Albania Risk Report
Security travel advice for Albania
Threat level: Low-Medium
Visits to the Republic of Albania for the most part are relatively trouble free. There is a threat of terrorism but this is thought to be particularly low. It is still advised to take some basic precautions to ensure a safe visit. Albania has a mixture of religions, Muslims and Christians being the two largest groups, and while there is little in the way of religious tension there are some regional/external tensions.
Recent Security Risk Events
Small explosive devices have been known to be used on vehicles in targeted attacks. In March 2014, the US embassy issued a warning to its citizens to be vigilant and to inspect their cars for suspicious devices. Attempted Assassinations have also been known and they are likely linked to organised crime and are not targeted at tourists.
Organised crime is one of the prime issues in Albania and put strain on its law enforcement to mitigate this risk. Activities involving people trafficking, drugs and arms trafficking, kidnap and extortion are apparent but not common.
In general, public security is good and there is a strong sense of harmony towards other Western countries and tourists.
Several demonstrations and riots do occur in many Albania centres that have the potential to suddenly turn violent. This can then cause disruption to traffic and public transportation. It is therefore advised to avoid large gatherings and be aware of any groups that may be protesting.
Due to the current migration crisis and financial position of Greece which borders Albania, human trafficking between the Balkan states is prominent. The increased migrant streams and the positioning of Albania does open up the opportunities for being used as a route into the country for terrorist organisations.
There is a regional advisory in place for the area of Lazarat, where Albanian state police and Marijuana growers have had past conflict.
The level of general crime is said to be quite low in Albania, especially in Tirana. There are some “rough” areas but overall Policing is good. General precautions should be taken including being aware of your surroundings at all times.
Since their independence, Albania has maintained a good relation with other countries and is seeking to join the European Union and to further their international relations with Kosovo .
English is not widely spoken in Albania and therefore it may be worth learning a few phrases before your travels.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is required to drive in Albania. Driving in Albania can be hazardous. The standard of driving is improving in the country but is not the same as Western Europe and the Albanian driving style is often described as “aggressive and erratic”. Death tolls from road traffic accidents in Albania are one of the highest in Europe. The condition of many of the roads in rural areas can be particularly poor and extra care should be taken.
Public transport is undeveloped in places and can be unreliable.
Flooding and heavy snowfall can lead to disruptions from December through to February and it is advised that weather is checked prior to arrival.
Landmines are an issue and it is advisable to be cautious and take note of signs when travelling.
Religion: Islam & Christianity
Currency: Albanian Lek
Time now in Tirana:
Visitors to Albania from the UK, EU and US can enter Albania visa free for a maximum of 90 days. For further advice can be found here: Visa advice Albania
It is advised that visitors to Albania are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Hepatitis A and Tetanus vaccinations. You may also want to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis B, Rabies and Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE).
Other health risks
Medical and dental care are of a very low standard and therefore it is advised to take adequate travel and health insurance and funds in order to cover any costs for medical treatment whilst visiting Albania.
The tap water may be contaminated and so it is advised to drink only bottled water.
Tick-borne Encephalitis, spread mainly through the bite of an infected tick. Risk is higher during the warmer months, especially for those undertaking outside activities in forests, woods, and grassy areas. Regular checks for ticks essential with immediate removal with appropriate technic.
U.S. Embassy Tirana
Rruga e Elbasanit,
Telephone: +355 4 224 7285
British Embassy Tirana
Rruga Skenderbeg 12,
Telephone: +355 4 223 4973
Telephone: +355 4 223 4974
Telephone: +355 4 223 4975
Emergency services operator: 112 (New service)
Police emergency: 129
Traffic Police: 126
Fire emergency: 128
Medical emergency: 127
Visitors from EU Member State countries should carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as it entitles travellers to reduced cost or free medical treatment in Albania.