Tips in case of medical help in Albania
We hope that you will not need medical attention during your vacation in Albania, but we thought to provide you some basic information in case the need arises. We have supported, helped and guided many travelers during the last 10 years so we have some experience helping travelers dealing with mild illness/discomfort or unexpected medical emergencies.
A few things to consider, Albania is safe and there is no risk of contracting severe illness such as malaria, for example. You should consider however, that in traveling during the summer you may be exposed to potential seasonal intestinal bacteria that causes stomach trouble, diarrhea, etc. This affects the locals as well, not just travelers. Obviously having diarrhea or stomach trouble is not ideal and this can change your traveling plans. It is best to come prepared with medication in case you are afflicted with something like this during your trip.
Even if you are not prepared in advance, though, you can readily find medication locally as prescriptions are not required in Albania. You can buy most common medications over the counter. Aside from very rural areas that you may travel for hiking, almost all Albanian towns have a pharmacy at which you can get the most urgent medications that you may need.
In the case that you need to see a doctor, the pharmacist or someone at your hotel or hostel should be able to get you in contact with one in a short time. If you are not feeling well, don’t keep it to yourself, talk to a local (a guide you’ve had, hotel manager, hostel contact) that can best help you navigate the system/assist with translation. You will find that most Albanians will go out of their way to help you, especially if you’re not feeling well.
The Health care system in Albania is free of charge, so even as a foreigner, doctors will care for you in case of an emergency.
Even spending the night in a public hospital including all the services is free of charge. Hospitals in Albania are staffed with knowledgeable health care providers, though the facilities themselves do leave a lot to be desired. Do not expect that things function or look the same way as where you are from.
You would also have an option of a private hospital depending on your location. It is important to keep in mind that like in many countries, the more populated a location, the likelihood of more medical options or interventions. There are private hospitals in Albania that some people feel provide better services, though these institutions are not free – you would likely have to work the payment out through your insurance, which could be complicated, or pay out of pocket.
In general, we would suggest that if you are hiking or traveling to very remote areas of the country, be prepared and do your homework in advance. It is always a good idea to have a basic first aid kit, rehydration salts, pain relievers, etc. On top of supplies, it is also always good to know what the closest city is that you could receive medical care in, and how long it will take you to get there. It goes without saying that if you have a pre-existing medical condition that is less common, and requires very specific medication or treatment, do not assume that it will be available in Albania – plan accordingly.
The last thing that is kind of funny, is that many people come to Albania because it is a perfect “dental vacation paradise”. With low costs and great services, many foreigners come to Albania for high quality dental care. While it may not be a part of your vacation objectives, Albania is a great place to get a cleaning or have more serious dental work done.
If you need our help or have any further questions or concerns about medical help in Albania, send us an email and we will get back to you.
Check our list of suggestions for some tours & activities to do with kids in Albania.