Want to know more about the currency in Albania? The local currency is called Albanian lek and it has the currency code (ALL). In this article, I’m sharing some of my best tips for handling money in Albania as well as sharing more information about ATMs, card payments.
I will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about money and currency in Albania.
Quick facts about the Albanian lek (ALL)
- Name: Lek (singular) and Lekë (plural)
- Date of introduction: 1926.
- Coins: 1 (rarely used), 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Lekë
- Subunit: None.
- Banknotes: 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 ALL
- Abbreviation: Ls
- Currency Code: ALL
Are Euros used in Albania?
Yes, and no. Euro is widely accepted in tourist areas because most tourists who travel to Albania bring the Euro as currency. However, it’s not recommended to pay in Euro since the rate is likely to be worse than the actual market value.
Always pay in the local currency – Albanian lek.
Can you pay by card in Albania?
Some shops, restaurants, and hotels accept card payments in Albania, but it’s still a cash-society, so tourists are recommended to always carry cash.
Should you exchange money before your trip?
It’s not possible to exchange Albanian lek before your trip, but don’t worry it’s much better to take out cash from a local ATM. It might be a good idea to carry some extra Euros when traveling around Albania though as a reserve.
Things to remember when using ATMs in Albania
- Always choose to be charged in local currency (Albanian lek). Otherwise, you will receive a non-favorable exchange rate when taking out cash from ATMs or pay with a card. It can differ up to 5-20 Euro if you don’t choose to be charged in the local currency.
- Use a debit or credit card without ATM fees, such as the Revolut card
- Never use a Euronet ATM.
Get Revolut and avoid expensive currency exchange fees
If you’re a legal resident in Europe, I recommend that you get Revolut and one of their cards. The standard card is 100% free and offers zero fees for exchanging currencies and also have up to €200 euro in free ATM withdrawals.
When you pay with the card or take out cash, you will get the actual market rate without any surcharges or markups. Regular debit and credit cards usually have a markup of 1-2% when paying in other currencies.
Exchange currency in Albania
There are local exchange bureaus, but there is not really any reason for exchanging your money there because you will get a better rate by taking out cash from a local ATM. Or even better, use the Revolut card and enjoy zero fees while exchanging currencies or paying with your card.
ATMs in Albania
There are quite many ATMs in Albania, except in the countryside outside the cities, but even there you will find some ATMs. In Tirana, for example, you have plenty of ATMs and the same goes for Saranda and Dürres.
Some ATMs might not accept VISA or Mastercard though, but then you just have to find another bank or bring two separate cards, one VISA, and one Mastercard. Skimming is not common here, but as always, use precaution and don’t show your pin code.
Also, use ATMs that are connected to local banks, such as Tirana Bank, Union Bank, Alpha Bank, Raiffeisen, and Credins Bank.
More about the currency in Albania – Lek (ALL)
Since 1926, the Albanian lek is the official currency of Albania. It’s the Banka e Shqipërisë – BeS, which gives out the Albanian currency, and they have their headquarters in Tirana. When speaking of the lek, you use lek for singular form and lekë for plural.
It’s not possible to trade with the Albanian currency abroad, and you can only obtain it legally within the country. This also means that you should spend the Albanian currency you might have left before leaving the country since you won’t be able to exchange it back at home.
Albanian money in different denominations
- Mynt: 1 (rarely used), 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Lekë
- Subunit: None
- Sedlar: 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 ALL
Frequently asked questions about currency in Albania
Prices in Albania
From a tourist perspective, Albania is quite cheap compared to other neighboring countries, and you get a lot of value for your money in Albania. The riviera is somewhat more expensive in places such as Saranda and Ksamil, but overall, it’s still cheaper than Croatia or Italy.
The Albanian lek (ALL) is the best currency to use in Albania. Euro is widely accepted, but you’ll get more value for your money by paying in lekë.
Sometimes a service charge of 10% is added onto the price. It’s not customary to leave tip in Albania, but in tourist areas, it’s common to leave about 10% if no service charge is added.
100 lek is worth about 0.8 Euro according to the market rate, 13 August 2019.
Generally, VISA is accepted in more places, but they are both widely accepted, and you shouldn’t have any issues paying with either in places that accept card payments.
Yes, many restaurants and hotels accept credit cards in Albania. So does many supermarkets and larger stores.
Do you have more questions about the Albanian currency? Leave a comment below!