Albania wasn’t somewhere we had planned to visit for an extended period. We simply had to get out of Greece and Albania was the closest country. That also means we hadn’t done any research on what to see or do.
With those confessions out of the way we arrived in the port town of Saranda in early February 2020.
Based on pilot book details we got in touch with a local agent to assist us with the check-in process. Thank goodness we did because that could have gone very wrong, very quick considering we couldn’t speak a word of Albanian.
Checking in to Albania
We strongly suggest having an agent to check-in, move around and check-out of Albania. I think it would be rather difficult without one.
Let me be clear.
To sail from one place in Albania to another, foreign boats are required to have appropriate paperwork.
For example, when we left Saranda and sailed north, we tucked in at Porto Palermo for the night, to shelter from incoming weather.
We managed to secure MIMPI to the massive concrete pier without any problems.
Then we received a visit from the local water police. I say water police because they had a flashy boat.
Anyhoo, we got out the agent-prepared paperwork thinking that’s what he was asking for in his broken English. But then he said we couldn’t stay there. We were confused and couldn’t understand why we couldn’t stay for the night because there was nobody else around.
Thankfully I was able to call our agent, explain the situation and have her speak to the policeman-dude. After some back-and-forth-ing and a bit of grumbling on the part of the policeman-dude we were allowed to stay. Phew! We certainly didn’t want to move as the sun was setting!
The agent we used was Saranda Summer Tours. Helja made the process super easy and the service she provided was very reasonably priced.
Plus, she was available and promptly answered all our weird and wonderful questions. That kind of service is super valuable for newbie cruisers like us. We were extremely grateful.
If you are looking for an agent, touch base with Helja and say hello from us!
Of course, there are a handful of agents in Albania.
We used another when we checked out from Vlore and had yet another on speed dial when we were considering a stop at Durres before departing.
Turned out when we did decide to leave, we checked out of Vlore and did our first long passage – well, long for us. It was our first overnighter and yes, we survived without incident.
Must see places
When visiting Albania, it’s worthwhile exploring via car. For more info check out Exploring Albania – places you must visit
If you have questions about Albania, we’d be happy to answer them. Touch base via our socials below.