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Albania travel advice

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Albania - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Albania.

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Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime

Crimes of opportunity and petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occur. Thieves could target foreigners, particularly in crowded public areas such as:

  • markets
  • airports and public transportation facilities
  • hotel lobbies
  • restaurants, patios and outdoor cafés
  • tourist sites and attractions

While travelling:

  • ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • don’t keep your passport and other types of ID in the same place and carry a photocopy rather than the original
  • avoid showing signs of affluence or wearing expensive jewellery
  • avoid carrying large sums of cash or unnecessary valuables
  • avoid deserted streets at night
  • pay attention to your surroundings, particularly in crowded and tourist areas
  • be extra cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs

Residential break-ins

Residential break-ins occur. Burglars may target rental accommodations or houses and apartments owned by foreigners.

  • Choose well-secured accommodation
  • Make sure you lock doors and windows at night and when you’re away

Vehicles

Car theft and break-ins occur. Rental and luxury vehicles are a target of choice.

  • Familiarize yourself with your route before starting the trip
  • Keep your windows and doors locked at all times
  • Keep your belongings out of reach
  • Use secure parking facilities, especially overnight
  • Never leave belongings unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk

Violent crime

Organized crime-related violence occurs. Criminals may use firearms. In some instances, they have used improvised explosive devices.

While violent incidents don’t typically target foreigners or tourists, there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. When using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
    use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Cybercrime

Cybercrime also occurs. Perpetrators may compromise public Wi-Fi networks to steal credit card or personal information.

  • Avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks
  • Avoid making purchases on unencrypted websites
  • Use sound judgment when posting information on social media
  • Be particularly vigilant when contacting or meeting individuals known over the internet
  • Never click a suspicious link in an email or text message asking for your credit card details

Overseas fraud

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances.

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant during:

  • sporting events
  • religious holidays
  • public celebrations
  • major political events, such as elections

Terrorists may use such occasions to mount attacks.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance

Albania declared its landmine-free status in 2009. However, some areas remain clearly identified as dangerous zones or are surrounded by visible tape, especially along Albania’s northeastern border with Kosovo.

If you plan on visiting or hiking in these areas:

  • pay attention to signs indicating the possible presence of landmines
  • stay on paved roads
  • avoid open fields, road shoulders and unmarked trails
  • report anything suspicious to local authorities

Demonstrations

Demonstrations take place from time to time.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Soccer matches and sports events

Sports events sometimes lead to rowdy behaviour and violent incidents.

Be vigilant if you attend soccer matches and sports rallies.

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone in some rural areas may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

If you are a victim of sexual assault:

  • seek medical assistance, even if you do not appear to have been physically harmed
  • contact the local police immediately and ensure they file a report
  • inform consular officials at the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate

Advice for women travellers

Water activities

Swimming

Coastal waters can be dangerous.

In the fall and winter months, waves can be unpredictable, breaking further than expected and causing strong undertows.

  • Be cautious when walking on the shore
  • Avoid visiting beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings
  • Always consider warning flags at beaches
  • Don’t dive into unknown water, as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death
  • Follow the advice of local authorities

Recreational boating

If you are planning to go boating:

  • know the navigation rules
  • follow safe practices for all water activities such as jet-skiing, water-skiing, diving, swimming or fishing
  • don’t overload your boat capacity
  • carry a VHF marine radio that will generate your position in case of emergency
  • be prepared for emergencies

Water safety abroad

Mountain activities

Mountain activities, such as hiking, can be dangerous, especially if unprepared. Trails are not always marked and weather conditions can change rapidly, even in summer.

If you intend to go hiking or climbing:

  • never do so alone and do not part with your hiking companions
  • consider hiring an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you’re properly equipped
  • stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out
  • do not venture off marked trails
  • pay attention to signs indicating the possible presence of landmines

Power outages

Power outages occur regularly, including in Tirana. They may affect the provision of essential services such as heating and water supply.

  • Verify the schedule of power cuts with local authorities
  • Make sure your phone is always charged
  • Keep supplies of food, water and fuel on hand in case of lengthy disruptions
  • Carry a flashlight

Feral and stray dogs

Feral and stray dogs are common throughout the country.

Don’t approach or feed them as they could be aggressive.

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Major roads are passable, but secondary roads lack maintenance.

Driving conditions may be hazardous during winter, particularly on mountainous roads in northern and southeastern Albania. Heavy rains and landslides can hamper overland travel. Roads, including major routes, may become impassable. Power outages can also affect street lighting and traffic signals. Low-speed farm equipment, horse-drawn carts and wandering livestock are also common hazards.

Drivers are aggressive and can be reckless. They don’t always respect traffic laws.

If you plan on driving in Albania:

  • always drive defensively
  • be vigilant for pedestrians walking along roadsides, including on major highways
  • carefully plan any travel outside the capital
  • use a four-wheel-drive vehicle if travelling outside of urban areas
  • inspect rental vehicles thoroughly
  • ensure the rental company provides assistance in case of mechanical problems
  • pre-negotiate fares and schedules

Public transportation

Buses, minibuses and trains operate between most major cities, but are unreliable. Safety standards are generally poor and petty crime is common.

Ferries

There are ferries connecting Albania with Italy and Greece. Weather conditions and strong winds may lead to cancellations or delays.

  • Pay attention to pre-departure notices from your carrier
  • Double-check the departure schedule before heading to the port

Taxis

Official taxis are generally safe.

  • Use only officially marked taxis
  • Negotiate fares in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter, as you may be overcharged

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Albanian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave from Albania.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Business visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Student visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period

You may apply for certain types of visas through the online visa portal.

Useful links

Children and travel

The Albanian government may consider children born to an Albanian parent to be Albanian citizens even if they were born in Canada and have a Canadian passport.

Children under the age of 18 are only allowed to leave Albania with both parents or with the consent of both parents. Upon exiting Albania, the absent parent must provide a statement of parental consent to travel, notarized by Albanian authorities.

If your children will be travelling to Albania alone or with one parent, contact the Embassy of the Republic of Albania in Canada before departure to ensure that they meet entry and exit requirements.

Useful links

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Tick-borne encephalitis

Risk

Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country. 

It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.

Recommendation

Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.

A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.

Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Rabies

Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that can cause fever, pain and bleeding under the skin.  In some cases, it can be fatal.  It spreads to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, or from the bite of an infected tick.  Risk is generally low for most travellers.  Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock.  There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners.

Medical services and facilities

Good health care is limited in availability. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.

Access to medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and specialists is limited. Government hospitals often lack basic drugs and equipment and have poor hygiene standards.

Ambulance services are very limited. In case of illness or injury, you may consider taking a taxi or private vehicle to go to the hospital rather than waiting for an ambulance.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons

Canada and Albania are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Albania to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Albanian authorities. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect prison sentences and heavy fines.

Useful links

Identification

Authorities may request to see your ID at any time. You must also present a passport upon check-in at a hotel or to rent a car.

  • Carry valid identification or a photocopy of it at all times
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it’s lost or seized
  • Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents

Photography

Photography of military installations and critical infrastructure is regulated.

Request permission from local authorities before taking photographs of such installations.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Albania.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Albania, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Albania.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Albania, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Albanian court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Albania to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Albanian law doesn’t criminalize sexual acts or relationships between persons of the same sex.

However, 2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Driving

You must carry an international driving permit.

The legal alcohol limit is 0.05 percent.

Police have taken drastic measures to decrease the number of accidents. They strictly enforced:

  • laws against drinking and driving
  • speed limits
  • other traffic laws

Respect the rules of the road to avoid heavy fines and confiscation of your driver’s licence.

If you are involved in a road accident, even a minor one, wait for the police to arrive.

International Driving Permit

Money

The currency of Albania is the lek (ALL).

Credit cards are accepted in major cities. Cash is required for small purchases and for purchases over 1000 lek. Carry cash in rural areas.

You must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have more than €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum includes:

  • cash
  • cheques
  • money orders
  • traveller’s cheques
  • any other convertible assets

Cash declarations - Customs of Albania

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Natural disasters and climate

Flooding and landslides

Heavy rains, particularly during winter, can cause flooding and landslides including in Tirana. Roads may become impassable and infrastructure damaged.

  • Exercise caution, particularly in areas around major rivers
  • Stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • Follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation orders

Bulletin on natural hazards - Institute of Geosciences (in Albanian)

Earthquakes

Albania is located in an active seismic zone.

Earthquakes occur frequently and may disrupt communications, particularly the mobile telephone network.

Familiarize yourself with earthquake security measures in public and private buildings.

If you’re in or around an affected area:

  • monitor local media for the latest developments
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Earthquakes - What to Do?

Wildfires

Forest fires are common during the summer. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a significant fire:

  • stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
  • follow the advice of local authorities

Bulletin on natural hazards - Institute of Geosciences (in Albanian)

Air pollution

Smoke haze and other types of air pollution can be hazardous in Albania. Heavy construction in urban areas may contribute to poor air quality. Air pollution levels can change quickly.

During periods of high pollution:

  • limit your outdoor activities, especially if you suffer from respiratory ailments or have pre-existing medical conditions
  • monitor local media
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Air pollution in Tirana - World Air Quality Index

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial 112:

Other emergency services:

  • police: 129
  • medical assistance: 127
  • firefighters: 128

Consular assistance

Tirana - Consulate of Canada
Street AddressRr. Ibrahim Rugova; Nd 42, K 5; H7Telephone+ 355 (4) 225 7274Fax+ 355 (4) 225 7273Emailtirana@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-AlbaniaServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookEmbassy of Canada to ItalyTwitter@CanadainItalyOther social mediaCanada in Italy
Rome - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressVia Zara 30, Rome 00198, Italy (Immigration/Visa/Consular)Telephone+39 06-85444-1Fax+39 06.440.3048Emailconsul.rome@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-ItalyServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookEmbassy of Canada to ItalyTwitter@CanadainItalyOther social mediaCanada in Italy
Consular district

Albania, Malta, San Marino

For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada to Italy, in Rome, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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