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  #1  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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How safe is Albania ?

Hello,

In 4 weeks I'm leaving for a Mediterranean sea tour (the whole tour) and I planned to get throught Albania while visiting East countries. But as the departure is approaching I'm wondering how safe this place is ? Any feedback on that country ? I heard a few things that could make me think skipping Albania would be a good idea but I'm not sure how serious these stories were.

I'll be travelling with my gf on a brand new KTM 990 Adventure, a bike that can be attractive to some people...
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  #2  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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Well your fear is kinda understandable, You've already lost one , just kidding. But as I've said in ADV rider it is preety much save. Just watch for crazy drivers and cows on small local roads. Don't ride over the limit on the "highway" because radar patrols are there waiting.
That's preety much sums it all. Don't worry about the gas and if you fancy a bike wash, there are car wash stops every few km-don't kidding at all-you'll see
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  #3  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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I heard there was an incredible number of car-wash over there

Thanks for the reply (you're everywhere!)
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  #4  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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I went through Albania last year as part of my trip through Eastern Europe and did have the same concerns after listening to numerous tales however I had a great time.

The people I met were so friendly, had photos taken on the bike, constantly asked what I thought of the country and were very generous.

My original plan was just to ride through and spend the one night however in the end I stayed for 4 days.

I also agree with the point about speeding. Coming in from Macedonia there were lots of Police checking speed at regular intervals . Shame as it was a good road.

regards
Kev
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  #5  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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Thanks Caleyman for your feedback
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  #6  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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I rode through Albania last summer on the way to Greece from Montenegro.
I passed the border (from Montenegro to Albania) at Hani i Hotit near Podgorica. The road from Podgorica to the border had no signs and i had to ask locals to find it. Most of the part was not good full of potholes.

At the border crossing on the Albanian side they managed to delay me for more than 45 minutes although I was the only one waiting to cross the border, with no apparent reason. We had to pay 10euro each as a tourist tax.

From the border to a city called Shkoder, the road was one of the worst asphalt roads I have ever seen, full of HUGE pothole, no signs, no white lines nothing. Although it's a small distance to Shkoder it took us much more time than we expected to get there.

All the way along this road there were huge piles of garbage, a lot of traffic police, and a lot of people just wandering around. It was really hot and the air was stinking from all these roting garbage. It was the first time in my life I have seen Gas station without tarmac or cement just the pump(s) on a gravel or dirt. Also the first time I have seen a lot of destroyed gas stations as if they have been burned.

I tried to avoid being spotted by the police ( I was constantly behind vans or trucks avoided overtaking e.t.c) and it was obvious from the face of the policemen when they spotted me after i had passed (looking from my mirror) that they would have stopped me.

This northern part was terrifying, I really wouldn't enjoy having to stop there for any reason.

From Shkoder the road to Tirane is better but traffic conditions are terrible. Every one does whatever he or she wants, double , tripple overtaking on both lanes, speeding, no use of signals in any case, Stop signs and traffic lights are ignored!!

In general as you drive further south things get better, but even at the Albania-FYROM border the border guards weren't friendly at all.

I covered around 300kms (it took me more than 5.5 hours) and came across only two motorcycles, a BMW and a Pan, signaled and waved to both but got no response.


Regards
Vlassis
Croatia - Bosnia - Dolomites - Austria - summer 2007
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  #7  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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Thanks Vlassis! I planned only a few distance each day while on this trip because of the poor riding conditions (road, traffic, etc) and just to take the time to enjoy the place, to visit, etc.

We'll see! Anyway thank you too for your great feedback
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  #8  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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crazy place but great people on the whole. I got stopped a few times in Albania, once with a radar gun when I was doing 70 in what was apparently a 50. I let one of the cops ride the bike up and down the road as he was a bike cop. They offered to buy me lunch and let me go with no fine etc.

I did have a bit of a run in with what I can only assume was the Albanian mafia (very big brand new merc with blacked out windows; drove through all the police stops at high speed flashing his lights and getting saluted; seemed to own all the buildings; and said they were 'in construction', also asked me if I was scared in the back of the merc - draw your own conclusions!). Turned out he just wanted to buy me dinner, show off and practice his English. Dinner was awesome, we both got trollied then he drove me back to my bike at the same high speed...

Lake Orhid on the FYROM/Greece/Albania border is a must see
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  #9  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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Lake Orhid is already on the planned route

Thanks for the feedback! I can't wait to be on the road...
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  #10  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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safety in albania

I´m just back from Albania (with a brandnew Triumph and the same concerns) and felt totally safe. In fact, people are very nice, great hospitality, I had a little accident south of Durres and before I realized what happened people were around to help me. Also fixed my broken gearshift lever in minutes without asking for any money.
sure - the roads are mostly bad, but that´s part of the fun. I guess Albania will be one of your highlights on the mediterranean tour. Don´t just cross it, take some time.

happy travels
mike
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  #11  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aurel View Post
Hello,

In 4 weeks I'm leaving for a Mediterranean sea tour (the whole tour) and I planned to get throught Albania while visiting East countries. But as the departure is approaching I'm wondering how safe this place is ? Any feedback on that country ? I heard a few things that could make me think skipping Albania would be a good idea but I'm not sure how serious these stories were.

I'll be travelling with my gf on a brand new KTM 990 Adventure, a bike that can be attractive to some people...
Hi Aurel, I'm planning something similar with my wife on the same days, we may met in somewhere and ride some part together.

What is exactly a "whole mediterranean tour" ? All the way to Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Spain ?
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  #12  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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Thanks miketwin, I would be happy to spend more time in Albania and more time in all the countries but I'm short on time... 5/6 weeks for the whole tour... But I'll get back over there soon So many things to see, so little time...

Sergiobodyweb, I think I answered you already on Adventure Rider I'm leaving for the following tour : Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordania, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italia, and then back to home in France. Feel free to contact me at aurelienDOTkamelATfreeDOTfr
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  #13  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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Albania is one of the best riding areas I have visited in the past. I just returned from a trip Greece - Albania - Macedonia - Greece. Brilliant!

Since you're travelling on an enduro, the road conditions shouldn't bother you that much. Admittedly you'll have to do some pothole-dodging, but do plan to spend some days there to explore some of the backroads.

The coastal road past Skodra to Tirana isn't very interesting, but south of Tirana the landscape is lovely. Further south between Durres and Sarande there are lots of contruction sites, but it is well worthwhile to travel along this part. Passing this way you should make a detour to Berat and Girokaster. IMO they are the only towns worth paying a visit. Like a living museum.

Another choice would be to stay in Skodra for more than a day and explore the Albanian Alps east and north-east of Skodra. Dirtroads though. The backroads further to the east, near the border to Macedonia are often dirtroads as well, but those stretches where what I was looking for: Rural life like Europe before WW II.

Personally I felt very safe in Albania. Forget all the bullshit people (who have never been there) think about this country. The people are friendly, helpful and open to foreigners. I didn't have any problems at all at any of the borders. Cash is no problem either. In most larger places there are ATM's which accept your bank card. Just make sure you spend everything in Albania - even in Macedonia they wouldn't exchange my Albanian dollars for their money

If you need any tips on where to stay overnight, send me an email. I've got GPS details on a few good places.

Hans
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  #14  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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I do remember finding one empty little village that was pretty grim, amusingly enough though the village was called Thotelishit
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  #15  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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I can't waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit to leave for my trip, 720hours to go
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