While planning your trip to Albania, there are several things to keep in mind some of which may not be found in your Albania tourist guide. Here are some practical information you better remember if you want to make your Albanian experience as pleasant as possible.
Albanians, of course, speak Albanian language. It is a language isolate which means that there is no way to understand the word they are saying if you do not speak Albanian. In the southern region you can also hear Greek. Italian is the most commonly spoken second language, while English is relatively rare outside larger towns.
2. Water and Food Safety
It is recommendable to drink only bottled water while in Albania. Food safety is not a cause of concern but if having any doubts, eat thoroughly cooked meals and you will be just fine.
3. Currency and Credit Cards
Albania is a cash economy which means that cash is preferred method of payment. The Albanian currency is the lek but Euros and US Dollars are often accepted as well. ATMs are found throughout Tirana and larger towns, while credit cards are generally accepted only at major hotels, larger stores and exclusive restaurants. Travelers’ checks are rarely accepted but they can be changed at banks in larger towns.
4. Safety and Crime
Safety has improved significantly over the recent years although crime still represents a major problem in the country. However, foreigners are not targets of crime and you have nothing to worry about it if following the usual safety precautions. There are occasional reports about blood feuds in the mountainous areas but they are becoming increasingly rare and do not pose any risk to tourists.
5. Traffic Infrastructure and Road Conditions
Traffic infrastructure is still poorly developed, especially in compare to the rest of Europe and the country still has not completed all the planned highways. Be especially cautious when driving on minor roads and keep in mind that ignoring traffic signs is very common.
The Albanian people are very hospitable and friendly. According to the CIA factbook, about 70% of the Albanian population is Muslim but Albania does not have a history of religious extremism, while most people declare themselves either as atheists or agnostics. You will not see burkas in Albania.
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