Planning to visit Albania but you’re not sure how safe the country is? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this guide will tell you all you need to know about how safe Albania is for tourists!
Like most other European countries, Albania is quite safe for the average tourist if they exercise caution. Some crimes are more common than others and certain parts of the country should be avoided, so keep reading for more detailed information about safety in Albania.
It usually depends on where exactly you are in the country, but for the most part, it’s safe to go out at night in Albania. If you’re in bigger cities or popular tourist destinations on the Albanian Riviera, you should have no qualms about going out at night.
It’s trickier for solo female travelers, but you should be fine if you take all the usual precautions. Stick to places where there’s street lighting, cross the street if you feel like you’re being followed or you’re uncomfortable, don’t go to remote areas alone at night, and most important of all, follow your gut. Fear is an instinct and your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, and you should always listen to your body and basic instincts.
Avoid nightclubs and strip clubs if you want to stay entirely safe during your evenings in Albania. Avoid anything that’s associated with exotic dancing and nudity because these places are a hotspot for gun violence in Albania. Also, bars and clubs with exotic dancers are usually run by the Albanian mob, and there’s often a lot of drugs and violence involved.
Although most of the violent crime happens behind the scenes and doesn’t really affect the average visitor, you never know when more serious stuff and go down and you could get caught in the crossfire. So, if you want to avoid the possibility of any unsafe incidents, just stay away from these places altogether.
Solo travel in Albanian cities is just as safe as in most other European cities, if not safer. The one thing you need to keep in mind is that Albania is a pretty small country in terms of population size, and so are its cities.
The largest city by population is Tirana, and it has a population of just under 400,000. Compare that to London, which has a population of almost 9 million. Cities with s smaller population usually have fewer instances of violent and petty crime, which statistically makes Tirana a lot safer than London and some other cities you might have already visited.
Albania is also safe for solo females, and you generally don’t need to worry too much about bad things happening to you while you’re there. Pickpocketing is perhaps the most common type of crime that tourists are a target of, so as long as you keep your valuables hidden and don’t wear very flashy jewelry, you’ll be fine.
Public transportation in Albania is generally safe for everyone in Albania, but there’s always a chance of running into a pickpocket while you’re riding the bus. That’s why it’s important to keep your valuables safe, wear your backpack kangaroo style while you’re riding public transport, and avoid taking out your phone or listening to music.
I know it’s not fun to ride the bus for 20 minutes without earphones in, but unless you’re sitting down with your bag in your lap and your hands on the zippers, it’s smart to just be on alert. Pickpocketing is fairly common and it can happen to anyone, so just make sure that everything of value is safely put away in your clothes/bag when you’re getting on public transport.
You can avoid all this risk if you decide to rent a car and drive yourself places while you’re in Albania. It’s worth mentioning that most European citizens and Americans don’t require an international driving permit and can easily (and cheaply) rent cars in Albania.
Not really. The tap water in most major cities like Tirana is generally very clear and looks safe to drink, but it has a high amount of chlorine. This affects the taste and it can cause stomach cramps and issues with your digestive system, so it’s generally much safer to drink bottled water.
Even locals prefer to purchase bottles of water for drinking, and in most cases, they use tap water for doing the dishes, cooking, and cleaning. It’s safe to drink in a pinch, meaning you likely won’t experience any issues from a glass or two, but drinking only tap water is not safe.
It’s worth noting that the quality of tap water varies depending on the region and it’s always best to consult with locals in the area. Also, you can get away with using a filter that gets rid of the chlorine, if you’d rather not spend money on single-use plastic bottles during your entire stay in Albania.
The northeastern border with Kosovo is the main area to avoid while you’re traveling in Albania. There’s a rather long history of disputes with Serbia about the territory of Kosovo, and the security situation there is still quite unpredictable. Locals there are usually heavily armed and there are still unexploded landmines in this area, so it’s generally not smart to travel to this part of the country.
The upside is that there really aren’t any major tourist attractions here, especially when there are so many other fascinating things to do in Albania that are nowhere near the border with Kosovo.
Some rural areas should also be avoided, especially in the south of the country where there are a lot of marijuana farmers. This is still illegal in Albania and there are clashes with the local authorities from time to time, so it’s best to just be far away from all that.
It’s always smart to monitor the local media whenever you’re in a foreign country. Just turn the local news on while you’re drinking coffee in the morning and getting ready and catching up with the current events.
This is a smart thing to do because it makes it much harder to get caught off guard while you’re in the country. You’ll be aware of what’s going on in the city, and you’ll know which places to avoid because there was a collision or there’s a strike going on somewhere.
A lot of people can afford travel insurance but are hesitant to get it because they don’t think they need it. The reality is that you most likely can’t afford to not get travel insurance. It is wasted money in the sense that you’re paying for a service you would rather not have to use, but if you end up needing travel insurance, you’ll be absolutely ecstatic you paid for it.
Look for travel insurance that includes the whole package, so medical insurance, emergency services, and insurance of your valuables. Most travel insurance services will only insure a specific value of items, so keep that number in mind when you’re deciding if you really need to bring your DSLR or if your phone is enough for the trip.
You can take all the necessary precautions at your disposal, and you can still get unlucky and get robbed or mugged. These things just happen and sometimes there’s absolutely nothing you can do to prevent it, so it’s important to at least be aware of your options and steps to take if something like that happens.
If you get robbed, you’re likely going to be in shock and confused about what you need to do. The first logical step is to report this to the local authorities, especially if valuable items were stolen. The second thing to do is to get in touch with your country’s embassy and seek emergency consular assistance. This is especially important if your passport gets stolen since the embassy is the only body that can help you in this scenario.
Credit card fraud is fairly common in Albania, and tourists are common targets for thieves. It’s nothing to be worried about if you’re careful about your credit card transactions and you never leave your cards out of sight.
It’s also a smart idea to get yourself an RFID-safe wallet or bag, which will protect your cards from card scanners and identity theft. Also, be cautious when using ATMs, especially if there are suspicious individuals in the area. If you have the option of using an ATM inside the bank, it’s generally the smartest thing to do.
Check if there’s a camera or a card scanner if you think that an ATM has been tampered with and just don’t use it if you think there’s a chance you could get scammed. It’s generally not a bad idea to exchange your local currency for Euros while you’re at home, and then just exchange the Euros for Albanian lek while you’re there.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!