Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.

Is Albania Really that Cheap to Travel?

Budget Travellers Guide to Albania. Everything you need to know about travelling to Albania on a budget in 2024. And most importantly – Is Albania cheap to travel to?

Europe has become insanely expensive as a travel destination. Especially in the summer months. While you can still travel reasonably cheaply in Europe in winter, comes summer, places get crazy expensive.

OK, I know that statement runs more or less true depending on where you are coming from. If you come with some Dollars, Europe may still be quite affordable for you. But the most popular destinations like Greece, Croatia, France or even Italy and Portugal became pretty pricy in high season.

Last summer, I travelled through the Balkans and gave Croatia and Montenegro a wide berth because those were simply way outside of my budget.

So if you are anything like me and are always on the lookout for a bargain and want an affordable vacation in Europe, you have most likely heard of Albania.

Incredible beaches, breathtaking landscapes, the cutest historical towns like Berat or Gjirocater, delicious food and what’s more important – affordability.

So am I too late? You ask yourself. Is

Is Albania cheap to travel to? Is Albania still an affordable country to travel to?

If you are a budget traveller or simply looking for a bargain vacation in Europe or the Balkans, this post is for you.

Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.

How Affordable is it Really to Travel in Albania?

Albania is still one of the cheapest countries to travel to in Europe. There are not many places in Europe where you can find a hostel for €10 a night or a private room for €15. And when it comes to beauty, heritage, beaches and natural wonders, Albania is one of the true gems of Europe. It’s still very much unpolished, but it’s still a gem.

Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.
Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.

In fact, Albania is one of the least developed countries in Europe and the travel infrastructure is still very much the ‘everything goes’. With that said, the travel industry is growing rapidly and some prices are definitely on the rise. Accommodation can still be very affordable in Albania, but prices for transportation or restaurants can be as high as in some other European countries, depending on the location.

So if paying €100 per night in Portofino, Algavre or Barcelona scares you, you will find a pretty good hotel room in Durres, Sarande or Vlore for as little as €25. Or even cheaper, outside of the season.

But when it comes to other expenses like eating out, transport, car hire or guided tours, the prices are comparable to countries like Greece, Italy, Spain or Portugal. So you still need to budget around €10 for a meal in a restaurant if you are not a drinker, €3 for a glass of wine, at least €15 for a sunbed and an umbrella on the beach and sometimes even €15 for transportation between towns.

Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.

Oh yes, I hear you say – but you don’t need a sunlounger and an umbrella! Unfortunately, in many places in Albania, such as Ksamil, you do. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you later in the post, where to go to save money!

In every country, there are expensive towns and places that are more affordable. Often these places are less popular, but just as great!

If you want to travel to Albania on a budget, then choose your destination wisely.

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Is Albania Cheaper than Greece?

This is a question many travellers ask, and as I currently live in Greece, I can definitely answer it.

As of 2024, Albania is definitely cheaper to travel to than Greece and this is mainly due to the accommodation prices.

Greece is very expensive when it comes to accommodation. Between May and October, you’ll be lucky to find a bed in a hostel dorm for less than €25 per night and a hotel room for less than €40.

In Albania, on the other hand, you can find a hostel in Tirana, Berat or Vlore for as little as €12 even in summer and €10 outside of peak season.

When it comes to food and eating out, the prices are pretty similar, I would say. In Tirana, you can get a gyros for €3.5, just like in Athens. I was able to find a restaurant in Albania where I could eat for €7, but I can do the same in Greece (hard to find, but doable). But more often than not you have to spend around €10, excluding drinks – the same in Greece.
So I would say that the prices for food and eating out are pretty similar.

Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.
Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.
Tirana – Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.

Is Albania Cheaper than Other Balkan Countries?

Albania is definitely cheaper than countries like Croatia and Montenegro. But very comparable if not even more expensive at times than countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina or North Macedonia. In fact, North Macedonia is definitely cheaper than Albania. But if you compare Albania to other Balkan countries that offer stunning beaches, Albania is much cheaper than Croatia and Montenegro and just a tiny bit cheaper than Bulgaria.

Where to Travel in Albania on a Budget

So if you’re travelling to Albania this year and want to make your hard-earned money stretch further, it’s important to choose your destination wisely. Although Albania is cheap to travel to overall, some places have become so trendy that the affordability factor is slowly disappearing.

To save money, you should avoid some beach resorts on the Albanian Riviera, especially Ksamil. This place is overhyped and expensive and you won’t find any free public beaches near the town. Dhermi is also quite expensive, but still worth a visit.

Instead, travel to places like Durres, Vlore, Sarande or Himare where you will find a whole range of accommodations and plenty of public beaches to choose from.

Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.
Beaches near Vlore. Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.

When it comes to Albanian UNESCO cities, both Berat and Gjirocaster are equally stunning and worth visiting, but Berat is the cheapest of the two.

Tirana is a great destination for travellers on a budget, with so many awesome hostels and a seemingly endless choice of street food, restaurants, bars and great things to do for all budgets.

One of the most surprising and affordable destinations in Albania is Shkoder. If you want to visit Albania for the incredible mountains and the local feel, Shkoder could be the right destination for you!

Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.

Here’s a word of warning. If, like me, you tend to go on booking platforms and just search for the cheapest town based on the accommodation prices, you may find that Elbasan is pretty affordable. However, I don’t recommend spending more than a day in Elbasan, and only if you’re passing through. Actually, don’t do what I did and skip Elbasan altogether.

So to conclude the most affordable destinations in Albania are Shkoder, Tirana, Vlore, Durres and Berat. If you want to get away from it all and hide out in the Accursed Mountains, Valbone is pretty affordable. Theth is a wonderful mountain village, but a bit more expensive than Valbone.

Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.

The most expensive are Ksamil and Dhermi as well as small coastal towns like Qeparo or Radhimë. However, prices are still around €30 per night, which is much cheaper than many other places in Europe.

Cost of Travel in Albania – The Breakdown

So you want to know how much should you budget for your Albanian trip? Here is a small breakdown of all costs you might encounter while travelling in Albania.

The official currency in Albania is the Albanian Lek. In some very touristy places, you will get away with paying with Euros. I mostly used the local currency but on a couple of occasions paid in Euros as I didn’t want to stay with any Lek once I left the country. 

To calculate the cost in Euro, you just need to take 2 zeros out as 100 Lek equals almost 1 Euro and just a tiny more than 1 USD. So it’s easy peasy!

Prices of the Most Popular Food Items in Albania:

Bakery and cafes:

Coffee 100 lek

Cappuccino 200 lek

Burek 150 to 200 lek

Restaurants and bars:

Pork skewer 750 to 800m lek

Tzatziki 300 to 400 lekk

Soup 450 to 800 lek

Salad 300 to 600Lek

Meatballs with fries 800lek

Meat with salad and fries 1000 to 2000lek

Pasta 700 to 1000 lek

Seafood dish 1200 to 1500 lek

Beer 250 to 400 lek

A glass of wine 250 to 400 lek (the cheapest homemade wine I found was 150 lek in Berat)

A cocktail in a more fancy bar 400 to 700lek

General Groceries Cost:

Fruit and Veggies are dead cheap in Albania. Enjoy!

Bread less than 100lek (much less)

Milk 170lek

Pasta 50lek

Rise 60lek

Oats 150lek

Transportation Cost Within Albania:

Here are the prices for the most popular bus routes in Albania

Tirane to Shkoder 400 lek

Tirane to Sarande 1500lek

Tirane to Himare 1200 Lek

Tirane to Vlore 600lek

Sarande to Gjirocaster 450lek

Gjirocaster to Berat 1000lek

Vlore to Berat 1500lek

Berat to Sarande 1400lek

Car Rental Prices in Albania:

If you are planning on renting a car be prepared to pay at least €60 per day. You can rent a car at the airport on your arrival in Tirana where often you will be able to negotiate the price. You will be asked to pay in cash so get some euros out or simply take them with you as the exchange at the airport is atrocious.

If you are travelling during high season, the earlier you book the better price you get. So if that’s your preferred method you can check out the prices on Discover Cars or Expedia.

How much Should You Budget for a Week Trip to Albania:

The below budget recommendations are per person.

If you are a budget backpacker and are happy to stay in a hostel, mostly east in cheaper restaurants or bakeries (not all hostels in Albania offer a kitchen) and are not planning on taking any tours you should budget between 350 to 400lek per day – 2000 to 2500lek for a week. But keep in mind that this is a very strict budget but it can definitely be done.

For a budget traveller who wants to book a private room, eat out once a day and maybe take a tour – a weekly budget would be between 3000 and 4000lek. This will allow you to eat at the bakery and have a nice coffee for breakfast, eat a nice meal out and enjoy a glass of wine or a beer in the evening. You will have enough budget to take a day trip to Blue Eye, Osumi Canyon or Butrint and even get a nice souvenir.

Is Albania Cheap to Travel? Budget Travellers Guide to Albania.
Gjirocaster – Is Albania Cheap to Travel?

If you want to travel comfortably, meaning staying in a nice hotel, eating all your meals in town, taking a couple of tours and renting a sun lounger on the beach then a minimum weekly budget would be 4500€ and above. This is if you spend between 150 and 200€ on accommodation. To this add your car rental if you are so inclined.

I hope this post answered some of your questions and you can decide if Albania is affordable for you! Because just as I said – it really depends on your budget. Still, Albania is unquestionably one of the cheapest countries in Europe and definitely worth visiting!

I am in fact planning on returning very soon!

If you have any questions or don’t agree with some of my estimates, please comment below. Sharing is caring 🙂

Until then, enjoy Albania and happy travels!

Pati x

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