Albania Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Tirana tourist information, Albania food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Tirana. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Albania Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republic of Albania
Area: 28,748 sq km
Population: 3,659,616
Capital City: Tirana
Language: Albanian
Religion: 79,9% Muslim, 20% Christian
Government: Parliamentary Republic
Time Zone: UTC/GMT +1 (Standard Time Zone)
Dialing Code: 355
Electricity: 220-240V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: Lek (ALL)

Money & Costs:
Average yearly salary: USD 6,400

Budget: $4
Mid-range: $7
High: $12+
Budget: $15
Mid-range: $100
High: $230+

Geography: Albania has a beautiful 362 kilometers long white sand beaches coastline, which extends along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. About 70% of the country is mountainous and rugged, therefore it is often hardly accessible from the outside. The highest mountain in Albania is Korab situated in the district of Dibr. It is interesting to note, that the three largest and deepest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula are partly located in Albania. The country is also very rich in flora, because over a third of the territory is forested. The country borders with Greece, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro.

Climate: Being situated between the Mediterranean and the moderate continental climates, Albania has various climatic conditions. The lowlands of Albania have mild winters, with average temperatures of about 7 C (45 F) and warm summers with average temperatures of 24 C (75 F). Summer rainfall is more frequent and winters colder in the mountainous interior. Annual precipitation ranges from about 100 cm on the coast to more than 250 cm in the mountains.

Recommended clothing: It is advisable to dress modestly in earth tones to avoid undue attention. You should pack light. When visiting mosques and churches - dress conservatively (cover shoulders and to below the knees).

Food: Albania, like all of the Balkans, has a Turkish influence in its cuisine. Most of what you can find in neighboring countries (such as Greece or Italy) you will be able to enjoy in Albania. Many Albanians grow various fruits and vegetables around their houses. Most popularly all kinds of grapes, (green, red, green), that raki (an alcoholic hard drink) is made of, are grown. Since Albania is a mountainous country, there are a lot of olive trees, that greatly influenced Albanian cuisine. Most Albanian people enjoy cooking at home, therefore going out to the restaurant for a meal is not very common. People are even baking their own bread at home. There are various traditional Albanian salads, but the main ingredients are usually fresh tomato and onion.

Drink: The most popular alcoholic hard drink is raki. It is a hard drink produced locally in many homes of the Albanians. Try the mulberry rakia - Albanians are the only people in the world that produce this drink with mulberry and plum, and it is really delicious and worth attention. There are various non-alcoholic drinks you can choose from. They range from the well-known soft drinks to the locally produced ones, like Lemon Soda (a fizzy drink similar to Sprite, but with lemon in it). Qafshtama and Tepelana are bottled drinking water, that are popular in all of the country.

Health: It is advisable to drink bottled water, however locals drink the potted water too. The Albanian food is mostly healthy, therefore you should not be afraid to catch an illness. Be careful at the beaches not to step on a shard of glass or a sea urchin. Also note that pharmacies and any other stores are closed from about 12PM to 4PM. You should not be surprised that many Albanians smoke cigarettes. For them it is a normal thing, so expect it everywhere. The government has banned smoking in restaurants but the ban is not observed.

Note: Many rural convenience or food stores do not accept any other method of payment than cash. However larger supermarkets, bookstores and the better boutique stores will accept Credit or Debit Cards.

Public Holidays:
1 Jan New Year's Day
6 Jan Orthodox Christmas
15 Mar Summer Day
22 Mar Nevruz
2 Apr Good Friday
5 Apr Easter Monday
5 Apr Orthodox Easter
1 May May Day
11 Sep Lesser Bairam (End of Ramadan)
18 Oct Beatification of Mother Teresa
17 Nov Greater Bairam (Feast of the Sacrifice)
28 Nov Independence
29 Nov Liberation (at the end of World War II)
25 Dec Christmas Day

Note: When a holiday falls on a Sunday, it is taken on the following Monday. The dates of Orthodox and Catholic Easter and the Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Adha and Eid al-Fitr vary from one year to another.

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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