Albania Practical Travel Info and Tips
It's best to drink bottled water, but potted water is usually drinkable too. The food in Albania is mostly healthy anywhere you go in the country. You can walk around to stay fit, as many people do in the capital. Be careful at the beaches because shards of glass and sea urchins are common on the sea floor. Also, pharmacies and other stores are closed from about 12PM-4PM; so, bring all necessary medicine with you. Also, many Albanians smoke cigarettes. It is a normal thing and expect it everywhere. The government has banned smoking in restaurants but this is not really observed.
Albanians are very hospitable. Even more so than the rest of the Balkans, elder males expect to be shown due respect on account of their age. Men of the family have to be respected in particular. Shake hands with them and do not argue about topics such as religion and politics. Certain topics are strictly taboo, although they may be fine in the United States or other countries. Homosexuality is one good example. Just remember that the situation changes a lot according to the location (village or city) and the people with whom you speak as well. Of course, in the hidden north, avoid topics that go beyond local understanding, but be sure that in Tirana you will find very cosmopolitan people that are as open to new ideas as citizens in the rest of Western Europe. There is nothing particular to worry about; all you need to remember is to respect local people as much as you do back home.
Officially 220V 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 or the compatible, but non-grounded, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travellers should pack an adapter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Albania.
Be prepared for rolling blackouts in and around Tirana during the winter months, usually starting in September, and going through March and April. All the power in the area comes from hydroelectric plants, and the high use of heaters in the wintertime places a greater stress on the water supply for the power plant. The blackouts usually last three hours, and will either be in the morning, around 9AM, or in the afternoon around 3PM. There is no warning of the blackout, so be careful not to get stuck in an elevator.