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Holiday Guides for Eastern Europe - Albania

Always take care when in Albania

Upcoming country has plenty to offer travellers

Albania is currently on an upward curve as a country, with a burgeoning tourist industry and a property market which is gradually encouraging investment from overseas.

However, anyone planning on taking a holiday there should be aware of a number of key tips and rules to ensure that they make the most of their trip and stay safe at all times.

Firstly, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to the north-east border areas between Albania and Kosovo as there may be a risk of unexploded ordnance dating back to the 1999 Kosovo crisis.

The locals tend to be very hospitable, but travellers should be warned that there is a problem with crime in the capital, Tirana, with a Briton being robbed and murdered in February.

However, most incidents are not aimed at tourists, although there have been reports recently of luggage being stolen from hotel rooms and on public transport, mainly in the Vlore and Saranda regions.

For anyone intending to drive in Albania, the FCO advises that road conditions tend to be very poor and that they can become particularly hazardous during the winter months.

It also offers the following instructions: "Albanian driving can often be aggressive and erratic. Minor traffic disputes can quickly escalate, especially as some motorists are likely to be armed.

"If you intend to drive you are strongly advised to avoid reacting to provocative behaviour by other road users. If you are involved in a traffic accident, even a minor one, you are required to wait until the police arrive."

In terms of entry into the country, Britons can do so without a visa as long as they are staying for no longer than 30 days, while a 60-day extension from local police can acquired thereafter.

The FCO also notes that the standard of medical facilities is very poor in Albania and it advises against using dentists in the country.

Hepatitis is particularly prevalent, while rabies is also a danger because there are a large number of stray dogs, although there have been no reported cases since 1978.

There have been instances of tick borne encephalitis in the north so getting vaccinated before travel is advisable, as is keeping your body covered when in close contact with greenery.

Finally, the FCO reminds travellers that they will be required to pay an entry tax of €10 on arrival.