If you plan travellling to Albania by car, or rent a car once you are in the country, we have the advice coming from direct experience.
After travelling for 5 weeks throughout Albania by car, many people asked us about safety in general, roads and which are the best routes. To answer the question on safety, we recommend that you read the article “Is it safe to travel to Albania?”. If you want to know more about the best places to visit in Albania click on the link.
And now we are going to the point, answering questions to all the questions that Euroviajar.com users and friends have been asking us.
1. How Are the Roads in Albania?
The main roads are safe and well signposted. The main cities of the country, as well as the main tourist areas (especially the Albanian Riviera) have roads built in the last 15 years that are at the level of any other European country.
However it is a very mountainous and rocky country, therefore the roads are steep and there are constant curves. You can’t ignore the geography of the place, but following the indications you should have no problem.
Some secondary roads in less populated arears and close to villages may be not well paved and have holes, therefore it is better to have a jeep, 4×4 or anyway a high car.
As an anecdote I must confess that before we went to Albania and rented a car there, I haven’t been driving the car for quite some time. While it is true that the first two days I was a little worried, I quickly noticed that there were no reasons for that.
2. How are Drivers in Albania?
In general we had no problems with drivers during the 5 weeks of travelling around Albania by car.
Cases of speeding or breaking some traffic code rules happened occassionally, but rather rarely and honestly less then in many other Mediterranean countries.
The exception would be Tirana – driving there was not a pleasant experience, the city roads are often too crowded and narrow for the amount of traffic, and it’s not always easy to find the parking space. Therefore avoid renting the car for the days you spend in the capital, and if you come with your own car, don’t use it much. It’s better to book a hotel in the centre and walk, or take a bus when needed.
3. Is it a Good Idea to Travel to Albania by Car?
Yes. It is a very mountainous country and full of small towns and fantastic beaches hidden throughout the territory (read more about The best places to visit in Albania). The poor state of public transport and its mountainous geography make it difficult to travel without a car, unless you decide to stay in one place during your stay.
For example, if you decide to travel to Ksamil or the Albanian riviera (typical beach destinations), you need a car to access the best beaches, such as Pasqyra or Gjipe.
4. Is it Better to Rent a Car or Come by Car to Albania?
Obviously, it depends on your starting point and itinerary. If you are going also to the Balkans or Greece, it is better to go with your own car, because many rental agencies don’t allow to take the rental car abroad. If you want to explore only Albania, it is probably easier to rent.
5. What Do I need to Drive or Rent a Car in Albania?
You need to have the international driving permit that you can obtain in the General Directorate of Traffic or similar entity in your country with a valid driving licence.
Where Can I Rent a Car in Albania?
The price of car rental in Albania is lower than in other countries, around 20-30% less, especially if you book in advance.
We rented a small car, but now we would definitely have taken a 4×4, preferably a jeep or a SUV – it is just more comfortable and safer on many steep, uneven or not asphalted roads.
We recommend the Rentalcar rental search engine, it is very easy to use and offers cars that you can pick up directly at the airport or in different cities.
6. Driving in Albania is Fun!
That’s right, there’s no reason to worry, Albania is safe and now it’s a good time to visit it, because tourism is growing exponentially every year. In the last years prices have risen and will continue to rise.
The most dangerous aspect of driving in Albania are animals on mountain roads, including goats, cows, donkeys, horses and dogs. But if you travel at the adequate speed, they will simply make you smile. You can see the gallery of goats on the roads of Albania here.
7. How Is Parking in Albania?
Parking in Albania is safe. We never had any problems either with leaving the car or the bags inside it. We also didn’t observe or heard from others about thefts regarding cars or objects left in them, so don’t worry about it.
In Himara, Saranda and some other touristy cities we had to leave the car a few streets further away from the main area. Perhaps the worst cities to find parking in Albania were Vlorë and Tirana.
However, most hotels and B&Bs offer a parking spot included in the price.
8. The Best Itineraries to Travel through Albania by Car
We were fortunate to be able to visit many places throughout the country during 5 weeks.
Our recommendations are the following:
- Route by car along the Albanian coast – from Durres to Ksamil and then Corfu.
- Drive in the unknown Albania – Tirana, Shkoder, Valbona, Berat and Gjirokaster.
- Albania on the road – 3 Weeks to get to know the Country.
- Llogara Pass – one of the most famous scenic roads of Europe. We highly recommend it: it isn’t dangerous, there is no much traffic and the views are amazing!
Plan your trip with our detailed guide to the best places in Albania with plenty of photos to inspire!