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Currency in Albania – Money tips and more info about Albanian Lek

Currency in Albania – Money tips and more info about Albanian Lek

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. 

Albanian currency

Photo: illpaxphotomatic/Shutterstock

Things to remember when using ATMs in Albania

  1. 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. 
  2. Use a debit or credit card without ATM fees
  3. Never use a Euronet ATM. 

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. 

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. 

atm abroad

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

Albanian coins

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.

What is the best currency to use in Albania?

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. 

How much does a beer cost in Albania?

A beer costs about €1-50 – €3 in restaurants/bars. 

What about tipping?

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. 

How much is 100 lek in Euro?

100 lek is worth about 0.8 Euro according to the market rate, 13 August 2019.

Mastercard or Visa card in Albania?

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. 

Can you use credit cards in Albania?

Yes, many restaurants and hotels accept credit cards in Albania. So does many supermarkets and larger stores. 

More reading from Albania


Do you have more questions about the Albanian currency? Leave a comment below!

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Hansi

Sunday 1st of December 2019

Are there really no exchange fees when using a Revolut card in Albania?

Most local banks charge ATM fees, right? What ATM do you recommend using at t airport in Tirana?

Alexander Waltner

Friday 6th of December 2019

Local ATM fees can't be taken away by the card you're using unless they reimburse such costs. However, you won't get charged any extra fees via the Revolut card. But please note that only 200 euro per month is free, then a fee is applied to each atm withdrawal with the Revolut card.

I have only seen one ATM at Tirana airport, but there might be more. Shouldn't matter too much though, just be sure to be charged in the local currency, and not your own. Otherwise, the ATM will give a dynamic conversion rate.