Albania is a mountainous country, right on the Adriatic coast wedged between Macedonia, and Greece. Albania has had a tough transition since communism fell in the early 1990’s, and many travellers have avoided it because of many dangers. Most of the country, however, is safe today for travellers however you’ll still need to use a some caution.
Local Language: Albanian – Italian is a good language to know when getting around, and English is of course also very helpful.
Visa Requirements: Canadians are allowed in Albania for 90 days without a visa.
Health Risks: Hepatitis B – Get a vaccination.
Costs: Albania is very cheap, and you can get buy on relatively low cash. Make sure to carry some US cash or Euro’s to exchange.
Travelling through Albania is a real trip. Many people are extremely poor, and many parts of the country are somewhat lawless. Many times the police can’t be trusted. That being said, the country is beautiful, and a great stop if you’re on your way to Turkey. The capital city, Tirana is about halfway between Rome and Istanbul.
Albania is also an Islamic country, so you’ll want to respect local customs and traditions. Albanians themselves are many times extremely helpful and kind to foreigners, but again, be wary. There’s always a small minority that’ll want to take advantage of a traveller in need.
Cities in Albania haven’t quite warmed up to tourism yet, but as a result you’re bound to find some great deals in Tirana and other Albanian cities. Some hotels though are pretty sketchy – Broken windows, no heat in the winter, etc. Make sure you find out before hand!
Albania is well connected to many of its neighbouring countries. You can get frequent flights from Italy and Hungary, among others, and therefore if you’re flying in from Canada you’ll most likely have to switch and take a Malev Hungarian or an Alitalia flight on to Tirana.