Is euro used in Albania? Albanian Leke, cash, card
If you are travelling to Albania, you might be wondering if the euro is used in Albania. In this blog post, I will explain if the euro is used in Albania and whether you will need the local currency Albanian Leke or not.
Is euro used in Albania? The euro is used in Albania for taxis, hotels, restaurants, big shops and car rentals. However, you will need to exchange a small amount of euros for Albanian Leke. Because there are small expenses like coffee, bottled water, fresh fruits, pastries and bread, that can only be paid for with Albanian Leke.
I am a private tour guide in Albania. In this blog post, I will answer all your questions about the use of euros and Albanian Leke in Albania. I will discuss where you can use euros and for what expenses you need the Albanian Leke. How to exchange currency. And whether you will need cash or a credit card in Albania.
Is the euro used in Albania?
The euro is used in Albania for taxis, hotels, restaurants, big shops and car rentals. Although the euro can be used in Albania for some larger expenses, the official currency of Albania is the Albanian Leke.
The hotels, taxis, restaurants, bigger shops and car rental companies in Albania will accept payment in euros. But you will need a small amount of Albanian Leke for some food, coffee and small expenses.
Where you can use euros in Albania:
- Taxi drivers
- Airbnb or apartment payments
- Big shops
- Big supermarkets
- Car rental payment
You will need to exchange a small amount of foreign currency for the Albanian Leke. Because the Albanian Leke is the official currency in Albania. Especially, when you are paying for expenses that are small expenses and at little local shops, you will definitely need some Albanian Leke.
Expenses that you need Albanian Leke for:
- Bottle water (you should not drink tap water in Albania)
- Fresh bread at the bakery
- Pastry, Burek filo pastry is very popular for lunch
- Fresh fruit
- Some groceries at a corner shop
- Bus tickets
I highly recommend you exchange some foreign currency for Albanian Leke for your smaller expenses. You can easily exchange Euros, Pounds or US Dollars at currency exchange offices everywhere in Albania.
Euro to Albanian Lek
1 EUR = 117 ALL
Pound to Albanian Lek
1 GBP = 138 ALL
USD to Albanian Leke
1 USD = 116 ALL
The reason why you need some Albanian Leke for bottled water, fresh bread, pastries, fresh fruits, coffee and little groceries, is because they cost very little. These expenses are like 100 Leke or 200 Leke, so 1-2 euros only.
You cannot give the local people in Albania, euro coins, like 1-2 euros. Because euros coins cannot be exchanged. Only foreign notes can be exchanged. So if you give the local people euro coins, they cannot use those or exchange those coins.
It also does not make sense to pay 5 euros for 1 bottle of water, which will cost you costs 0.50 euro cents. So this is why you need to exchange a small amount of Euros, Pounds or US Dollars for the local currency Albanian Leke.
Moreover, in general, you will get a better deal if you pay with the Albanian Leke. Because if you pay in Euros, the seller will round up the amount.
You cannot buy Albanian Leke outside of Albania
The Albanian Leke is the official currency of Albania. However, the Albanian Leke is only available inside Albania. So you won’t be able to buy Albanian Leke in other European countries, the UK or the USA before you travel to Albania.
So I recommend bringing some cash money with you. The best choice is some cash euros. But if you live in the UK, some pounds cash is fine. Or if you are from the USA, some US Dollars in cash is fine too. Then you can exchange the euros, pounds or US dollars when you are in Albania for some Albanian Leke.
Insider Tip: Currency exchange is very cheap in Albania!
Albania is a cash country
The Albanian people do not use credit cards or debit cards to pay for their expenses. The Albanian people pay 100% of their expenses by cash. So every Albanian person has a stack of cash money in their pocket.
So for you as a tourist, you must always carry some cash money when you are travelling in Albania. Because many places won’t accept credit card or debit card payments.
Of course, you can go to the nearest ATM in the city. Or you can exchange some of your cash Euros, cash Pounds or cash US Dollars for Albanian Leke at a currency exchange in the city. But remember, always have some cash in your pocket whilst you are in Albania.
I am flying to Albania, where do I get Albanian Leke?
I recommend you bring some foreign currency with you when you are going on your holiday to Albania. The most accepted foreign currency is Euros. But if you live in the UK, it is absolutely okay to bring some Pounds. And if you live in the USA, it is absolutely fine to bring some USD. Because Euros, Pounds and US Dollars can easily be exchanged in the cities in Albania.
Avoid exchanging currency at the airport, because it can be more expensive. So with the cash Euros, Pounds or US Dollars you brought, you can pay for the taxi to your hotel and your first hotel night. Then when you are settled into your hotel, you can walk around your neighbourhood to find the nearest currency exchange office.
Of course, you can also use an ATM to withdraw some Albanian Leke. But like I mentioned above, it is always a good idea to bring some cash money with you when you are travelling in Albania. Because in Albania almost everything is paid by cash (so not by card).
Currency exchange offices in Albania
Currency exchange offices can be found everywhere in the cities in Albania. In big cities, like Tirana, Shkoder, Berat, Vlore, Saranda and Gjirokaster, you will find a currency exchange office on every street in the city centre.
You will need to carry some cash with you in Albania! So you may as well bring some cash money from home if you have euros, pounds or US dollars. Because these currencies can be exchanged for cheap rates in Albania.
IMPORTANT! If you are travelling to a more remote area in Albania make sure to bring cash money with you for those trips. Remote areas, like Theth mountain village, Valbone mountain village, Lake Koman Ferry or some of the remote beaches, like Gjipe beach or Karaburun Peninsula, do not offer an ATM or currency exchange.
Exchange or use Albanian Leke before you go home
I always recommend you carry a small amount of Albanian Leke cash in your pocket whilst travelling in Albania. However, it is important to either use all your Albanian Leke before you go home. Or exchange the Albanian Leke back to Euros, Pounds or US Dollars before you go home!
Because the Albanian Leke cannot be exchanged abroad. Your local currency exchange office in your home country won’t accept Albanian Leke. So if you forget to exchange the Albanian Leke before you go home, you will not get your money back. Unless you plan another holiday to Albania of course!
What is the best currency to take to Albania?
The best currency to take to Albania is the euro. Although the official currency in Albania is the Albanian Leke. You will be able to pay your taxi driver, your hotel or car rental in euros. Many larger shops and larger supermarkets also allow for payment in euros.
When you speak with a taxi driver or you message a hotel in Albania, they will immediately quote their prices in Euros, when they realize you are a foreigner. So euro is the best currency to take to Albania, as the euro is widely accepted.
That being said, if you live in the UK and you have pounds. It is perfectly okay to bring pounds cash because pounds can be exchanged everywhere in Albania.
Similarly, if you live in the USA and you have US Dollars in cash. It is very easy to exchange US dollars everywhere in Albania.
To exchange your British Pounds or US Dollars for Euros. To then exchange the Euros for Albanian Leke does not make sense and it will just be more expensive.
How do you pay for things in Albania?
You pay for things in Albania by cash money. You can use a combination of euros in cash and Albanian Leke in cash. The Albanian people pay for 95% or 100% of their expenses by cash money.
If you are travelling by bus in Albania, you will need Albanian Leke in cash for sure.
Albanian people do not book their bus tickets online or check the bus timetable online. When an Albanian person wants to take the bus, they simply walk to the bus station and wait for the next bus. Then they pay for their bus ticket in cash with the driver of the bus.
You will need a small amount of Albanian Leke cash to buy some groceries.
The Albanian people buy their groceries at the little local shops or corner stores. These small shops do not accept card payments. So the Albanian people always pay for their groceries by Albanian Leke cash.
You will definitely need to buy bottled in Albania because you should not drink tap water in Albania. You need a small amount of Albanian Leke to buy some bottled water every day. In the summer, it is around 30 or 35 degrees celsius, so you will want to buy cooled bottled water multiple times a day.
Taxis in Albania are paid by cash euros or cash Albanian Leke. Many taxi drivers in Albania quote their rates in euros for foreigners, so it is perfectly acceptable to pay your taxi in euros cash.
Uber does not exist in Albania. So you can call a taxi on the street, use a taxi app like Speed taxi app or reach out to taxi companies via Whatsapp.
If you book a taxi via Whatsapp or email or a taxi app, you are still expected to pay for your taxi in cash money.
Hotels in Albania are almost exclusively booked via Booking.com and Airbnb. So for your hotel, you can pay online or by cash at the reception desk.
There are quite a few hotels and apartments in Albania, that allow for booking online, but payment in person upon arrival. That is because it is quite expensive for businesses in Albania to receive foreign payments, as banks take large commissions on foreign transactions.
If you have booked a 4 or 5-star hotel, you can most likely pay for your hotel by credit card too. However, if you have booked a little Airbnb apartment or a small local hotel, you will be expected to pay in cash euros or cash Albanian Leke.
Car rental companies in Albania accept card payments, euros in cash or Albanian Leke in cash.
To be honest there are quite a few small private car rental companies in Albania. Rather than the big brands, we all know, like Enterprise, Europcar, Avis etcetera. There are quite a few car rental companies in Albania that are simply small mom-and-pop-owned businesses. They will accept all cash payments for a rental car in euros or Albanian Leke.
For your daily coffee, you are going to need some Albanian Leke cash money. Because a cup of coffee costs only 100 Leke or 200 Leke, roughly 1-2 euros. You are expected to pay for your coffee by cash in Albanian Leke.
Eating out at a restaurant
This really varies, if you are staying in a touristic coastal town like Saranda, Durres or Vlore, then you will be able to pay for your meals by euros in cash.
But if you opt for a light lunch, like a burek pastry or some sandwich from the bakery, then you need some Albanian Leke. Bread and pastry products in Albania are incredibly cheap always 1-2 euros for a lot of bread. So you definitely need a small amount of Albanian Leke for some food expenses.
What currency does Albania use?
The Albanian Leke is the currency that Albania uses. However, euros are widely accepted for hotel payments, Airbnb apartments, rental cars, taxis, restaurants and big shops.
I recommend you always carry some euros cash and a small amount of Albanian Leke cash with you whilst you travel in Albania. Because you will be expected to pay by cash in Albania.
ATMs in Albania
ATMs are widely available in Albania in the city centres of the bigger cities, like Shkoder, Tirana, Durres, Berat, Saranda, Vlore and Gjirokaster.
In smaller villages and more remote areas, you are expected to pay by cash. So make sure you withdraw enough cash money when you travel away from the bigger cities.
Remote areas, like Theth village and the Valbone village in the Albanian Alps do not offer an ATM. So be sure to carry cash with you for your travels to the Albanian Alps.
Rugged and undeveloped beaches, like Gjipe beach for instance, where there are no restaurants. Do not offer an ATM. So bring some cash, bottled water and food with you to more remote and rugged beaches.
Is Albania a cheap country?
Some food and drink items are much cheaper in Albania than elsewhere in Europe. However, petrol, car rental and taxi transportation are expensive in Albania.
Items that are relatively cheap in Albania are fresh foods and vegetables, fresh bread and pastry products, bottled water, coffee at a coffee house and some local restaurants are very affordable. It is also very cheap to travel around Albania with the local bus.
However, not everything in Albania is cheap. A car rental is quite expensive, prices start at 20-25 euros per day, but can be much higher in July and August as it is the high season. Hotels also have much higher rates in July and August, especially in popular coastal destinations, like Saranda and Ksamil. And petrol and taxis are quite expensive. A taxi ride from Tirana to Ksamil will cost you 175 euros, whereas a bus ticket will be around 14 euros.
Is Albania in Europe? Albania is a country in the European continent, but Albania is not a part of the European Union. Albania is a small country located above Greece, below Montenegro and across the sea from Italy. Albania has applied to become a member of the European Union, but so far the application is still in progress.
Can I use Monzo in Albania? You can use a Monzo MasterCard to withdraw money from the ATM in Albania. However, Albania is a country, where you should always carry some cash money. Many places in Albania do not accept card payments, so it is better to carry some euros in cash and some Albanian leke in cash when you travel in Albania.
I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania. I arrange your transportation and I am your English speaking guide. So that, you get to experience the most beautiful places in Albania!
Kind regards, Manon
Welcome to Albania!
I am a Tour Guide in Albania
I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania.
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