SAFETY AND SECURITY
Until 2014, the city of Lazarat and its surrounding areas was a major marijuana producing region where violent clashes between police and marijuana producers occurred regularly. Although the situation has recently improved, police assistance and protection remains limited, and response times are often delayed.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, occurs, particularly on public transportation and in tourist areas. Theft from vehicles is common.
Economic hardship and easy availability of firearms increase the risk of violent incidents, looting and carjacking. Small explosive devices have been used in targeted attacks, including in Tirana. A few violent incidents have also occurred at or near the Tirana International Airport.
These incidents are normally attributed to internal disputes of a personal, business or political nature. Tourists are not usually targeted but violent confrontations between rival organized criminal gangs can occur.
- Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Never leave personal belongings unattended in a vehicle, and use secure parking facilities, especially overnight
- Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash on you
- Be vigilant when travelling in rural and remote areas, especially in areas bordering North Macedonia, where security is very poor.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities and there is a potential for other violent incidents, which could target areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Continue to exercise normal security precautions.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance from the 1999 Kosovo war remain, particularly in hill towns along Albania’s northeastern border with Kosovo. These areas are clearly identified in Albanian as danger zones or are surrounded by visible tape. Remain on paved roads and avoid ditches, open fields and the shoulders of roads.
Anti-government demonstrations have taken place in Central Tirana. Violent incidents have occurred, including the use of Molotov cocktails and other projectiles. Police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds. Clashes have resulted in many injuries.
Demonstrations occur in Tirana and may also occur elsewhere in the country. Further confrontations between protesters and security forces are possible. Demonstrations can also involve acts of vandalism. They can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Safe-travel guide for women
Tourist facilities are not well developed, and many goods and services are not available.
Power cuts occur frequently throughout Albania, in remote areas as well as in main cities.
- Always carry a flashlight while walking on the streets
- Verify the schedule of power cuts with local authorities
- Make arrangements for your well-being during outages
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Major roads are passable, but secondary roads are often poorly maintained. In winter, you may encounter dangerous snow and ice conditions on poorly maintained mountainous roads in northern and southeastern Albania. Power outages can also affect street lighting and traffic signals.
Drivers are extremely aggressive and reckless and pedestrians are often found walking along the sides of roads, including on major highways.
- Use a four-wheel-drive vehicle, even in urban centres
- Inspect rental vehicles thoroughly and ensure the company will be available to assist in case of mechanical problems
- Carefully plan your travel outside the capital
- Hire a reputable local guide/interpreter or driver. Approved, privately owned vehicles, with drivers, can be hired for travel throughout the country
- Pre-negotiate fares and schedules
Buses, minibuses and trains operate between most major cities, but are unreliable, uncomfortable and safety standards are poor.
Use only yellow taxis, which are normally parked at street corners in specific areas. Taxis only accept cash payment.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines