out to help us – even if they did not speak English, they would help you or get someone who could speak English.
We can’t recommend visiting Albania enough and we hope we can inspire you to do so.
Albania Travel Map
We mainly stayed at AirBnbs in Albania – there was loads to choose from everywhere we went. In general there is a lot of good value accommodation around. As a couple it was easy to find apartments for a good price. We tried to stay for about €20-25 per night. We didn’t have to try hard or lower our standards to find good accommodation within our budget.
The most expensive place was probably Berat, but we stayed in a private room in a very nice hostel there.
Albanian food is a mix of Italian, balkan and Turkish. The Italian influence is very strong and you can find great pizza and Italian food around Albania, especially along the coast. In the mountains the food is a little different, but also the best. It’s less fish and more meat. The food was very homley with local ingredients. It is really some of the best food in Europe.
Albania is diverse, with a long coastal line and beautiful nature and mountains. So there is something for everyone. As we came in November we didn’t spend any time by the coast, but it looks beautiful. Albania is not super catered to tourism, especially not inland but we mainly enjoyed local life, walking around the places we visited, trying different food and coffee. In Tirana you will find lots of things to do as in any other capital city.
We went by bus everywhere in Albania. Mainly the small local busses that only takes about 10 passengers. It’s impossible to find any information online, so you will have to ask someone. We usually asked at the bus stop where we got off (if there was an office) or our AirBnB hosts, which were always very keen to help out. So we never had any issues – you just need to ask.
Regarding bus stations.. they’re are non existent in most places. In Shkoder all the busses went from the streets around the central round about – so you just need to know which street your bus goes from, again it was super easy to just ask someone and they will show you the right way/bus. In Tirana there was different bus stations (it’s only a big car park) depending on where they went as I understood it.. it was a little confusing – make sure to plan in time to go to the wrong one. We were late but still managed to catch the bus as it left late as well. Berat was the only place with a “real” bus station.
Even though internet said there was no busses where we wanted to go we always managed to find a bus going that way so we never had any problems. We also had some of our most memorable moments on the Albanian busses, especially the small local ones where you get very close to everyone travelling on them. It was such great fun! And also very cheap.
There is no way to buy tickets in advance, you just have to show up and usually you buy the ticket on the bus, sometimes you do it in a kiosk, but that only happened to us in Gjiorkaster. Make sure to go early if it is a small bus (which it most likely will be) to get a seat.
Cost of Travel in Albania
We try to live on a budget of €1000 per month per person, €2000 in total for the two of us each month, which leaves us with €66 per day.
We are not super cheap when we travel as we still want to experience the places we go to. We tend to choose accommodation where we can cook, at least breakfast. But we do not usually eat all our meals at home.
Below you can see how much we spent in each category. The total cost for 17 days for the two of us was €1164, which ends up being €68.50 per day for the both of us, which is just over budget. However, we did a lot of traveling around in Albania and didn’t think of our budget. So for what we got it was very cheap.
- Accommodation: €397 34.2% 34.2%
- Food: €476 40.9% 40.9%
- Activities: €38.50 3.3% 3.3%
- Travel: €101 8.7% 8.7%
- Coffee: €32 2.8% 2.8%
- Alcohol: €38.50 2.8% 2.8%
- Miscellaneous: €81.5 7% 7%
Accommodation: we opt for places with a kitchen, where we have a private bathroom. We prefer staying in apartments and we usually do not go for the cheapest option, but still keeping it under midrange.
Food: in this category all restaurant visits and supermarket purchases are included. We try to keep this cost low but we really do enjoy trying local food. Included in this category is also drinks with dinner and lunch, we usually drink water or a soda to lunch and a beer or a glass of wine with dinner – however all alcohol drunk outside of meals is not included in this category. Restaurants are kept to budget and midrange places, we tend to go to a nicer restaurant about once a month to celebrate.
Activities: all actives are included in this category, such as museums, entrance fees to attractions etc. However, this tend to be low as we prioritise other parts of our travels.
Travel: this category includes all transport between places as well as within cities. Here we try to opt for the cheapest options. We only use taxi/uber when we need to and walk a lot within cities. The biggest part of this category is the busses we take between destinations.
Coffee: we love to try to find the best coffee places everywhere we go. Therefore we decided to have a coffee category which includes all coffee we drink except for the coffee we have for breakfast. We usually have one or two coffee stops per day.
Alcohol: all alcohol that is not consumed with a meal is added to this category. We are not big drinkers, but we do enjoy a beer or a glass of wine from time to time.
Miscellaneous: in this category we add things like toiletries, cigarettes, medicines, ATM charges, Sim cards + data etc.
All our blog posts from Albania
One of our most googled items during our travels through balkans was how to cross land borders between countries. Most of them were pretty straight forward, especially since we were on busses who knew which borders are open for foreigners etc. However, at one point we...
Albania is a beautiful country, blessed with amazing nature, mountains and good food. One thing I did not expect in Albania was all the picturesque and historical towns and cities. I was blown away time after time visiting some of these places. It is such a...
Our last stop in Albania was Korçë, a small city known for its BBQ and old bazaar area. Korçë is high up which meant it was much colder than other areas of Albania we were in. If you travel by bus in Albania, as we did, don’t miss the bus between Gjirokaster and...
We came to Gjirokaster in November, very very low season, and we were pretty much alone. We only saw two other tourists during our 2 nights there. This also meant that a lot of the shops and restaurants were closed, however, as there are locals living there as well...
Berat is a popular stop for any tourists in Albania, and for a reason. The historical part of this town is beautiful. With the small white and black houses on the mountain side, and a living castle at the top with breathtaking views over the mountainous area. What to...
We spent a week in Tirana, getting there I was quite run down and exhausted, realising I had a travel burn out so we decided to not do too much and try to live more ”normal” life for a few days. We enjoyed taking walks, going to the cinema, trying new food, just...
Shkodër was our first stop in Albania. It’s located in the northern part of the country, close to the border of Montenegro. We spent a couple of relaxing days in Shkodër, not doing too much as I was a bit sick during our time there. However, we did go to a few places...
Before we went to Albania we had read some horror stories about travel through Albania by bus. These blogs left us quite uncertain and even a little scared. We got on a bus in Kotor, Montenegro, that would take us to Shkoder, in the Northern part of Albania. We...