22 Albania Fun Facts To Tempt You To Book A Trip!

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This unique country has long been considered a hidden gem but it may not be for much longer. The secret is out – there are so many beautiful places to explore in Albania.

These 22 fun Albania facts are sure to tempt you into a trip!

1. Lunch Is Their Largest Meal

If your main meal of the day is lunch, you’re in luck! It’s the same in Albania and it may be why Albanians have low obesity rates.

2. Mother Teresa Is The Heroine of Albania

The world calls her Mother Teresa but her name is Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. She’s the only winner of the Nobel prize from Albania, and the international airport in Tirana is named after her.

3. They’re The First Official Atheist State

Religion was once banned for decades in Albania while under communist rule.

In 1967, during the communist era, Albania was officially made the first atheist state on earth under former Prime Minister Enver Hoxha. This has since changed and people are now free to practice religion.

The largest religion currently practiced in Albania is Islam.

4. Largest Lake In Southern Europe

Lake Skadar is so large it doesn’t fit in one country – it is shared between Montenegro and Albania.

two people paddling canoe on Lake Skadar

Around a third of the lake can be found in Albania and it is one of the most visited sites in the country!

5. There are 3250 Plant Species In Albania

Albania has incredible biodiversity – nearly a third of all European plant species can be found in Albania.

There are also 91 species of endangered animals that call Albania home including the Dalmatian pelican and pygmy cormorant!

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6. Albania is Home To Ancient Vineyards

Winemaking is practiced in several European countries, including Albania.

Researchers have discovered that vines have been growing in this region since the last Ice Age and some of the oldest seeds are around 6,000 years old!

7. Albania Has 13 Islands

13 islands are part of Albania, and while most of them are small, two of them are less than a square kilometer in size.

The two tiniest islands are Kunë and Sazan. Sazan is uninhabited, and Kunë is a great place to see bird and reptile species!

8. You Can Visit The Albanian Riviera

Albania sits along the Ionian Sea and has been dubbed the Albanian Riveria because of the gorgeous beaches and pristine shoreline. The water is clear and perfect for snorkeling!

9. Albania Is home To The Accursed Mountains

Albania is home to the Accursed Mountains which are also called the Albanian Alps.

The Accursed Mountains of Albania

This mountain group is home to four unique glaciers that lay further south than any others in Europe!

10. World’s Largest Hydroelectric Producer

Fans of clean energy should applaud Albania! They are the world’s largest producer of hydroelectricity and the entire country is run on hydroelectric power.

11. 200 Types Of Traditional Clothing

Albanians will never run out of options when choosing traditional clothing. Over 200 varieties exist!

Every region has its own symbols, colors, and patterns. Garments can be made from silk, cotton, or wool and feature exquisite embroidery.

12. Pumpkins Are Used As Decor in Albania

Albanians eat pumpkin in both savory and sweet preparations in a variety of local cuisines.

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Decorated pumpkins on a street stall in Albania

However, pumpkins are also used as gifts and are often displayed in shops and Albanian homes as decor (not just on Halloween).

13. Weightlifting Is The #1 Sport

Practiced widely in Albania is the individual sport of weightlifting. Albanians often bring home championship titles when entering international competitions and are widely celebrated for their achievements!

14. Xhiro Is An Evening Walk

Don’t be surprised when the streets fill with people in the evening.

Xhiro is known as an official evening walk and nearly everyone in the country does it! They use the opportunity to get some fresh air and chat with their neighbors until the sun sets.

15. Yes Means No and No Means Yes in Albania

In many cultures nodding means agreement or “yes”, and shaking your head side to side means disagreement or “no”. The opposite is true in the Albanian culture, which can make for some entertaining and possibly confusing social interactions.

16. Scarecrows And Teddy Bears Ward Off Evil

Along with pumpkins, scarecrows and teddy bears are prominently displayed in unexpected places. They are often placed during the construction of new buildings to ward off jealousy or envy from neighbors.

Teddy Bears at a cafe in Albania

You may see them impaled or hanging from a rope. They are seen as good luck talismans despite looking like they came straight out of your favorite horror movie.

17. No McDonald’s In The Capital City

The capital of Albania is Tirana and while it has a lot in common with other European capitals, it doesn’t have a McDonald’s.

If you find yourself having a serious craving for some American-style fast food, you can always check out Kolonat, a fast food chain in Albania that one might mistake for a McDonald’s by the logo alone.

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18. Raki Is Albanian Moonshine

If you’ve ever had moonshine, you are in for a similar experience when drinking Raki, the Albanian national drink.

It is made from fermented grapes and will knock your socks off, particularly if a bar is serving homebrew. If you have a low tolerance for alcohol, you should definitely skip this beverage.

19. The Most Common Souvenir Is Shoes

Albanian traditional costumes make such a splash, is it any wonder they have really cool shoes? Opinga are traditional Albanian shoes that both men and women wear.

Opinga shoes on display

They make a perfect souvenir for family and friends because you won’t see them anywhere else. They are often decorative featuring embroidery and have a unique, pointed toe.

20. Slaptastic Salons Are A Thing

If you find yourself in need of a haircut, prepare yourself for a slap on the neck when your stylist is done. They will also say a few words when making the gesture – me shëndet.

It is considered a blessing and a wish for good health rather than assault.

21. Questionable Good Luck Signs

Most people consider getting pooped on by a bird or peed on by a baby as both gross and bad luck. In Albania, both of these occurrences are said to bring fortune and good luck!

22. Albania Has An Ancient Lake

Lake Ohrid is one of the world’s oldest lakes and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also the deepest lake in all of the Balkans, and is home to a unique ecosystem and 200 endemic species.


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

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