INTRODUCTION TO ALBANIA?

VISAS

Citizens of the EU, most other European countries, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan can enter Albania without a visa. Travelers of most other nationalities need to get a visa from an Albanian embassy or consulate abroad before travelling to Albania. Before you set off, confirm your entry requirements at the nearest Albanian embassy or consulate.

ELECTRICITY

Electrical current is 220 Volts; Plug points: two or three plug ( English plugs require additional adopter plugs)

FUEL

Fuel (gasoline) is available 24 hours a day in main urban areas. It is advisable to have cash as payment as international petrol cards or credit cards are not accepted. The average petrol price is around 140 lek per liter

HEALTH

In case of emergency , all foreign tourists get the first aid and medical care free of charge. For non emergency service such a hospital recovery and medical consultations tourists are required to pay , if no reciprocal health agreement exists between the respective countries. A vaccination certificate for epidemic diseases is required to travelers arriving from infected or endemic areas.

MONEY

The Albanian currency is the lek (plural leke). The exchange rate is: 1 Euro = 139 ( 2011 ) lek, 1 = 164 lek ( 2011), US $1 = 98 lek. ( 2011 ) Banknotes come in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 lek, while there are coins of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 lek.

BANKING

Branches of all banks (and A TM's ) are found everywhere. Banking hours: Monday-Friday from 9.00 - 16.00. Saturday and Sunday closed.

BUSINESS HOURS

Offices: Monday-Friday from 9.00 - 16.00. Shops: Monday- Sunday 8.30 - 20.00. Restaurants: Monday - Sunday 11.00 - 23.00 Bars: 8.30 - 24.00.
Cuisine of Albania, as with most Mediterranean and Balkan nations, is strongly influenced by its long history . At different times, the territory of Albania has been occupied by Greece, Italy and the Ottoman T urks, and each group has left its mark on Albanian cuisine.

BAR's, PUB's, NIGHTCLUB's

Albanian drink a lot of coffee and they spread considerable time in bars with friends. Must pubs and nightclubs have the entrance free and especially during weekends there is live music every where.

BODY LANGUAGE & SOUNDS

Albanians, shake (or perhaps: wobble) their heads to mean 'yes' and nod (or rather jerk the head backwards while emitting a bold cluck) to mean 'no'. Every time you see it done, it's a pleasant little culture shock

SMOKING

Smoking is officially prohibited in public places since 2007, though the chain-smoking policemen do little to enforce the law. In case one of them does get to work and catches you, expect a fine up to 50.000 lek.

TIPPING

It's customary to tip about 10% or round up to the nearest lek note at restaurants and bars, and to negotiate the final price in advance in taxis. At restaurants the tip is usually given directly to the waiter upon paying, rather than left on the table.

COASTLINE

The coastline of Albania with both waters of lagoons and wetlands stretches for 450 km long. T wo distinct zones are Adriatic and Ionian sea. Albanian coastline has a high potential for tourism activities (Sun & Sea). In the interior part of the country there are very nice landscapes, which make another attraction for tourists and visitors.
The Albanian nature offers good opportunities for different kind of tourism activities, including coastal tourism, green tourism, white tourism, adventures tourism.
The beaches The best alternative suitable for kids and family vacations are the beaches found in the Adriatic sea. Those are Velipoja, Durresi , Golemi, Divjaka, and Plazhi I Ri in Vlora. In the other hand the Ionian coast is known for its small intime beaches and it is highly frequented by young generation. These beaches offers great possibilities for several water activities such as diving, sailing, etc.
The Albanian coast is enriched with several lagoons which are a valuable natural object for echo - tourism, bird watching. This happens especially in the lagoons of Karavasta, and Kune - Vain.

LAKES

Albania is a rich country with different kinds of lakes. The most distinguished for recreation is the Ohrid lake, with a total area of 362 sq. (1/3 belongs to Albania). This is the deepest tectonic lake in all Balkan, about 300 meters deep. Because of its great variety of flora and specific fauna, cultural values, Ohrid lake is part of UNESCO natural and cultural heritage. The unique of this lake is the "Koran" fish, hardly to be found in another lake in the world.
The city of Pogradec is located in the southwestern part of the lake shores .There are several tourist spots round the lake , such as Lini, Pojksa, Driloni and T ushemisht.Althought there are many hotels in this zone, now it is expanding the number of "Guest hoses" rented to the tourists. In the other hand in the northwester of Albania is Shkodra Lake,the biggest lake in Balkan. It has a surface of 365 sq,km but only 148 sq,km belongs to Albania. There are tourist spots of Shiroka and Zogaj which are well known for their fish restaurants . Bathing, swimming , rowing and fishing are the main activites in this lake. Prespa Lake, the highest tectonic lake in Balkan has an area of 285 sq.km from which 44 sq,km belongs to Albanian territory . It is known for the high rocky shores with small beaches. There is the small island of Maligran where is the eremite church of Saint Mary .

MOUNT DESTINATION

Mountains are widely spread in the territory of Albania. The most important ones for the tourism are Dajti (Tirana District) Loogara ( Vlora district) Dardha and Bozdovec ( Korca district) , Valbona ( T ropoja district) , Thethi ( Malesia e madhe district). They offers a myriad of opportunities for different activitites as hiking, mounting, trekking, skiing, mount biking , caving etc .

NATURAL RESOURCES

National Park of Lura
National Park of Llogara
National Park of "pisha e Divjakes"
Mount Dajti National Park
National Park of Thethi
National Park of "Lugina e Valbones"
Balcanic Park of Prespa
Blue Eye

ARCHEOLOGICAL CITIES

Apollonia
Butrinti
Antigonea
Bylis