Travel Budget: Albania

Gjirokaster Castle
The old castle in Gjirokaster

If you’re planning on heading to one of the coastal countries in the Balkans, then Albania is definitely the cheapest when compared to Montenegro and Croatia! Hostels are about a third of the price of those in Croatia and the food is equally cheap- and delicious.

Here’s a breakdown of what I spent over two weeks exploring Albania solo.

Towns Visited: Shkodër, Valbone, Theth, Himare, Sarandë, Gjirokastër, Tirana

Travel Style: Budget

Currency: Albanian Lek (Euro also widely accepted)

Duration: 17 nights

Season: End of Summer (September)

Total Spend: 544€

Daily Spend: 32€

Beach
Enjoying the southern coast of Albania

Accommodation: 

241€ for 17 nights

Guesthouse
One of the guesthouses I stayed at in Theth
  • 11 nights in a shared hostel dorm, averaging 9.5€ per night, the cheapest being 7.5€ per night including a large breakfast (Shkoder)
  • 2 nights in a private room at a hostel for 21€ per night
  • 2 nights in a shared room in guesthouses in Valbone (20€) and Theth (23€) including all meals
  • 2 nights in a (very nice) private AirBnB in Tirana at 27€ per night

Transport:

83€ for 17 days

Bicycles in Tirana
Getting around by bicycle is a favourite choice for locals
  • Local buses: around 2€ per hour. For example, 10€ for the 5 hour trip from Tirana to Himare. In total I spent 70€ on local buses which enabled me to see the majority of the main towns and sites in the country.
  • Boat: 7€ for the Koman ferry as part of the trip from Shkoder to Valbone
  • Bicycle hire: 3€ for the day, I hired a bike for two days to explore around Shkoder

Food & Drink: 

150€ food, 25€ alcohol for 17 days

Local Breakfast
Breakfast at guesthouses usually consists of small traditional pancakes, home made butter, jam, honey, fresh milk and strong coffee

Carbs feature heavily in the Albanian diet, as does cheese- mainly a strong form of feta. Salads are also abundant and mainly consist of cucumber, tomatoes and cheese. As these ingredients are all produced locally, the salads are delicious and fresh. There’s a strong Italian influence throughout, with pizza, pasta and gelato available everywhere, while close to the Greek border calamari and gyrus are common and delicious. Strong Balkan coffee is served everywhere.

Over the course of 17 days I spent 25€ on groceries, 125€ eating out and 25€ on alcoholic drinks.

  • Breakfast: everywhere I stayed breakfast was included the hostel or guesthouse rate
  • Coffee: 1.5€ for strong Balkan coffee, 2€ for an interpretation of cappuccino
  • Lunch: Panini and smoothie at a nice cafe will set you back around 4€
  • Beer: Very cheap. Around 0.8€ at supermarkets and 2€ at restaurants
  • Dinner: At local ‘fast food’ places you can get a filling, tasty kebab for 1-2€. In most towns dinner at a nice traditional restaurant with a selection of local specialties, a glass of wine and Raikia (local spirit) will set you back around 10€ (for everything). Near the Greek border you can get amazing seafood dinners for 5-10€ at local restaurants.

Activities:

45€ over 17 days

  • 15€ for a 4 hour boat trip along the coast from Himare
  • 8€ for a double deck chair at the beach with a large sun umbrella
  • 2-3€ entry fee for most attractions

 

Total spent:   544€ / 17 nights = 32€ per day