Travelling to Albania for the Ireland-Albania game, 2 April 2003
Tirana, the capital of Albania, is a compact city with a number of centrally located hotels. The city tends to be quiet at night as many of the local inhabitants do not stay out late. Fans should be aware that there are high crime rates in Albania and take sensible precautions. . Care should be taken when going out at night. English is spoken in many restaurants and hotels though normally not by the security services. Mother Theresa airport is basic but there are official taxis available outside to bring you into the city.
Climate is currently mild with temperatures of about 15 degrees and some sunshine.
Public security in Albania has improved considerably since the disturbances of 1997. At that time armouries were looted and a large quantity of weapons came into private hands. Many of these remain unaccounted for. Parts of Albania, particularly in the northeast, remain very dangerous for travellers. Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe and those travelling there should be aware that there are significant problems of crime and corruption in the country. Travel insurance for loss of belongings is essential.
Even in Tirana, fans should exercise caution, maintain a high level of awareness and avoid disturbances. Modest dress is recommended and care should be taken at night to stay on main roads in well frequented parts of the city. Women particularly should take great care when going out at night.
The economy is cash-based, with the Albanian Lek, the Euro and the US Dollar all accepted in larger establishments. Fans should try to avoid carrying large sums of money around. Credit card fraud is a problem and in any case many shops and restaurants will not take credit cards. Photocopies of documents such as Passports, drivers license and travellers cheques should be kept separately. The police number in Tirana is 129. Most police do not speak English and should be treated respectfully.
Albania has one of the highest road accident rates in Europe and driving is unwise.
Health services are in general poor and should be avoided if possible. Health insurance, with a medical evacuation option, is strongly recommended.
No Visa is required if travelling as a tourist to Albania. You should, however, ensure that your passport has validity beyond the term of your stay in Albania.
Power cuts occur frequently in Albania. Albania is 1 hour ahead of Ireland.
Embassy Contact details
The Irish Embassy in Greece is responsible for Albania. Its contact details are
Tel : 0030 210 7232771
Fax : 0030 210 7293383
A temporary office will be set up in Tirana during the game period. This can be contacted at 0030 6944322008 in case of emergency. In the event of difficulties in contacting this number, contact may be made with the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin 24 hours a day on 00 353 1 4780822.