Albania: close to Mother Nature
The rich and colourful culture of Albania is topped up with the unique landscapes and natural jewels scattered around the most remote recesses of this scenic land. A communist country in the past, Albania has evolved into one of the most popular holiday destinations for tourists from all around Europe.
Albania is a treasure trove of superb attractions ranging from forlorn archaeological sites and small traditional villages to seaside resorts offering top-notch tourist infrastructure with sandy beaches and luxury accommodation options. Not to mention the beautiful topography that combines sandy coves and turquoise waters with mountain scenery at their backdrop.
There exist multiple options of travelling around this picturesque country. Public transport is widely used both by the tourists and residents of major cities. However, there are also numerous visitors who choose to stay more independent and opt for a rental car. The car rental option is best to be pursued in larger cities as well as at the Tirana Airport.
Discover Road Trips in Albania
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Albania: a plethora of attractions
One of the most popular attractions of Albania is surely the capital, namely Tirana. It is considered the country’s cultural and economic heart offering the visiting tourists plenty of interesting landmarks and dining opportunities that will simply steal your heart. It will be also a great starting point for numerous trips both to the northern and southern recesses of the country.
Northern Albania is riddled with unique settlements, villages, and cities that will live up to the expectations of the most seasoned of tourists. Burrel, known as the City of Apples, will welcome you with beautiful verdant hills, Kukës will enchant you with the unique architecture of its Old Town and a stunning location at the confluence of two picturesque rivers, and Shkodër will surprise you with its long history dating back to the 4th century BC. While in the region, it would be a pity to miss such places as Koplik or Bajze offering a unique insight into the ambiance of smaller Albanian settlements.
Rugged mountain tops, pristine nature reserves, and beautiful golden beaches are everything that Southern Albania holds in store for the visiting tourists. Visit Sarandë to check out Albania’s most popular seaside resort with plenty of sunbathing options. Nearby, you’ll have an opportunity to admire Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will take you back in time.
A stay in the southern part of the country wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Borsh, with its peaceful atmosphere and the ruined mosque perched on a verdant hill, Vlorë, with a superb waterfront perfect for long strolls at the sunset, and Durrës, which can boast an array of ancient ruins situated at the backdrop of golden beaches and the endless horizon.
Travellers who choose Albania as their holiday destination won’t grasp the real feel of the country without venturing into its northern parts – such as Elbasan, Korce, or Covorode. These are full of interesting dining places, old landmarks such as the Elbasan Castle, and traditional architecture. What’s more, these destination options will be perfect to pay a visit at the Tomorr National Park located halfway between these beautiful places. The nature reserve is an ideal choice for holidaymakers who value peace and quiet as well as top-notch hiking routes.
Albania: traffic rules and road state
Albanian roads leave much to be desired when it comes to the state of the national road infrastructure. Bumpy roads, uneven surface, and frequent holes in the road are something that is a daily occurrence in Albania. What’s more, Albanian motorists aren’t particularly cautious when it comes to driving; therefore, it’s best to stay vigilant at all times, especially if you’d like to hire a car.
Motorists visiting Albania won’t face greater problems with getting used to driving around it as the country follows right-hand traffic system – just like in most of European countries. Thus, always overtake on the left. At intersections, vehicles that approach you on your right-hand side have priority – unless you come across appropriate road signs or a police officer directing the traffic within a given area.
The minimum driving age is 18; however, bear in mind that some of the car hire companies require drivers to be older.
We’ve also got some good news for the motorists visiting Albania – there are no toll roads in the country so you can freely explore its recesses without having to worry about excessive additional costs of your holidays.
Automotive lighting is obligatory in adverse weather conditions; however, you won’t be obliged to use it during the day when the weather is sunny and clear. Also, remember about your dipped beam when entering tunnels and at night. What’s more, using mobile phones while driving is against the law in Albania. The only possibility to make a call while driving is using a hands-free set.
If you are travelling with children, remember that kids younger than 12 years of age travelling on the front seat must use special child restraints. The same pertains to children under the age of 4 travelling in the rear seats.
Just as in any other European country, you can expect heavy penalties for drivers who decide to drink and drive. The maximum level of blood alcohol level is 0.01%. If you undergo a breathalyser test and it shows that you’ve been drinking, you may expect penalty payments and your driver’s licence may be suspended.
Interestingly, the use of horn is only allowed in emergency situations. You shouldn’t use it in built-up areas; however, you can use it in rural areas before overtaking other cars.
Fuel in Albania in generally of low quality; therefore, try to avoid unreliable petrol stations and use only certified spots. Unfortunately, these are a rarity when it comes to the Albanian road map.
Documents in Albania
While driving around Albania, you should always remember to carry appropriate documents, namely your driver’s licence, ID or passport, registration documents, vehicle technical inspection certificate, proof of insurance, proof of ownership, and International Driving Permit.
Albania: car equipment
The obligatory equipment required by law in Albania includes: a first aid kit, a warning triangle, and seatbelts. When it comes to optional pieces, these include: a towline and a fire extinguisher. It’s also advisable to carry basic tools and spare parts.
Speed limits in Albania
The speed limits that have to be observed in Albania are as follows: 40 km/h in built-up areas, 80 km/h in rural areas, 90 km/h on expressways, 110 km/h on motorways. The following speed limits are especially recommended for those travellers who opt for a car rental option since most Albanian roads are of mediocre state.