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Safety

Paterson, New Jersey
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7 posts
5 reviews
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Safety

I am planning a trip to Albania this summer to attend a close friend's wedding in Tirana.

I am African American and will be traveling alone. I would like to know from individuals familiar with the country, how safe it is and if there are any traveling tips/advice or suggestions for someone traveling on their own.

I am extremely excited about this trip and would appreciate any advice.

London
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26 posts
10 reviews
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1. Re: Safety

Hey,

Spent 2 weeks in Albania in 2012, travelling a big loop from Tirana, down through Lake Ohrid, Korce, Girocaster, Saranda and back up the coast and never once felt unsafe.

In fact, it was one of the friendiest places we've ever travelled.

If you were walking with a map, people would stop and ask where you needed to go and even walk out of their way to make sure you found your way. Wait staff at restaurants brought us little morsels of things we hadn't ordered just to have a taste... Most people under 30 had decent english and just about no one over 50 - but we used to get these little old ladies come up to us and chatter away, wanting to shake our hands...basically just thanking us for coming to their country.

This said, I do know that as caucasians we might have had a different experience to what you will, and eastern europe does have its issues with racism but I still feel pretty confident that you'll not onyl be safe but also welcomed.

Albanians are very aware that their country doesn't have a great reputation in the international media, especially the US (have you ever seen an Albanian character in a hollywood film who wasn't either a terrorist or human-trafficker??) and the people we met definitely gave the impression they were really glad we'd come and given their country a chance.

And top of this, it's an absolutely stunning, breathtakingly beautiful country with amazing beaches you'll have practically to yourself and decilous food.

I'm sure you'll be fine adn have a fantastic time

london
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10 posts
32 reviews
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2. Re: Safety

I found Albanians to be very friendly, just like the poster said above. Never felt unsafe.

Hope you have a nice trip!

Tirana
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226 posts
11 reviews
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3. Re: Safety

I can confirm what the other folks have said here. Albanians love to welcome visitors, especially Americans. I note that you are from Patterson, NJ. I'm guessing you have Albanian friends there as Patterson has a large expat community. Learn a couple of words and phrases and you will be warmly received.

As to your race, there are factors to consider. In Tirana, the number of black residents has increased in the 14 years I have been here (off and on). In 2000 it was very uncommon to see black people in Tirana. I knew of only one African-American who worked at the American Embassy. He did some part-time work as a DJ at Top Albania Radio and his voice can still be heard doing some of the commercial intros. Today there are many more people of color visiting and working here. In addition to African Americans at the U.S. Embassy, Peace Corps, World Vision, and other organizations, there are quite a few immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa who have come to study, work, or play football. Like any place in the world you will encounter ignorant people with racist views. You'll find naive people who believe stereotypes and will expect you to behave according to those stereotypes. Young rap fans here fall squarely into that category! Albania is no worse and no better than any other country. Outside of Tirana or other large cities, the usual reaction is one of awe. Foreigners who venture off the beaten path are objects of interest. A person of color even more so.

As for general safety, you are safer in Tirana than anywhere in New Jersey. The biggest risk is traffic. I know you'll enjoy Tirana, particularly a wedding. Nobody throws a wedding like Albanians!

Newcastle upon...
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5 posts
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4. Re: Safety

I worked in Albania (Tirana) for 2 weeks and the atmosphere is friendly. It felt safer than London. I was on my own and walked the streets after midnight.

Theth
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139 posts
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5. Re: Safety

I think the last post describes it best, I never felt threatened anywhere in Albania, very different experience arriving by greyhound in any US downtown district...

Athens, Greece
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153 posts
13 reviews
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6. Re: Safety

I would not worry at all about this in Albania, Albanians are very hospitable, especially if you have friends from there. Believe me, they will go to great lengths to make you feel welcome. Crime , especially around Tirana, is far less common than in most European cities. You have loads of places to visit, just hop on a bus or a rental car and move around.

Would recommend Gjirokaster (hometown of renowned writer Ismail Kandare), Pogradec and the castle at Shkoder, they are well worth the visit

7. Re: Safety

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Raleigh, North...
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59 reviews
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8. Re: Safety

I drove through it in September of 2013 and the the night in Tirana. I never felt uneasy and enjoyed it. If you're driving you definitely want to remain aware. The driving style is similar to New York or Istanbul, aggressive but not too belligerent.

9. Re: Safety

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