Driving advice for every country in Europe

From required documents to European breakdown cover and vehicle accessories, find all the up-to-date driving laws and advice for every country in Europe in our travel guides.

Driving in Albania

Population: 3.05
Area: 28,748 square kilometres
Currency: Albanian Lek - ALL
Once closed off to foreigners, Albania has now thrown open its doors to adventurous visitors looking to explore the country’s rugged mountain regions, sweeping Adriatic coastline, and under-discovered culture.  

But if you’re planning a road trip to Albania, it’s essential you’re fully prepared ahead of time as driving there has many differences to the UK. 

To make your trip to the Continent as safe and effortless as possible, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know before you go, from required documents to rules of the road.  

Driving a rented vehicle? Jump to the advice for driving a hire car in Albania section.

RAC European Breakdown Cover (Basic and Comprehensive) provides a wide range of benefits should you breakdown in Albania to ensure you stay safe. 

To supplement this, RAC also offers travel insurance. Cover will include medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings, among many other benefits.

European Breakdown Cover

European Breakdown Cover

Five star Defaqto rated cover with 24/7 English-speaking helpline.

European Breakdown Cover

Things to take when driving in Albania

rac albania

Documents for driving in Albania

If you're driving in Albania your checklist requirements are:

  • A valid, full UK driving licence
  • A GB sticker – all temporarily imported vehicles must bear the distinguishing sign of their country of registration
  • Your motor insurance certificate
  • V5 registration document or hire car paperwork

Driving in Albania packing checklist

You must also have:

  • Headlamp converters (stickers for your headlights when driving on the right, so your lights don't dazzle motorists coming the other way)
  • A warning triangle (compulsory to carry in vehicles in case of a breakdown)
  • A first aid kit (compulsory in all vehicles)
  • A reflective jacket
  • Snow chains (compulsory to carry if you're driving between 1 November to 30 April)
  • Drive on the right, overtake on the left
  • Be 18 or over
  • Make sure everyone in the car wears a seatbelt at all times
  • Wear a crash helmet if you're riding a motorcycle
  • Ensure your car is covered by third-party insurance recognised in Albania. This is the legal minimum cover for residents and visitors, so check with your provider before you travel

It's also a good idea to have:

  • Spare bulbs for your car's external lights
  • A fire extinguisher (compulsory on coaches and lorries)
  • A Green Card (this is no longer a requirement but it could be useful to back-up your insurance documents and show you've got the minimum legal level of cover. To find out more, contact your insurance company)
  • An International Driving Permit (again, not compulsory but it could provide extra peace of mind if you have one)

Rules of the road in Albania

  • Not all insurers cover driving in Albania so check before you go and make sure you’re covered
  • You must register your identity with officials by email before driving your vehicle into Albania. Border officials will then stamp your passport, indicating the temporary import of the vehicle into the country
  • In Albania, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. Vehicles from the right and emergency vehicles have priority.
  • Horns should only be used in an emergency or overtaking on rural roads 
  • The standard of roads in Albania is poor, particularly in rural areas. Urban roads are often intermittently lit and even on major routes there is often little street lighting. If you drive at night, watch out for unmarked roadworks, potholes, and unlit vehicles on the roads
  • Driving in Albania is often erratic and aggressive, with deaths from road collisions amongst the highest in Europe. Avoid confrontation with other motorists as this could escalate quickly
  • If you’re involved in any sort of collision, you should wait until the police arrive
  • International transit roads are generally the best and visitors are advised to stick to these routes wherever possible, although even these routes can be poorly maintained in places
  • There are no toll roads in Albania
  • Unleaded petrol and diesel are readily available, as is LPG. Payment is generally made in cash, although some will accept credit cards
  • If you're caught committing a driving offence while driving through Albania, you could be given an on-the-spot fine of up to 200,000 ALL (around £1,450)
  • Seat belts should be worn in all seats where a belt is available
  • Children under the age of 12 must use an appropriate restraint in the front seat. Children under the age of 4 must also use a restraint in the rear seat
  • The drink-drive limit for all drivers is 0.01%. Police can test any driver suspected of being over the limit, and refusing to take a test could see you fined up to 20,000 ALL (around £145)
  • Parking can be limited in built-up areas, with restricted zones signposted. Wheel clamps aren’t used in Albania, but in Tirana vehicles parked illegally will be towed
  • Political protests can be common in Tirana. They are usually peaceful but can escalate into violence. Check Government advice for travelling in Albania for the latest information

Albanian speed limits

Speed limits vary across Albania, so always check the signposts for maximum speeds. In urban areas, the limit is usually 40km/h unless otherwise signposted and 80km/h – 90km/h outside these areas. On the motorway, the limit is 110km/h.

Other things you should know when driving in Albania

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In an emergency

112 - Here's a really important bit of knowledge; you can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting. Operators can answer your call in their native language, English or French. 

Useful guides and maps

Download a copy of our full Driving Abroad report.

Breaking down in Albania

RAC offers great-value, flexible RAC European breakdown cover tailored to meet your needs. We also offer comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings.

Driving a hire car in Albania

Not all of the information in the guide above will be relevant to those looking to rent a hire car in Albania.

Though it might be a good idea to read through everything anyway, here are the most important things to know for drivers of rental vehicles:

Rental information

  • The minimum age to hire a car is 18 to 23, depending on provider and type of vehicle
  • You need a full, valid UK driving licence and usually a second proof of ID (passport)
  • The minimum term you must have held your licence is 1 year
  • Most companies require you to use a credit card for deposit
  • You may not be able to drive outside of Albania unless planned in advance - check with your hire company first
  • Make sure you get car hire excess insurance before your trip to protect yourself from unexpected costs. It's almost always cheaper to do this with a separate insurer and in advance

Hire car driving tips

Albanians drive on the right and overtake on the left - the opposite to the UK
The national speed limit on Albanian motorways is between 110km/h (68mph). On a main road outside a built-up area it's 80 km/h to 90km/h. For built-up areas it’s 40km/h
Dial 112 in an emergency
It’s compulsory to wear seat belts in the front and rear seats
The blood alcohol content limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.01%. That's lower than the 0.08% in England Wales and Northern Ireland, and the 0.05% of Scotland.

Driving in Albania FAQs

  • Is it safe to drive in Albania?

    Yes, although the road network in Albania can be very poorly maintained compared to other European countries, particularly outside urban areas where street-lighting is intermittent and the quality of surfaces and signage poor.

    Visitors are recommended to avoid driving at night wherever possible, while four-wheel drive vehicles are often more practical on rural and minor roads. Traffic police pay particular attention to drivers of vehicles bearing foreign registration plates. Visitors should therefore adhere to road traffic law at all times since even the most minor of offences may result in a fine.

  • Can you drive in Albania with a UK licence?

    Yes. You can legally drive in Albania with a full and valid UK driving licence. In addition to this, International Driving Permits are also recommended for visitors driving in Albania. If you plan to stay longer than a year, you’ll need to apply for an Albanian licence.

  • Can you drive in Tirana?

    Yes, although Tirana can get congested so be prepared for busy roads. There are also parking restrictions in place throughout the city, while political protests can be common so check ahead and avoid these areas.

  • Do I need a green card to drive in Albania?

    Like the UK, Albania is a member of the Green Card System, a Europe-wide scheme that allows countries to recognise foreign vehicle insurance policies of visiting motorists.

    UK motorists are no longer required to carry a green card to drive in Albania, but you should check that your policy will cover you in all countries you plan to visit before setting off.

    Please note this may change when the UK withdraws from the EU.

  • What side of the road do they drive on in Albania?

    Like the vast majority of European countries, motorists drive on the right-hand-side of the road in Albania.

  • Do I need a GB/UK sticker for Albania?

    You will need to display a UK sticker on the rear of your car. GB stickers have been discontinued.

  • Can I drive my car in Albania?

    Yes, although before driving your car to Albania it’s important you follow all legal requirements to ensure you are safe and legal on the roads, including having sufficient insurance cover legally recognised in Albania.

    You should also ensure you have all the required items needed for your journey in Albania (such as warning triangle and snow chains) as well as for any other country you are planning on driving through.

  • How do I drive to Albania?

    Getting to Albania by car from the UK isn’t the quickest journey in the world, but it’s definitely a Balkan adventure. Firstly, you’ll need take your car across the Channel to Calais on either a ferry from Dover or the Eurotunnel from Folkestone.

    Once you’re in Calais, drive down through France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro before crossing the border into Albania. The drive from Calais to Tirana takes around 26 hours non-stop.

  • What age can you start driving in Albania?

    To legally drive in Albania, you have to be 18 years or older and in possession of a full valid driving licence, regardless of the legal driving age in our home country.

UK Government travel advice

Click here to see up-to-date travel advice

Information in this guide is subject to change

British Embassy Tirana

Office: British Embassy Tirana
Street Address: Rruga Skenderbeg 12
City: Tirana
State: Tirana
Country: Albania

Telephone: (+355-4) 24973, 24974, 24975
Fax: (+355-4) 247697