How We Travelled Albania on a Budget

Schkoder, Albania
Shkodër, Albania

Since we began our round the world travels, I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of every expense we’ve spent. When I tallied our June expenses, I was pleasantly surprised at how LOW our spending was. In June, we backpacked through Montenegro, Albania, and Greece. Yet our total spend for the month was only:

  • For Two People: $2,690 USD ($3,538 CAD); or
  • Per Person: $1,345 USD ($1,769 CAD)

Our low expenses for the month was mainly due to our two weeks spent in Albania, an amazing country that’s a bit off the beaten track but so easy and safe to travel through.  In our five months of travels, Albania was the most affordable country we’ve been to — or at least, the country where we spent the least on a daily average.  Our daily average cost per person was $32USD per person!  For our 15 days in Albania, we spent:

  • For Two People: $960USD ($1,272 CAD); or
  • Per Person: $480USD ($636 CAD)

When travelling, the four biggest categories of expenses we account for are: accommodations, food, and transportation, activities.  If you’re in a country where those categories of expenses are low, you can easily travel on a low budget.  Albania met the mark for all — if you’re a budget traveller, or someone looking to travel to an up-and-coming destination that’s off the beaten track, I definitely recommend checking out Albania.

Note that I typically convert all our spending to Canadian dollars, but for this blog post, I’ve converted everything to USD.

Blue Eye Spring Sarande Albania
Blue Eye Spring, Albania

Our 2-Week Itinerary in Albania

For context, this was how we spent our two weeks in Albania: From Budva, Montenegro, we crossed the border via bus into Schkoder (2 nights) in the North of Albania , then did the Valbone to Thethi hike (3 nights), spent another night in Schkoder (1 nights), then made our way South to the capital of Tirana (3 nights).  From Tirana we went to Berat (1 night), then made our way to the beach towns on the westcoast, covering: Vlores (1 nights), Himare (2 nights), and Sarande (2 nights), exiting Albania by taking a 10-hour night bus to Athens, Greece.

Despite covering so much ground in Albania, we kept our average daily costs to $32USD per person, per day.  This was one of those countries where we felt like we could spend freely, without having to hold back or sacrifice certain activities because of cost.

Keep reading to get some insight into what things cost in Albania and some of our spending habits as we backpacked through Albania.

Cost of Travel in Albania: Accomodations

  • We spent an average of just over $20USD/night on private room accommodations — that’s only $10USD each split between two people. This usually bought us a private room in a hostel, or a room with bathroom in a guesthouse.
  • In remote villages like Valbone (which was the start of our Valbone to Theth hike) most accommodations include all your meals because there are few places to eat at in the village.  We paid $20USD each, with three meals and a packed lunch (for our hike) included.
  • Our most expensive accommodations were in Theth, where we booked ourselves one night into a boutique hotel for $40USD to reward ourselves after an 8-hour hike.
Our Accomodations in Valbone, Albania
Our Accomodations in Valbone, Albania

Cost of Travel in Albania: Transportation

  • Our cost of getting to Europe was already accounted for in a previous month. If we had to include a flight from Canada into our June expenses, our expenses for the month would of course be much higher!
  • Unlike our other months of travel, we travelled Albania completely by land. No expensive flights or unexpected baggage charges.
  • A 3-hour long bus ride from city to city was about $4 USD.
  • The few times we took local transportation within a city (to/from the bus station in Berat) it was only $0.50 USD.
  • We only took one taxi ride on our entire trip ($5 USD split between five people) — we typically stayed within a km within the bus station, or the town was small enough that we could walk everywhere.
$6 USD For a 3-Hour Ferry Ride in Albania
€5 Euro / $6 USD For a 3-Hour Ferry Ride in Albania

Cost of Travel in Albania: Food And Drink Costs

  • We bought fruit and yogurt every day from the grocery store for breakfast.
  • We always drank bottled water — a 1.5L bottle from the grocery store is about $0.50 USD.
  • We ate mostly vegetarian meals — not because we were trying to save money, but because we found the salads and grilled vegetables (usually drizzled with balsamic vinegar) really fresh and delicious
  • We indulged in the little things — Nutella crepes, beer and candy from the grocery store, ice cream, and iced coffee — all under $2 USD each.
  • As we got closer to Greece, we started eating Souvlakis for $3 USD for our meals and taszkiki as a snack.
  • Tipping is not expected in Albania, but you can round up your bill or leave a few coins for good service.
  • Our most expensive meal was $50USD for the two of us at a modern and trendy restaurant named SALT in Tirana.
Albanian Japrak
Albanian Japrak

Cost of Travel in Albania: Activities

  • Albania isn’t really set up for guided tourism so most of what we did was DIY sightseeing. We didn’t spend anything on guided tours — except for a free (by tips) walking tour in Tirana, which I highly recommend doing!
  • It doesn’t cost anything to hike up to view points or spend a day at the beach.
  • At the beach in Sarandë, we paid for a chair and umbrella rental and it was only $3 USD per person— remarkably affordable considering our last umbrella rental in Dubrovnik, Croatia was $20 USD!
Tirana, Albania
Tirana, Albania
Sardana Albania
Sarandë, Albania
In addition to the low cost of living in Albania, we found the local people very honest.  We never felt like we were charged “tourist” prices, and at all the restaurants we ate at, we dined alongside locals.  This country continues to commercialize and develop for tourism, but for now, the prices are extremely reasonable.  Get here quick before this changes!
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  1. Honestly, I hadn’t considered Albania as a potential vacation destination, but your post has made me reconsider. I like the idea of going to places where hardly anyone I know has gone. I certainly can’t say anyone in my immediate circle of friends and family has been to Albania.

  2. Travelling sure is expensive! Every time I try to plan an overseas trip, something always comes up yo take all my money away! I’ll definitely be travelling on a budget when the time comes, but you prove that that doesn’t mean you won’t have an amazing time!

  3. Only problem with these kind of budgets is that they are boring. I’ve been travelling for 4 months now and 95% of the time I eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, sometimes even if the hostel provides free breakfast I will eat out instead. I will buy beer and wine (from restaurants) and sit inside/outside and drink it because it’s more fun for me to drink at an establishment as opposed to buying it from the supermarket and drinking it elsewhere despite it being cheaper. And I will do this almost every single day too.

    Don’t misinterpret me I’m sure you eat out and drink a lot, but I hope you understand what I am getting at. A lot of blogs now a days say they spent €10 on food per day (or something similar) and you read how they lived off of supermarket bread and jam every day or something dull and barely drank any alcohol whatsoever during their stay.

    $32 isn’t bad though I suppose. I do all the things I listed for $50/day, and my accommodation very rarely takes up any more than $11 of that total.

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