Albania is a very small, yet mountainous country full of Greek influence. This is apparent in the fact that in Albania, nodding one’s head means ‘no’ where as shaking one’s head means ‘yes.’ The people of Albania dress informally, but swim suits are meant for the beach and revealing clothing is considered unacceptable. It is important to formally address men as Zoti (mister) and women as Zonja (missus) before their names. Guests are to bring a gift when visiting an Albanian at their home. Flowers, however, aren’t an acceptable gift. Modern day Albanians are likely descendants of ancient Illyrians.
Bus travel within Albania is fairly inexpensive in main cities. Taxis are another option, but tend to be more expensive. The Dajti Mountain is a tourist attraction as well as the Dajti Ekspres cable car which will take visitors through Dajt Oark to Tirana in 15 minutes. In Tirana, there are luxury yachts which are owned by Alpha Yachting for those interested in a boating experience. For those who enjoy canoeing, there are many places outside of Tirana where there are amazing vistas for those with a canoe. Rock climbing, hiking, and camping are also major activities in the area.
In Tirana, the Tirana Bank is one of the best places to withdraw money as they allow the usage of Visa cards. It is advised to wear warm clothing when traveling the country as restaurants often do not have sufficient heating. Tourists are likely to be charged more at restaurants than locals as well as at stores, so it is best as to not look like a tourist.
For those interested in a 5-star hotel, there is The Sheraton Tirana Hotel and Tower, which is located in the center of the shopping and entertainment district. The Sheraton offers 151 rooms and 56 suites to relax from a long day of shopping. Another hotel which offers a similar experience on a smaller budget is the Hotel Mondial, but is located quite a distance from the city center.
To get to Albania, it is advised to travel by air, by train, by bus, or to drive. Albanian Airlines services flights to nearly all the large European cities. The airport is 16 miles outside of the capital city of Tirana and is known as the Mother Teresa airport. There is also a bus that takes visitors to and from the airport every three hours. These buses generally take 30 minutes to reach the city center. There are also taxis available 24 hours a day. While waiting at the airport there are duty free shops, banks, and restaurants to check out. For those interested in driving to Albania, safety precautions should be taken as many roads are in poor condition. The speed limit is strictly enforced and thus should always be followed. Driving at night is not recommended as there are very few street lights except for urban areas. There are only a handful of gas stations in the countryside, so it is recommended to fill up the gas tank before leaving urban areas.
Duty free items in Albania include one liter of spirits or two liters of wine, 250 ml of eau de toilette, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, 50ml of perfume. It is prohibited to carry firearms, narcotics, or ammunition across country borders. Also, for those interested in carrying precious metals, books, antiques, art, or anything of historical value, be sure to have the special export permissions necessary before crossing the border.