15 Interesting facts about Albania

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Last updated: July 2, 2018

Are you looking for facts about Albania? Here’s a list of 15 Interesting facts about Albania that you probably didn’t know. In addition to that, you can also read some more general Albania facts such as total population, highest mountain, government, biggest cities etc.

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well! How many of these Albania facts did you know beforehand? Share your result at the end of the article in the comment section.

Now without further ado – here are 15 Interesting facts about Albania!

1. More Albanians live outside the country than within Albania

Did you know that there are more Albanians living outside the country than within? The largest communities of the Albanian diaspora are particularly found in Italy, Argentina, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland and the United States.

READ MORE:  14 Reasons to visit Kosovo

And of course Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

visit albania

2. There is no Mcdonald’s in Albania

If you’re looking for a Mcdonald’s in Albania, you would have to look for a long time because there isn’t a single Mcdonald’s restaurant in the country. However, there is a similar fast-food chain called Kolonat.

3. The Albanian language is very unique

There is no other language similar to the Albanian language. But it’s still recognized as an Indo-European language, even though it has an independent branch in the language tree. There are many dialects but the main two are Tosk and Gheg.

4. The Xhiro – Evening walk

An Albanian tradition where the people go for a walk in the evening of the main road. It’s a nice way to socialize.

5. There were only 3000 cars in the country after the fall of communism

At the end of the communist era, there were about 3 million people in the country, but there were only 3000 cars. This was because private cars were illegal during the communist rule.

albania facts

6. No means yes and yes means no

This can be confusing at times but when Albanians nod yes they mean no, and when they shake their head they mean yes. Keep this is mind if you usually answer questions with your head.

7. Officially 70% of Albanians are Muslim but the number who actively practice the religion is much lower

These are official numbers but in reality, there are far less who practice religion actively. This is also due to the fact that religion was banned during the communist era. Albania became the first country in the world to adopt atheism under the Enver Hoxha rule.

8. The coffee culture is huge

Especially espresso is a huge part of the culture and everyday life. You’ll see people sitting at bars and cafes a lot. Many also start their day by having a nice cup of Turkish coffee.

coffee shop albania

Photo: Shutterstock

9. After you get a haircut you get slapped on the neck

After you get slapped, the slapper will say “me shëndet” meaning “on your health.”

10. Albania has more than 3250 species of plants

This is equal to 30% of all flora of Europe. That’s a lot of plants and flowers!

READ MORE:  25 Amazing Places to Visit in Albania

11. Superstitions

In general, Albanians are known for being superstitious, especially the elder generations. It’s not uncommon to believe in good and bad luck. See some examples below.

Bad luck: to cut your nails at night, if your eye twitches something bad will happen, to throw away bread, to enter a new house with the left foot, Tuesday is unlucky.

Good luck: if a bird poops on you or if a baby pees on you.

12. Albania has 70% of its area covered by mountains

You could say that it’s the country of mountains since 70% of the total area is covered by them. The highest mountain is Mount Korab at 2764 meters.

mount korab - highest mountain in Albania

Mount Korab – Photo: Shutterstock

13. Named by National Geographic as one of the best destinations in 2018

In recent years, tourism has grown a lot in Albania and more and more people discover this beautiful country. The announcement from National Geographic recognizing it as one of the best destinations to go in 2018 is, of course, another confirmation of this.

14. Over 700 000 bunkers were built during the communist era

That’s a lot of bunkers. However, many of these are demolished, but there are still some left to prove their former existence. Some of them have even been made into bars, cafes and so on.

15. Mother Teresa was Albanian and she received the Nobel prize.

She is regarded as the country’s heroine and is the only Albanian who’ve received a Nobel Prize.

mother teresa

Bonus fact: The Dordolec

This is the Albanian word for Scarecrow, and it’s a tradition where you put scary dolls on unfinished houses to keep away bad spirits.

READ MORE:  15 Reasons to visit Albania

Bonus Fact #2

“Shqipëri” is the name given to Albania by its people.

More Articles About Albania

Want to read more? Here are some other articles I’ve written.

General Facts about Albania

Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about Albania that might be interesting to know.

  • Total Population: 2,876,591 (but there is a huge diaspora)
  • Highest Mountain: Mount Korab – 2764 meters above the sea
  • Land area: 28,748 km2
  • Biggest Lake: Skadar Lake.
  • National Day: November 28.
  • Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
  • Primary minister: Edi Rama
  • Currency: Lek (ALL)
  • Official language: Albanian.
  • Official Website: albania.al
  • Member of EU: No.
  • Member of Nato: Yes.
  • National song: “Himni i Flamurit”
  • Time zone: CET (UTC +1), summertime, CEST (UTC +2)
  • Country Number/Prefix: +355
  • Country Code: AL
  • Capital: Tirana.

tirana Albanian capital

Biggest cities

  • Tirana
  • Durres
  • Elbasan
  • Vlore
  • Shkoder
  • Fier-Cifci
  • Patos
  • Korce
  • Berat
  • Lushnje

Book Your Trip

Hotel and Accommodation

Below are links to the best deals on hotel and accommodation in Albania.

How many of these Albania facts did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below! And if you know some more interesting facts about Albania, feel free to share and leave a comment as well!

June 14th, 2018|


Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

My vision with this blog is to inspire people to travel more and better by sharing useful travel guides and tips from my adventures around the world.

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  1. rimi 09/13/2018 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    very accurate depictions of Albania. well done. I’m Albanian and a thing or two about the country i did not know. you nailed it.

  2. Iliriana Topulli 09/13/2018 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the facts, very interesting!

    Here is another one!

    Albania is the only country where all people – despite of their religious belief, moslems, catholic or orthodox – are buried in the same cemetry.
    We are proud of our religios tolerance.

  3. Doug Houston 12/19/2018 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    I worked in Albania living in Fier and Vlore. Awesome country and even more awesome people. A gem of a country

  4. H.M. 03/08/2019 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Dear Alex,
    It is very funny that you have written ‘Fier-Cifci’ and it is verysurprising for me to read it written from a foreigner. I had hardly seen it written, and let me tell you that just a few Albanias know this name (those who are born near that area). The other Albanians does not know it exists. The official city name is just Fier, but it is very nice you got to find it in details. Thank you for your post.
    Best regards.

  5. Hello 05/20/2019 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    I’m Albanian so I pretty much knew most, but there were some I didn’t know too. Good job 👏!

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