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Albania Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time in Albania is GMT + 1 hour (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Electricity

Electrical current in Albania is 220 Volts, 50Hz. Round pin attachment plugs and Shuko plugs and receptacles with side grounding contacts are in use. Voltage fluctuations are common.

Language

The official language of Albania is Albanian but Greek is also spoken in many areas. English is not widely understood but is spoken in some of the hotels and restaurants.

Travel Health

Medical facilities (including those for accident and emergency use) are very poor in Albania, particularly outside Tirana. Comprehensive medical insurance, including evacuation by air ambulance is essential before travelling to Albania. There are high levels of hepatitis in Albania and rabies is also a matter of concern as there are large numbers of stray dogs. Tick borne encephalitis has been reported in the north of the country and it is advisable to receive vaccinations for these diseases. Tap water is not safe to drink and travellers should only drink bottled water. A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for all travellers older than one year of age arriving from a yellow-fever infected area in Africa or the Americas.

Tipping

Standard tipping rules apply in Albania. It is customary to tip waiters and taxi drivers around 10 to 15 percent.

Safety Information

Albania boasts a very low crime rate and the area around Tirana, and most of the larger cities are relatively trouble-free, but visitors should avoid travelling at night. It is also prudent to bear in mind the widespread ownership of firearms. Crime against tourists is virtually non-existent although there have been recent incidents of luggage being stolen from hotel rooms and public transport, particularly in the coastal resorts of Vlore and Saranda. Travellers should therefore remain vigilant about their personal security.

Local Customs

The attitude in Albania towards women is still highly conservative, especially in the countryside with modest clothing and behaviour the norm. Homosexuality is not illegal but is not accepted as a cultural norm and public displays of affection should be avoided. Visitors should note there may be some confusion as many Albanians nod to indicate no. Penalties for drug related crimes are severe.

Communications

The international access code for Albania is +355. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (eg. 0044 for the United Kingdom) and city codes are in use (eg. 04 for Tirana and 052 for Durres). Internet cafes are widely available. Vodafone and AMC are the two mobile phone companies, which have agreements with most other European companies. Travellers with European cell phones and roaming enabled should be able to use their cell phones in Albania.

Duty Free

Travellers to Albania may bring with them: 200 cigarettes/50 cigars/250g of tobacco, 250ml of eau de toilette/50mL of perfume, one litre of spirits/two litres of wine. Firearms, ammunition and narcotics are prohibited.

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