How to Hire a Car in Albania (Everything You Need To Know!)

Last Updated on March 18, 2024


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One of the most common questions that I get asked – more than “can I hire a driver in Albania?” or “is driving in Albania safe?” – is “how can I hire a car in Albania?

Getting around Albania without a car can be tricky. Fortunately, renting a car in Albania is not as daunting as it might seem at first.

As I said, there are buses and trains in Albania, but nothing beats the freedom of getting around Albania on your own schedule.

Everything you need to know about how to hire a car in Albania, aerial view of road winding between green fields and forest areas with a couple of houses with terracotta rooftops dotted around

I love travelling around the country by car. It gives you so much more flexibility to be able to see some of the real gems around the country.

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In this article, I will cover tips on driving and how to hire a car in Albania!

Companies to Rent From

The first thing that comes to mind when wondering how to hire a car in Albania is where should you go?

So, where to rent a car in Albania? There are several different rental companies with cars for hire in Albania that you can try.

Some recommendations for companies that offer the best car rental in Albania are:

  • EuroCar (They have an office in Tirana and Saranda and is one of the most popular companies for tourists)
  • SurPrice
  • Hertz Albania
  • Drive Albania (4×4 for hire)

There are lots of car rental locations that offer cheap car rentals usually nearby airport locations. People often rent a car in Tirana International Airport – within the airport, you can see many offices, so renting a car in Tirana, the capital of Albania, is very popular.

In Saranda, the main companies are located near the port. I have rented from ‘Buy Home Albania’ which is a Saranda office in the centre.

It’s a real estate limited company, but they also hire cars and scooters for a very reasonable price if you’re looking to hire cheap cars in Albania.

Prices

So let’s get down to it: how much to rent a car in Albania?

Top tips about how to rent a car in Albania, rolling hills covered with green trees and winding roads connecting up small houses and cottages

Obviously, rental deals vary from company to company and depending on which month you are renting it. If you’re visiting during Albania’s off-season, this will be the cheapest time to rent a car and when you will get the best deal.

You can find cheap rental cars for as low as €13 in small car rental companies and as high as €100 per day.

I would say the average for hiring a car in Albania or average price of a vehicle rental would be around €15-30 per day. It will also depend on whether you want a manual or automatic and what type of car you would like.

Oh, also the minimum age for renting car in Albania is 21 years old. Depending on the car rental service, you may also need to have been a legal driver for one to two years. 

Driving on the Roads in Albania

Is it easy to drive in Albania? Yes and no.

Travelling in Albania can be quite a hassle; Albanian roads can be in bad condition. There’s often a lot of potholes and usually, if there’s a big hole in the road, they will stick an object in it.

In Saranda, I have seen a chair in place of a hole. Yes, a chair. At least Albania driving is interesting!

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Always keep an eye on the road and don’t go so fast that you cannot stop in a hurry. And make sure to follow these rules of the road.

Road Rules in Albania

Anyone looking into how to travel around Albania in a rental car should be aware of the Albanian road rules, so keep the following in mind:

1. Always Carry Your License

Make sure you always have a valid driver’s license on you even if you’re going on a short drive. For Albanians, there are harsh penalties for not carrying your driving license. Being a foreigner, you are in an even more vulnerable position so don’t risk it!

2. Drive on the right-hand side of the Road

As with many European countries, one of the most common questions asked is “what side of the road do they drive on in Albania?”

The answer is: on the right-hand side. In Albania, make sure you always stick to the right-hand side of the road! If you’re from the United States you will be fine!

3. Give Way to the Right

You should always give way at intersections to the person on your right. The person entering a roundabout has right of way.

The person already on the roundabout should be aware of others entering and give way to them.

4. Keep Your Lights On

When driving rental cars in Albania make sure you have your headlights on, all the time, at every part of the day.

5. Keep to the Speed Limits

This is an obvious one but keep to the speed limits.

Take notice of the signs. Albania has some strange speed zones. For no reason, the speed might change to as low as 30 Km an hour for absolutely no reason in the middle of nowhere.

Police will look for any excuse to pull you over so always keep to it, no matter how ridiculous.

I have heard that police have pulled people over for not having snow chains available, in the middle of summer.

6. Keep Off of your Cell Phone

It’s illegal to drive whilst using a cell phone in Albania.

7. Wait for the Police

If you are in an accident you are obliged to wait for the police.

Learn all about Albania car hire, hillside with grassy areas and green trees with road zigzagging down towards the coast with sandy beach and blue sea in the distance

Beware of the Erratic Drivers

A common question about travel in Albania can be “is it safe to drive in Albania?”. The answer is yes. But be cautious.

There are a lot of people driving in Albania who don’t go by the rules. Common infractions include a lot of excessive speeding, overtaking on blind corners and erratic driving.

Sometimes it’s enough to make yourself wonder, “Is it safe to rent a car in Albania? Should I rent a car in Albania when the other drivers behave this way?”

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Unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do about it. But don’t let this dictate whether or not you rent cars in Albania; Albanians may drive less safely, but they still don’t want to crash either!

Just be aware while you’re driving of what others are doing around you. You don’t want to crash a rental car in Albania and ruin your trip!

Keep your distance to the cars in front of you and always make a note if the car in front of you has his brake lights working; a lot of the time they are broken.

Always Carry Cash for Petrol

Most petrol stations do not have a card machine. You will usually pay cash to the person who will put the petrol in your car.

Just pull up, tell them how much Lek worth of petrol you want, wait and then pay the person directly.

Parking

You may notice that a common thing Albanians do is not park properly. They will pull over, put their hazard lights on and run into a store, or go have coffee.

In cities around Albania, long-term parking or free parking can be hard to come by and you might find yourself driving for a while to find a car park.

If you can’t find a car park, on-street parking is always an option, whether it’s in a paid section in Tirana, or just by the side of the road in smaller towns.

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Albania also has a much lower rate of vehicle theft than other European countries such as France or the UK.

In Albania car theft is extremely rare, so parking on the street is very safe and a common practice.

Discover the best advice for getting around in an Albania rental car, person in red woolen hat and red winter coat looking at a street map with different places of interest circled in pen

Don’t Trust Google Maps

I have found on numerous road trips that what Google Maps says is different from reality.

The best way to combat this is to use Google Satellite and see in real time what the road looks like, or if it’s even a road!

Another tip would be to ask the locals. The word for car is ‘Makena’ and the word for the road is ‘Rruga’. Put those two words together, point in the direction you want to go and see what happens!

You might even get some free tips on what to see in Albania!

Can you Hire from One Place and Drop Off in Another?

When wondering how to hire a car in Albania, you should know that there are not a lot offices of the same company which limits the amount of drop-off locations.

A company running car rental in Tirana will probably not have an office in Saranda or Shkoder where you want to drop it off.

Similarly, a car rental in Shkoder will probably have to be returned to the same office in Shkoder. The same goes for car hire in Gjirokastra, your car rental in Himarë, and so on.

Always check with the car company first. Maybe they will let you but with a big fee. The only recommendation I have heard from tourists is the company ‘EuroCar’.

Check with the Company if you Want to Take It to Other Countries

If you do want to visit one of Albania’s neighboring countries, then always check with the company and its rental terms if this is allowed.

You will need to get extra car papers and potentially sign a new rental agreement if you do wish to take your Albania car rentals overseas and rental prices may increae.

Take Pictures and Videos of the Car Before You Leave

Before you leave for your road trip ALWAYS take many pictures and videos of your Albania rental car to have evidence just in case they accuse you of scratching or denting the car when you bring it back and want to add on additional fees.

If there are any minor damages to the car when you get it, be sure to document that and talk with the car company and confirm that they see these damages before you hire it.

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. My #1 recommendation is SafetyWing! Me and thousands of other travellers use it to stay safe on the road. Click here to check it out.

Trust me, cheap car rental in Albania isn’t so cheap once you have to pay additional charges for pre-existing damage that wasn’t your fault! You will also want to do some checks inside the car to make sure the car is in good condition before you drive it. 

Is it safe to rent a car in Albania? Closeup of police car sitting on the street outside a large office building

Police and Bribes

Police may pick on international number plates or if they can see a foreigner driving, especially in popular destinations like the city center. However, its always best to stick to the rules even in urban areas too.

If you do get pulled over for something you didn’t commit, always ask for evidence. Police can also give on the spot fines of up to 5000 Lek but that’s if you do something wrong!

Bribery used to be obvious but fortunately now they don’t try with foreigners so much as the penalty for them getting caught doing this is high.

Other Things to Note

  • Tirana centre traffic is always bad and an absolute headache. You can rent a car in Tirana, but if you can avoid doing a lot of driving within Tirana, then do it!
  • Hitchhiking is very common in Albania with foreigners and locals. Learn more about Albania locals in my Albania Travel Guide.
  • If you are coming to Albania in the winter, be aware of the weather. Flash-flooding and ice on the road can happen in an instant and can be very dangerous and its not a good idea to drive in these conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ Is it worth renting a car in Albania? 

Do you need a car in Albania? No. But does having a car in Albania make your trip better? Yes! If you hire a car in Albania you have more freedom to travel around when you want to on your own schedule, and you can access places that local public transport in Albania won’t go to.

✅ Is driving in Albania easy? 

If you have a driving licence, driving in Albania should be relatively similar to driving in any other European country. Just follow the guidelines detailed above and watch out for rogue rule-breakers!

✅ How much does it cost to rent a car in Albania? 

Prices vary depending on which company you use and what kind of car you want, but I have seen prices as low as €13 and as high as €100 per day.

  ✅ How old do you have to be to rent a car in Albania? 

While the legal driving age in Albania is 18, many Albania car hire companies require you to be at least 21 years old, and sometimes also to have had your licence for at least 1 year.

I hope the process of how to hire a car in Albania has been made clearer for you! Let me know how your car hire in Albania went and where you went on your trip!


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The Comments

  • Shawn
    July 12, 2019

    Hi Anita,

    Left another comment on another post, but think it belongs here. For a drivers license, is an international driving permit needed, or will one’s local license work (in my case, a US license)? Unfortunately already abroad and do not have the ability to get an international driving permit, and looking to avoid potential issues!

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Shawn
      July 15, 2019

      Hey Shawn, yes you need an international drivers license. Only EU citizens are allowed to drive on their own licenses 🙂

  • Robin Young
    July 14, 2019

    Hi Anita!

    Very helpful article. It’s good to know that people entering the roundabout have the right of way. That surprised me. We’ve driven several places in Europe roundabouts and it’s the opposite.

    When you say “always carry your license,” that brought up a question. Can I use my US driver’s license to rent a car, or do I have to have an international license?

    Again, thanks for your article, and keep ’em coming!

    Robin

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Robin Young
      July 15, 2019

      Hello Robin, yeah it confuses me too but make sure you always check that the person will actually stop haha! Because sometimes the person who is not in the right of way just keeps driving anyway. Yes, according to Albanian law you need an international drivers license as well as to carry your original license with you.

      Thanks Robin!

  • Mike Pierce
    September 14, 2019

    Thanks Anita. We’re leaving for Albania in 2 days. Have a car reserved. In Baltimore, they put a chair in the road to reserve a parking space, so we’re used to that.

  • Jorunn
    June 19, 2022

    Hi Anita.
    Thank you for your post with a lot of useful informations about driving in Albania.
    I would be very grateful if you have time to help me with this question:
    Do you think it will be okay to rent a small car (like a Ford Fiesta) without four-wheel when driving in Albania?
    Thank you.
    All the best,
    Jorunn

  • Su
    November 5, 2023

    Hi Anita,

    Is it safe for a single female to drive around in Albania? Is fuel expensive?

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Su
      November 6, 2023

      Hey Su, yes it is safe 🙂 I can’t remember the exact $ for fuel but it’s pretty comparable to the neighbouring countries.