It is normal to wonder if it is safe to visit Albania as a tourist when you have never been there before. There is a lot of misinformation spread by travel bloggers that will do anything to make their article seem more appealing to their “scared” audiences.
So lets get straight to the point.
Is it Safe to Visit Albania ?
This past decade, Albania has been one of the safest destinations in Europe for tourists to visit, be it for solo travelers, young couples, and families traveling with toddlers or kids. Albanians are very traditional people, taking pride in their human values and they are most friendly towards tourists.
Here are the green numbers for extra safety :
- 112 – Medical Emergency (No charge)
- 128 – Firefighters (No Charge)
- 129 – Police (No Charge)
- +355 4 2381 681 – Airport / lost and found luggage
The unknown is always scary, and since I am a local, I can explain every aspect of how safe it is in Albania in 2021.
After visiting Albania you will see that you are safer in Albania than in major European countries like the UK or Spain.
But even though Albania is a very safe country, there are still a few things you might want to know. There is nothing wrong with taking a few steps to ensure yourself or your family that you are going to be safe all along.
Q: Is there petty crime in Albania?
Petty crime in Albania is almost non-existent. The reason for that is that Albania has been developing at a very fast pace these last 20 years. Also, people in Albania are very traditional and if you are found to be a petty criminal, you are going to be excluded from the community and no one will even speak to you.
The majority of “criminals” in Albania are considered to be the politicians, which have no interest in violent crimes or tourists. They just find black-hat techniques to maneuver funds from the government to their own bank accounts.
No one is going to try and snatch your purse. No one is going to try and steal your money after you retrieve them from the ATM.
Albania is a very small country with only 2.8 million locals in total. All the families know each other and they don’t want to lose status.
The only petty “criminals” you will find in Albania, are ambulant sellers that don’t pay taxes.
But in my opinion, a lonely grandmother that is selling fresh vegetables from her own back yard, just to make some extra money so she can afford a living, surely is no criminal.
But the municipality police consider these illegal vendors to be fully-fledged criminals for not paying taxes and never leaves them alone. Sometimes even confiscating their merchandise which consists of vegetables and fruits.
Q: Is Urban Transportation safe in Albania ?
There used to be petty thieves in buses but in the year 2020, all the buses have cameras, and if they catch someone stealing, the police intervene, not to mention that the locals will give him a couple of complimentary slaps. That is mostly why there is no petty theft on buses anymore.
Everyone minds its own business and you may even see people start friendly conversations with each other on buses.
There is a real friendly note all over Albania.
Taxis in Albania are all licensed and they are all very safe and most polite to foreigners. They may even speak English, Italian or other languages.
The only danger from the taxis that do not belong to big taxi companies is the chance that you may get overcharged.
There has never been a case where a crime has happened in Albania involving Taxis and passengers.
Just make sure that the taxi uses a taximeter and you pay only the price that is shown in the taxi meter when you arrive on your destination.
Q: Is it safe to visit Albania with your family? (Traveling with Toddlers or Kids)
It is perfectly safe to visit Albania with your family, even if you are traveling with a toddler or kids. There a lot of parks and children playgrounds in Major cities. Actually your kids may make new friends in Albania. The children in Albania are very well mannered and tend to be very curious and positive towards foreign kids.
This doesn’t mean that you can leave your kids unsupervised. They can get lost if they are young and don’t have any communication devices with them.
It is safer for your kids in Albania than in other countries. There is such a small population in Albania and the police can intervene more efficiently.
There are no hygiene problems or special diseases that target kids. It the same as in most places in Europe. No causes for concern, I’m just mentioning all these to reassure you.
Q: Is it Safe to Visit Albania for Solo Travelers ?
The majority of tourists that visit Albania are solo travelers be it male or female. Locals are very friendly and always willing to help solo travelers without asking anything in return.
It is safe to say that Albania is one of the safest destinations for Solo travelers. Hotels are mostly filled with solo travelers.
Albania is a beautiful country to visit as a solo traveler.
The nightlife and partying atmosphere is just amazing. Everyone is friendly and just wants to have fun and enjoy the night.
There are a lot of young single males and females in Albania and they are very keen on foreigners.
There is no danger in going out alone at night. The streets are crowded until the late hours of the morning. Yea, Albanians like to party and go out at night a lot.
Q: Is it safe to visit Albania’s Rural Areas ?
It is safe to travel in rural areas of Albania because most rural areas in Albania serve as tourist traction. Albania has the most beautiful countrysides and rural areas in the Balkans which are filled with tens of thousands of visitors every year.
There are many mountainous rural areas on the north side of Albania and they offer breathtaking views.
Each of these areas has hotels, wood cabins, and civilization. But it is built in a certain way not to interfere with nature.
One location I always recommend is Valbona. It’s a hospitable small village in the middle of the mountains near the city of Tropoja. It also has one of the most beautiful rivers in Albania with crystal clear blue water.
It is also a great destination for wild campers, hikers and so on.
Although I would advise to not go hiking during the night. That is the most active time for wildlife such as bears, wolves, and snakes.
But it is completely safe to drive during night.
Q: Is is safe to drive as a tourist in Albania ?
It is completely safe to visit Albania in your own vehicle. All the roads have signs and directions and they are in very good driving condition. Driving to the countrysides is always recommended to tourists as Albania has amazing views to offer.
Be careful when driving in the north during winter, as you might need chains in your wheels in case of ice. But all the roads have signs for when you need chains.
You might want to be careful in the city because some drivers might be in a hurry and will not always obey the traffic lights.
Also, make sure the road is clear of any pedestrians when driving. Pedestrians are the most dangerous in my experience.
Also beware of pizza delivery motorcycles while driving as they try to fit in places that won’t fit.
Albania is still a developing country, thus some secondary roads are poor and have holes. But the main roads that connect towns in Albania are at the European level.
When it comes to Albanian drivers they can be erratic drivers. But to be honest every country has its “aggressive drivers” so just be careful as you usually would while driving.
There is one thing I need you to be very careful about bikers, especially if you want to visit Shkodra.
Shkodra is known as the “City of Bicycles”.
The problem though is that bikers sometimes, decide to bike right into the traffic. You will get used to them.
The cities in Albania are close to each other and road travel is rarely a major chore.
I highly recommend you visit the Albanian Riviera too. You can travel by bus which will cost you 1-10 Euros max, or you can just rent a car. Renting a car in Albania isn’t expensive at all and you can explore so much more with a car.
Albanian Riviera roads are the most beautiful panoramic roads I have ever seen. On one side you will see a magical sea frame, and on the other side, you will see magnificent high mountains. If you rent a car, you will probably be able to find secret beaches that you can camp out on.
Some of the coastline roads are curvy, but most of them are very wide and nicely paved.
Q: Is it safe to go Hiking or Camping in Albania.
It is safe to visit Albania ‘s mountains and pathways for hiking or camping. But always let someone know where you are going. It is easy to get lost while hiking and not all the hiking areas offer mobile signals. Also, avoid hiking at night. Camp out and wait for the morning to start hiking again. There might be wild animals which are most active at night.
This is all information you might already know if you are an experienced hiker or camper but consider it a friendly reminder.
There are tens of thousands of tourist hikers and campers every year in Albania.
Also there are a lot camping grounds and establishments with proper signs and civilization nearby.
There are a lot of hiking grounds with signals and directions, but I am a hiker myself and I often like to wander off track in search of adventure and often got lost.
Luckily there are a lot of other people who wander off the official hiking routes and I have stumbled upon other more experienced hikers who guided me the way back.
Q: Is it safe to walk around the streets in Albania ?
I can assure you that it is very safe to walk around the streets in Albania even if you are visiting it on your own.
You can walk around the streets on your own or with family and friends and no one will bother or even think of doing any harm to you.
According to World Nomads and other travel blogs, walking around in Albania is safer than walking around in the USA, UK, or France. In these countries, petty crime is a big problem and a large number of people have fallen prey to pickpockets. Meanwhile, in Albania, petty crime is almost nonexistent.
Since Tirana is the capital city of Albania it is the most populated one compared to its other cities.
If you walk around Tirana and other main cities such as Durresi, Saranda, Vlora, or Korca, you will notice a large number of policemen around the streets that are always ready to help travelers if they need anything.
Usually, the main streets are always populated with individuals either going to school, work, going home, having a walk, or just enjoying a coffee or having a meal.
The “negative” thing when it comes to walking around the cities are stray dogs and cats, but they are all vaccinated. They wander or sleep around on most of the streets but no harm comes from them.
Apart from that, all the cities such as Tirana, Saranda, Pogradec, or Durresi offer peace of mind during the night too. There are a lot of areas that are very populated during night time.
The most populated ones are always the city centers. People in Albania very much enjoy going to a bar to grab a beer or at a restaurant during the evening.
Each city has one or multiple pedestrian streets lined with bars and the time frame from 7 to 12 is the busiest one since most locals finish their shift at 7 and try to catch up with their friends and family and just relax a little bit.
Q: How do Albanians treat travelers?
Hospitality is a key virtue of Albanians. This virtue is passed through generations, so don’t be taken back if a local says hello or offers to help you if they see you struggling.
I know that a lot of people have pictured Albanians as very dangerous criminals. I can’t blame them because their perception is based mostly on movies such as “Taken”, where Albanians are pictured as drug dealers or human traffickers.
If you are at the supermarket and are looking confused at the prices or the labels, they will come to assist you. Locals can even offer you a drink or a meal.
An old Albanian adage says that “An Albanians house belongs to God and the guest”.
Locals try their best to make travelers feel welcomed in their country and will try their best to help you enjoy your time to the fullest.
In many cases, locals even might invited you and your friends to their house, which to be honest you might find it a bit odd at the beginning.
But they are very kind and will treat you like family. This gesture is very common for Albanian locals. They always try their best to make tourists always feel good.
I also want to add that Albania is the most tolerant country I know when it comes to religion.
There are churches and mosques on the same street and there is not an “unwritten or written code” on how you should dress. Despite your faith, you will be treated with kindness and respect.
Q: Is it Safe to Visit Albania for Gay tourists?
It is safe to visit Albania for gay tourists. Most Albanians are indeed traditional and conservative, but there are also anti-discrimination laws in power since 2010 and homosexual encounters are legal in Albania.
There are also three organizations focused on LGBT rights: Alliance Against LGBT Discrimination, Pro LGBT, and the Pink Embassy.
As far as I know the elderly is the category that doesn’t quite support LGBT rights and that is part of the old mentality. My best advice is to not visit small rural villages, or if you want to, try not to behave in a distinct manner.
Probably locals will not even ask you for your sexual orientation and if you want extra safety try to not expose yourself too much and you will be fine.
When it comes to big cities including Tirana or Durresi, you will be safe. The LGBT life in Albania is alive, and same-sex marriage is legal.
I have seen many gay and lesbian individuals with their partners or friends on the streets or different bars and no one even thinks about insulting or being passive-aggressive towards them.
In a survey of 2015, in terms of LGBT rights, Albania was ranked 19th out of 49 European countries observed by ILGA – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
This shows that Albanian laws do protect LGBT individuals.
To sum it up Albania is even safer than some really important European countries, it is safe for tourists, solo travelers, the LGBT community, and also for children.
There are no active conflicts in Albania and their hospitality is just amazing, you will always feel special and welcomed.
Albania is one of the safest countries to visit as a tourist in Europe. There are thousands of tourists every year since tourism is one of the strongest points in the economy of Albania.
It is safe to travel Albania in every aspect that doesn’t include the dangers of nature.
It is safe to visit solo, with family and even toddlers.
There are no special diseases and petty crime is almost nonexistent.
So If you are thinking of visiting Albania, do so without worrying about safety issues.
Also, it is a good idea to have the emergency green numbers located at the beginning of this post on your phone, for extra safety.
With all that said, be safe and see you in the next post.
- Pudelek (Marcin Szala) / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
- Dickelbers / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
- (WT-shared) Nenad Bumbić / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)
- Eri85 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
- Regularcheese / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
- Arlindi1987 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
- Petrit Bejdoni / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
- Kevin Jasini / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
- Leeturtle / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
- Albinfo / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)