Albania is a budget travellers dream. If you are coming from a western country with a strong currency, you can live like a king during your vacation in Albania. Albania really has it all as well. It has gorgeous ancient ruins, beaches and seaside towns, ancient fortresses and castles, delicious cuisine, friendly people, and that sort of raw travel experience that only a country far removed from the tourist trail can offer. All that, and it won’t hurt your wallet too much either.
The only thing in Albania that is not budget friendly is anything which needs to be imported from other countries. Because we were travelling with a baby under the age of one, there were quite a few baby supplies we stock up on from a Western style grocery store in Tirana. This was the only place were our dollar didn’t go quite as far as it did in the rest of the country.
Budget Transportation in Albania
The most popular way to travel around Albania is to do what the locals do and hop on a furgon. These mini buses travel between all major towns and cities, stopping at villages along the way to collect more passengers. There are not really fixed time tables or stops. You just wait for one, and when you see it, you flag it down. As much as this entire system sounded wonderful and adventurous, we had a 10 month old baby with us and an exorbitant amount of luggage.
We rented a car, which of course, came with its own brand of adventure. If you are thinking of renting a car in Albania, we recommend reading this post first. Driving in Albania will be one of the most terrifying things you ever do, but it will provide some of your best travel stories later on.
Budget Accommodation in Albania
Accommodation is cheap, friendly and easy to find in Albania. We were travelling in the off season (around Christmas) so things were even cheaper than normal as well. We were travelling with a baby so we stayed at guesthouses and hotels primarily, which is usually the more expensive accommodation option. Even then, we on average spent 25 euros per night on our accommodation, and even stayed in a 4 star hotel for 35 euros per night.
If you are travelling with adults only, or solo, then you can even look into cheaper options like hostels. You can find a dorm in a hostel is Albania for between 8 – 15 dollars per night.
Many hostels and most hotels/ guesthouses also include free breakfast, which adds further value to your stay.
Eating on a Budget in Albania
You can eat like a King in Albania. The food is incredible and is also very cheap, so don’t come here expecting to lose weight. We would get ice cream from an incredible gelato place in Tirana every day (sometimes twice a day). They had a huge selection and it was only 30 cents a scoop.
We made a habit of consulting Tripadvisor and Urbanspoon and selecting the top rated restaurant to eat at, because, well even the top rated restaurant was cheaper than a cafe in Australia.
Seeing the Sights on a Budget
Most attractions attract a small fee to visit. It costs 100 lek (1 dollar) to visit the Berat fortress, 200 lek (2 dollars) to visit the fortress in Gjirokaster and 700 lek (7 dollars) to visit the ruins at Butrint. Visiting the main attractions is not going to break the bank in Albania.