From the article, you will learn everything about safety in Albania. I will try to dispel some myths, tell you about the crime rate, and the local people. What tourists should be afraid of and whether it is worth coming here for a vacation.
Safety in Albania: Crime Rate
I will answer the main question right away. Albania is a very safe country today. In the global safety ranking, it is above many European capitals, even higher than Madrid and London. For example, there are no migrants here selling drugs in the main square like in Rome.
Useful to know:There aren’t even beggars or other persistent individuals here. In the center of Tirana, yes, there might be a couple of beggars, but in other cities, they are already a rarity.
The crime rate in Albania is very low. There are practically no pickpockets or car thefts here. If you leave your bag on a visible seat, no one will touch it, there is no need to worry.
However, like everywhere else, tourists need to take basic precautions:
- Don’t show large sums of money.
- Expensive gadgets. The latest iPhone, by the way, doesn’t count because almost everyone here has one.
- Lock your car and apartment.
- In case there is a conflict situation, simply say “POLICE.” The locals will understand that you are ready to call the police, and they will be on your side.
Important:In Albania, you can walk at night without fearing for your safety. Be assured that you won’t be cheated, deceived, and you will always be helped if you need assistance, but more about that later.
Stereotypes about Albania and Albanians: True or False
This section is more about the people of Albania rather than the crime situation in the country.
I have noticed that many tourists who come to me for help in organizing their trip, as well as all my friends and acquaintances, have the same stereotypes about Albania and Albanians.
Everyone thinks that here:
- It’s just a deep and endless “soviet” era.
- There’s mafia on every corner.
- In the mountainous areas, they steal children to sell their organs.
- Every other Mercedes in the country is stolen.
- It’s a Muslim country with very strict rules.
- Everything is very cheap here.
Let’s go through these stereotypes in order
- Today, Albania is not the Soviet Union. Yes, there are some issues, and it is a bit behind us. Bank cards are rarely accepted. Street stalls are everywhere. Everything is like it was 30 years ago for us. But in all other aspects, the country wants to be part of Europe. They are building good roads here, actively developing tourism, and have practically eliminated corruption, at least concerning tourists.
- Albania today is not a stronghold of socialism. It is already part of Europe, and in 5-10 years, it will join the Eurozone.
- Regarding the Albanian mafia, we all know about it from movies and stories from the 90s. Today, that is not the case. The country is as safe as can be imagined. It is no more dangerous than walking in the center of Paris or London. Tourists are welcomed everywhere, but the service is unobtrusive.
- What pleases me is that in Albania, people don’t look at you as a wallet. They are happy to help, and no one will take your money.
- As for the theft of children for organs, it is another Albanian stereotype. There is nothing to say about it. Read the article about how we traveled through a very remote mountainous area of the country. The people there are incredibly hospitable.
- Now, about the situation with Mercedes, it’s a mixed one. Mercedes in Albania is a people’s car. Or rather, the locals believe that a real car can only be a Mercedes. Everything else is considered a poor imitation of a car.
- There are indeed many Mercedes on the roads. Approximately 40% by eye. From old 30-year-old wrecks to new S-class cars. And since Albania is a poor country (compared to the rest of Europe), a stereotype has emerged that no one can afford a Mercedes, and it must be stolen. But that’s not true. Today, the level of car theft is almost zero.
The Stereotype about Religion and Prices
- Although over 60% of the country’s population practices Islam, Albania is the only country in the world (it seems) where the main holidays of three religions (Catholic Easter, Orthodox Easter, and Kurban Bajram) are national holidays. There are no conflicts on religious grounds here. Everyone is equal, and Islam is practiced in a very mild form.
- No one wears full-face veils here.
- They drink homemade wine.
- And they eat products that are strictly prohibited in other countries.
- Read more about religion in Albania on the provided link.
- As for prices and the stereotype that everything in Albania is very cheap, that’s also a stereotype 🙂
It’s important to know:There is a prevailing stereotype, thanks to the movies, that everything in Albania is free. That with 10 euros, you can live like a king for a week. No! Overall, Albania is an affordable country. The prices of groceries in the stores are cheaper or comparable to those in major European cities. Some things are cheaper, and some are about the same. In cafes and restaurants, prices are probably cheaper than in our country. However, gasoline is much more expensive. Therefore, Albania is definitely an affordable country, but it can’t be called very cheap. For detailed information on prices for anything that interests travelers, read here.
Safety in Albania: What Tourists Should Fear and Other Hazards
In reality, when you expect something scary and horrible from a country but find yourself surrounded by hospitality, kindness, and safety, it becomes challenging to find any downsides.
In my opinion, the biggest downside of the country that will definitely catch the eye of tourists is the garbage. It’s everywhere, except in the centers of major cities, and even there, it’s not perfectly clean. But overall, you quickly get used to it, and after a couple of days, you don’t even notice it anymore. You look at the beauty and landmarks through that garbage.
Advice:You just need to be mentally prepared that there is garbage, bottles, and bags lying almost everywhere along the roads, and sometimes on the beaches. And don’t expect cleanliness here, like, for example, in Switzerland.
There are no other downsides here. The scariest thing tourists should fear is being overcharged by half a euro somewhere if they don’t clarify the price in advance, but even that is quite rare.
And if, while reading this article, COVID-19 is still not a thing of the past, read about the situation in the country regarding the coronavirus, where to get PCR tests, the requirements, and much more.
In conclusion: for many, it’s a revelation, but today, safety in Albania is at a very high level. Tourists have nothing to fear in Albania, in any place, at any time of the day. People are extremely friendly, hospitable, and always happy to help foreigners. And if you learn two or three words in Albanian, all doors will be open to you.
Traveling in Albania is absolutely safe!
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Albania
- Flights at the best prices with juicy discounts
- Car rental in Albania (cheaper – only by bus):
- Hotels and apartments throughout the country: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card in Albania
- Taxi and transfers: Intui.Travel