Lagjia "Gorice", Berat, Berat, 5000, Albania
Albania is a country in South-Eastern Europe, in the West of the Balkan Peninsula, between the geographical coordinates: 39 16' latitude and 42 39' longitude.
Albania is almost midway between Equator and the North Pole, and covers a surface of 28.748 km2. The overall length of the borderline of the Republic of Albania is 1094 km; out of which 657-km is land-border, 316-km sea-border, 48-km river-border and 73 km lake-border.
The Republic of Albania, on the North borders with Montenegro and North-East with Kosovo, on the East with Macedonia, and in the South and South-East with Greece. On the West, Albania is washed by the Adriatic and Ionian seas.
The average altitude is 708 m, i.e. two times higher than that of Europe. Albania is included in the humid sub-tropical zone of the Northern Hemisphere, and it belongs to the Mediterranean climatic zone.
Albania Climate Coastal areas: Central Mediterranean, mild and wet winter, hot and dry summer. Alpine areas: Central Continental, cold and wild winter, wet summer.
Albania relieve Lowland – Western Albania, Plain – Eastern Albania, Alpine – Northern Albania, the Highest Peak – Korabi Mountain (2,753m)
Albania Population The population of Albania numbers 3,150,886. The vast majority of inhabitants are Albanian, with ethnic minorities representing only about 2% of the population. The minority population is comprised primarily of Greeks and Macedonians. (World Bank 2009).
Albania Capital City Tirana (since 1920)
Main Cities of Albania Durres, Vlora, Saranda, Shkodra, Berat, Korca, Gjirokastra, Elbasani,
Official Language - Albanian Albanian is an Indo-European language and it represents a separate branch of this family on the bases of its idiosyncrasy.
The Greek geographer, Ptholemeous, has witnessed the existence of Albanians and Albanian language in the second century AD. The name "Shqipëri" (Albania) replaced the "old" name "Arberi" (or Arbani) by the end of the XVII century, due to the new historical conditions created, and aimed at giving importance to the connection between the nation notion and the use of the Albanian language, which was by that time called "Shqip".
The Albanian language is also used (written & spoken) in the parts of Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia, where ethnic Albanians live.
Albania Political System Albania is Parliamentary Republic.
Flag description: The national flag of the Republic of Albania represents a black bicephalous eagle with open wings situated in the middle of a red background.
How to get there
Albania can be accessed by air through Mother Theresa International airport, situated 25 km northwest of the capital Tirana. There are different airline companies that operate in Albania and connect it through regular flights with the main European cities such as: Austrian Airlines, Belle Air, Lufthansa, Alitalia, British Airways, Adria Airways, Olympic Airways, Turkish Airlines etc.
By sea Albania can be accessed through its main ports:
• Durres port, connecting with Italian ports of Bari, Ancona and Trieste.
• Vlora port, connecting with Brindisi port.
• Saranda, connecting the Greek island of Corfừ
By land Albania can be accessible through:
• Montenegro (Murriqan and Han i Hotit border crossing points)
• Macedonia (Qafasan, Blata, Tushemisht, Gorice border crossing points)
• Kosovo (Morina, border crossing point)
• Greece (Kapshtica, Kakavija, Tri Urat, Qafe Boti border crossing points)
Citizens of following countries enter Albania without a visa EU countries, Great Britain, Island, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Andorra, Argentina, Monaco, Vatican State, Singapore, Turkey, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia
Citizens of following countries enter Albania by obtaining a visa at any border-crossing-point by payment Saudi Arabia, FYR Macedonia, Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Mata, Kuwait, Egypt, United Arab Emirates
Citizens that can enter Albania by obtaining a visa at the Albanian Embassies/Consulates in their respective or neighboring countries
Any country not mentioned above
Note: Tourist groups, organized by Albanian travel agencies, obtain visa at the entry point.
Albanian LEK (ALL). The average exchange rate of the Albanian LEK (ALL) to the Euro and US dollar is approximately: 1 EUR = 140 ALL and 1 USD = 96 ALL (January 2013).
The following denominations are in circulation:
Banknotes: 5000, 1000, 500, 200, 100. Coins: 100, 50, 20, 10, 5.
Foreign currency can be exchanged at commercial bank, exchange offices, and main hotels provide exchange facilities for guests.
Duty-free allowance for adult visitors:
Spirits = 2 liters
Cigarettes = 400
Eau de perfume = 75 ml
Albania is located in the same time zone as most of Eastern Europe countries. It uses the central European time GMT+1 hour. Summer daylight saving time is in effect from the last Saturday in March until the last Saturday in October (GMT + 2 hour).
Postal and Communication Services
Central post offices operate from morning till night, carrying out handling of letters, packages, payments etc.
Different express delivery companies operate in Albania, such as: DHL, UPS, TNT, FEDEX, ACS, YAPS, which provide very fast shipment delivery between Albania and other countries.
Public telephones: Call boxes, working by coins or phone cards, are present in main cities.
Mobile phones: AMC, VODAFONE, Eagle Mobile and Plus are the mobile telecommunication companies present in Albania. There services cover almost the whole country and internationally.
Internet Cafés are available in main cities (internet price/hour varies from 100 – 200 lek)
Branches of major banks (and ATM’s) are found in main cities.
Banking hours: Monday-Friday form 9.00 – 16.00. Saturday and Sunday closed.
Credit Cards accepted: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa International.
Offices: 8 am – 4 pm (Monday – Friday).
Shops: 8 am – 7 pm (Monday – Saturday). Many shops are opened also on Sundays.
Restaurants: 11 am – 12 pm (every day of the week).
Bars: 8 am – 12 pm (every day of the week). Some bars work non stop (24 hours).
Official Public holidays
NOTE: If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is a public holiday.
01 January – New Year
02 January – New Year
14 March – Summer Day
22 March – Sultan Novrus Day
08 April – Orthodox Easter/Catholic Easter
01 May – Labor Day
12 October – Lesser Ramadan Day
19 October – Mother Theresa Day
28 November – Independence Day
29 November – Liberation Day
20 December – Great Ramadan Day
25 December – Christmas Day
Foreign visitors require an International driving license (or a valid driver’s license, with photograph, printed in English). Driving is done on the right side of the road like almost all European countries and seat belts are compulsory for both drivers and passengers.
Speed limits (unless otherwise indicated)
Urban areas: 40 km/hr
Rural areas: 60 km/hr
Freeways: 90 km/hr
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 190 Lek per liter.
Health Care and Medical services
In case of emergency, all foreign tourists get first aid and medical care free of charge. For non emergency services such as 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.
Main rent a car companies operating in Albania are: Albarent, Hertz, Avis, EuropCar, Sixt etc.
Buses: A cheap flat fare urban bus service operates within the main cities (30 lek). The main interurban bus service providers, linking the Albanian main cities, are private.
Minibus taxies: Interurban transport service is provided also by private minibuses. The ticket price is generally twice higher than the bus service.
Taxies: Generally taxies are parked near the railway stations and the main hotels and close to main cross roads. In Tirana radio taxi service is also available (phone: 04 2244444 or 0800 55555 FREE or 04 2222555).
Rail travel: There are 3 railway directions in Albania:
• Tirana – Shkoder (Vore – Mamurras – Laç – Milot – Lezhe - Shkoder)
• Tirana – Pogradec (Durres – Golem – Kavaje – Rrogozhine – Peqin – Elbasan – Librazhd – Perrenjas – Pogradec)
• Tirana – Vlore (Durres – Golem – Kavaje – Rrogozhine – Lushnje – Fier – Vlore)
220 volt, 50 Hz.
Plug points: two or three pin plug (English plugs require additional adaptor plugs).
The traditional food is oriental one, similar to Turkish and Greek food. One can easily find Italian food in many restaurants.
Bars, Pubs, Nightclubs
Albanians drink a lot of coffee, and they spend considerable time in bars with friends. Italian espresso is widely offered, but one can ask also for a traditional coffee (called Turkish coffee). Filtered coffee is rarely offered.
Most pubs and nightclubs are entered freely (no cover charge). During weekends there is live music in pubs and nightclubs.
Tipping is standard practice for satisfactory service:
Restaurants: 5 - 10%
Coffee shops: 20 – 50 lek
Taxi drivers: no tips
Note: Customers are not obliged to tip, but they are free and welcomed to do so if they like.
Albanian – English
Ku jam? – Where am I?
Ku është…? – Where is…?
Ku po shkoni? – Where are you going?
Rruga … – Street …
Bulevard – Boulevard
Monument – Monument
Muze – Museum
Qytet – City
Fshat – Village
Hotel – Hotel
Restorant – Restaurant
Posta – Post
Stacioni i autobuzave – bus stop
Majtas – On the left
Djathtas – On the right
Drejt – Straight ahead
Si jeni? – How are you?
Më falni! – Excuse me!
Faleminderit – Thank you!
Territories of today's Albania have been populated before 100,000 years.
At the beginning of the third millennium before Christ, was established population Indo - European. As a result of this blend was created a population that retained the characteristics of specific cultural and language in the Balkan peninsula (pellazgët). Based on the older population, between the II Millennium and the first century before Christ was created Illyrian population.
The Greeks arrived in Epidamos (today Durrës) Butrint and Apoloni in 7 century before Christ to decide where colonies of them - run. As well as Greeks, the Illyrians even though under Roman domination for centuries failed to preserve their language and traditions.
The most important trade route between Rome and Kostandinopoli was Egnatia road which passed through the port of Durres. At the end of 14 century, Albania was occupied by the Roman Empire.
From 1443 until 1468 national hero Scanderbeg (Gjergj Kastrioti) led the Albanian resistance, winning the 25 battles against Turkish. For a very short time, after the death of Scanderbeg, the Ottoman failed to Albanian resistance, taking control of the country in 1479.
26 years later, Kostandinopoli crashed. More than 400 years, Albania has been under the Ottoman regime. Successive revolt and efforts brought the Independence in 1912.
Since from 1912 until the end of the First World War our country was attacked by neighboring states. The country was occupied by Mussolini's forces in 1939, ending the regime of the monarchy that lasted 11 years. In 1943 the country was occupied by German forces. Resistance to foreign attacks is known as Anti-Fascist National Liberation front
Communism took over in November 1944, when foreign forces left the country.
Eventually, the totalitarian regime was established under the leadership of the communist leader Enver Hoxha. For 50 years, the country was in complete isolation, a result of politics (policy) that was pursued at that time. The policy of self isolation left the country in economic poverty until 1991
From 1991 until 1997 the country was led by the Democratic Party, and later by the Socialist Party and its allies (2005-2007). After the last elections on 3 July 2005, the coalition of the Democratic Party took the power again. Albanian policy aims to integrate the country into the European Union.
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