Etiquette in Albania

Albania is a country in Southeastern Europe on the Adriatic Sea with a population of over 2.8 million people.

The official language is Albanian, the standard from which was drawn from merging two main dialects, Gheg and Tosk.

Albania is a unitary parliamentary republic, with a president and prime minister.

Close 60% of Albania adheres to Islam, and Christianity is practiced by 17% of the population.

The lek is the official currency of Albania.

Greetings & Gesture Etiquette

Shake hands when greeting one another, while maintaining steady eye contact. Depending on how close you are with each other, a kiss on each cheek may be common as well. With friends or colleagues, a light handshake is sufficient.

If you know others at the meeting, greet them. Starting with the most important people, introduce yourself to others you don’t know, or have someone who knows most of the crowd introduce you.

Direct eye contact is an important and appropriate part of all conversations. Sustained eye contact and a steady gaze is associated with sincerity.

Albanians are very expressive with their hands.Waving the pointer finger back and forth and making a sound with the mouth means that you don’t want something that is being offered. To beckon someone, extend your arm and make a scratching motion with your fingers

Some Albanians may interpret that if you shake your head from side to side you are indicating “yes” and an up and down movement means “no.”  One way to avoid confusion is to verbalize your answers/questions, ‘po’ (yes) or ‘jo’ (no).