Traveling Luck for Albania
Albania is located in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece and Serbia and Montenegro.
Land in Albania is mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast.
Albanian land covers an area of 28748 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than Maryland
As for the Albanian climate; mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter.
Albanian(s) speak Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects.
Places of note in Albania
Albanian National Map
Regions of Albania
Between 1990 and 1992 Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. In the 2005 general elections, the Democratic Party and its allies won a decisive victory on pledges of reducing crime and corruption, promoting economic growth, and decreasing the size of government. The election, and particularly the orderly transition of power, was considered an important step forward. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure. Albania has played a largely helpful role in managing inter-ethnic tensions in southeastern Europe, and is continuing to work toward joining NATO and the EU. Albania, with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been a strong supporter of the global war on terrorism.
Lagging behind its Balkan neighbors, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime and to spur economic activity and trade. The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad of $600-$800 million, mostly from Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. Agriculture, which accounts for about one-quarter of GDP, is held back because of frequent drought and the need to modernize equipment, to clarify property rights, and to consolidate small plots of land. Energy shortages and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment, which make it difficult to attract and sustain foreign investment. The planned construction of a new thermal power plant near Vlore and improved transmission and distribution facilities will help relieve the energy shortages. Also, the government is moving slowly to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth. On the positive side: growth was strong in 2003-05 and inflation is not a problem.
Albanian natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
Albanian religion is Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%.
Natural hazards in Albania include destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought.
- We advise against all travel to the northeast border areas (i.e. the districts of Kukes, Has and Tropoje) between Albania and Kosovo because of the very poor condition of the roads and the risk of unexploded ordnance placed during the 1999 Kosovo crisis.
- Although public security is generally good, particularly in Tirana, crime and violence still represent a serious problem in some areas. Gun ownership is widespread.
- Albania shares with the rest of Europe a threat from international terrorism.
- You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places visited by foreigners. Please read Security and General Tips and Risk of Terrorism when Travelling Overseas pages.
- Around 16,000 British tourists visit Albania every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Albania is for replacing lost or stolen passports.
- We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Albania. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see: Travel Insurance
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Public security is generally good, particularly in Tirana, and Albanians are very hospitable to visitors, but crime and violence still represent a serious problem in some areas. In February 2006, a bus was hijacked near Rreshen (on the Tirana – Kukes route) resulting in the death of a passenger and a police officer. Although there have been no recent reports of crime aimed at the expatriate community, you should be vigilant about personal security, dress modestly and not display expensive items such as watches and cameras. Central Tirana is generally trouble-free.
You should bear in mind the widespread ownership of firearms.
Albania Country Profile
We advise against all travel to the north east Border areas (i.e. the districts of Kukes, Has and Tropoje) between Albania and Kosovo because of the very poor condition of the roads and the risk of unexploded ordnance placed near the border during the 1999 Kosovo crisis. The areas around Tirana, Durres and Saranda are relatively trouble-free, but you should avoid travelling at night.
Driving can be very hazardous. Roads are poor, especially (but not only) in rural areas. In winter, mountain roads are snowy and icy. During hot spells, the tarmac can melt and become slippery. Flash flooding is possible throughout the year. You should stay alert for large, unmarked potholes. Street lighting in urban areas is subject to power cuts. Elsewhere, except on the major inter-urban arterial routes, there is no street lighting, so night travel is best avoided. We suggest using four-wheel drive vehicles in Albania. There is no national recovery system, so cars should be self-sufficient, carrying minor repair equipment including jack, spare wheel, fan belts, wiper blades, local phrase book, first aid kit, water and overnight food when in remote areas.
Drivers with foreign plated vehicles draw particular scrutiny from the Road Traffic Police. You should adhere to road traffic law at all times as committing even minor offences may result in you being fined.
Albanian driving can often be aggressive and erratic. Minor traffic disputes can quickly escalate, especially as some motorists are likely to be armed. If you intend to drive you are strongly advised to avoid reacting to provocative behaviour by other road users. If you are involved in a traffic accident, even a minor one, you are required to wait until the police arrive. This will usually happen quickly in built-up areas.
You should expect queues at all border crossings, especially at weekends and during the summer months.
Security arrangements at Tirana’s Mother Teresa airport meet the required UK standards. Direct flights now operate between the UK and Albania.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
There are high levels of Hepatitis in Albania. Rabies is also a matter of concern as there are large numbers of stray dogs, although the last reported case of the disease in Tirana was in 1978.
Drink only bottled water and UHT milk.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
In March 2006, the Albanian authorities confirmed outbreaks of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in domestic poultry in the village of Cuka near the Butrint Lagoon in south west Albania and in the village of Peze-Helmes, 14km from the capital Tirana. No human infections or deaths have been reported.
The risk to humans from Avian Influenza is believed to be very low. As a precaution, you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.
You should read this advice in conjunction with Avian and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet, which gives more detailed advice and information.
Albania lies in a seismically active zone, and earth tremors are common. Serious earthquakes are less frequent but do occur.