Driving in Albania
Drive On The Right
Albanians, as we have mentioned, drive on the right-hand side of the road, so if you’re used to being a ‘leftie’ in this regard, you need to be aware of this and probably take it slowly until you get used to it. You have to be 18 years of age to drive in Albania, and you need to have a full license.
Rules Of The Road
Albania’s road rules aren’t majorly different from other countries, but it’s worth reading up on it, just in case there are any glaring changes. You need to wear a seatbelt at all times, and that means everyone in the car, and you need to ensure you have third-party insurance – check this out when you’re hiring your vehicle. Also, you should not use a mobile phone when driving unless operating from a hands-free set. Drink driving is a massive no-no, and the legal amount of alcohol allowed in anyone’s system is minuscule, at 0.01 mg/ml; you can be fined massively if caught and have your license revoked.
We have to talk about speed limits obviously, and this means:
50km/h (31mph) in residential areas
90km/h (56mph) away from residential areas
110km/h (68mph) on motorways
Lighting Could Be Hit And Miss
Roads are well lit, but that doesn’t mean all of them; for instance, urban streets are lit at all times, but those outside of urban stretches may not be. It’s also possible that urban roads could experience a power outage, especially away from the main towns and cities.
Have Cash With You For Fuel
Petrol stations are usually open between 8 am – 8 pm in built-up, urban locations; however, not all accept cards as a payment method; for that reason, have cash with you at all times. There are also no automatic petrol pumps in Albania, so it’s all entirely manual!
Be Aware of Driving Distances
Albania isn’t the biggest country globally, but the driving distances and times can be misleading because of several mountains and high roads you will need to pass through, especially towards the north. For instance, if you’re beginning your journey in Tirana, it will take you two hours to reach Berat. If you’re moving from Vlore to Fier, this will only take you half an hour. Do some research before you set off.
Be Document Savvy
You will need an International Driving License to drive in Albania, and this needs to be with you at all times, as well as your passport. You should also make sure you have the documents which the car rental agency gives you, including insurance details and registration documents.
The Types of Roads You Will Experience
There are no toll roads in Albania, so you don’t need to keep small change handy! This is good news, and the further good news is that the roads are very well developed, especially around Tirana. In the north, where the mountains are mainly located, you may find rougher roads, but there are no off-road areas, and it’s all quite pleasant regarding driving.
One thing in which Albania isn’t so fantastic at is parking. You will find a lack of plentiful parking, even in the capital, so do bear this in mind and be aware that you may need to drive around a little to find a parking spot when you arrive at your destination.
What Type of Car to Rent
You have a range of cars in front of you whenever you go to a car rental agency, so how do you know which to go for? Well, basically you need to pick a car which is big enough for the number of people in your party, as well as the luggage you have, and extra space for you to be comfortable. If you’re traveling as a family, remember that you might need to go a little bigger, so your children can stretch out a little on longer journeys. Also, most cars are manual, not automatic, and if you want an automatic, you will have to pay a bit more.
Driving in and around Albania is a hugely rewarding experience, and as you can see from these hints and tips, there’s nothing particularly restricting or complicated about it!
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