Car rental in Albania is a must for a modern traveler. This Adriatic state has only recently started to receive tourists; the transport infrastructure is in its infancy.
We will tell the traveler about a range of proposals, pricing, and payment methods, insurance, required documents, and other useful things. You will also learn about the features of Albanian roads, some of the intricacies of traffic rules and potential fines. Let’s go!
The content of the article
The rules of international (European) rent are also valid in Albania.
To rent a car here, you need to meet certain requirements:
- age limit – 21 years old;
- driving experience – above two years;
- availability of an international driver’s license; and
- availability of a credit card with a required amount (for a deposit, insurance, and the rent itself).
For Europeans, there is nothing unusual. But any country has its own bureaucratic nuances that you should know about. Read about this below.
Payment and prices
Albania is considered to be a poor country, but prices for car rental are in many ways comparable with the average European ones. The cost of the Albanian rent is kept within 30-120 Euros and directly depends on three parameters:
- car class;
- make; and
- gasoline (one liter of the AI-95 gasoline costs 1.2 euros, according to the tariffs of 2014).
The rent is paid only from classic credit cards (debit cards are a rare exception). Cash, Visa Electron, Maestro – it is better to leave them all at home.
Immediately after the conclusion of the transaction, rental companies block the deposit amount on the card – keep this in mind.
The contract includes a tank full of gasoline, a damage excess, and other payments. Conclusion: you need to carefully check your credit card before contacting the rental company.
Insurance and damage excess
Making a contract, the rental company will certainly attach the insurance contract to it. Be careful. Make sure the following points are present:
- CDW (damage insurance);
- (theft insurance); and
- TPL (third-party liability insurance).
Even if you have found the listed items, you should not relax. Check the damage excess amount – the loss not covered by insurance, but directly by you. Albanians love to unnecessarily inflate the franchise damage excess. There are also zero-rate franchises, but these are very rare.
After making sure that the conditions are acceptable for you, ask additional questions. Ask if the damage is foreseen to wheels, headlights, and windows. Usual policies often ignore these parts of the car. Having noticed something similar, make extra insurance – it will be useful.
In order not to rush around Tirana in search of a car rental company, it is advisable to book a car in advance. The car will wait for you at the airport or in the center of the Albanian capital. If desired, you can resort to the same service in other cities
The cost of the booked car will include:
- theft insurance (plus damage excess);
- unlimited mileage;
- airport fees;
- Albanian VAT;
- third-party liability insurance;
- damage insurance (plus damage excess).
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At the request of the client, the company can provide CNC insurance (super-insurance) and equip cars with additional equipment, such as:
- winter tires;
- wheel chains;
- navigational tools;
- child seats;
- additional trunk (including trunk for bike, ski or snowboard); and
- baby car seats.
It’s not always possible to choose a suitable car model online, although the Albanian fleet is very extensive.
Rental companies guarantee car options, class and category, but problems can arise with a particular model.
Example: you book a budget-friendly Volkswagen Golf with automatic transmission. This does not mean that Golf will wait for you at the airport. A replacement with a Seat Leon or Renault Clio may be recommended to you. With this, you will definitely get an automatic transmission.
Under the terms of the contract, you get a full tank of fuel. BUT! When returning a rented car, you must also fill the full tank. Forgetting about this, you will subject yourself to the gods of heaven: the cost of fuel will be debited from your credit card (at the highest rates, of course), together with the charge for refueling services.
Features of the national Albanian ride
Albania is a developing country which implies certain disadvantages. Some wanderers complain about the poor state of the cars, including:
- broken headlight;
- empty gas tank;
- dirty cabin;
- poor tyres;
- cracks on the windshield; and
- lack of spare wheel.
Now let’s talk about roads. The highways in Albania are in terrible conditions. You will move slowly along the mountain routes, and the matter here is not only in slopes but in “speed bumps” – Albanians like to shove them almost at every meter.
Movement on the mountain slopes is not active – if you are stuck on a precipice, you will have to wait hours for help.
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Traffic rules and driver behavior
In Albania, there are speed limits for cars with and without a trailer (dimensions – up to 3.5 tons). Here they are:
- settlement – 40 km/h;
- outside the populated area – 80, with a trailer – 60;
- on the highway – 90, with a trailer – 70; and
- on the main road – 110, with a trailer – 80.
All fines are levied in Albanian leks. For example, the permissible alcoholic dosage is 0.1 ppm. If you have exceeded the allowed limit, prepare 5-15 thousand Leks (36-107 Euros). In addition, your driving license will be taken away for six months or a year.
At first, it seems that there are no Albanian traffic rules. Drivers recklessly violate the rules, profess boorish behavior, and only remotely realize the existence of a turn signal.
Give up the idea of renting a car if you have a little driving experience since Albanian slopes are the abode of dashing hillmen. The same situation is with pedestrians – they cross the road wherever they want.
Key highways are maintained in a more or less acceptable condition, but local roads look like tracts of the Second World War broken by bombing. Sometimes it is more expedient to go on the wayside than on a regular road.
Video of the Albanian roads
A short video about local Albanian highways will help to get an idea of the state of surface and compliance with traffic rules.
Domestic motorists are not afraid of such conditions, but still, do not compete with them.
- Low Beam. During the day, the low beam is not needed, but at night we can’t do without it. It should also be used in case of bad weather and insufficient visibility. The fine is 7-21 Euros.
- Transportation of children. If you are travelling with small children (up to 12 years old), whose height is below 150 centimeters, equip the car with special chairs. If the child is under 4 years old – he/she is transported using restraint systems. The fine for violation is 7-21 Euros.
- Seat belts. They should be used by all passengers, both in the front and rear seats. You think of violating the rule – you know the amount of the fine.
- Communication by phone. In Albania, the driver can communicate by mobile phone only if using a hands-free system. Do not use the system with both hands. You know the fine amount.
- Overtaking. If you are overtaking in an unspecified place, take out 14-43 Euros from your pocket.
- Signaling. Forgot to give a signal before turning, lane changing, driving-away or stopping – the fine amount is 14-43 Euros.
- Railroad crossing. Be ready to pay the above amount in case of violation.
You will have to pay the same 14-43 Euros for the wrong movement on unidirectional lanes, road intransigence and non-compliance with the distance.
Large paid parking lots are located near airports and hotels, and local rates roughly correspond to European ones.
Toll roads and parking lots
If you come to Albania for a couple of weeks, you can safely ride on most local routes, limiting yourself to one Euro for using asphalt.
If you are in the country for more than 60 days (and your car is registered in another state), for each additional day you will pay as follows:
- 2 Euros per car, the number of seats in which is 8 + 1 (with driver);
- 1 euro per car, with the number of seats less than the above figure.
Now let’s talk about parking.
In many cities, along the sidewalks you will find a series of multi-colored concrete “stumps” – this way the Albanians are struggling with parking in unspecified places. If you start looking for a full-fledged parking space, then make sure of the futility of your bows.
The state has fully taken over gasoline pricing.
Experienced travelers recommend refueling at large gas stations.
In September 2014, prices were as follows:
- diesel fuel – 188 Albanian leks;
- Benzine 95 – 188 Leks; and
- LPG – 96 Leks.
Albanian drivers completely ignore some rules, but others are mandatory. The local police vigilantly tracks speed violations, especially by rented cars.
How do law enforcement officers figure out a rich tourist? Very simple – by the rental company labels.
Conclusion: if you have money (you are a tourist), but there is no desire to comply with traffic rules, then a plastic card will start to empty quickly.
We recommend to double check before renting an Albanian car. Have a nice trip!