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Albania Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Europe

Full Name: Republic of Albania
Capital City: Tirana (Tirane)
Language Spoken: Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects

Albania Travel Insurance

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flag-albania

Geographic data

41 00 N, 20 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m

Land boundaries

total: 720 km border countries: Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Montenegro 172 km, Serbia 115 km

Natural hazards

destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 20.1% permanent crops: 4.21% other: 75.69% (2005)

Environmental current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents

Climate

Temperate climate with warm and dry periods from June to September, cool and wet from October to May. April to June and mid-September to mid-October are the best months for visits. Flash-flooding is possible throughout the year. Required clothing Warm clothing and rainwear is advisable for winter. Lightweight for summer.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+1 daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Population

3,581,655 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.8% (male 464,954/female 423,003) 15-64 years: 66.3% (male 1,214,942/female 1,158,562) 65 years and over: 8.9% (male 148,028/female 172,166) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 28.9 years male: 28.3 years female: 29.5 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

0.52% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

15.11 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

5.22 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

-4.67 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.43 years male: 74.78 years female: 80.34 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.03 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Suits should be worn. Punctuality is expected. Business cards are common and European practices are observed. Meetings are commonly held in a restaurant, but also at a company. Albanians are relaxed and informal. Delays are not unusual. Confirm appointments in advance. Fresh from a socialist system, Albanians may not be familiar with in-depth contract law or western methods of negotiation. Meanwhile, corruption in Albania is endemic, and legal protection for foreign firms is very limited. Foreign firms can expect their local partners in Albania to take advantage of this situation. While not every Albanian businessperson is likely fraudulent activities, caution is warranted. Office hours are 0730-1530 Monday to Friday. All offices are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Crime

Albania has a high rate of violent crime. Street crime is fairly common and occurs particularly at night. Crime is generally directed at targets of opportunity, not at foreigners specifically. Armed carjackings are a matter of considerable concern, especially for drivers of four-wheel drive and sport-utility vehicles, which criminals covet. Persons who are carjacked should surrender their vehicles without resistance. Those resisting carjackings or attempting to run roadblocks have been shot and wounded, some seriously. In the northeast, the Bajram-Curi/Tropoja area is more prone to crime.

Hotels

Albtourist runs the state-owned tourist hotels but many others are now privately-run. The Ministry of Construction and Tourism is currently classifying accommodation in one of five categories according to the facilities offered. The bed capacity is expected to continue increasing. Hotels in and around Tirana Include: - Hotel Europapark Rogner Intl., Austria; Blvd. Deshmoret E Kombit Tel: (42) 34-295, 35-035 Fax: (42) 34-447, 35-050 - Chateau Linza Motel Qesarake, Linza Tel. (42) 35-142 Fax: (42) 35-143 - Hotel Dajti Boulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit, Nr. 6 Tel: (42) 33-326, 27-860, 27-862 Fax: (42) 32-012 - Tirana International (Turin Group, Italy) Sheshi Skenderbe Tel. (42) 34-295, 34-185 Fax (42) 34-447, 34-188 - Arb'ria Bulevardi D'shmoret e Kombit Tel. (42) 42-813 Fax. (42) 42-813 - Diplomat Muhamet Gjollesha str. Tel. (42) 35-542, 35-090 Fax: (42) 42-457, 34-090 - Europa International Hotel Rruga Myslym Shyri Tel/fax: (42) 27-403

Communications

Telephone IDD service is available to major towns. Country code: 355. Outgoing international code: 00. City codes: Tirana 42, Durresi 52, Elbasan 545, Shkodra 224, Gjirokastra 726, Kor?a 824, Vlora 63, Berati 62, Kavaja 574. For other regions, international connections are made through the nearest city. Post office hours: 0800-1700 Monday to Friday and 0800-1300 Saturday.

Electricity

is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Internet Connections America Online Numbers are available at keyword international. Be sure to get several local numbers before leaving. Go to keyword access (a free area) and download the software. AOL Access Numbers in Albania: Tirana 42 58764 28.8 $6.00 AOLGlobalnet Compuserve Numbers are available at Go International. If you are using CompuServe 2000, use GO PHONES within CompuServe 2000 to search for access numbers. The Compuserve Website also has a great deal of information, at http://www.compuserve.com/ There are no direct access numbers for Compuserve in Albania. Users will have to pay international rates to use the service. ADANet Tel: [355] 42-51633 Web: http://www.adanet.net/ Dial-Up Services Offered: 28.8, 33.6, 56K(X2) Dedicated Access Services Offered: 56K, FracT1, T1, Frame Relay Other Services: Wireless Connections Albania Online Tel: [355] 42-51122 Web: http://WWW.ALBANIAONLINE.NET/ Dial-Up Services Offered: 28.8, 33.6, 56K(X2) Dedicated Access Services Offered: FracT1, T1, Frame Relay Other Services: Multimedia Streaming Servers, Wireless Connections, Cyber Hotels, Roaming Accounts, visitor Temporary Access Plans Interalb Rruga "Deshmoret e kater shkurtit" pall 25/1 Tirana, Albania Tel: [355] 425-1747 Fax: [355] 425-1747 Email: [email protected] Web: http://www.interalb.net 24 Hours; 1.8$/hour; 10 computers available, printer, scanner, video conference, aol 'friendly'. Electricity 220 volts AC, 50Hz.

Plug Types

C,F

Food And Dining

Private restaurants are appearing rapidly in Albania. In the more popular places, it is necessary to reserve a table and to be punctual. Food is typically Balkan with Turkish influences evident on any menu ? byrek, kofte, shish kebab.
National specialties:
? F?rges? tirane, a hot fried dish of meat, liver, eggs and tomatoes, and tav? kosi or tav? elbasani, a mutton and yogurt dish.
? The koran, a trout from Lake Ohrid and the Shkodra carp.
? In summer, tarator, a cold yogurt and cucumber soup, is particularly refreshing.
? Popular Albanian desserts include oshaf, a fig and sheep's milk pudding, cakes soaked in honey and candied fruits or re?el.
? Guests of honor are quite often presented with a baked sheep's head.
? A favorite in the south is kukurec (stuffed sheep's intestines).
? Continental breakfasts are usually served in hotels, but in the country the Albanian breakfast of pilaf (rice) or pa?a (a wholesome soup made from animals' innards) may not be to everyone's taste. National drinks:
? All bars and restaurants serve raki, local red and white wines and different liqueurs.
? The Albanian cognac, with its distinctive aroma, is also popular.
? Many imported drinks can also be found, including Austrian canned beer, Macedonian wine and ouzo from Greece.
? Turkish coffee (kafe Turke) is popular with Albanians, but many bars also serve Italian espresso (ekspres).
Tipping:
Previously frowned upon by the authorities, tips are gratefully received in restaurants or for any service provided.
Nightlife
The most popular form of nightlife is the xhiro, the evening stroll along the main boulevards and squares of each town and village. Cultural life takes the form of theater, opera and concerts. Discos and games arcades are beginning to appear. Some hotels have taverns with music and dancing.

Entry departure requirements

Visa immigration information

Passports

A valid passport is required by all.

Visas

Required by all except the following for stays of up to 30 days:
(a) nationals of countries referred to in the chart above, except 1. nationals of Malta who must obtain a visa upon arrival;
(b) nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Israel, Korea (Rep), Kosovo, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, San Marino, Switzerland, and Turkey;
(c) transit passengers continuing their journey to a third country by the same or next connecting aircraft provided holding confirmed onward documentation and not leaving the airport.

Note

(a) Nationals of countries listed above pay an entry fee of ?10 at Tirana airport or at the border crossing point, except nationals of Israel who must pay ?30 and nationals of Poland and the Slovak Republic who may enter without charge. (b) 2. Nationals of Israel, Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic), Malta and Montenegro can obtain visas on arrival for free (Montenegro), ?10 (Macedonia) or ?30 (Malta).

Types of visa and cost

Dependent on nationality of applicant and length and purpose of intended stay.

Validity

Duration of visas is individually specified for each visit. The maximum length of stay is three months. Extensions are possible.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular Section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) Application form(s). (b) Valid passport. (c) Two passport-size photos. (d) Sufficient funds to cover duration of stay. (e) Visa fee (cheque only). Business: (a)-(d) and, (e) Letter from applicant's company. (f) Invitation from Albanian company.

Working days required

Up to two weeks.

Temporary residence

Application to be made to the Embassy of the Republic of Albania.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

US$10 is levied on all foreign nationals. Nationals of Albania pay Lk1000.

Embassies

Embassy of the Republic of Albania in the UK

2nd Floor, 24 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB, UK
Tel: (020) 7828 8897.
Website: http://www.ambasadat.gov.al/united-kingdom/en
E-mail: [email protected]
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1530 (general enquiries); 0900-1200 (consular section).

Embassy of the Republic of Albania in the USA

2100 S Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 223 4942.
Website: www.albaniaembassy.org

Travel Advice

Travel to the northeast border areas between Albania and Kosovo is advised against because of the very poor condition of the roads and the risk of unexploded ordnance.
Although public security is generally good, particularly in Tirana, the crime rate has risen, especially theft, and visitors should be careful not to display valuables. Passports which allow entry to EU countries without a visa, foreign currency and cameras are mostly at risk, although all possessions should be kept close at hand at all times. Avoid remote areas and streets, especially at night. Gun ownership is widespread.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Website: www.fco.gov.uk

US Department of State

Website: http://travel.state.gov/travel

Currency

Lek (ALL) = 100 qindarka. Notes are in denominations of ALL5000, 1000, 500, 200 and 100. Coins are in denominations of ALL50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is prohibited. The import of foreign currency is unlimited. The export of foreign currency is permitted up to US$5000 or up to the amount declared on arrival.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1600.

Currency exchange

Currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and banks. US dollars are the preferred foreign currency.

Credit cards

Rarely used. Cash is preferred in nearly all cases. However, American Express, Diners Club and MasterCard are accepted by some banks and hotels.

Travellers cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Euros. They may not always be easily changed in all places.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Babic?(0)394+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Bajram Curri(0)213+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Bajz?(0)211+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Ballsh(0)313+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Berat(0)32+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Bilisht(0)811+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Bulqiz?(0)219+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Burrel(0)217+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Cakran(0)387+ 4 digit subscriber nr
??rrik(0)581+ 4 digit subscriber nr
?orovod?(0)312+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Delvin?(0)815+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Divjak?(0)371+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Durr?s(0)52+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Elbasan(0)545+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Ersek?(0)812+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Fier(0)34+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Fush?-Kruj?(0)563+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Gjirokast?r(0)84+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gramsh(0)513+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Himar?(0)393+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Kavaj?(0)554+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Kor??(0)82+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Kruj?(0)511+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Krum?(0)214+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Ksamil(0)893+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Ku?ov?(0)311+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Kuk?s(0)242+ 4 digit subscriber nr
La?(0)53+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Levan(0)388+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Lezh?(0)215+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Libohov?(0)881+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Librazhd(0)514+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Lushnj?(0)35+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Maliq(0)861+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Mamurras(0)561+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Memaliaj(0)885+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Orikum(0)391+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Patos(0)342+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Peqin(0)512+ 4 digit subscriber nr
P?rmet(0)813+ 4 digit subscriber nr
P?rrenjas(0)591+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Peshkopi(0)218+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Pogradec(0)832+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Poli?an(0)368+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Puk?(0)212+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Rr?shen(0)216+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Rrogozhin?(0)577+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Sarand?(0)852+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Selenic?(0)392+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Shijak(0)571+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Shkod?r(0)22+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Tepelen?(0)814+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Tiran?(0)4+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ura Vajgurore(0)361+ 4 digit subscriber nr
Vlor?(0)33+ 5 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Dental services are limited

Medication Availability

Pharmacies stock some European products

Blood supplies

Blood supplies are considered safe although they are in short supply. Blood is collected from volunteers and is screened to international standards

Medical facilities

Beyond rudimentary first aid treatment, medical facilities and capabilities are limited. Emergency and major medical care requiring surgery and hospital care is inadequate due to lack of specialists, diagnostic aids, medical supplies, and prescription drugs. Travelers with previously diagnosed medical conditions may wish to consult their physician before travel. As prescription drugs may be unavailable locally, travelers may also wish to bring extra supplies of required medications.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Take personal protective measures against insects. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood or rare meat. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Only pasteurized dairy products should be consumed.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Hikers should take protective measures against ticks.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Leishmaniasis (visceral and cutaneous) - occurs Sandfly fever - occurs Typhus (Murine and tick-borne) - occurs West Nile fever (mosquito-borne) - occurs (The above occur in coastal areas.) Encephalitis (tick-borne) - occurs Hemorrhagic fever - occurs Lyme disease - occurs Food-borne and water-borne illness: bacillary dysentery and other diarrheas and typhoid fever are more common in the summer and autumn in southeastern and southwestern areas. Brucellosis - occurs Cholera - occurs Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) - occurs Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported. Polio is still considered a possible risk; an outbreak of vaccine-related cases occurred in central and northern Albania in the summer of 1996. Influenza risk extends from November to April. Rabies - occurs in animals

Entry requirements

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
ABC Health CentreRr. "Qemal Stafa" Nr. 260 Tirana
Orthodox Diagnostic Center"Annunciate" Fondacioni Klinika Orthodhokse E Ungjillezimit Ungjillezimit Rr, Dibres Nr. 159 Tirana

N/A

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