People everywhere, but superb landscapes and a generous welcome!

Where is Albania?

His flag


General data

  • Surface : 28 748 km².
  • Population : 3 020 209 habitants (estimation 2014).
  • Density: 105 hab./km².
  • Capital : Tirana. The city and its suburbs contain around 20% of the country's population.
  • Head of state : Bujar Nishani (since July 24, 2012).
  • Status : Republic. Independence was achieved on November 28, 1912 at the time of the gradual dislocation of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Change : the lek. In July 2014, €1 = 140 leke and 1,000 leke = €7.15.
  • Average salary revolves around 230 € per month
  • Religion : Islamic majority (about 65%; also Orthodox (about 20%) and Catholics (about 13%).
  • Ethnicities: homogeneous population, with 95% Albanians for 3% Greeks and 2% of other origins (Vlachs, Roma, Bulgarians, Macedonians). That said, the estimates concerning the Greeks vary quite widely depending on the interlocutors – up to 12% for those concerned! The Albanians themselves divide into two groups: Guègues (North) and Tosques (South).
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Butrint (1992) ; the historic centers of Berat and Gjirokastra (2005).
  • Jet lag : none. (But given the geographical position east of the time zone, the sun rises and sets earlier.)

History and tradition

The Land of Eagles

The legend evokes an ancient hero, skilled with the bow who, in his youth, saved an eaglet from the bite of a snake. In gratitude, the bird offered him its protection, the strength of its wings and the vigor of its gaze. Renowned for his bravery, invincible in a word, he came to be known as Shqipëtar, "the eagle-man", and was enthroned by his people. It is thus, it is said, that Albania took the name of “country of the Eagles”.


In 1967, the regime of Enver Hoxha banned all religions. Albania becomes the first (and only) officially atheist state in the world. Hundreds of religious are sent to the gulag, the mosques, tekkes, churches and monasteries destroyed or transformed into party rooms or storage sheds! They will not be reopened until 1992, after the fall of the regime.

Today, the practice has hardly returned. The Albanians are not very religious, but attached to traditions linked to religion. An Italian study dating from the Second World War (the latest to date!) gives the following figures: 65-70% Muslim, 20% Orthodox and 10-13% Catholic – to which belonged Mother Teresa, Albanian from Macedonia.


Stretched between balkan foothills and the Adriatic Sea, Albania is a world of transition, between Central Europe and the Mediterranean, between Christianity and Islam.

The territory is two-thirds mountainous.

The forest covers about a third of the territory.

The littoral, stretched over 362 km,

The country is littered with mini-bunkers, remnants of the Stalin dictatorship. We see them all along the roads, on the beaches, in the cities even. There used to be some every 100 to 150 m!


Belonging to the Indo-European family, Albanian, a cousin of Greek and Armenian, descends from the language spoken by the ancient Illyrians


Albanians are big fans of foot. The clubs Albanian do not work miracles, but that does not prevent enthusiasm. Once a year, the Albanians let loose for the national championship of balls. The principle is the same as for horseshoe throwing: the game consists of holding on one of the three bars of an espalier "bolas" made up of two balls connected by a rope. The origins probably go back to a Spanish weapon, with two balls and without the tips.

Thank you backpacker!

Some impressions of the country

– The people in the countryside are very welcoming and constantly say “hello” to us when we pass.

– In the countryside or in small towns, we see lots of free-range chickens, and also lots of herds of goats, a few cows, sheep…

– To find water: we have seen on The backpacker tap water is not drinkable. So to fill our water bottles, we don't hesitate to take out our water filter! On the other hand, it's great, you can find taps quite easily everywhere.