Albania is One of the Most Underrated Destinations in Europe for a Solo Gay Trip
Albania summarises the reason why I travel so much. It is one of the most underrated, misunderstood and misrepresented country I have ever been to. Here is the account of my solo trip to Albania.
This beautiful country is small but superbly rich when it comes to natural beauty. There are so many points that go in favour of this place it needs a book, not a post. From the north; Shkoder to the very south; Sarande, this country has everything. From the beautiful castle perched high on mountains to alps to wild, unspoiled beaches for hundreds of kms in the Albanian Riviera, I feel lucky not to have listened to people who tried to dissuade me by portraying this country as unsafe or uninteresting. You can find more details on their official tourism website.
The next time you want to go to Greece, opt for Albania instead, you can thank me later.
Historical Fact: Albania has a painful past with decades of Anwer Hoja as a dictator.
This guy was so strict with his definition of communism, he though USSR and China were not doing it right and he kept the country in complete isolation for this reason. He built nuclear bunkers around the city. Many of these bunkers are still being used a exhibition places.
How To Plan Your Trip To Albania?
I spent around 6 days on my solo trip to Albania and wish I have had spent more. There’s still a lot to see and explore. Since I was coming from Kosovo I kept Tirana as a base to visit Shoker and lake Skader as a day trip. Tirana can easily be seen in a day.
All the information about visa procedures can be found on their official website.
Then we started driving and headed to Berat, a day later we headed to Sarande via the blue Eye and the rest of the stay I kept Sarande as a base to explore the Riviera. There are plenty of wild and touristy beaches and plenty of Mediterranean villages as well throughout the coast and it was fun hopping beaches throughout the place with majestic mountains at my back.
Tip: Do buy some beach shoes for this trip because most beaches are pebble beaches but the further south like Sarande has fine sand beaches as well especially Ksamil (which is the best beach I have ever been to)
Want to plan your perfect trip? Read this guide.
Is Albania Expensive?
Albania is cheap generally and value for money is high. Tirana is slightly more expensive being the biggest city but generally around the country a little bit of money goes a long way.
You can learn how to manage your budget during travelling.
What Is The Public Transport Like In Albania?
Public transport between cities is non-existent or bad. You need a car to go around especially if you want to go to places inland like Berat or Blue Eye. I hired a driver with a car and for 4 days he charged me roughly €300 including petrol. I paid for his lodging and food but it was crazy cheap. (If you need his contact, give me a shout).
Check out all the different modes of transportation you can use in a new city.
Is Albania Safe?
All the stories of mafia and issues and fighting in Albania are utterly false. I met a few solo travelling girls during tours and met a pregnant couple as well who were backpacking. The whole country is very safe. Albania has good relations with all its neighbours which helps immensely.
Read more about staying safe during solo travelling.
How Is The Food In Albania?
Food f is generally very good with plenty of local dishes that come with fresh grilled vegetables and warm bread. The best food I have had was in Berat. The more inland you go the better food is. We sued to generally stop at small villages to get the best food and never got disappointed throughout.
Should I Carry Cash Or Cards In Albania?
Albania uses Lek as its currency but euros are also widely accepted. Cards are accepted in bigger cities mostly and you need cash generally. ATM’s are generally available.
Is It Safe To Drink Tap Water In Albania?
Tap water is drinkable and you can ask restaurants and cafes to refill your bottles. In the mountains, water is especially delicious.
Read more about eco-friendly travelling.
How To Get Past ID Checks In Albania?
There are no checks generally and I only kept my passport in the accommodation on my solo trip to Albania.
Where To Arrive In Albania?
The only airport in the country is in the capital Tirana. It is quite cheap to take a taxi from the airport to the city. There’s also bus service for this journey. Flights to Tirana are fairly limited. A good alternative is to arrive in Corfu (Greece) and take the half-hour fast ferry that brings you to the southern port city of Sarande, you can make your way up from there.
Check the guide to find the best flight deals wherever you go.
Which Sim Card To Buy In Albania? Is Internet Good In Albania?
I got a local sim card for my solo trip to Albania. Internet and phone connection is generally good and WIFI is also easily accessible. In the mountains, the connection was sometimes patchy but nothing too serious for too long.
Are People Of Albania Friendly?
People are very warm, sweet and friendly. The older generation has not seen so many foreigners and they would come and stare at me (in a curious way). Whenever I smiled they returned big smiles and a couple of old ladies have had a one-way conversation with me as well. I loved the people in Albania.
Which Languages Are Spoken In Albania?
The official language is Albanian but English is widely spoken. In cities, I struggled a bit with the older generation but a lot of the younger generation is fluent and it is easy to converse. You will get the same problem in rural areas but my driving companion was very helpful. Google translate is another option.
Learn more about all the ways you can use to explore a new city.
Is Albania Racist?
Albanians are very friendly and I didn’t feel any racism there. Everyone was very friendly. The older generation will curiously stare at you (I have been told it is because they didn’t see any foreigners during the communist days, which is most of their life for most of them). Not Racist!
Is Albania Safe For LGBT Travellers?
Homosexuality is legal in Albania but it is a fairly conservative society and it is not common to see out gay couples around. Grindr was also full of faceless profiles but the general population was friendly and there is an undercover gay bar in Tirana as well. I met a couple of guys in Tirana from Grindr and they took me around the city, quite a pleasant experience.
Read more tips and tools you can use during travelling.