Tourism to Albania has increased in recent years. For the time being, it remains a hidden treasure, but we don’t expect it to last forever. Independent since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1912, Albania is nevertheless sometimes grouped in with other Balkan countries despite its status as a sovereign nation. Before booking your next vacation to Albania, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the country. We’ll go over all there is to know about Albania before you arrive. There are some cultural facts, some fun facts, and everything in between to share about Albania with the younger set.

  1. If you are having a conversation with a local Albanian and they begin nodding or shaking their head, you may find yourself perplexed. That’s because, in Albania, you shake your head to indicate a positive response and nod to indicate a negative one. Considered one of the most important pieces of information on Albanian culture.
  2. Even though Muslims make up over 60% of the population, Christians and Jews also call Albania home.
  3. Third, don’t freak out if you come across a large number of scarecrows; they’re not omens of impending doom. One of the most intriguing aspects of life in Albania is the widespread belief that erecting a scarecrow on the property’s grounds while construction is underway would discourage envious looks from neighbours. This custom has religious and magical connotations.
  4. It is often believed that Albanians are among of the worst drivers in the world. Without wanting to generalise, we may say that until 1991 or so, there were very few vehicles in the nation. Perhaps avoid driving in Albania and use extreme caution while crossing streets.
  5. There are now more Albanians residing outside of Albania than there are in the country itself.
  6. A geleshes is a traditional Albanian cap, especially common in the countryside. This cap is brimless.
  7. There are almost 750,000 underground shelters. As a precaution against invasion, they were constructed under the reign of Enver Hoxta. Perhaps paranoid, given that most of them were never put to good use and are now either eyesores or cool museums.
  8. You can expect to see people dressed in traditional Albanian garb during major events. Embroidered into silk, wool, or cotton, the Albanian eagle is a common motif on traditional garments.
  9. Be wary of accepting a glass of raki if it is given to you. Raki, the national drink of Albania, is a very strong alcoholic beverage. You’re probably safe to drink it from a bar, but if you try the homemade kind sold in neighbouring villages, one smell is all it takes to knock you out cold.
  10. You should expect to get slapped on the neck after getting your hair chopped. The stylist may say “me shndet,” which translates to “it’s not personal,” but you shouldn’t take it to heart. You should take this as a gift since it implies “on your health.”