Renting a car in Albania is the best way to explore one of the best up-and-coming destinations in Europe

Ultimate Guide to Renting A Car In Albania (2024)

Thinking about renting a car in Albania for a road trip? You are in the right place! I have some advice and lessons about car rental companies, road conditions, traffic, and driving in Albania – so make sure to read till the end.

Taking a road trip in Albania is the best way to see the country. I spent a couple of weeks exploring the country, and a road trip is the best way to make the most out of your trip.

Public transportation in Albania is not the most reliable, so renting a car is your best option for getting outside bigger cities and exploring the countryside. In this guide, I’ll go over the requirements for renting a car in Albania, and how to avoid mistakes when trying to find the right vehicle.

Documents for renting a car In Albania: 

  • Your driver’s license 
  • Your passport
  • Your credit card (the same one you made a reservation with)

I highly recommend booking a car ahead of time so you can lock in more favorable rates and skip long lines at the rental car center.

If you looking for reasonable car rates, check DiscoverCars, the best platform for renting cars in Albania and all over Europe. Unlike other car companies, DiscoverCars has no hidden fees or surcharges, and you pay exactly what you see online.

To book a car with DiscoverCars, you need to specify your travel dates and the vehicle you are looking for. The platform will show you the available options, so you can book a car online ahead of your trip.


Where can I rent a car in Albania?

It’s best to reserve a car online before your trip. As you’re likely going to be landing in Tirana, the capital of Albania, and the largest city in the country, the best place to rent a car is at Tirana Airport. 

I rented through a smaller company called Zezgo, and had some issues picking it up at the airport. 

They had overbooked cars, the line to talk to the one guy handling paperwork for the company took 2 hours to get through, which was pretty frustrating. As I found out later, this specififc company frequently overbooks cars, and often doesn’t have enough cars when travelers show up.

➡️ Rent from a bigger car company like Europcar or Sixt. The price won’t be that much higher, but it will save you the hassle. You can find them through DiscoverCars, my favorite platform for renting cars in Europe.

What is the cost of a car rental in Albania?

The cost of a car rental in Albania ranges from $20 – $80 a day, depending on the season and the type of insurance you are getting. 

I rented a car in early July, and the cost was about $50 a day with full insurance. I recommend you do the same, especially if you plan to explore rural parts of Albania. 

Is it worth renting a car in Albania?

Renting a car is almost a must if you want to explore the pretty little beaches in Albania you see on Instagram or hike through the northern mountains of Teth. 

Why you should rent a car in Albania

Flexibility: Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the country at your own pace, visit remote areas, and access destinations that might not be well-connected by public transportation.

Scenic Drives: Albania has stunning landscapes, including beautiful coastal roads and mountainous regions. Having a car allows you to enjoy scenic drives and make spontaneous stops along the way. 

PRO TIP: For those foodies out there, some of the best farm-to-table restaurants I found are also off the beaten path – don’t forget to tip well; this is as authentic as it comes!

Public Transportation: While Albania’s public transportation system is improving, especially in major cities like Tirana, it’s unreliable or nonexistent in the more rural areas (of which there are plenty). Bottom line – this is definitely not a country with a robust bus or train system.

Ultimately, whether you should rent a car in Albania depends on your travel preferences, comfort level with driving in a foreign country, and the specific places you want to visit. 

If you decide to rent a car, be sure to plan ahead, familiarize yourself with local traffic rules, and be prepared for the unique experiences that driving in Albania may bring – keep reading for more on that!

11 Tips For Renting a Car In Albania

Renting a car gives you flexibility to visit multiple off-the-beaten-path destinations at your own pace. That said, here are some tips to keep in mind to make sure you have a smooth rental experience:

1. Choose a reputable rental company

Look for established and reputable car rental agencies in Albania. Even though I read reviews and checked their terms and conditions before making a reservation, I had trouble with my reservation when I arrived. Learn from my mistakes and rent from a major international car rental company.

I use DiscoverCars to find car rentals in Europe and other popular destinations. I’ve always had a great experience with them, as the company offers budget-friendly rates and flexible cancellation policies.


2. Book your car in advance

Especially during the peak tourist seasons of July and August, you should book your rental car in advance to secure your car and get better rates. It’s always more expensive to get a on the spot, and there’s a good chance you will have to spend time in line.

3. Check if there are hidden costs

Be aware of additional charges such as insurance, taxes, and fees that may not be included in the initial rental quote.

One that we got stuck with (which is legitimate), is a fee to cross into Montenegro. Even though we would only be there for 3 of the 14 days, the rental company charged us for the entire duration of our car rental – just be careful!

4. Be ready to show the international driving permit

Some rental companies might require the international driving permit for renting a car, even though it’s not a requirement for Albania as a country. This is essentially a translation of your driver’s license. You can buy it for about $30 at this app: IDA Keeper

5. Inspect the car thoroughly

Before accepting the car, thoroughly inspect it for any existing damage, both inside and outside. Take photos or videos as evidence, and report any issues to the rental company to avoid being held responsible for pre-existing damage.

6. Get good insurance coverage

Check what insurance coverage is included in the rental agreement. It’s best to purchase full insurance, especially for collision damage and theft. Go over everything with your agent to make sure you understand what’s covered by your policy.

The best option is to buy your car insurance through your car rental company. You can buy your car insurance through DiscoverCars, which offers several types of coverage.

7. Get familar with the road rules

Familiarize yourself with Albanian road rules and traffic regulations before driving. Traffic can be chaotic, and some roads are unpaved and are in very poor condition.

8. Always have a full tank of gas

Before setting off on your road trip, make sure you understand the type of fuel your rental car requires. Most cars in Albania run on gasoline or diesel.

9. Make sure to find the right parking

When parking in cities or towns, look for designated parking areas or pay attention to local parking signs to avoid fines or towing. I got a small parking fine which we were able to pay online, but we had to use Google Translate to figure that out.

10. Follow basic safety rules

Avoid leaving valuable items visible in the car to prevent theft. Just put things in the trunk or take them with you.

11. Don’t forget to explore the countryside

Albania has stunning landscapes and many hidden gems to explore beyond the major cities. Don’t hesitate to venture off the beaten path but always ensure you have a reliable map or navigation system because the roads are wild. If anything, you can always stop and ask a local – Albanians are very friendly and will do their best to help you out, even when they don’t speak English.

By following these tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while renting a car and exploring Albania. Remember to drive responsibly and respect the local culture and customs – you are a guest in this country, after all.

Driving in Albania

Driving in Albania is not unlike driving in every other Eastern European country because of the mountainous terrain, and the local driving style. Driving in Albania takes some getting used to, but navigating the country’s bumpy roads is well worth it, as you will be able to enjoy the spectacular landcsapes.

Luckily, Albanians tend to drive slow (I suspect because the cars are a bit older and the mountain roads are steep), but their driving style is very erratic with a lot of brake slamming, passing other drivers on steep mountainous roads and making abrupt stops on the side of the road to get a snack.

What are the roads like in Albania?

While the roads in Albanian cities are OK, they are often under construction, and the traffic can be bad. The highways are two lanes each way, only starting in the south, near Vlore, but one lane in each direction in the rest of the country.

You will experience most challenges in small villages and towns, where roads are not always well maintained. If you venture into Albania’s countryside, pay close attention to road conditions as you will need to navigate steep hills and avoid large potholes.

Do I need a 4X4 in Albania?

While you don’t necessarily need a 4×4, it might be helpful, especially if you consider going into the mountain villages, where you will have to cross river beds and drive up and down unpaved roads. A regular car might have a tough time on these roads, but a 4X4 will do just fine.

Likewise, reaching some beaches requires driving on unpaved, windy roads that will push the limits of any regular car. 


Renting A Car In Albania: FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions I had when I was thinking of renting a car in Albania. My biggest cautions, in a nutshell, are: 

✔️Be careful what company you rent from, as not all are legit – aim for the bigger companies.

✔️Be aware of the road conditions when you’re thinking of driving in Albania – some are really rough and unpaved – this means full insurance is a must!

Is it worth renting a car in Albania?

Renting a car is almost a must if you want to explore the Albanian Riviera you see on Instagram or drive through the northern Albanian mountains of Teth. 

Public transportation in Albania is not great, so a car rental is your best option for exploration.

Can I rent a car in Albania with a US license?

Yes, you can rent a car in Albania with a US driver’s license. Albania generally accepts foreign driver’s licenses for temporary stays and trips.

Do you need an international driver’s license to rent a car in Albania?

No, you don’t need an international driver’s license in Albania to rent a car unless your license is in a non-roman script.

Renting A Car In Albania: Final Word

Renting a car is a great idea if you want to see Albania’s countryside or explore the gorgeous beaches.

My biggest advice for your is to rent a car from a reputable car company like DiscoverCars, and be aware of the rural roads and poor road conditions in the mountains, and to get to some of the beaches in the south near Sarande. 

Other than that, driving in Albania is not unlike driving in the rest of Eastern Europe – the scenery is wonderful, locals will help you if you lose signal or can’t find your way, and exploring the hidden beaches and villages in remote parts of the country is an absolute blast!