Albania is a country that is found on the southeast side of Europe, sharing borders with the Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia. It is the perfect holiday spot for most people, mainly because it has coastlines not only to one, but to three seas: The Ionian, the Adriatic, and the Mediterranean Sea.
Counting around 3 million people, Albania is a fairly small yet tranquil country which provide unique adventures for anyone looking to relax. Despite its bad reputation for petty crime, Albania is a colorful country that will allow you to relax.
But how safe is Albania for tourists? Well, we'll see about that.
Highest Risks You Expose Yourself to When Traveling to Albania
Overall Risk in Albania: LOW
Albania is a relatively safe country to travel to, and there are not any major threats that you ought to concern yourself with. Pickpockets are here as well - but technically speaking, they are not absent from any country. For this reason, you might want to keep your valuables close to you - and avoid flashing them for thieves to see. You might also want to be wary of poorly lit or remote streets, as you may be subjected to mugging.
There is also a risk of scams. Generally speaking, Albania is a country that is packed with hospitable and warm locals - but there will always be people that will try to scam gullible tourists everywhere. Albania is no exception for that.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risk: MEDIUM
Ever country has its fair share of pickpockets - and obviously, Albania poses no exception to that. Most of these incidents occur on public transportation - as well as places that have a high concentration of people. This is mostly because thieves can easily disappear within a crowd - along with the belongings of the victim.
- How to avoid an unwanted scenario
Prior to leaving on a trip, you might want to consult with several Albania safety travel tips. Ideally, you should avoid taking any important items with you, such as your passport, ID, and credit card. Take only as much cash as you need, and try not to flash any "I have money, steal from me" vibes. This way, if your purse or wallet gets stolen from you, at least you will know that not everything was lost.
Scam Risk: MEDIUM
As mentioned, technically speaking, Albanian locals are generally warm, and hospitable; however, there is still a chance that tourists might be scammed of their money. Many tourists have been overcharged for street food and drinks - and in some circumstances, given the wrong chance.
Credit card fraud can also be an issue of concern for people that let their card out of their sight and in the wrong hands.
Some taxi drivers have also been known to overcharge for rides - although that is not a very common occurrence. These drivers generally do not turn on their meter and will charge significantly higher fee upon reaching your destination.
- How to avoid being scammed
Ideally, you may want to avoid street vendors - particularly those that are trying too hard to sell you something. Negotiate every price in advance - particularly the fares asked by cabs. You may also want to check and double-check your chance to ensure that you received the right sum back.
As for credit card scam, you may want to keep your eyes on your credit card - particularly when you are checking money out of an ATM. Be vigilant for strangers that might be looking over your shoulder, since they may be able to steal your PIN number.
Similarly, be careful with any interference regarding the machine itself. This may indicate a camera to steal your PIN number or any other type of scamming machine within the ATM.
Kidnapping Risk: LOW
The kidnapping rate in Albania is fairly low, with an average of 0.3 kidnapping incidents per 100,000 people. The numbers have indeed grown since 2011 were the average rate was 0.1; however, the numbers are still low enough so that it is not considered a concern.
- How to avoid unwanted scenarios
To answer your question "is Albania safe to visit," the answer is "Yes." The chances of you getting kidnapped are very slim. However, this does not mean that you are free to slack off on security.
The golden rule would be to avoid walking alone at nighttime - particularly on streets that look way too dark and suspicious. Stick to the populated streets, and this way, you can avoid incidents that you do not wish to happen.
At the same time, you may also want to be careful in bars, where people can easily spike your drinks. While these situations are rare to the point that they are nonexistent, there is a first time for everything - and it never hurts to be too careful.
Rape Risk: LOW
Albania is a very safe for women, and the rape rate is 0.7 out of 100,000. The country itself ranked 53 out of 57 all over the world - and looking at it this way, there is no safer country that you could go to as a woman. Rape or sexual assault is not an issue in Albania.
Is Albania safe for solo women travelers? Yes, it is; but only as long as you follow a well-organized Albania safety guide.
- How to avoid unwanted scenario
As seen in the stats, the numbers are low - but they are certainly not nonexistent. If you are not careful enough, the unfortunate can happen to you. As a result, you may want to avoid walking alone at night on remote streets that are poorly illuminated.
Similarly, you may also want to avoid bars, as they can be packed with intoxicated people. Be careful with your drink as well, as someone can easily spike it if you are not careful.
Terrorism Risk: LOW
As of late, there have not been any attacks led by terrorists in Albania. The country in itself is rather peaceful, and you may visit without having to watch your every step for any potential terrorist attacks.
However, considering that terrorism is a global threat, it should not be discarded. Watch out for any suspicious behavior, particularly when going into crowded places or boarding public transportation.
Risk for Women Traveling Alone: LOW
You've asked yourself the question "is Albania safe for solo women travelers," and you have received your answer: yes, it is very safe. In fact, people there actually go out of their way to help a woman if she needs help - so there's no better place to travel to.
However, since every country has its black sheep, you might still want to exercise precaution. Steer clear of remote areas, and avoid walking alone at night.
Risk for People Traveling with Children: LOW
Traveling to Albania with your children might seem like an exhilarating family thing to do; however, you might still want to read some Albania safety travel tips before going.
Generally speaking, it is very safe to travel with your child - but only as long as you watch them carefully. While child kidnapping is not an issue, it is very easy to lose a wandering child in the crowds.
Natural Disaster Risk: LOW to MEDIUM
The only issues that you ought to concern yourself with in Albania are earthquakes. However, even those are not serious enough. Considering that Albania lies in a zone that is seismically active, minor earthquakes are a fairly common occurrence. Serious earthquakes may also occur - but they are not as common.
To be safe, you might want to check with the news and check in with the local authorities. Reading an Albania safety guide is also recommended, since it can prepare you for any unforeseen incidents.
List of Vaccines You Need When Traveling to Albania
When traveling to Albania, there are a few vaccines that you might want to get - aside from the routine vaccines. Considering that these vaccines take time to be in event, you might want to get the shots at least one month prior to departing:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever
Some of these vaccines may be mandatory, whereas some may depend on the individual or destination. Check with your doctor to see what vaccine you should get.
Concluding Remarks: Is Albania Safe to Visit?
Those asking yourselves "how safe is Albania for tourists," rest assured: it is very safe. Regardless if you are a man or a woman, traveling alone or with children, there should not be any issues when you are visiting this country.
All you have to do here is to exercise the standard precautions: watch your pockets, avoid remote areas, and most importantly, have a lot of fun. The only dangers would pose at the borders with Kosovo - but mainly because there is a lot of unexploded ammunition left there from the war. Aside from that, as long as you steer clear from certain environments, it should be safe.