It's best to drink bottled water, but potted water is usually drinkable too. The food in Albania is mostly healthy anywhere you go in the country. You can walk around to stay fit, as many people do in the capital, but be aware that the city suffers from severe air pollution. At summer, insect repellent should be taken as the mosquito season is very active especially near former swamps and along the Western lowland. Be careful at the beaches because shards of glass and sea urchins are common on the sea floor. Also, pharmacies and other stores are closed from about 12PM-4PM; so, bring all necessary medicine with you. Also, many Albanians smoke cigarettes. It is a normal thing and expect it everywhere. The government has banned smoking in restaurants but this is not really observed.
Officially 220V 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 or the compatible, but non-grounded, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travelers should pack an adapter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Albania.
Unexpected power outages without prior warnings are common in Albania. This is largely dependent on the amount of rainfall the country receives in any given year, as virtually all of electricity is generated from hydro plants in Albania. However this is becoming more and more rare.Only in Tirana you will not have power outages but expect so in other cities.Although all major cities and most of the towns have back-up generators, however it is best to err on the side of the caution and ask whether the place has a generator or not beforehand in order not to, say, get stuck in an elevator.
Albanians are very hospitable. Even more so than the rest of the Balkans, elder males expect to be shown respect on account of their age. Men of the family have to be respected in particular. Shake hands with them and do not argue about topics such as religion and politics. Certain topics are strictly taboo, although they may be fine in the United States or other countries. Homosexuality is one good example. Don't speak about gay rights, no matter what. Just remember that the situation changes a lot according to the location village or city and the people with whom you speak as well. Of course, in the hidden north, avoid topics that go beyond local understanding, but be sure that in Tirana you will find very cosmopolitan people that are as open to new ideas as the citizens of Western Europe. There is nothing particular to worry about; all you need to remember is to respect local people as much as you do back home.
Sometimes, if you stay for a night or so at someone's house, don't be suprised if you see a big, old AK-47 Kalashnikov staying at the wall. It's pretty normal for Albanians to keep guns in the house.
In Albania it's common to kiss cheeks of males of your age or younger if you are a man, even the very first time you meet them. This is especially for the regions of Fier, Tepelena, Vlora and Gjirokastra. In Northern Albania, you will simply touch each others cheeks, but not kiss them. Women also do kiss one another, sometimes from the very first time they meet, but men and women do not kiss each in the cheek unless they are friends for a long time. Kissing cheeks between young people, 15-20 years old, is however very common. If a baby is in the family, always ask to see him or her, and don't forget to add a compliment usually "qenka i shendetshem, me jete te gjate" or "what a sweet baby" works best. If you are a man, or a woman with a group of men, don't compliment females, unless they are under 10-12 years. If you dont speak English, but a language where "you" in singular and "you" in plural are not the same like Italian, Greek, German, etc., be aware that some Albanians do not use the plural form in their language. Sometimes, even the prime-minister is adressed with "ti" you in singular, "tu" in Italian, "Du" in German or "Esi" in Greek, if the journalist is a friend of him. However, when meeting people for the first time, its better if you adress them in plural, although they will shortly after ask you to adress them in singular.Policemen in Albania are often polite. They usually never stop foreign cars, but if you rent a car, they may stop you. However, when they see you are a foreign tourist, they will immediately tell you to go on usually with a "ec, ec, rruge te mbare" which can be translated in "go on, have a nice trip". When this happens, it's very polite if you respond with a "faleminderit" thank you in Albanian.
Albanians love dancing, especially during weddings. If you are attending a party, don't be afraid to dance! Maybe you don't know the traditional dances, but try to learn.
Albanian is the official language. Other useful languages include Italian, which is often viewed as the de facto second language due to various Italian occupations, the most famous being during World War II. English is understandable in Tirana and to a lesser extent in frequented tourist cities. In the southernmost areas of the country, you might also encounter minority speakers of the Greek language.Note that from a country of 3 million, there have been about 1.2 million emigrants, and many of them have returned to Albania from countries such as Germany, France, Greece especially those in the south of Albania and Italy so you'll find a lot of people who speak the respective languages. Note that as Albania has a lot of immigrants in Greece, from which around 200,000 people have returned back and now live in Albania, Greek is also understood. Macedonian is also occasionally understood in areas near Pogradec and Korca.