Albania is not a dangerous country to drive in, so renting a car is the best way to get to know it. Sometimes you read a lot about driving and roads in the Balkans, and in particular in Albania, but often there is more ignorance than anything else. The car gives much more freedom to reach sites or villages that are not served by public transport, or where there are no organised excursions.
RENT A CAR IN ALBANIA
Road conditions in Albania
It is true that the secondary roads, especially the mountain roads are a bit worse, but if you have driven elsewhere in the Balkans, Greece or even Italy, this is nothing new.
Roads are slowly being improved through investment in upgrading or construction. That is why it is possible to come across road works that involve detours or road closures. Also, sometimes the Albanians themselves do not respect the signs, or we find curious situations such as fruit stalls on the side of the road, or people riding bicycles.
On the coast and in tourist areas the roads are in better condition, while in the mountains the pavement is in the process of improvement, and there are potholes on some roads. Likewise, in mountain areas it is possible to find stray animals.
Renting a car in Albania or in another country?
It is often difficult to rent a car in other countries and then move to Albania. In fact, companies such as Avis, Sixt, Hertz and Europcar do not allow you to bring your car to Albania. Therefore, even if we fly to Macedonia, Greece or Montenegro, if we want to transfer the car, it will have at least an extra cost or it will simply be forbidden. In these cases it is possible to hire a transfer from the airport of arrival to the Albanian territory.
Driving tips and recommendations
– The Spanish driving licence is NOT valid for renting and driving in Albania. The documentation required to drive a car in Albania as indicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicates that it is necessary to acquire an international driving license to drive in Albania.
– The requirements for renting a car in Albania are that the driver must be over 23 years of age and the car must have been registered for more than 3 years.
– It is advisable to take out comprehensive insurance to cover any incident during the rental of the car.
– Roads, cities, towns, villages and important monuments are well signposted.
– The Albanian way of driving, with a few exceptions applicable to any other country in Europe, is that people do not drive very fast. This does not mean that you always have to be extremely cautious behind the wheel.
– Speed limits in Albania are 40 km/h in town, 80 km/h on highways and 90 km/h on motorways and motorways.
– In winter, mountain areas can be affected by snowfall, which is why it is important to carry chains or winter tyres.
– GPS and Google Maps directions can be misleading, so sometimes it’s best to follow common sense and follow the signs.
– In the absence of traffic lights or signs at intersections, it is necessary to pay attention and reduce speed.
– Signs or indications are usually in Albanian and English.
– Although the distances may seem short in km, the winding stretches and mountain roads mean that it takes longer to travel to reach the destination.
– Petrol stations: There are no problems regarding the existence of petrol stations in Albania, even in alpine areas.
– The price of petrol is similar to that of Spain, although the average salary in Albania has nothing to do with Spain.
– The Albanian police are often present on the roads throughout the country. The controls are simply to force Albanians with a license to drive, but it is not common for them to stop tourists as long as they respect the signs.
– Another reason to rent a car directly in Albania is that in the border areas with Montenegro, Macedonia or Greece the controls are slow, so it is likely to take some time to make a photocopy when checking your passport. The police also check that you have a green card, which allows access by rental car, and that you are guaranteed to have international insurance. The checks on cars are related to drug trafficking