- How to rent a car?
- Is it easy to drive?
- Tips for renting
- Price for a rental car
- Where to rent a car?
How to rent a car in Albania
A road trip in Albania is one of the most rewarding experiences in the country. While you make your way through the different landscapes, you’ll come across some of the most incredible sights. Good to know: You don’t need a 4×4 to complete the itinerary below. The roads are a lot better than before.
Renting a car in Albania allows you to explore the country’s highlights and hidden gems at your own pace. Head onto the roads to discover little towns, castles, a fantastic coastline, and rugged nature. Here’s all you need to know about renting and driving a car in Albania.
What do you need to rent a car in Albania?
When you rent a car in Albania, you’ll need to bring the following documents:
- Your driver’s license from your home country
- Your ID (passport)
- Credit Card in your name
The legal driving age in Albania is 18 years old. To be able to rent a car, however, most rental car companies in Albania require you to be at least 21 years old. They might also ask you that you have had your license for a period of one to three years. All drivers must present a valid driver’s license, an ID as proof of their identity, and a credit card to make the payment. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is not required in Albania unless your driver’s license is not in the roman script.
Rental car insurance in Albania
When renting a car in Albania, it’s required by law that you have third-party liability insurance (CDW). With most companies, this is automatically included in your car rental price. Additional or full insurance is not mandatory but recommended, as minor damage is not uncommon in Albania.
Full insurance costs about 10 – 20 USD a day, depending on the car you choose. When you decide to add extra or full coverage, make sure to arrange that in your initial booking since the car prices are best when booked like this. You can also check if your credit card policy covers car rental insurance in Albania.
To get insurance, most agencies require a credit card that has enough credit on it to cover the rental costs, as well as a security deposit hold. This deposit is an ‘authorization only’ transaction that doesn’t charge your card unless in the event of damage to the car. Expect this to be between 100 – 500 USD.
If you’re thinking of making a road trip through the Balkans with the same rental car, make sure to check with the rental company beforehand if they allow you to do this. Usually, traveling to other countries such as Greece in a rental car from Albania requires you to have different insurance.
Is it easy to drive in Albania?
Before you rent a car in Albania, it’s important to know some of the road rules and customs of the country.
The Roads & Speed limits
Driving in Albania is an incredible experience, leading you past beautiful views and stunning nature. Depending on the destination, road conditions in Albania vary. The country is developing fast and so is the infrastructure, meaning that there will be many good roads on your journey. For example, the roads from Tirana to the south of Albania and the Albanian Riviera are generally good to drive on.
There where elevation gets higher, such as in the northern mountains, you’ll find rougher roads. These often have poorer surface conditions and some potholes but remain good to drive on as long as you pay attention. Currently, there’s only one toll road in Albania, located near the Kalimash tunnel, and it costs 5 USD.
Speed limits vary depending on the type of road: from 110 km/h on highways, 90 km/h on expressways to between 40 and 80 km/h in residential areas. There are often signs posted that indicate the speed limit of the road you’re driving on. Try to stick to these, as Albania has many traffic checkpoints and speed cameras.
Tip: Try not to base the speed limit on the local drivers’ speed, as Albanians like to drive fast. Traffic police are known to target foreign drivers and rental cars exceeding the speed limits, despite the local drivers’ speed on the same road. On-the-spot fines are common and can cost you a maximum of 5,000 LEK (40 USD).
Driving rules in Albania
The traffic is something to look out for, as Albanian drivers are known to have a bit more of a chaotic driving style, despite the traffic and road regulations. Especially in Tirana, you can expect to get stuck in center traffic. You’ll notice local drivers don’t always follow the road rules, however, try always to follow them yourself; not doing so might result in a fine.
Albania has a no-tolerance policy for driving under the influence, with a maximum blood-alcohol level of 0.01 mg/ml. It is also forbidden by law to use your mobile phone while driving, and it’s necessary to keep your headlights on at all times. Be cautious of the weather if you’re coming to Albania in the winter. Flash flooding and ice on the road are possibilities and can make driving more dangerous. Always dial 112 in case of an emergency.
Top tips for renting a car in Albania
1. Do a walk around and check the car
When you pick up your car rental in Albania, make sure to do a walk around and check the car for any damages. If your rental car has any scratches or other damage, check if they are noted down on the check-out form or contract. If not, point them out to an employee and have them written down before renting the car. It’s always a good idea to take pictures or videos of the car’s damages to have evidence that these were pre-existing to your hire. Note: According to the law, every car in Albania should also have a first aid kit inside.
2. Beware of other drivers and with parking
As briefly mentioned before, it’s important to be aware of other drivers when there’s traffic on the road. That’s because there are some drivers in Albania who don’t go by the rules. For example, there’s a lot of speeding, overtaking on both sides, and erratic driving. Try to keep your distance from the cars in front of you and see if their brake lights are working (a lot of the time, they are broken).
The same goes for parking, as you often may notice a car pulled over on the side of the road with its hazard lights on. Finding parking spots in Albania, even in the capital, is a little challenging, so you might have to drive around a bit to find a proper spot or car park.
3. Fill your car with the right fuel
You can find plenty of gas stations in Albania, with most of them in urban areas. Google Maps and other navigation services usually show you which one is nearest to you. The average gas price in Albania is 1,71 USD per liter (6,45 USD per gallon), and you can get either diesel or unleaded (gasoline). If you’re ever in doubt about which type of fuel you need, try to find the sticker in your rental car that provides that information. You can usually find this on the car key, dashboard, or fuel door.
Gas stations are usually open between 8 AM – 8 PM. Note that not all of them accept cards, so it’s important to have some cash with you at all times. It’s likely that an employee will fill up your car, so all you have to do is tell which fuel you need and how much.
How much does a car rental in Albania cost?
Albania is very affordable when it comes to car rentals, with a daily cost of between 20-90 USD a day and an additional 10-20 USD for full insurance. The price typically depends on the type of car you want to rent and the duration of your rental. A bigger car will have a higher daily price and requires more gas, adding to the costs.
If you decide to rent an automatic car, that will also cost a bit more than renting a manual car. Renting a car for a longer period usually decreases the daily price, meaning that five days of rental might just cost slightly more than three days, for example. If you can, consider exploring Albania for at least one week!
Choosing the right vehicle
The type of car that is best for a road trip through Albania depends on the itinerary of your trip and the people you’re with. You’ll have to pick a car that is big enough for the number of people in your group and the luggage you might have. For example, a slightly bigger car might be more comfortable if you’re traveling as a family. But if you’re planning on spending most of your time visiting the stunning coastline and staying in towns such as Ksamil with your partner, a small economy car will be good enough.
Where do I rent a car in Albania?
There are many reputable car rentals in Albania to choose from. The best way to see all your options is to browse and book online in advance. Reserving in advance ensures you secure the type of car you want, possibly at a lower price. If you haven’t booked online in advance, popular locations to rent a car are Tirana airport or near the port in the town of Sarandë.
Because there aren’t many offices of the same rental agency in different locations, you might not be able to do a one-way car rental in Albania. A company in Tirana probably doesn’t have an office in Shkoder, where you might want to drop it. To be sure, you can check this with the rental agency before, but expect to pay extra for this option.
If you’re planning on crossing the borders into other Balkan countries or Greece, check with your rental agency if that’s allowed. Crossing into other countries with a rental car often includes different insurances and border-crossing fees. If it turns out to be pricey, it might be worth crossing the border with a bus or taxi instead and renting a car again in the following country.