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Can Albania be considered secure?

How secure is Albania (particularly in the mountains) compared to countries like Ukraine or Romania? What security issues should a traveller take into account, such as organized crime or landmines?

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I've hitchhiked around Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania but not Ukraine. I never encountered problems in any of these countries but surprisingly, only felt safe enough to hitchhike at night in Albania. People were very friendly, hospitable, and helpful. I got the impression the "bad people" only "work" in other countries. I imagine the most likely crime you might encounter could be pickpocketing or theft in busy tourist areas in high season. I did meet one American lady who'd been visiting Albania for decades and had just been mugged in Gjirokastra. Even she felt it was just extremely bad luck. –  hippietrail Jul 8 at 2:29

2 Answers 2

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Short answer: Nothing out of the usual.

The days of bandits roaming the mountains seem to be long gone. According the US State Department, the main risks are pickpocketing and theft from cars, the same as in Romania and the Ukraine (and pretty much anywhere in Europe).

Landmines were laid on the Kosovo-Albania border in the 1990s, but according to the UNDP they were all cleared out by 2006.

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Of course, it goes without saying that one must always be cautious in an unfamiliar country. –  Switchkick Jun 18 '12 at 4:20

You should have no problems in the mountains and rural areas. Actually, people are usually very friendly and they will be curious about you (specially if you look like a foreigner).

In Tirana, Durrës and other cities you might find someone trying to scam you, like pretending they just found a ring you dropped or distracting you with a game while someone tries to pickpocket (same as Romania, Ukraine, etc.). Also, there are some fake taxis you should be careful about, they have no licenses and aren't even identified as taxis.

In smaller towns like Berat and others this is/was a non-existent problem, and you won't have any issues of this kind. However, you should be careful with gangs of stray dogs.

Other than that, people are friendly and they accept tourists with a smile (sometimes they even wave). As long as you're not showing off your golden watch and respect the Albanian culture, you should be alright.

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