- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Albania.
- Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
- You should keep away from all demonstrations and large crowds in Albania, especially in Tirana and other major cities, as they can become violent.
- Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Albania. The Australian Embassy in Greece provides consular assistance to Australians in Albania. The British Embassy in Tirana can also provide limited consular assistance to Australians.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Albania for the most up-to-date information.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.
Civil unrest/political tension
Demonstrations in Tirana can turn violent with little or no warning. On 21 January 2011, a demonstration in Tirana resulted in the death of three protestors and many injuries. We strongly advise you to avoid demonstrations, including in the cities of Tirana, Vlora, Korca and Lezha.
We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Albania. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
A high level of security awareness should be maintained at all times when travelling around Albania. Carjackings have been reported. Petty crime such as mugging, pickpocketing and bag snatching also occurs. Be vigilant when travelling on public transport.
The risk of crime increases after dark.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Albania.
Most banks and international hotels accept major credit cards. Travellers' cheques are not widely accepted in Albania and cash payment is often expected.
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering and theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
During winter months, Albania has in the past experienced electricity and power shortages without notice, including in the capital Tirana.
Driving in Albania can be hazardous due to aggressive drivers, poorly maintained roads and vehicles, and inadequate road lighting. During winter months, mountain roads are icy and slippery and snow chains should be used as appropriate. For further advice, see our road travel page.
Reliable travel options within Albania are limited. Safety standards on public transport can be poor.
There are no commercial domestic flights within Albania. Bus and rail travel is unreliable.
Please refer to our page about air travel for information about aviation safety and security.
When you are in Albania, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Penalties for drug-related crime are severe.
Under Albanian law you are required to carry identification at all times.
A valid Australian driver’s licence and an international driver’s licence are both required in order to drive in Albania.
Homosexual activity is not illegal in Albania however you should be aware that it is not widely accepted.
It is illegal to photograph military installations and military personnel in Albania.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
Information for dual nationals
The Albanian Government considers anyone born in Albania or children born to an Albanian parent to be Albanian citizens.
Australian/Albanian dual national males may be subject to compulsory military service and should seek advice from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Albania well in advance of travel.
Our page about dual nationals provides further information.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our page about travel health also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while travelling overseas.
Medical facilities in Albania are poor. There is a lack of specialists, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, and hygiene standards are poor. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with the appropriate facilities would be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation are considerable.
Travel in forested areas in Albania brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn. Diseases transmitted by sandflies (including sandfly fever and leishmaniasis) are prevalent in coastal regions.
Water-borne, food-born and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis, brucellosis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before travelling. We recommend that you avoid raw and undercooked food and avoid unpasteurised dairy products. It is recommended that all drinking water be boiled or that you drink bottled water and that you avoid ice cubes. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For more information see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.
Where to get help
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Albania. You can obtain consular assistance from the nearest Australian Embassy which is in Greece:
Cnr Kifisias and Alexandras Avenues
Telephone +30 (210) 870 4000
Facsimile +30 (210) 870 4055
Limited consular assistance, which does not include the issue of Australian passports, may be obtained from:
Rruga Skenderbej 12
Telephone +355 (42) 34 973
Facsimile +355 (42) 47 697
If you are travelling to Albania, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency-whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the above mission you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Albania is subject to earthquakes and flooding. Information on natural disasters, including earthquakes, can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice and obey instructions of local authorities.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our page about travelling with children.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or childcare facilities in Australia.