Is it safe in Albania?

You may have heard rumours of the mafia-riddled Albania, with tales of corrupt governments and organised drug markets. Funny thing is, it’s not all rubbish. But if you’re just thinking of visiting it as a tourist with tourist things in mind, then is Albania a safe country for tourists? We’ll examine it today.


Crime in Albania

Let’s start off with this: Albania is generally a safe country to visit. If you simply follow the typical tourist routes, there’s nothing to really fear. Still, foreign travel advisories of select countries (like the US and New Zealand’s) do stress that tourists should exercise caution due to high levels of crime. The UK Foreign Travel Advice page also warns of possible political demonstrations which may turn violent. 

What to actually look out for in Albania? You certainly should be wary of pickpockets and other forms of theft, as these typically represent what tourists actually experience. As for the threats of violent crimes, though this isn’t a non-existent issue in Albania, it practically never concerns tourists – it usually has to do with blood feuds and other familial issues, nothing which would concern foreigners. Though there were open-fights in cities before, like the 2014 skirmish, where hundreds of policemen entered Lazarat trying to combat the cannabis production.

Still, such cases are the absolute extremes and most of the ‘scary stuff’ concerns internal Albanian affairs which don’t involve tourists. Especially so because Albania is becoming more and more popular and more and more money is in the tourism market. So no, you’ll be taken care of in Albania, don’t worry. In, like, the positive sense of the phrase.


Scams and traps for tourists in Albania

What else to look out for in Albania? There are some scams that you should be aware of – watch out for fake currency in exchange offices, overlays on ATMs, keep an eye on your credit cards.


Natural hazards

Albania is a region where common earthquakes occur. In 2019, there was a very strong 6.4 magnitude earthquake next to Tirana – it lasted 50 seconds and killed 51 people. Weaker earthquakes are also quite common. Just a moment ago from the time of writing this article, on November 5th, a 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit south of Tirana.

Apart from tremors, you have to also remember that Albania gets very hot in summer, with temperatures having reached 38 degrees Celsius in August of this year. Remember to bring hats and plenty of water with you for the beach or when hiking.


Kosovo border in Albania

It is estimated that more than 200,000 illegal weapons are stored in Albania, which makes it a higher risk place than others. There are also unexploded landmines near the border, so if you’re hell-bent on going to the border, do make sure to pay attention to signs. The area is still being de-mined. We would recommend you preferably choose another part of Albania and you’ll be just fine. 🙂


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