Travel Information about Albania
International abbreviation: AL
Common foreign languages: Italian, English, also French, Russian, German
Currency: 1 LEK = 100 Quindarka
Electric current: 220 Volt DC, 50 Hertz, frequent blackouts and voltage fluctuation; identical sockets as in Austria (intermediate sockets are not needed)
In Albania, there already were several cases of dead birds with proven presence of virus H5N1. Infection of a human has not been yet reported.
When travelling to Albania, the increased safety hazard is reported.
Considerable quantity of arms and ammunition circulates all over the Albania. In the frontier zone with Kosovo there is a lot of mines and unfired charges.
Vehement warning against false car servicemen and delivery services.
The driving over night is also not recommended owing to bad quality of roads (missing channel hatches, deep pot-holes, etc.).
The interest of travellers about the country and people can be outside tourist centres at the coast not understood and can lead to the dangerous situations, therefore the travellers are recommended to use the skilled domestic guides.
Albania lies on the seismic active zone, the earthquakes occur frequently here.
Telephone calls can be sometimes difficult in Albania: the network drop-outs at domestic cell calls occur; the telephone accessibility through telephone line is also sometimes restricted on account of telephone line overload.
The eventual longer stay in Albania is recommended to be noticed to the Austrian Embassy in Tirana. We also recommend to report the departure from the country to the embassy as well.
Each traveller interested in getting to the territory with increased danger, must be aware of it. In this case we recommend strictly to be kept informed as thoroughly as possible about safety situation within the respective region or to verify it regularly during staying there.
The passenger without passport can stay 30 days in the country. The passport must be valid still at least 6 months at arrival. The arrival fee amounts 10 EUR. Longer waiting time at arrival must be anticipated all over the country. The short-term blockades of border crossings without previous notification can occur as well.
The cash amounting the value approx. 1.000.000 ALL or exceeding it, is liable to be declared at arrival. Keeping the dollar or EUR bills of various values is recommended. Currency exchange is problematic.
When importing articles of personal consumption, the customs duty is not laid on; technical appliances and tools should be declared at arrival. Import of arms is prohibited.
Export of money is allowed only up to value of declared amount at arrival. www.bmf.gv.at/zoll
In the coastal region there is a continental climate with dry and hot summer and wet moderate winter seasons. The hilly inland is characterized by cold winters and moderate temperatures during the summer season.
In winter we recommend to have water-proof clothes owing to more frequent strong rainfalls. For more-day-lasting journeys over the countryside during the winter months it is necessary to bear in mind that mainly outside Tirana the hostels are insufficiently heated in case of raining. It can be caused by extensive blackouts.
The health care is provided only in limited way. Therefore, evacuation is inevitable in case of serious illness or accident.
Persons taking regularly certain medicaments should have them in sufficient quantity and also they should have the receipt on prescription for the relevant medicament.
The health and sanitary conditions do not respond to the European standards. Hospitals use mostly only out-of-date or improper maintained sanitary outfit, the supplies of medicaments is also bad. The rescue service is not established, therefore it is inconvenient. The tourists with own car are recommended to pass through the first aid training before starting the journey.
For reasons of insufficient, or missing waste water cleaning plants in the territory of big towns Durra and Vlora, bad quality of sea water can cause the skin irritation or other harmfull reactions for health.
At arrival no vaccination is specified, excepting the passage through the region with occurrence of yellow fever infection. The Special Prevention and Tropical Diseases Institute in Vienna (Phone 403-83-43), as a basic protection for passengers, recommends the extensive vaccination against hepatitis type A + B, diphtheria, tetanus, infantile paralysis and typhoid fever.
Due to insufficient health and sanitary conditions, there is an increased risk for damage of health at consuming the food. Taking meals at simple restaurants and street vendors, or drinking water from water mains or drinks cooled by ice is not recommended. Fruit, vegetable and salads should be eaten principally only peeled or cleaned in pure water. It is highly recommended to have the travel first aid kit, which besides the obviously used medical material contains also medicaments for usual travel diseases.
No agreement on social insurance with Austria exist. The additional insurance for the case of illness or transport of wounded persons should be automatic. This concerns especially for the air transport of wounded people, which is offered by several Austrian companies.
Using the public transport means (trams, buses, taxi-cabs) is connected with several problems. You can use taxi-cabs from a cab-stand in bigger towns, in Tirana also the taxi-cab to be called. The car rental with of without driver is also available.
For passenger cars with less than 1 + 4 seats you must pay the amount 1,00 EUR, with 6 to 1 + 8 seats the amount 4,00 EUR, with more than 1 + 8 seats 8,00 EUR as a daily fee for use of roads.
The main roads in the country have asphalt surface and they are partially repaired. The side roads are partially able-to-be-driven only with four-wheel drive. In winter some mountain junctions use to be often unable-to-be-driven also for a longer time. Owing to risky way of driving and bad roads there is, especially at night, a high risk of accident. New roads can also be unable-to-be-driven for strong rainfalls and following landslides in a short time.
No functional Albanian car club exists all over the territory, and thus any partner for the corresponding Austrian organizations. No guaranteed information on required documents (it is recommended: registration documentation, international driving license, green insurance card).
Separate legal regulations - others
In 1995 the homosexuality in Albania was declared to be non-punishable by a parliament; however, the possibility to contract a marriage between persons of the same sex does not exist so far. Based on Islamic and conservative traditions, homosexuals are separated and discriminated in the Albanian society. Sexual acts are also undesired in public. Steps against coexistence of unmarried couples, e.g. in hotels, are not known.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs notices in this connection that it neither assume any guaranty for the completeness and correctness of these information, nor for eventual damages resulting thereof.