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A Journey of an Expat in Albania

Discover why Albania could be your next destination as an expat. Friendly people, pleasant weather, endless adventures...and more!

If you’re an expat considering Albania as your next destination, you might be curious about what this country has to offer. In this article, we’ll explore the experiences and adventures that await you in Albania, to see if it could fit the title “your new home” or not.

Top 6 Reasons for Being an Expat in Albania

What really makes expats move to Albania? Here is our list of the top 6 reasons that “justify” an expat’s decision.

1. The Cost of Living

The cost of living in Albania is lower compared to many other European countries, particularly those in Western Europe. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre starts from €550 and delicious meals at local restaurants cost as little as $5.

It’s important to note that prices have been rising slightly recently due to increased demand and the country’s growing international appeal.

2. Pleasant Weather Throughout the Year

Albania’s climate is characterised by warm summers and mild winters, perfect if you hate harsh weather and you prefer a “soft winter” kind of vibe. Even though the weather has been unstable recently, we can’t deny we’re blessed with the Mediterranean climate that makes winter…feel less of a winter (however, the weather tends to be very hot during July and August).

First time visiting Albania? We have a few tips you will love.

3. A Country Full of History

In Albania, you probably will hear some of the most interesting histories and traditions that have impacted the country and its civilisation throughout the centuries. For example, a lot of people don’t know of Kanun, a set of traditional Albanian customary laws (in the north) that have controlled all aspects of Albanian tribal society for centuries. Its nature and ancient origins highlight its significance and make it a notable subject of interest in Indo-European studies.

4. Friendly People and a Warm Atmosphere

One of the things Albania is famous for is the hospitality people offer here. In some parts of the country, Albanians extend warm welcomes to visitors, often going so far as to invite them into their homes for a cup of coffee. A very interesting tradition of hospitality (in the north of Albania) is known as “besa,” and it reflects the deep-rooted cultural values of kindness, generosity, and respect for guests.

5. Like-Minded People

A lot of expats have chosen Albania as their temporary home, so if decide to do that too you won’t be alone. In fact, there are lots of groups on Facebook that gather like-minded people, where you can update yourself with events, and even make new friends. (We are also building a community on Facebook where we share super helpful tips for new visitors and expats.)

6. A Lot to Explore

If you’re into adventures, you’ll love exploring Albania! The country has a lot more to offer than just the capital (which happens to be super crowded all the time) and there are lots of beautiful cities and hidden spots you should visit. The south is very popular during summer time and it’s stunning (we would suggest visiting it during less crowded months, like spring and autumn). The north of Albania is also absolutely beautiful, and it’s the dream destination for those who prefer mountainous environments.

You might want to check out the top stays in the south and north of Albania.

Challenges You Might Face as an Expat in Albania

Moving to a foreign country always comes with challenges, and Albania is no exception. Here are some of the most common challenges you might face as an expat here.

1. Language Barrier

While English is spoken by a portion of the population (mostly by the younger generation), especially in tourist areas, the majority of Albanians primarily speak Albanian. However, Albanians are patient, so you can always use translation tools to try to communicate with them. Or, if you’re in for a bit of a challenge, you can learn some basic phrases as well.

2. The Concept of Time in Albania

You might be confused by the title, so let us explain what we mean. Some Albanians have a more relaxed approach to punctuality, and it’s not uncommon for meetings or appointments to start a little later than planned. (However, this doesn’t happen often and not with everyone.)

3. Cards Are Not Accepted Everywhere

If you use cards to pay for everything you will have to reconsider this in Albania. Cards unfortunately are not accepted everywhere, so it’s important you always keep cash with you. As they say, better safe than sorry!

4. Transportation is Not Very Comfortable

In Albania, many people who don’t own a car rely on buses as their primary mode of transportation. However, the bus system is not the most efficient, and the buses often become crowded. On the other hand, you can always rent a car (a great option if you’re planning on travelling around Albania on your own pace).

Patoko is a great app where you can find relevant services on taxis, but also bus lines.

And for more valuable tips on getting around Tirana, we have covered all the details in this article.

Financial Considerations for Expats in Albania

As mentioned earlier, the cost of living in Albania is significantly lower compared to other European countries. You’ll find this affordability in various aspects of daily life, including groceries, transportation, and entertainment. If you choose to dine out, depending on the location and the quality, you can expect some restaurants (like Salt, Crown, Lift etc.) to be pricier.

When it comes to financial considerations, expats should be updated with the banking system and currency exchange rates. It’s advisable to open a local bank account to enable transactions and avoid excessive fees. Also, it’s suggested to familiarize yourself with the local currency, the Albanian Lek, and ensure you have access to reliable currency exchange services.

Employment Opportunities for Expats in Albania

Finding employment as an expat in Albania can be a challenge due to the language barrier and certain legal requirements. However, opportunities do exist in sectors such as tourism, hospitality, education, and international organizations. Expats with specialized skills and qualifications may find more options available to them.

If you plan on doing that, it’s important to first research the requirements required to work legally in Albania.

Tips for a Great Expat Experience in Albania

We have a few more tips to make your experience as an expat in Albania unforgettable.

1. Try the local cuisine. What better way to learn about a new country than trying traditional delicious food? Local cuisine is an important component of Albania, and each dish tells a unique story.

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, the options are limited, but there are still some available.

2. Be open-minded and adaptable. Being mindful about a new journey is a great tip to keep your expectations on track, and help you manage challenges you might face.

3. Learn the language. While this is not a condition, if you’re planning on staying for a long time in Albania, it would help to at least know a few basic phrases to communicate with locals.

4. Explore the country. Albania is full of beautiful spots waiting to be explored. Don’t limit yourself just to what you see on the internet (referring to the most popular spots) as there are many destinations that even some locals don’t know of!

5. Connect with the expat community. Everyone loves feeling at home when in a new country. Creating new friendships will make you feel less lonely, but it’s also fun to learn from others’ experiences. However, if you prefer solo travelling, that’s also a very interesting approach to exploring a new country at your own pace.

Time to Buy Your Ticket

Albania will steal your heart, that’s for sure! A lot of retirees and expats seem to have found a sense of belonging in Albania; they are constantly coming back here, and even considering relocating. On the other hand, those who already live here are not thinking of investing in the country, which seems to be the next smart move. If you’re in this category as well, you should have a look at how to buy a property as a foreigner. At the same time, feel free to contact us via the contact form on our website for any questions you might have.

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