Is Albania Safe? Honest Tips for Travel in Albania

Is Albania Safe?

is albania safe - what skanderberg square is like
Skanderberg Square – The main square in Tirana

I’m writing this article from Sarande, Albania. I’ve been here in the country for about 6 weeks now. Do I think Albania is safe?

Yes.

I haven’t had any trouble so far. For me most trouble I get, traveling in Europe is from the Police – asking me where I’m from, to see if I am here illegally.

But, in Albania, I didn’t encounter anything like that. The police aren’t bothered about this much here. That may be because they don’t get too many illegals here.

Friendly people

I found people are friendly here. Friendlier than most countries I visited. The only friendlier countries for me would be Scandinavian countries and Germany, and Switzerland.

In cafes, they’re polite and attend to you very well. Especially in touristy places, like beaches (riviera), and the UNESCO heritage sites.

They love the American people

is albania safe
Hilary Clinton Statue in Sarande

Albanians have a thing for Americans here. I hear this is because of the NATO involvement with the Kosovo wars and helping the Albanian people out.

Americans can stay here for one year and even can work. 

They’ve pretty much the same rights as Albanians.

Some people try to scam you

These are the usual culprits like taxi drivers, like anywhere else in the world.

Stay safe by avoiding taxi drivers if you can.

Some wait where the intercity buses drop people off, looking for tourists (though this is not common) offering hotel and transportation services. Just ignore them.

Where are you from?

They usually start with the question “where are you from?” to lure into a conversation.  – Ignore.

Is Albania Safe? Take general safety precautions

Albania is usually crime-free.

Albanian Mafia?

People think of the Albanian mafia when they think about safety here.

They don’t interfere with the tourists here or the locals. From what I’ve heard from the locals, the mafia usually operates outside Albania in Europe and not within.

Safe to walk alone in Albania?

Generally, walking alone at night I’ve felt safe here. Though I haven’t tried very late, like after 11 PM, say.

People don’t usually interfere in your business.

Walk where others walk, don’t go into the alleyways, and so on.

And, don’t get stupidly drunk and be rowdy.

Is Albanian Transport Safe? Buses and other transport. 

albanian furgon
Furgon or minibus for transport in Albania

Keep your purse and bags close to you. Don’t put anything in your back pocket, in crowded buses as you would anywhere in the world.

I’ve felt very safe riding in the buses here.

People are approachable

If you’re lost and in need of directions, people are approachable and very helpful.

I generally avoid people approaching me offering help and I ask for help with other locals going about their daily life.

Not a lot of people speak fluent English here.

It is rare that people speak fluent English, but many speak broken English and are able to communicate with you. But not very common.

Youngsters at the cafes, and others who work in cafes in touristy places, restaurants, tend to speak English rather well.

Don’t expect taxi drivers and bus drivers to speak English. I haven’t met a single bus driver who spoke English to me here.

Despite this, the bus drivers are extremely helpful.

Take care in wandering off in unmarked areas. 

When going hiking or exploring, take care as there are unexploded mines in some areas, buried there during the communist period, and during the civil war. Many still have guns here in Albania. There’ve been reports of people losing body parts because of this.

From what I’ve heard, during the civil war, many people raided the batteries and took the guns for themselves. And later when that was over when the government made it illegal to possess one and demanded them to return, many did and many didn’t.

Many people still play with old grenades, unused dynamite, etc still today leading to accidents, but nothing criminal, still today.

Is it a Muslim country? Is it too strict?

Know that Albania was mainly orthodox Christians before the Ottomans invaded. Even though Muslims are a majority, it is not a Muslim country. It has a secular government and a rather liberal culture. Not like Europe but not like stricter Muslim countries either – for example, Saudi.

People are a bit traditional I would say. But very open.

You still can enjoy a good night out here.

There are many Christians living here.

Is Albania Safe Covid-wise?

As I’m visiting here now, not many use masks, even if the government has made it mandatory to use masks here. The police don’t seem to fine people about that. They don’t even use it indoors. Some do. Most don’t.

Curfew is taken a bit more seriously here.

Not a lot of restaurants offer, hand sanitizers as you enter, so carry one with you.

Albania’s population is spread out, and because of it is rather low population even in cities, you will automatically have a lot of social distancing going on. The only places that not happening are indoors, supermarkets and cafes.

So, is Albania safe?

Albania is Safe and You should come here if you get a chance.

I had a lot of reservations before coming here. But not so much now.

The only thing that bothers me is their transportation system. It is rather inconvenient, no timetables that can be found online. Irregular bus timings etc.

But otherwise, Albania is a nice place to visit. Me being here for six weeks already says a lot.

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