Albania

80,000 British nationals visit Albania every year
80,000 British nationals visit Albania every year

The Albanian Riviera and Lake Skadar are two of the glorious sights to be seen in Albania. Butrint National Park is another memorable attraction that provides exquisite views.

Over 80,000 British nationals visit Albania every year, which can be reached from the United Kingdom by airplane or more complicated journeys by car and train.

Flying from London to Tirana, Albania’s capital, varies hugely in regard to flight duration. Some non-stop flights can take under four hours, while others can take over 13 hours.

Driving this journey can take around 30 hours, while a combination of trains and ferries will require at least three days’ travel time.

The currency in Albania is the Lek. Leks are not available for exchange anywhere outside of Albania due to it being a restricted currency. Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted in some establishments, however.

Time difference

The time difference in Albania is one hour ahead of British Summer Time and two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, which should not require excessive adjustments when managing your diabetes.

Iif you are unsure as to how best to stick to your medication schedule then it is best to discuss a plan with your diabetes specialist.

Climate

The climate in Albania can be a little erratic, but summer is an exceptionally warm season that sees average temperatures of 25°C greet Albania.  

Travellers with diabetes that take insulin and are susceptible to hypoglycemia should be wary as warmer temperatures can enhance insulin absorption. It is therefore critical to regularly check your blood sugar levels.

You could consider reducing your insulin dosages before any periods of activity or exercise, while it is essential to carry sugar on you at all times in case your blood sugar levels fall.

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory vaccinations to enter Albania, however several are highly recommended.

You should consult your doctor eight weeks prior to your departure in order to receive the vaccinations in time.

All travellers are recommended to get vaccinations for hepatitis A, which can be contracted through contaminated food or water.

There is no risk of yellow fever in Albania, although the government of Albania requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled from a country with a risk of the disease.

Some travellers are also recommended to receive vaccinations for other diseases, including hepatitis B and rabies, which can be carried by bats and some dogs in Albania.

Otherwise, the opportunity should be taken to ensure existing vaccinations such as your yearly flu jab and those against polio and tetanus are also up to date.

Access to medication

Medication is available in Albania, but no free services are available to citizens from the UK. You are strongly advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance. Your passport and medical insurance documents may be needed as identification to receive treatment.

Blood and urine testing kits are available from many pharmacies in Albania, for which the translation in Albanian is conveniently “farmaci”.

The emergency services telephone number to be called in Albania is 112.

It is advisable to contact the manufacturing company of your medication prior to leaving the UK to find out what is available in Albania if your medication gets lost, stolen or damaged. It is also worth checking to see what different names your medication may be listed as.

Insulin

You should note which syringes are available in Albania, with U-40 and U-100 syringes the most commonly used.

The vast majority of insulin in the UK is U-100 insulin. If you take, or are given any other strength of insulin (e.g. U-80 or U-40 insulin) whilst abroad, your current doses will not be applicable.

For example, you would use a U-40 syringe for U-40 insulin. You will need to work with a doctor getting the right dose if you’re using a different form of insulin.

Diabetes association

It is important to note any of the diabetes associations in the country, or countries, that you are travelling to in case of an emergency.

There is one diabetic association in Albania that can be contacted for information prior to your stay. The address is:

  • Shoqata E Diabetit Ne Shqiperi,
    PO Box 8275,
    Bul. "Gjergj Fishta" Kulla n° 2,
    Tirana 1001,
    Albania
    Tel: +355-4-4804342

Questions

  • How is blood glucose measured in Albania? Unfortunately, we do not have the information of whether blood glucose is measured in mg/dl or mmol/l in Albania
  • What language is spoken in Albania? Albanian, although English is spoken widely
  • Will I need an international driving license when driving in Albania? Yes
  • If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? No
  • What sugar free drinks are available in Albania? Drinks like Diet Coke and Pepsi Max are available, but they are not too widespread
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