Practical Information in Albania

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Albania is a small country that has suffered many hardships over the decades. Nearly 4 decades of Communist rule and the war in Yugoslavia stretched the people and its infrastructure to its limits. Although still 1 of the poorest countries in Europe, Albania is now starting to develop. Its economy is growing and slowly but surly tourists are coming in as it starts to open its borders and ports. Those wanting to see the country do need some Albania practical information to hand before they go.

Level of Safety

Over the last decade Albania has become in general terms a safe country to visit. The northern area near the Kosovo region is still one that tourists may wish to avoid because, although the fighting has stopped, services are nearly non-existent and the quality of the roads incredibly poor. Public security is good but tourists need to remember that crime and violence are still prevalent. However, from April 2008 to March 2009, nearly 60,000 British tourists made visits to Albania  and nearly all visits were trouble free. No deaths were reported from these visits and only a few minor incidences requiring consular assistance were reported.

Entry Tax

Since November 2008 there has been no entry tax for Albania.

Health

Levels of hepatitis remain high in Albania. Rabies is also a slight concern due to the number of stray dogs. The last reported case of rabies, however was in 1978. Hospitals are free in Albania and foreigners can be treated without cost. The level of medical care will range from adequate to poor. Inside the capital city of Tirana is where the most sophisticated health care will be. Outside the major cities the level declines. Make sure you have adequate health coverage from your own country before entering Albania. Consider the possibility of being transported out of the country for treatment when purchasing your policy.

Money

Inside Tirana and Albania's other larger towns, most credit and debit cards will be accepted without hassle. There are also money exchanges that will change pounds, euros and US dollars easily. Carrying some cash is recommended, especially if traveling to smaller towns and villages. Albania also had a problem with credit card fraud so using cash will protect you from this problem. Visitors may notice several independent money changers offering incredibly good rates of exchange, but these should be used at your own risk.

Albanian People

Many tourists come to Albania for the slow, relaxed pace of life. Albanian people tend to be very friendly and welcoming to tourists. Just remember the pace of life might not be what you are used to.

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January 19, 2010 change by sequoia maner

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