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Albania Travel Information

Responsible embassy for the country is Norway's embassy in Kosovo.

Albania Travel InformationA number of cases of coronavirus have been identified in Albania, and the situation is developing rapidly. The Albanian authorities have introduced measures to stop the spread of the virus. The measures include, for example, banning port in large parts of the day and prohibiting entry into the country for foreign citizens.

Safety

Norwegians in Albania are encouraged to exercise caution and listen to directions from local authorities.

Security in the public space is normally good, especially in Tirana. Albanians are very hospitable to visitors. Crime and violence occur in some areas, but reports of crime specifically targeting foreigners are rare. There are occasional shooting episodes, but these seem to be related to internal conflicts over criminal and/or business or political interests. The risk of terrorist incidents in Albania is considered low.

  • Countryaah: Tirana is the capital of Albania. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

Foreign tourists are not particularly vulnerable to criminal acts, but it is important, as elsewhere, to look after valuables such as mobile phones, money, passports, jewelry and photo equipment. Pay attention and beware of pickpockets, especially at airports and other places with lots of people.

There have been cases of stolen luggage from hotel rooms, especially in the coastal towns of Vlora and Saranda. Keep your valuables in a safe place.

The penalties for drug-related crimes are high.

Be careful when driving a car in Albania as the driving style in Albania is perceived as reckless compared to Norwegian conditions.

The road standard varies from area to area. The roads are particularly bad in rural areas and in bad weather. If you plan to drive in mountainous areas, four-wheel drive is recommended. The car park does not have a satisfactory standard either. The speed is high and dangerous bypasses are common. The roads are often filled with pedestrians and farm animals. Motorists usually do not stop for pedestrians, even at traffic lights. Travel on unlit roads after dark should be avoided or done with great care. If you get into an accident, even a minor accident, wait for the police to arrive. Parking in desolate places is not recommended due to the risk of break-in. If you rent a car, check if the car insurance covers Albania as well.

Tensions between religious groups and expressions of extremist views are very rare, and attitudes towards Western countries are overwhelmingly positive. However, be aware and avoid demonstrations, political meetings and any public gatherings.

Albania is located in an area with high seismic activity and is therefore subject to earthquakes. Albania was hit by two major earthquakes in the fall of 2019, with the strongest measuring 6.4 on Richter's scale. It is believed that more earthquakes could hit Albania in the future. The embassy encourages Norwegians to become aware of the precautions that should be taken before, during and after any earthquakes.

Albania has been severely hit by flooding after heavy rainfall in recent years. This occurred both in January and December 2010, in February 2015 and in December 2017. Thousands of people were affected and the government defined the events as a natural disaster.

Outside the embassy's opening hours, the public can contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24-hour operating center on Phone: +47 23 95 00 00 or by E-mail: UDops@mfa.no

Entry

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Norwegian citizens do not need a visa to Albania for a total of 90 days. Although Norwegian citizens are visa-free to a country, only passports are approved for identification documents.

The passport must be valid for at least three months after the end of the stay.

For information on residence permits for studies, work, etc., contact the Albanian Embassy in Stockholm which is accredited to Norway: http://www.ambasadat.gov.al/sweden/en

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): A number of cases of the virus have been detected in Albania, and the situation is developing rapidly. Follow local authorities' advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation.

The Albanian authorities have introduced measures to stop the spread of the virus. The measures include, for example, curfews in large parts of the day. Only necessary trips to the store and pharmacy are allowed and one must apply in advance for permission to go out with the authorities.

Foreign nationals are prohibited from entering the country and Albania's land borders are mainly closed to buses and private traffic. There are restrictions on transport inland. Private vehicles can only be used for travel to Tirana airport, and police permission must be obtained in advance. Air traffic out of the country is very limited, but there are still some flights leaving Tirana International Airport.

See information on the Albanian Health Authorities website (in Albanian only).

If you are in Albania and suspect you have been infected by the virus, call 127.

You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.

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Medical facilities (including emergency rooms) are very poor, especially outside Tirana. Make sure you have full travel and health insurance. Albania is not a member of either the EU or the EEA. European health insurance card is therefore not valid in Albania.

The Albanian health care system is not recommended. Some foreign hospitals have been established in Tirana in recent years, which are of a higher standard than the state hospitals. If you need emergency medical assistance during the trip, call 127 or 042 222 235 and call for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance company immediately if you are referred to a hospital for treatment. It is not recommended to perform surgical procedures in Albania as this is not absolutely necessary for urgent medical purposes

Hospitals/clinics with English speaking staff:
American Hospital: http://al.spitaliamerikan.com/en/
Hygeia Hospital: http://www.hygeia.al/
ABC Clinic: http://abchealth.org/home

There are poor water and sanitation conditions in Albania, especially outside the major cities. Tap water should not be drunk. Mineral water is easy to buy. The hygiene conditions at most international restaurants are acceptable.

Seek medical advice well in advance of departure for vaccines. All pets must have a vaccination certificate/health certificate. The Institute of Public Health recommends that anyone considering traveling to Albania should be vaccinated against hepatitis A, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and poliomyelitis. Although the journey in question will not increase the risk of these diseases, it is advisable to update these vaccines together with travel vaccination and counseling.

There are many pharmacies, but you have to be aware that there are pirated products and medicines that have expired. Those who are addicted to certain medicines (for example, diabetics, allergy sufferers, etc.) should bring this from Norway.

Practical information

There is no time difference compared to Norway. The electrical voltage in Albania is 220 volts, but the voltage is often too low during the day and too high at night due to overload. This can lead to many and often prolonged power outages.

There is poor GSM coverage outside the big cities and few roaming deals with other countries' companies. However, Netcom and Telenor's subscribers can use their mobile phone in Albania.

National telephone code: +355
Internet domain:.al

The national currency is weak. It cannot be used outside the country. In some places, especially where there are many tourists, euros are also used.

Visa is common in most cities, but there are still not many payment terminals. One cannot count on restaurants and hotels outside Tirana accepting credit cards. Some hotels and restaurants accept payment by card. Cash purchases are mostly used for cash, and there are many ATMs in the cities.

Public offices are open between 08:00 - 16:30 (Mon.-Fri.) Banks are open from 09.00 - 16.00 (Mon.-Fri.). Most stores are open from 8am to 8pm Mon-Sat. Many shops are also open Sundays.

National holidays are January 1, March 22, May 1, November 28 and 29, and December 25. In addition come four moving religious holidays in connection with Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Easter and Muslim Id al-adha and Id al-fitr.

The country's official language is Albanian. In addition, there is widespread knowledge of Italian, English and French.

Before World War II was approx. 70 percent of Muslims and 30 percent of Christians. Today, society is very secular and European manners and fashion/ clothing apply.

Albanians are very hospitable despite widespread poverty. It is not uncommon to be asked for coffee and raki (grape liquor) by random acquaintances. A rejection of such an invitation should be done tactfully so as not to offend the person. Equally insulting is when the guest tries to pay for or leave money. Tip: Bring small gifts for the hosts and their children (such as a bag of candies).

There is a Mediterranean climate in most of the country but a somewhat cooler continental climate in the mountain areas north-east. It irks some from October to December, but otherwise Albania is characterized by a very sunny climate. July-August are the hottest months with temperatures of between 30 and 40ºC.

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