Travel to Albania
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
What you need to know if you want to visit the Land of the Eagles...
On the northern border of Greece is a country with beautiful beaches and bunkers galore!
Photo Credit: "Glacial Pond Albania #Valbones #Dailyshoot" by Leshaines123 is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/46018453@N06/8992925915
U.S. Embassy in Albania contact information:
Rruga Stavro Vinjau, 14, Tirana, Albania
Phone: +(355) 4 2247 285
Fax: +(355) 4 2232 222
Here is the latest from the U.S. Embassy in Albania (https://al.usembassy.gov/updates_covid19/):
COVID-19 Latest (10/27/2020):
Albania has confirmed more than 19,500 cases of COVID-19.
Starting October 15, 2020 wearing a mask for any person over 11 years old and above in public areas, indoors and outdoors, is mandatory. Non-compliance with this rule may result in a fine up to 3,000 ALL (about $28.42 USD).
All cultural events and other large public gatherings in Albania are cancelled indefinitely. Professional sporting events have resumed, with no spectators allowed to attend. Beaches are open and outdoor exercise is permitted.
Malls and shops are open with strict social distancing guidelines in place. Hairdressers and dentists are open with strict social distancing guidelines in place. Restaurants and cafes are open. Public transportation has resumed.
All indoor activity centers for children, gyms, sports centers, swimming pools, internet cafes, cultural centers, and entertainment centers reopened on June 1, 2020. Libraries and museums are open.
All maritime and air borders have reopened. Enhanced screening and quarantine measures are being implemented. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. There is not a curfew in place and there are no restrictions on intercity or interstate travel
"Albania Flag" by Kosovo Future Maker is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/36124499@N05/3338834570
What do US Citizens need to do to get in?:
Good news! U.S. citizens are permitted to enter Albania and a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) is NOT required for entry. Commercial flights returned to Albania on June 15, 2020. U.S. citizens who are returning to the United States are currently only being allowed to transit one Schengen country on their journey home, so keep that in mind when you are planning your return trip.
U.S. citizens do not need a tourist visa to enter Albania, but your passport must be valid
for at least three months beyond your stay. You may stay up to one year in Albania without applying for a residency permit. U.S. citizens do not have to register with the regional office of the border and migration authority for stays less than one year.
If you plan to remain more than a year, you must apply for a residence permit. To “restart the clock” on the one year time limit, you have to depart Albania and remain out of the country for at least 90 days. Shorter trips outside of Albania during your stay do not lengthen or re-set the one year limit.
When driving in Albania, a U.S. citizen can use a valid international driver’s permit issued in the United States. An International driver’s license/permit can only be used for one year. If you wish to drive in Albania for more than one year you must apply for an Albanian driver’s license.
Drugs and Alcohol:
Every year, many U.S. citizens, including students, are arrested abroad on drug charges or because of their behavior under its influence. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, so be informed. Many arrests, accidents, and violent crimes have occurred as a result of alcohol abuse. While in Albania, driving under the influence of alcohol is considered a crime by local authorities, as it would be in the United States. You could be detained by the police and placed in jail if caught under the heavy influence of alcohol.
If you are traveling to Albania with a preexisting medical condition, you should carry a letter from your doctor describing your condition and medications, including the generic names of prescribed drugs. Any medications should be in their original containers and clearly labeled. Check with the Albanian Embassy in Washington, D.C. before traveling to make sure your medications are not considered illegal narcotics.
"File:Albania - Location Map (2013) - ALB - UNOCHA.svg"by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is licensed under CC BY 3.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29589956
What to do:
Now that you know if you can get in and how long you can stay, let's talk about what you can do once you arrive in Albania. Albania is not in the Schengen zone which is a nice break for American travelers who cannot visit those countries as of this writing. Albania was under communist rule until 1991 and then was opened to global visitors.
Albania is on the northern border of Greece, to the west of Macedonia and on the southern border of Montenegro. On the western border of Albania is the Adriatic Sea.
For outdoor lovers, one can hike the mountains, hike the trails, and enjoy the thermal springs. The historic city of Kruja has beautiful nature views, the Museum of the National Hero, and the Illyrian castle. Llogara National Park combines the beautiful mountains with a seaside climate. Dhërmi has crystal-clear waters and small pebble beaches. In northern Albania there are the Western Alps. The city of Vermosh is 1,100 meters above sea level and is surrounded by high slopes. There you can trek trails, mountain climb, ski or fishing for mountain trout.
The city of Saranda, is located on a natural shelf facing the Greek island of Corfu. There are daily ships that connect Saranda with Corfu. Four small islands in the south are covered by Mediterranean vegetation and surrounded by wonderful marine flora and fauna. A salt lake, a lagoon of tectonic origin, lies inland near Butrint.
For history lovers, you can find out more about its history of its number one religion Islam and also Christianity. There are beautiful mosques and churches. You can also check out the National Museum and the National Art Gallery. Berati is a 2,407 year old city that in the 3rd century B.C. was turned into a castle city known as Antipatrea. Inside the castle, they built churches and a calligraphy school. Today, residents still live inside of the castle walls.
Tirana, the capital of Albania has clubs, bars, cafes, and taverns.
For tours and adventures you can
Each region of Albania has different staple foods. Some of the most popular dishes of the central region are fish (Sole, bass, eel, and mullet), plum casserole, Elbasani yogurt, Tirana stew, baked phyllo pie, and baked rice.
Some of the most popular dishes of the southern region are meat and cheese pies and rich soups featuring lemon and rice. Desserts include baklava and many other regional specialties. Olives are very popular as appetizers, salads, and other vegetarian and meat dishes. Raki made from grapes is a part of most meals here, and serves to enhance the local flavors.
In the northern region, corn is the main staple. Traditional dishes include baked rice, risottos, fritters, casseroles, pies, and mashes. Jahni Meat (beef or lamb sautéed with onions, garlic, sauce and spices) and Baked Stuffed Eggplant are two of the most popular dishes.
For more information on Albania, check out their official website at: http://albania.al/
So I hope we provided a lot of information around the rules to get into Albania and a picture of what is open now when you visit. There is so much history and tradition in this country. If you like to hike, ski, shop or just hang out at the beach, Albania has something for everyone. We look forward to being able to visit Albania one day and I hope you do too! Let us know if we have sold you on visiting Albania on Twitter @witytravels. Until next time, remember that adventure is out there. And we plan to find it!