Albania Driving Guide
Albania is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.
Albania, officially called “The Republic of Albania,” is located in Southeast Europe on the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea and within the Mediterranean Sea. It is also part of the Mediterranean climate, meaning it has short and medium winters and hot and dry summers. Albania is a hospitable country, and it has been part of their tradition for centuries. The country lies on the subtropical belt and can easily be traveled by air, land, and sea.
With Albania’s pleasant atmosphere, tourists can enjoy the day at the beach, snowy mountains, or excellent scenic road trips across the country of Albania. If you want to go on a full road trip itinerary, the best car up for rental would be the best fit for the job. Driving on holidays in Albania is more relaxing than booking a tour since you can travel at your own pace.
How Can This Guide Help You?
This guide will tell you about Albania's general information and the necessities when renting a car, like the International Driver's Permit (IDP), green card, etc. You will also learn the best routes to drive in Albania and answer questions like "can I drive to Albania?" Most importantly, do not forget the traffic rules and regulations in the country. Knowing all of these is essential if you want to have a nice and calming road trip in Albania.
Aside from Albania's traffic rules and regulations, top destinations of the country are also included for you to have an idea of how beautiful Albania is despite being isolated from the world for so long.
Albania is a country in Southeast Europe located at Adriatic and the Ionian Sea and within the Mediterranean Sea. Tirana (Tiranë) is their capital city. Locals refer to themselves as shqiptarë, often meaning "sons of eagles," though it is well known as "those associated with the shqip (Albanian) language.” They have lived near isolation and vagueness throughout history because of the rough terrain of their mountainous land and complex historical, cultural, and social factors.
Albania’s location is in Southeast Europe on the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea and within the Mediterranean Sea. Albania shares land borders with Kosovo in the northeast, Montenegro in the northwest, Greece in the south, and Macedonia in the east. The country also shares maritime borders with Montenegro, Greece, and Italy to the west.
Albania's official language is Albanian, spoken by a large majority of the country's population. There are two main dialects in the country, Gheg and Tosk, but mostly based on the Tosk dialect. There is also a dialect of Greek spoken in areas that are inhabited by the Greek minority. Other foreign languages spoken by ethnic opposition in Albania are Roma, Gorani, Bulgarian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Aromanian. But, most of the population in Albania have declared Albanian as their mother tongue.
Albania has a land area of 28,748 square kilometers (11,100 square miles). Displaying various climatic, hydrological, geological, and morphological conditions, and possesses a diversity of landscapes, from snow-capped mountains in the Albanian Alps, Korab, Skanderbeg, Pindus, and Ceraunian Mountains from the sunny coast of the Ionian Sea and Albanian Adriatic within the Mediterranean Sea.
They consider themselves to be descendants of Illyrians, an ancient tribe that lived in Central Europe and migrated to Albania's southward territory as the Bronze Age started, about 2000 BCE. Other civilizations are Ancient Greeks, Romans, Thracians, Venetians, Byzantines, and Ottomans. In the 18th and 9th centuries, Albanians' cultural developments were broadly credited for gathering spiritual and intellectual strength to be led to the Albanian Renaissance.
Albania declared independence in 1912 after they won to Ottomans in the Balkan Wars. By the 20th century, the country was invaded by Italy, forming Greater Albania before they became a protectorate of Nazi Germany. After the Second World War, Enver Hoxha created a Communist Albania and launched the Albanians on an unjust and isolated path. In 1991, the citizens started a revolution and ended the fall of communism in Albania, and established the current Republic of Albania.
Albania is divided into qark (counties), which are also divided into rrethe (districts). Below the districts are the administrations of komuna (communes) and bashkia (municipalities). They are governed by councils, which are either representative of the cities and communes within the county or chosen by the committees. The cabinet designates a prefect as the representative in each county, while the government on districts and other lower levels operates through local councils elected by the population for three years.
Tourism in Albania has been a fundamental element in the country's economic growth. The country is distinguished by the rich archaeological, and cultural legacy since Illyrians and Ancient Greeks lived in the region. Albania's highlights are the unspoiled beaches, traditional cuisine, mountainous landscapes, archaeological artifacts, unique traditions, and the countryside’s natural atmosphere.
An International Driver's Permit or IDP is a travel document organized by the United Nations and an additional requirement for visitors to drive and rent a car while in Albania. An IDP is a translation of your native license, so when authorities need to see your identification, you wouldn't have a hard time translating your permit to them since it can eliminate any potential language barrier between you and the officer.
Do I Need an International Driver’s Permit in Albania?
Having an IDP is a requirement for visitors if you don't have a UK license. You can not start driving in Albania with a rental car since car rental companies will require you to provide an IDP before getting started with any documentation signing. Also, some locals are not familiar with the English language, so getting an IDP would help the officers in charge.
As a visitor in Albania, having an International Driver's Permit is beneficial if you want to drive and rent a car in Albania. It is a translation of your original license so that authorities wouldn't have a hard time reading your identification card, especially for travelers who are not native to the English language. You can not start driving in Albania with a rental car without an IDP since it's part of any car rental company's requirements in the country.
Can I Apply for an IDP Online?
Applying for an IDP for Albania can be online, or you may get it at any post offices in the country. However, If you want to register online, the International Drivers Association is highly recommended. They have a quick and easy process, and they can translate a driver's license into 12 languages. You would only need four requirements to register, namely, your driver's license, a passport-sized photo, an application form, and a credit card or Mastercard.
If you get caught driving in Albania without having an IDP, it can get you into serious trouble. You can maybe be sent to jail or get deported for operating illegally in their streets. Make sure that you check every document needed first before going to Albania.
Who Needs an International Driver’s Permit?
Every visitor that doesn't have a UK driving license would need an IDP. You can not start driving in Albania if you don't have your IDP since the rental companies wouldn't let you rent a car if you don't have one. Your International Driver's Permit can also eliminate any potential language barrier if you run into any situation on the road.
Renting a Car in Albania
When visiting Albania, you can use public transportations to travel between major cities. Still, it may be unreliable since it sometimes doesn't follow the routes and timetables that the company provided because bus drivers tend to take shortcuts around the city. It may also be uncomfortable when you have a long ride.
If you want to make the most out of your visit, renting a car is the best way to get around. Driving during your holiday in Albania gives you the freedom to go anywhere at any time, and you wouldn't have to wait for the next transportation to arrive. Having an idea of how to rent a car in Albania is sure to get you the company's best deals.
Car Rental Companies
There are many small rental cars inside Albania, but these rental cars are sometimes not freshly polished. Moreover, when inspecting some of them, you will see that there are dents in the car. These vehicles may not be externally fixed, but they have excellent engines. You only need to give a thorough check on the automobiles if you plan on renting with smaller companies in the country. But if you want a rental car that's worth your money, the recommended car hire companies are Sixt, Europcar, Rentalcars, and AutoEurope.
As you settle with the rental company's agreement, they would ask you to provide some identifications and documents that are part of its policy. These requirements are your driver's license, IDP, passport, and credit card for payment. Your native license must be valid for at least one year to be recognized by the company. And when driving in Albania, applying for car insurance will depend on the car rental company's contract, so it is best to talk to them about it first before sealing the deal.
When choosing the type of vehicle you want, you would need to consider the types of roads you'll be going through and the number of your companions. The most common vehicle to rent is a small car since most of the streets are in fair conditions, but note that there are also paths that are being rebuilt.
If you plan to ride on major roads, the best vehicle would be a 4x4 SUV since you would need a higher car for mountainous roads. Motorcycles and vans are also available in the country if you prefer these types of automobiles.
Car Rental Cost
The cost of your car rental varies and will depend on your car rental needs. A few things that can affect your car rental cost include the type of vehicle you rent, the car’s size, and insurance. If you decide to purchase add-ons on top of the basic inclusion, such as GPS, child seat WiFi, you can expect an increase in your car rental cost. Here are some car rental estimates that you can refer to:
- Economy: $7/day
- Compact: $18/day
- Intermediate: $18/day
- SUV: $42/day
- Full-size SUV: $95/day
- Mini: $7/day
- Compact SUV: $35/day
The legal age to drive in Albania is 18. But to rent a car in Albania, you must be at least 21 years old and have at least held a driver's license for at least a year, but this will depend entirely on the rental company, and most suppliers charge a young driver fee for visitors under the age of 25. The young driver fee is expensive in the country. They can range between 1,527 ALL (Albanian Lek) to 4,072 ALL ($15 - $40) per day.
Also, some rental companies have a maximum age limit of 65. They set this limitation since they don't want any traveler to get into any extreme road accidents.
Car Insurance Cost
When driving in Albania, insurance is very important. Applying for car insurance will also depend entirely on the company you choose. Some companies already have car insurance in their contract, and some would require you to apply for one. Make sure to read your agreement thoroughly to ensure that you won't be paying more than what you needed for your entire vacation in Albania. Costs of your car insurance depend on your provider and the extent of its cover.
Car Insurance Policy
Third-party liability insurance is one of the insurance covers that typically see on car rental terms and conditions. It covers any claims of damages from other parties. Some car retinal providers will offer you the Collision Damage Waiver, which will cover your damaged vehicle in case of accidents or attempted theft. Meanwhile, Personal Accident Insurance will cover for hospitalizations if you incur injuries or, worst, death.
Road Rules in Albania
First-timers in Albania commonly ask, "how is driving in Albania?" or "can I drive in Albania?"; well, to answer that, anyone that has a valid driver's license, an IDP, and a well understanding of the traffic rules can drive in Albania. Operating in Albania can be difficult if you're not extra careful since main highways are being rebuilt, and some local drivers behave aggressively on the road.
Following these driving in Albania tips could help you while road tripping in the country. You can avoid accidents and even police stops if you adapt to their traffic rules. When driving in Albania, roads can be unfamiliar to you, so knowing the country’s rules can always come in handy. Below are important regulations that you need to follow when driving.
There can be times when you are driving on holidays in Albania, and you want to join the fun and celebration. Some tourists would ask, can you drive to Albania after drinking? Authorities in Albania have zero tolerance for drunk driving.
Their maximum amount of blood alcohol concentration is 0.01% (10mg in 100ml of blood). It is about less than a can of beer or a glass of wine. Any suspected driver will need to complete a breath test, and if they refuse, they would be penalized between 5,000 to 20,000 ALL ($40 - $190) and will be suspended from any driving privileges.
Turning Signals at an Intersection
Using your signals while driving at an intersection is a way of communicating with other drivers to avoid collisions and accidents. When you plan to turn left or right at an intersection, make sure to position your vehicle in the lane closest to the direction of driving you are turning in. About 100 feet before you turn, you must turn your signals already. This way, other drivers will be alerted of you making a change.
There are restricted parking zones marked with signs in Albania since they don't use any parking meters. If you parked in a restricted area, you would be charged a minimum of 500 ALL ($5), and there is an additional 4,000 ALL ($40) for vehicles towed from the restricted parking. Always ensure to park in well-lit areas when parking at night.
Ensure you and your vehicle are in good condition before driving
Before you start driving, make sure that everything is in good shape, and if you're going on a mountain road, it is recommended that you have provided snow chains in your vehicle. Make sure that when driving in Albania, your insurance, driver's license, IDP, and passport for identification are always with you in case of checkpoints and other police stops.
Having children under four years old on your vacation, you are required to have the appropriate child seat, and they must be seated on the vehicle's rear seat. Also, according to one of the driving in Albania tips is to ensure everyone's safety inside the automobile is that you should always wear your seatbelts, even if it's just a short drive.
General Standards of Driving
One of Albania’s general driving standards that you have to consider is using either manual or automatic transmission cars. Albania sits in a continent where most cars used have manual transmissions. You can ask your car rental provider for options if you are not comfortable driving a manual car. You are the one driving in Albania, where roads are not so familiar to you. So you should be comfortable with the vehicle you are driving.
Albania’s speed limits are posted on the roadside as kilometers. Inside built-up areas are 40km/h (25mph), 80km/h (50mph) outside built-up areas, on expressways it's 90km/h (56mph), and on freeways is 110km/h (68mph). When driving in Albania at night, you need to be cautious about these speed limits, and it's best to make sure that you are moving below these limits to have a better sight of the road. Shifting to top gear while driving in Albania is not recommended.
In Albania, all passengers must wear seat belts at all times, even if it's just a short drive. Not wearing seatbelts can result in a police stop, and you could be fined just for not wearing your seatbelt. Authorities make sure that everyone follows even the simplest of rules since many road accidents happened in the past few years.
Drivers must give way to vehicles coming into the roundabout unless marked by an appropriate sign. This is the rule. However, how is driving in Albania roundabouts? Some would say driving in Albania at roundabouts can be crazy. Some drivers do not follow priority rules on roundabouts, and whoever is most confident in pushing in and whoever has the more significant car can navigate first at roundabouts. So you have to drive defensively.
Apart from roundabouts, you might encounter drivers overtaking especially on busy streets. You are to overtake at the left and immediately go back to the right-hand side after overtaking. Ensure that you have enough room to overtake and remember to turn signals before doing so.
Traffic Road Signs
Being a driver in your home country means you are familiar with road signs already. However, it does not give you the guarantee that all road signs and street lights in your home country are the same as Albania. As you read through, familiarize Albania’s traffic signs. Road signs are there to guide you and not get lost when driving in a foreign country.
Priority signs influence the priority rules on the road. They generally indicate which driver has the priority and which vehicle must give priority. See the list below.
- Give Way/ Yield
- Priority Road
- End of Priority Road
- Give way to oncoming traffic.
- Priority over oncoming traffic
Prohibitory signs are used not to allow certain types of traffic or maneuvers. They indicate specific actions that drivers are not allowed to do.
- No vehicles
- Maximum height
- No entry
- Motor vehicles are not allowed.
- No motorcycles
- Bicycles do not enter
- No buses
- Pedestrians are
- No tractors
- Heavy good vehicles no entry
- No trailers
- Maximum width
Warning signs command you to slow down or prepare to stop if necessary. They also provide alerts and warnings on road conditions or danger or possible traffic situations. Read more below.
- Give way ahead
- Traffic signals ahead
- Roundabout ahead
- Two-way traffic ahead
- Steep descent
- Road hump ahead
- Steep ascent
- Uneven road ahead
- Bend ahead
- Soft verges
- Loose road surface
- Pedestrian crossing ahead
- Falling rocks or debris
- Snow or ice
- Fog likely
- Domestic animals
Mandatory signs are obligatory on the traffic which uses a particular area of the road. These signs generally indicate what road users must do rather than must not do. Check out the list below.
- Straight ahead only
- Proceed right only
- Turn right ahead only.
- Pass on this side
- Pass on either side
- Bicycles only
- Pedestrians only
Right of Way
Knowing who to give way to in another country can avoid any future problems on the road. For Albania, vehicles approaching the intersections or roundabouts from the right have the right of way unless a traffic sign, traffic light, or police directing the traffic says differently. Emergency vehicles are also given the right of way if sirens are turned on, and they're flashing their lights.
Legal Driving Age
When planning to drive in a foreign country, one question would be, How old do you have to be to drive in Albania? For locals, the legal age to drive in Albania is 18, and you would need to have an Albanian driver's license. For a tourist, driving at the age of 18 is not advisable since its roads are not inexperienced. It's better to leave the driving operations for drivers with more than two years of experience.
Laws on Overtaking
Overtaking in Albania will be on the left and should only be done with caution and if necessary. You can also overtake another car if there is an emergency. Make sure to use your car horn and headlights to warn the road users in front of you to give way. This kind of habit is also common in other countries, so if you're a traveler at heart, this habit should've already been part of your practice in driving.
Drivers operate on the right-hand side of the car and road. Vehicles approaching and exiting on roundabouts are also on the right unless said otherwise. But, if you need to overtake another road user, you would need to go to the road's left side.
For those tourists from left-hand side driving countries, it can be a challenge for you. But as you drive along Albanian roads, you will get used to driving on the right. You can even slow down while familiarizing the roads in Albania.
Apart from the road rules mentioned above, you need to remember to avoid using your mobile phone while driving. But, in some urgent matters, you can. Read below to know more.
Can You Drive through Albania while using a Mobile Phone?
Technically no. Like any other country, mobile phones should not be used while driving unless you are using a hands-free device. If an officer noticed that you are not using any hands-free kit, you would be pulled over and be penalized as low as 1,000 ALL ($10).
Driving Etiquette in Albania
Certain situations could occur when you're in a different country if you went there, rent a car, and go blind-sighted on the road without knowing any of their rules and etiquette while driving. This kind of act can lead to a significant number of problems for you and other people that could potentially get involved. Knowing what to do in each situation is essential to a driver since no one knows what could happen along the road.
In the event of a breakdown, you should move your car to the side of the road if it's possible and turn on your hazard lights. If you can not move it on the side, turn your hazard lights on and place a warning triangle at the back of your car to warn other vehicles passing by. Call the car rental company to know so that they can guide you for further instructions.
Police stops are pretty standard in any country, so it's highly recommended that you always have your driver's license, International Driver's Permit, and passport with you every time you go for a drive. If the police officer did pull you over, remain calm and follow what the officer tells you as long as it is appropriate for the offense that you did.
Do note that some officers would force you to give them something in return for your ticket to be voided. Do not consult to bribery at any cost. Bribery is a bad habit in any country. If you encounter a police officer that forces you into bribery, politely decline and ask for their name and police badge number, so you can report them to the nearest police station for misconduct.
Asking for Albania directions can somewhat be complicated even if most of the country's population are familiar with the English language. It is still better to know some of the Albanian phrases to understand the directions better, but locals in Albania will always try and help you find your way in the best way they can. Here are some Albanian phrases that might come in handy when exploring the country.
- Hello – "Përshëndetje!" / "Tungjatjeta"
- Good day – "Mirëdita!"
- Good evening – "Mirëmbrëma!"
- Good night – "Natën e mirë"
- Bye – "Mirupafshim!"
- What’s your name? – "Si quheni?"
- Nice to meet you – "Gëzohem që ju takoj"
- Sorry – "Më fal."
- Excuse me – "Më falni."
- Thank you – "Faleminderit."
- I don’t understand – "(Unë) Nuk kuptoj."
- Do you speak English? – "Flisni Anglisht?"
- What time is it? – "Sa është ora?"
- Can you help me? – "Mund të më ndihmoni?"
- Call the police! – "Tërhiqni vëmendjen e policisë!"
- I’m lost – "Unë jam i humbur."
- I need a doctor – "Unë kam nevojë për një doktor"
- Does anyone speak English? "A flet njeri anglisht?"
- How much is it? – "Sa kushton?"
- It was delicious – "Ishte e shijshme"
- How do I get to… ? "Si mund të shkoj te"
- Is it within walking distance? – "A mund të shkoj më këmbë atje?"
If you got to a checkpoint in Albania, you'd normally see two police officers standing by the roads waving over vehicles. As you get to a police officer, they would ask you to provide documents such as your IDP, driver's license, passport, and car insurance for the rental car. Once they see that everything is in order, you are free to pass the checkpoint, but if you're missing at least one document, you will be pulled to the side by the officer, and you're going to be questioned on the missing paper.
Unexpected circumstances can happen while driving on foreign roads, such as getting involved in accidents. Read more below on what to do during accidents.
What If I Got Involved in an Accident?
If you got involved in an accident, the first thing you would need to do is call the emergency hotline 129 and your car hire provider if you aren't seriously injured. Reaching the car rental company is necessary to know the correct procedure for your rented vehicle. On the other hand, if you witnessed an accident, you must not move your car unless it's safe in your current position and switch on the hazard lights.
If you got involved in an accident, the first thing you would need to do is call the emergency hotline 129 and your car hire company if you aren't seriously injured. Reaching the car rental company is necessary to know the correct procedure for your rented vehicle. On the other hand, if you witnessed an accident, you must not move your car unless it's safe in your current position and switch on the hazard lights.
Driving Conditions in Albania
Knowing the driving situations and road conditions in another country could help you mentally and physically if you ever find yourself in a challenging situation, especially if you don't know how safe it is when driving in Albania. Understanding Albania's driving situations and conditions can prepare you for the inevitability, and you may also find the best route to drive in Albania.
Road accidents in Albania had decreased by 13.36% in 2019 compared to road accidents in 2016. The death count on road accidents in 2016 was about 479, including pedestrians, and in 2018 it decreased to around 415. Driving in Albania in 2016 was more dangerous compared to now.
Since the high count of road accidents has increased in 2016, the government made road repairs one of their top priorities to reduce its casualties. Although there are still many potholes outside the major historic cities, cruising on Albania's roads now is more manageable than driving in Albania in 2016.
Albania has many vehicles for you to choose from when renting a car. But the most common type of car in the country that are being used are compact cars and 4x4 SUVs. Compact cars are mostly used in major cities since the roads are paved and there are minimal to no poor roads in cities. However, visitors that plan to visit destinations outside the city visitors would prefer to rent a 4x4 SUV, especially if they're going on mountain roads. Other vehicles that are commonly seen in the country are motorbikes and trucks.
How Can you drive through Albania faster? You can use the only toll road in Albania, which is on the A1 Rruga e Kombit motorway, that runs west from the Kosovo border towards the capital Tirana. While driving in Albania via a 130 km motorway, you will pass through the Kalimash tunnel where you need to pay the toll; it’s €2.50 for motorcycles and €5 for passenger cars. You can also process toll payments through a credit card or via the Digitalpass system.
The road situation in Albania is still somewhat flawed. There are roads outside major cities that still have potholes, so when driving in Albania, especially at night, you need to be extra cautious and attentive on the road. Aside from potholes, there are also unmarked road repairs; these are more dangerous since they are not easily seen.
Albanians are mostly safe drivers, but there's always a percentage of aggressive drivers in every country. These drivers would break any traffic rules they please and are also why some officers would result in corruption rather than doing their job correctly. Luckily, more Albanian drivers obey the country's road rules and would rather accept any mistakes they made while driving than do anything reckless and irresponsible.
You have to be mindful of some road conditions that include night driving, speed limit signs, and safe driving in Albania. Read below to know more.
Is Driving at Night in Albania Safe?
How is driving in Albania at night? Driving in Albania at night is not recommended, but if it's unavoidable, do note that many roads have no markings or streetlights. Roads outside the major cities are mostly being repaired, so be careful about potholes and large rocks. Driving in Albania at night is dangerous if you're not fixated on the road.
What is the Unit Used to Display Speed Limits?
When driving in Albania, km per hour or kph is used as your speed measurement. It's much slower than MpH since 1 KpH is equivalent to 0.62MpH. They use this metric system to prevent drivers from shifting into top gear when driving in Albania. Cruising around Albania can be difficult and dangerous. With KpH as their speed limit, Officers and the people in Albania would recognize that the country isn't a place to have fast vehicles.
Is Driving in Albania Safe?
The answer to "is driving in Albania safe" is yes for drivers who have more than a year of positive experience driving in other countries and no to first time drivers since there are still potholes and unmarked road repairs. Still, Albania's government is making road repairs part of its top priority to have fewer accidents and to have more tourists driving whenever and wherever they want.
Things That you Can Do in Albania
Driving in Albania may not be for inexperienced drivers, but you can learn and get a driver's license in the country if you wish to stay in Albania. However, how old do you have to be to drive in Albania? In this section, you will learn all about the requirements of getting a driving license in Albania. Included below are also requirements if you want to find a job in Albania.
Drive as a Tourist
To legally drive as a tourist in Albania, you need to have all the necessary travel documents. This includes your driver’s license, International Driver’s Permit, passport, and visa. Your IDP might not be required if you come from European countries, but it can come in handy, especially when your license is not in the English language or Roman Alphabet. Better have your IDP with you all the time to avoid misunderstandings during transactions with the locals.
Work as a Driver
Albania’s services sector is one of the highest job creators in the country. This means that driving jobs for foreigners in Albania is popular to cater to millions of tourists coming to the country. Agriculture is also one of Albania’s larger sectors, hence creating jobs for truck and delivery drivers. An average monthly salary of a driver in Albania is $364, but it can vary depending on your skills and employer.
There are four types of work permits in Albania: Type A for economic activities, Type B for independent economic activity, Type C for special occasions, and Type D for eligible foreigners. These should be filed before you start working in the country, and on average, after you passed all requirements, it would take no more than 30 business days to get approval or denial on your application. For you to start your application, the documents needed are the following:
- Application form signed by the employee
- A National Registration Center, confirming that you are registered as an employer
- Applicant's employment contract
- A copy of your passport
- Five passport photos
Work as a Travel Guide
You can always find jobs in Albania’s tourism sector. It is one of the country’s industries that creates jobs to accommodate the increasing number of tourists year after year. Learning the Albanian language should be your priority if you plan on working as a travel guide here. Your knowledge of other languages can be a plus since not everyone exploring Albania are locals. To work in the tourism sector, you also need to secure a work permit first.
Apply for Residency
Applying for a residency even if you are a driver in Albania is part of the requirement before working in Albania. Like the working visa, the residence permit also has different types of permits: Type A, Type B, Type C, Type S, AL Blue Card, and AL-C Blue Card. These residency permits are issued for three to five years, and permanent residency is given if you have lived in Albania for five years or more without any interruption.
Other Things To Do
If you plan to stay longer and reside in Albania, you also need to update your documents, such as your driver’s license. Some might also ask, “do I need a green card to drive in Albania?” Read through the next chapter to answer this question and other thighs to do in the country.
How Can I Convert My Driver’s License to an Albanian Driver’s License?
When converting your original license to an Albanian Driver's License, you would need to go to the Directorate of Road and Transport Service and file a request to alter your license. The requirements needed are:
- Service request
- A notarized and translated copy of your passport
- A notarized copy of your valid residence permit in Albania
- A valid and original copy of your foreign driver's license
- A photocopied, notarized, and translated medical certificate with a picture, not earlier than six months
- Payment receipt for the service of 2,300 ALL
Once notified, you would need to visit the Drejtoritë Rajonale të Shërbimeve të Transportit Rrugor (DPSHTRR) offices and bring the following documents:
- Request form
- Original and photocopy of your valid ID
- Foreign driver's license
- Valid residence permit in Albania
- A payment receipt of 3,500ALL for the driver's license
Do I Need a Green Card to Drive in Albania?
If you're from a British country, you need to have a green card to drive legally in Albania. But travelers outside British countries are not required to provide a green card. They can still apply for one since it is third-party insurance, but it's best to contact your insurance company to know more about the details.
Can You Drive to Albania from Greece?
For travelers coming from Greece and who love the open road, you should know that there are four border-crossings that you can take to drive to Albania: Kakavia, Qafe Bote, Bilisht, and Tre Urat. But the most popular border crossing is Kakavia. It became popular since it is only 45 kilometers away from Gjirokaster city, a UNESCO world heritage. The Blue Eye of Albania, Ksamil, Saranda, and Butrint is also close to Kakavia.
Top Destinations in Albania
Albania is becoming a popular tourist destination every year for its historical sites, stunning sceneries, and welcoming people. After being isolated for so long, the country rose from communist rule in 1991. Albania is full of impressive old castles, Ottoman-era mosques, buildings, and Roman ruins, thanks to its exciting history. When visitors go to Albania, they are often surprised by the country's remarkable scenery and historical places all around. Below are some of Albania's top road trip destinations that are sure to take your breath away.
Tirana, Albania's capital, was modified in the early 90s and is now a fun, festive, and friendly place to visit. The city is full of life and has bright colored pedestrian streets that display some of the Ottoman-era buildings and Italian architecture, highlighting the country's rich past. Inside the city are numerous museums and art galleries worth visiting.
- From Tirana International Airport, continue to Rruga e Aeroportit/SH60.
- Head north toward Rruga e Aeroportit.
- Turn right at Rruga e Aeroportit.
- Follow Rruga e Aeroportit/SH60 and SH2 to Rruga Todo Manço in Tiranë. Exit from SH2.
- Take Rruga Dritan Hoxha and Rruga e Durrësit to Rruga Çamëria.
Things To Do
Being the capital city, you can expect a wide array of destinations and activities. From modern to traditional to history, you can explore them in Tirana.
1. Stroll along Skanderbeg Square.
This square is known to be the central nervous system of Tirana, where all the lovely countryside roads in Tirana lead to. Several tourist attractions surround this square making it one of the best cities to start your Albanian trip. It can be quiet during the day, but by sundown, the square is filled with locals socializing with each other. If you are fortunate, you can witness concerts at the square.
2. See the Et’hem Bej Mosque.
This is one of the oldest and most prominent mosques in Tirana, built in the 19th century. It had to close down during the communist regime. It sits in the middle of Skanderbeg Square, and as you explore inside, you will see the stunning depiction of plants and waterfalls on the murals in the prayer hall.
3. Learn Albania’s History at the Bunk’ Art 2.
Bunk’ Art 2 used to be a nuclear bunker but is now turned into a museum depicting Albania’s dark days during the communist era. It sits just near the clock tower in the city. The entrance of the museum looks like a semi-dome nuclear bunker popped out from the ground. The museum has 24 rooms that take you through the rise and fall of communism in Albania.
4. Explore the Pyramid of Tirana.
The pyramid remains from the communist regime, where it was initially built as a museum to display the legacy of the long-time communist leader of Albania, Enver Hoxha. The place was closed down, however, after the fall of communism. The pyramid structure in itself is unique as it is based on Brutalism architecture with grey concrete.
5. Shop at Tirana’s New Bazaar.
This is a newly-renovated market in Tirana that offers organic vegetables, fresh fruits, souvenirs, local wine, and raki. You can shop here for some supplies before heading out to the countryside of Albania. Around the market are bars and restaurants for you to visit and taste some local cuisine.
Butrint National Park
Butrint National Park is one of the hidden gems of Albania. It is a popular tourist destination since it is home to numerous ecosystems, stunning archeological sites, and close to the Greek Island of Corfu. Visitors come to Butrint National Park to discover its exquisite combination of history and nature.
- Butrint National Park is 4 hours and 30 minutes away from Tirana International Airport, and when driving in Albania, the map shows that the best route to go is through E853 and SH4.
- Head north toward Rruga e Aeroportit.
- Turn right at Rruga e Aeroportit.
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Rruga e Aeroportit/SH60.
- Take the ramp to SH2.
- Keep left and merge onto SH2.
- Continue on SH2. Take SH4, E853, and SH4 to SH78 in Jorgucat. Exit from SH4.
- Continue on SH78. Drive from SH99 to Qarku i Vlorës.
- Drive to SH81.
- Turn right.
- At Bar Wine Corner, continue onto SH81.
Things To Do
Another must-visit destination in Albania to explore its early inhabitants and civilization, as well as well-preserved architecture. See the list below
1. Visit the castle in Butrint.
On top of the hill is a fantastic castle that now hosts an informative museum. Ottomans built the castle at the start of the 19th century as a defensive system to the ancient town of Butrint. The museum presents facts for tourists to get to know more about the history of the archeological site.
2. Take a panoramic view of the surrounding areas.
Admire the breathtaking views nearby from the top of the Butrint’s hill where the acropolis of the old town was once there. From the top, enjoy the panoramic view of the ancient ruins, Vivari Canal, and the Strait of Corfu. Apart from enjoying the view, you can just take a rest from exploration and relax at Butrint’s hill.
3. See the wildlife at Butrint Lagoon.
Butrint lagoon is an excellent place for sailing. It also has an exit to the sea via the Vivari canal. In Butrint lagoon, you will find different types of rare species of frogs and insects found in Albania and various birds. For visitors who love wildlife and adventure, Butrint Lagoon is the perfect place to go, but don't catch any of the wildlife you see since it is illegal to do so.
4. Go on a Picnic inside the Park.
With the national park's area, you can stop your exploration and have a picnic. There are plenty of places to stop throughout the park and while you are enjoying your food, appreciate the scenery around you. The park is not only for history and archeology enthusiasts; it is also surrounded by plenty of trees and flowers that are a paradise for nature lovers.
5. Check out the Ali Pasha’s Fortress
The fortress is designed on the foundations of an earlier C15/16th Venetian triangular fort that controlled the Adriatic Sea trade routes. It can be quite dark on the inside, and bringing a torch can be a good idea. The fortress can be reached through a rough track by a narrow causeway. As you reach the site, there are spaces where you can park your vehicle.
Kruje or Kruja in English is just north of Tirana and is famous for being the home of Albania's national hero Gjergj Skanderbeg. The locals call it Adriatic Balcony as the steep mountain that looks over the city is the majestic Kruje castle's home, where Skanderbeg made his base. When you visit the Castle today, you will see a museum about the hero and the wonderful 15th-century church located inside. In the center of the town lies an Old Bazaar where you will find little cafes, restaurants, and shops selling souvenirs, artisan goods, antiques, and leather products.
- From Tirana International Airport, continue to Rruga e Aeroportit/SH60.
- Head north toward Rruga e Aeroportit.
- Turn right at Rruga e Aeroportit.
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Rruga e Aeroportit/SH60.
- Take Fushë - Prezë to SH52.
- Drive from SH38 to Krujë.
- Turn right onto SH52.
- At Greisi Station cela station, continue onto SH38.
- Drive to your destination.
- Turn left.
- Slight right.
- Turn left at Rruga Pengile.
Things To Do
Kruje is more than just a small village near Tirana. It holds a very significant role in Albania’s history. Tour the town by checking the list below.
1. Visit the Kruja Castle
The Kruja Castle was the center of the struggle against the Ottoman Empire during the 15th century, spearheaded by Albania’s national hero, George Skanderberg. Today visitors can explore more of the country’s history through the museum housed inside the castle. It is best to visit here during the afternoon before sundown and witness the beautiful sunset from the castle grounds.
2. Check out the National Skanderbeg Museum
As you head to the museum, you will see various paintings, maps of medieval Albanian settlements, and even Skanderbeg’s helmet. Inside the museum, Skanderbeg is also honored. From the roof of the museum awaits the stunning views of Kruja. It’s like taking a 360-view of the unparalleled look of the village, the river, and the mountains. Seeing the museums is one of the best things to do in Kruja.
3. Eat at Restorant Bardhi
This restaurant sits just steps away from the museum and rises about 600 meters above sea level. While enjoying the local food, be in awe of the view in all of Kruja. Experience some Albanian food here as the restaurant offers fresh and rich traditional mountain food, including dishes from around the country.
4. Shop at the Old Bazaar
Shopping is always an exciting activity. It can get more exciting when you shop at one of the oldest bazaars in Albania. This old bazaar speaks for its name, being four centuries old. Shopping here will make you feel like steeping and turning pages of a storybook. It’s complete with a beautiful cobblestone path, charming souvenir shops, and friendly locals.
4. Buy a Qeleshe
Qeleshe is a traditional Albanian wool hat that comes in different shapes and sizes. Some even have pointed tops, while others have flat ones. It’s a unique souvenir that you can only buy in Albania. If you are fortunate, you can even see for yourself how the qeleshe is made. Apart from hats, you can buy some cute wool slippers for kids as well.
Berat is well known as "The Town of a Thousand Windows," and it is one of the Balkans' prettiest towns. You may journey around the place through the Balkan road trip itinerary. Many windows gaze out at you in the front of the hillside structures and are so tightly grouped. In Berat, you can wander around the town and enjoy numerous Ottoman-era mosques and Byzantine churches scattered all over the town. There are also museums with impressive local costumes, artifacts, and some 16th-century icons.
- From Tirana International Airport, get on SH2 in Kashar from Rruga e Aeroportit/SH60.
- Continue on SH2. Take Rruga Martin Camaj/Rruga Unazes, SH4, SH72, Fiershegan - Kozare Rd and SH72 to Rruga Shkembi in Berat.
- Exit onto Rruga Martin Camaj/Rruga Unazes.
- Keep left to continue on Rruga Martin Camaj/Rruga Unazes/SH85
- Merge onto SH4
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on SH4
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on SH4
- Turn right to stay on SH72
- Turn left at Posta shqiptare Lushnje ZP Fier-shegan - 9013 onto Fiershegan - Kozare Rd
- At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Rruga Naftetari
- Continue onto SH91
- Slight right at Western Union onto Rruga Staver Naco
- At the roundabout, continue straight onto Rruga Shkembi.
Things To Do
If you're tired from exploring the town, there are numerous cafes and restaurants that you can relax and watch the nightlife set. Also, there are shops where you can get yourself or your loved one a nice souvenir of the place all around the town. Check the list below.
1. Visit the Berat Castle
Let your eyes experience 13th-century architecture by going to the remains of Berat Castle. With its locations, you can overlook the whole town of Berat. Most of the buildings are Christian churches also from the 13th century. There is also a mosque where you can see a minaret base that still stands up to this day.
2. Hike to the Tomorr Mountain
Tomorr mountain is the highest peak in Berat. Soaring high of 2,416 meters, you can see and witness the panoramic view of the whole town of Berat. There is a shrine at the top of the mountain that belongs to Shia Islam's Bektashi order. The way to the top of the mountain will let you see the pine forest while passing the olive groves.
3. Explore the Mangalem Quarter
This is known as the Old Town of Berat. Back in the day, this quarter was popular to be an Ottoman quarter where Muslims lived and the Christians reside in the Gorica Quarter across the river. When viewing this from afar, it looks like a house with multiple large symmetrical windows, all lined up along the side of rocky hills on both sides.
4. See the Cobo Winery
As most of the countryside lands in Berat are filled with vineyards, wine production is also abundant in the city of Berat. Though it experienced neglect during the Communist times, because private enterprise was forbidden, mine production is slowly flourishing. The Cobo family, who own the Cobo winery, has more than a century of experience in winemaking. By visiting the place, you get to taste the five premium wine produced in the Cobo Winery
5. Swim at Bogove Waterfall
An impressive Bogove waterfall that is surrounded by untouched is one of the places that you can visit in Berat. After following the hiking trail for an hour, you will reach the waterfall. One of the characteristics of the waterfall that made it famous is that despite the hotness of the weather in summer, the water in the waterfall is breathtakingly cold. It is a perfect place for swimming, relaxing, or even just taking pictures with your camera gear.
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