How to Hire a Car in Albania (Everything You Need To Know!)
Last Updated on September 12, 2022
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If you are visiting Albania, the best way to see the country is by car. There are so many great places in Albania that are not easily accessed via train, bus or furgon (minibus).
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.
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.
In this article, I will cover tips on driving and how exactly you can hire a car in Albania!
Companies to Rent From
So, where to rent a car in Albania? There are several different companies you can try. Some recommendations are:
- EuroCar (They have an office in Tirana and Saranda and is one of the most popular companies for tourists)
- Hertz Albania
- Drive Albania (4×4 for hire)
There are lots more companies that hire cars. Within Tirana airport, you can see many offices.
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 company but they also hire cars and scooters for a very reasonable price.
Obviously, prices vary from company to company and depending on which month you are renting it. You can find a car for rent in Albania for as low as €13 and as high as €100 per day.
I would say the average for hiring a car in Albania would be between €15-30 per day. It will also depend on whether you want a manual or automatic and what kind of car you would like.
Driving on the Roads in Albania
Travelling in Albania can be quite a hassle as some of the 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. Always keep an eye on the road and don’t go so fast that you cannot stop in a hurry.
Road Rules in Albania
Always Carry Your LIcence
Make sure you always have your licence on you. For Albanians, there are harsh penalties for not carrying your license. Being a foreigner, you are in an even more vulnerable position so don’t risk it!
Drive on the right-hand side of the Road
In Albania, make sure you always stick to the right-hand side of the road!
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.
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.
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.
Keep Off of your Cell Phone
It’s illegal to drive whilst using a cell phone in Albania.
Wait for the Police
If you are in an accident you are obliged to wait for the police.
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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.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do about it; 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.
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 can be hard to come by and you might find yourself driving for a while to find a car park.
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?
In Albania, there are not plentiful offices of the same company. A company running car hire in Tirana will probably not have an office in Saranda or Shkoder where you want to drop it off.
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 neighbours, then always check with the company if this is allowed. You will need to get extra car papers if you do wish to take your Albania car rentals overseas.
Take Pictures and Videos of the Car Before You Leave
Before you leave for your road trip ALWAYS take many pictures and videos of the car to have evidence just in case they accuse you of scratching or denting the car when you bring it back.
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.
Trust me, cheap car rental in Albania isn’t so cheap once you have to pay for pre-existing damage that wasn’t your fault!
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Police and Bribes
Police may pick on international number plates or if they can see a foreigner driving. It’s always best to stick to the rules.
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 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.
- 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.
📚 P.S. Grab access to my Travelling Albania Guide to get a comprehensive insight into more places to visit in Albania (including secret spots that are not recommended in the usual guides!)
Frequently Asked Questions
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 trains and buses won’t go to.
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!
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.
I hope the process of how to rent 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!
Other articles you will love:
- Visiting the Beautiful Blue Eye, Albania (Syri i Kalter)
- Albania Itinerary: 1 week in Albania (7 days)
- Visiting Butrint, Albania: One of Albania’s Best UNESCO Sites
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