The official currency of Albania is the Lek (plural Leke). The lek was the first Albanian currency in February 1926, after the Ottoman Turkish piastre had been the currency before the First World War. After the conflict, the gold franc was used for a few years as the unit of currency.
The first lek coins featured Alexander the Great, as “leka” is a kind of abbreviation for Alexander III of Macedon. Throughout the 20th century there were several coin issues, and after the fall of the Stalinist Hoxha regime new coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 10, 20, 50, and 100 lekë, and banknotes of 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 leke.
The best way to see the equivalence of euros or dollars to lek is through online converters that allow you to see the updated currency exchange rate.
Lek, official currency of Albania
Can I use Euros in Albania?
Although the Euro is not the official currency, it is accepted in most tourist businesses (hotels, restaurants, activities, etc…). In fact, in almost all accommodation the prices are expressed in euros. Obviously the exchange rate is rounded in your favour but it is usually acceptable.
You can pay by credit card everywhere
There are many places where it is possible to pay by card, but not always, especially if they are small shops or are in areas not used to tourism. In any case, as we indicated, euros are accepted.
Where to withdraw money in Albania
There are plenty of ATMs, so withdrawing money in Albania is not a problem. Check with your bank to find out what fees you will be charged if you withdraw money with your credit or debit card. Banks are open from Monday to Friday during the morning.
Where to exchange currency
Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and exchange offices. Dollars and Euros are the most commonly used currencies, but it is important to know that Macedonian denars are not always accepted.
Tips on prices, money and budgeting
Because there was a devaluation of the currency and a zero was removed, sometimes you will find prices in shops where it says 1,000 but in reality it would be 100 leka.
Albania is a cheap country for tourism, possibly the cheapest in Europe. For this very reason, it is not necessary to try to negotiate prices, as the best way to contribute to Albania’s development is to be responsible in tourism.
If you need information on tipping you can read more information in the section on tipping in detail
Paying by card without fees in Albania
If you want to avoid currency exchange fees during your trip to Albania, you can use a free prepaid card such as Bnext. To
register you have to fill in the form from this link (and get 10 euros as a gift). It works as a wallet card and has the best commissions in the market