Is Albania Safe? (Everything You Need To Know)

is albania safe

Stunning beaches, incredible food, friendly people, and rich cultural heritage; Albania has become an increasingly popular travel destination and should be visited by everyone at least once.

Generally speaking, Albania is a very safe country to visit. While it is essential to remain vigilant and to protect your personal belongings, it is typically safer to walk the streets here than of the UK or USA.

Granted, we’re not so sure about the countries medical care. In fact, in certain areas, it’s severely inadequate. There is also petty crime such as pickpocketing which you will need to consider, too.

However, there is no need to stay awake at night. We have compiled this in-depth guide on staying safe in Albania, so you are loaded with all of the information necessary when exploring this beautiful country.

We’re going to be considering a range of safety concerns when it comes to visiting Albania. From whether it’s safe to drive in Albania, to if it’s safe for a solo female traveller. We are going to explore Albania in its entirety.

If you’re worried about backpacking in Albania, or even just taking a short break there, we understand entirely. Let us address all of your safety concerns and share with you how to stay safe in Albania.

albania architecture
Albania’s unique architecture

How Safe is Albania? (Our Opinion)

We love Albania. For some people, it’s almost unheard of as a travel destination; however, there is plenty on offer for this upcoming country.

Albania should unquestionably be on your list of places to see. The people are super friendly, and it’s also a surprisingly cheap country to visit.

Albania is also very safe. Over 120,000 British citizens alone visit every year.

Violent crime is pretty much non-existent and rarely involves tourists. Likely the biggest threat you will need to watch out for is pickpockets; however, they are still less occurring than in other major tourist destinations.

Earthquakes do occur in Albania, like in November 2019, which killed 52 people and left another 4,000 homeless. The country has a high seismic activity and is among the most commonly hit by damaging earthquakes in Europe.

Always stay up up-to-date with geological events and know what to do in the case of an emergency.

BUT…

With all that said, we still consider Albania a very safe place to visit.

How Safe is Albania? (The Facts)

Yes, Albania is safe. As a matter of fact, the numbers speak for themselves.

In 2019, over six million people visited Albania according to new reports. That is an increase of 15% compared to the previous year.

Albania is becoming increasingly popular, which is a crucial element in the countries economic growth. Locals want to keep Albania safe as it’s good for business and good for appearances.

Now, about these earthquakes…

Albania is situated alongside the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, an area prone to earthquakes. The most recent quake was on the 26th November 2019 and resulted in the death of 51 people, and another 3,000 that were wounded.

Between June and November 2019 the country experienced a total of three powerful earthquakes. The region is not new to these types of events, although the most recent incident to the same severity dates back to 1960.

However, life in Albania continues as usual. Nothing has stopped the thousands of visitors that travel to the country each day. Just make sure to stay up to date with any geological activity before visiting the country.

Is Albania safe for solo travellers?

albania solo traveller

Travelling alone provides a unique and beautiful experience. We think everyone should travel alone at least once.

Albania is generally very safe, and there is no reason to be worried about travelling alone. In fact, many solo travellers have expressed how much safer they have felt here than in other European countries.

Of course, there are still precautions you will need to take as travelling alone comes with its own set of dangers.

  • Staying in hostels is an excellent place to meet new people. Not only can it get lonely travelling on the road alone, but it’s also much safer travelling with a friend.
  • Tours are a great way to learn about the country in a social and safe setting. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for help. If you get lost or need help, most Albania’s speak English and are very friendly and welcoming.
  • Just like with every country, avoid travelling to remote areas alone. 
  • Although Albania is relatively safe, try to stay in public places.
  • Take care of your personal belongings. Pickpocketing does occur in Albania, so make sure to watch your belongings at all times.
  • Blend in as much as possible. It shouldn’t be difficult, as the dress code in Albania is modern and western.

We would highly recommend solo travel to Albania. Not only is it fun and exciting, but it is also extremely safe. You will have a fantastic time!

Is the water safe to drink in Albania?

The tap water in Albania is not safe to drink. Stick to drinking bottled water as the locals do, which is readily available in all parts of the country.

The sewage and water system is old, damaged, and incomplete. Leakage in the water system can cause a significant health risk.

There are certain areas where drinking tap water is fine, but it all depends on the exact location and sometimes, even the building. If in doubt, consult with the locals living in your area, or the landlord of the building.

For general purposes such as washing dishes, brushing teeth, and cooking, the water is safe to use. If you do need to drink the tap water, it is always best to be on the safe side and boil the water first.

Is the food in Albania safe? 

albania food

Albania has one of the worst food-safety ratings in all of Europe.

The rating emanates from the countries ability to manage the food safety risks associated with meat products, especially the conditions in which animals are held for breeding, mistreated animals during transport, and unsanitary slaughter methods.

The country is ill-prepared and does not have adequate safety procedures when it comes to animal products.

Ensure that all meat is cooked thoroughly before eating.

But it’s not just about what you eat; it’s also essential to consider where you eat. We recommend looking for restaurants with a high volume of people to ensure the food is always fresh. Also, check review websites like TripAdvisor to see what other travellers recommend.

One of the best reasons to visit Albania is the food. Albanian cuisine is tasty, fresh, and rich in flavour. The prices are also more than fair.

Is driving safe in Albania?

roads in albania

There are plenty of places to hire a car in Albania, but just because it’s accessible doesn’t mean you should.

The road conditions in Albania are overall poor, especially in the more rural areas. As the number of visitors increases, so are the countries road conditions.

If you do drive, note that you will need an international driving license and permit. Be particularly careful in the winter, as some of the roads in the northern mountains can become covered with snow and ice.

Albanian’s drive on the right-hand side of the road, and you should always obey the speed limits. Town roads are restricted to 40km/h and usually 80-90km/h on highways. The country has one of the largest road fatality rates in Europe, so driving there isn’t for the inexperienced.

Are taxis safe in Albania?

Taxi scams are prevalent in most parts of the world, and Albania is no exception.

If you are taking a taxi in Albania, always ask to use the meter. Make it clear that you want to use the meter before entering a vehicle, and if they refuse, walk away and take another cab. There is no shortage of taxis in Albania, and another ride is usually only a short walk away.

To avoid being overcharged, we always recommend using a metered taxi wherever possible. If you do need to pay a fixed price, remember to negotiate hard and always to have a rough idea where you are going.

Taxi scams are rampant around popular tourist destinations such as bus stations, airports, and shopping malls.

Is Albania safe to live?

living in albania

While every country has its own set of safety concerns, on the whole, Albania is a safe place to live.

The people are welcoming, the sights are stunning, and the cost of living is likely to be comparatively low. Albania is unquestionably a great place to live.

Amongst the fantastic weather and scenery, the locals have a reputation for being friendly, inviting, and very helpful.

Tirana is the capital of Albania and viewed as the most comfortable for foreigners. However, if you want to explore deeper into the culture and explore what the country has to offer, you may want to choose somewhere outside of the Tirana city centre.

Regardless of what area you choose to live in Albania, it’s a lovely place to live and regarded as one of the safest countries in all of Europe.

Albania Travel Insurance

Enjoy your visit to Albania, but always make sure to get travel insurance! Even if you are only visiting for a few days, you should always take out travel cover. Take our word for it: travel insurance can save you thousands of pounds – so make sure to purchase it before you start your trip.

We highly recommend using World Nomads, but there are many insurance providers to choose from, so make sure to shop around to find the best deal. 

Top Safety Tips for Travelling to Albania

albania tips

Although Albania is very safe to visit, it’s still crucial to remember these few clever travel tips for staying safe in Albania.

  1. Be wary of earthquakes – Albania is an earthquake-prone area. Make sure to remain up to date with geological activity.
  2. Be careful of pickpockets – pickpocketing sometimes occurs in Albania, especially around tourist areas. Always keep an eye on your valuables.
  3. Don’t drink and drive – drink driving is a bad idea anywhere in the world, but particularly in Albania. The country has a strict zero-tolerance policy for drink driving, and the punishments are severe.
  4. Get travel insurance – travel insurance can save you thousands of pounds. Always make sure to take out travel insurance before your trip.
  5. Don’t drink tap water – the tap water isn’t safe to drink. Instead, stick to drinking bottled water.
  6. Take caution on the roads – road safety is one of the biggest concerns in Albania. Death from traffic accidents is amongst the highest in Europe. If you do hire a car, make sure to drive carefully. 
  7. Bring more than one bank card – taking multiple bank cards travelling can be a life-saver. If a card gets blocked, stolen, or lost, then having another card that you can use will save you a lot of frustration.
  8. Tell your bank you are travelling – in addition to bringing an extra card, always inform your bank about your travel plans. Otherwise, you run the risk of having your card blocked.
  9. Invest in a local SIM card – purchasing a sim card will mean you can access apps like Google maps on the go. You will thank yourself for this later.
  10. Take digital copies of passport – take digital copies of your passport and other vital documents and email them to yourself. If anything gets lost or stolen, you can easily access them from your phone.

 

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