Miscellaneous: Lek is the local currency here. You can change it at local banks and private offices, but don't change too much, as you won't be able to use them outside Albania. Anyway, if you are coming for a day, you can use euros or dollars in most touristic restaurants and souvenirs stalls.
Miscellaneous: Being a EU citizen you don't need visa to enter Albania. Nevertheless, you can ask the policeman at the border to stamp your passport with the Albanian stamp.
Coming in a daytrip from Corfu, I didn't even need my passport, my national ID card was enough.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: In 2007, there are few guidebooks on Albania.
The Bradt Travel Guide in English, published in 2004 gives fair information. It does not seem to have been updated since then and some information are outdated. As Albania is quickly changing, there is an urgent need for a new edition.
I have also used the « Petit Fûté » guidebook, published in 2006. It is the only guidebook in French on Albania. I do not use the Petit Fûté » guidebooks when others brands (such as the “Guide du Routard”) are available but, being the only one available, I tried it and found that it was a good complement to the Bradt.
Miscellaneous: The Lonely Planet « Eastern Europe » covers: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Ukraine. I have not used it but the advices I got from half a dozen users is that it is not very useful.
The Albania travel guide by Philip Ward was published in 1983. It is of course heavily outdated but still gives useful information on permanent features of the country. It can be found for example at Amazon which describes it as the following : Very Good. The first travel guide to Albania in English published during the Communist regime, illustrated with photographs and maps.Related to:
- Road Trip
Albania paper maps
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Several companies print Albania maps. The following is the list of maps more accurate than 1/1 000 000 that I have identified.
Freytag & Berndt
Albania 1 :400 000
(Slovenia, Croatia, etc…) 1 :1 000 000.
More than the Northern half of Albania (includes Durrës, Tirana and Korça).
(Greece) 1 :700 000. More than the Southern part of Albania (includes Tirana and Durrës).
Serbia & Montenegro 1 :500 000 with the northern part of Albania
Serbia and Montenegro/Bosnia-Herzegovina/Macedonia 1 :800 000 with the northern part of Albania
The Freytag & Berndt is a must have but though the two Michelin are at a larger scale, they sometimes give additional information. I have used these three cards during our travel. The Freytag & Berndt can be inconvenient to use as it is given with three folds. The southern part (south to Gjirokaster) is printed on the third fold and you must unfold entirely the map to view this part. This is when the Michelin for Greece is easier to use.
I have not seen any Albanian maps but I have not searched for. I suppose they can be found in good bookshops in Tirana and in large cities. Feedback welcome!Related to:
- Road Trip
Miscellaneous: The guidebooks which I took with me were the Blue Guide to Albania and Kosovo, a very informative book with plenty of interesting information; and 'Albania, a guide and illustrated journal' but Peter Dawson, published by Bradt, which proved a fascinating read, explaining lots of the little, cultural things I was seeing. As the title suggests, it's not just a guidebook, but a journal of someone's travels through the country.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Mosquito repellent or suffer!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you're in the south of the country, bring mosquito repellant, antihistamine cream, anything like that. There are nets over the windows, but the little sods find their way in anyway, and immediately start breeding (make sure you keep everything as dry as possible, especially an ensuite bathroom if you have one, as they love damp conditions). I took garlic powder and put it in everything I ate, but still got bitten to bits - the only solution was to sleep fully clothed in long sleeve top, long trousers and socks, which was pretty hot, but did at least stop them getting to my skin!
Photo Equipment: Take LOTS of rolls of film, or if you use a digital camera, a good-sized memory card. You will want to take lots of pictures - I really regret not having taken more.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: You might want to take snorkelling gear as the sea is very clear... plus the flippers will help protect your feet from the sea urchins!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Women: Remember to take a good flat pair of shoe's....The roads and pavements can have plenty of holes and uneven bits in them. Take this advise from me, i have experience! So don't wear high shoe's with no grip unless you want to fall in a hole!
Also don't take your best shoe's with you as some roads of the main area can be very dusty/muddy/wet with holes you can't see in the winter months.
Miscellaneous: I order an electric blanket through ebay that was from England (same volltage as Albania) 240v and they shipped it straight over to me instead of sending here to US and then pack it in our luggage. We used it for the whole time we were there almost 3 months. Yes the electic does go out EVERY day but the house are cold any ways so it was real nice to have a warm blanket everynightRelated to:
- Budget Travel
odds and ends
Luggage and bags: don't carry a purse around in the city, I used alittle canvas bag with a zip top it worked great for carrying grocerys and the camera
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: wear sturdy wide bottom shoes, gym shoes don't do good unless wide bottom
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: take something for bugs in the summer and salve for cuts, I got a tyenol 3 for a headache at the clinic it made me have the most awful nightmares so take your own medicine. You can buy any kind of other supplies there they have all P&G products there just wrote in Italian the prices are the same as US prices for western supplies.
Photo Equipment: we took our camera and a camcorder, i regret taking a large camera should have bought a small pocket size one, I had too many lookers at my big camera and at times I stood and watched Ray as he filmed with the camcorder he had the strap hanging down one time and someone almost grabbed it. We did take black tape and wrap around the brand name on the camera equipment that made them look alittle less inviting.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: The Phone you have to get one that works in tri band and buy a phone card when you get there. Our motorola v400 was already unlocked so we took that one. Make sure you get a phone that is already unlocked, the cell phone companys in the US lock their phones so you can't use them with another service. It cost us 20. for a phone card with a phone number a few leks of talk time the cost was outrageous for the price per minute vodaphone (orange card) was almost .55 cents a minute to use it, we only bought 2 phone cards while we were there. we text messaged people for the most part or ring once or twice to say we'll be there or not. It was crude way of calling but we couldn't afford the phone cards. Also buy phone cards only at the vodaphone stores NOT at street vendors you'll get a used card for sure! They can read the numbers off them without scratching off the security label on them.
Miscellaneous: you can buy what ever you need there don't over back you'll just have to carry it all. You can get blankets too. (but not an electric one) Also you will find any kind of adapter you need there to convert your plug from your country to European, they use the big 2 prong round plugs. Pack a few small heavy duty zip lock bags, we used and reused these little bags for everything from carrying snacks to storing paper tickets and money in.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Packing for Albania!
Luggage and bags: Normal bags.
Big trolleys will take attention on you.
That's not necessary.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Normal clothing. So that you don't cause much attention.
Think at the warm climate!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Normal
Photo Equipment: Better take much films with you. It could be hard to find them.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: - A towel is not provided in all hotels.
- Perhabs you will be glad with your clean sleeping bag.
Miscellaneous: - Take with a knife for eating the good vegetables.
- Take with salt and pepperRelated to:
- Budget Travel
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The area around Butrint is swampy and filled with pools of stagnant water in which mosquitos breed. Definitely take along some bug repellent spray!Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Having spent approximately 5 months in the Sheraton-Tirana, I know the "ins" and the "outs" of the...more
Rr. Veli Zaloshnja, Berati Lakes, Berat, 1233, Albania
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Sheshi 2 Prilli, Shkoder, 1233, Albania
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