Once you arrive in Saranda you probably never want to leave again. You can easily spend your entire holiday sunbathing at the beach, enjoying the sea views and wonderful sunsets, indulging yourself with the amazing fresh food and sip cocktails every night. But Albania has so much more to offer and the Albanian Riviera is just too gorgeous not to explore more of it, from the most beautiful pristine beaches, to panoramic mountain views, historic castles and picturesque medieval villages.
You can book a tour to see some of the nearby highlights without the hassle of planning your itinerary, but for the ultimate freedom to go wherever you want and when you want, you could also consider renting a car. We understand that driving in a foreign country can feel like an adventure or even scary. But there’s no need to worry as we’ve gathered all the information and tips you need to make you feel more comfortable and confident when renting a car and driving around in Albania.
Why Rent A Car In Saranda?
There are many direct buses connecting Saranda with other towns and cities in Albania, including Ksamil, Butrint and Gjirokastra or Tirana. However, many of the most beautiful beaches, castles, and other places of interest are hard to reach by public transport. This leaves you with the options to either book a guided tour, hire a taxi, or drive around yourself with a rental car, if you don’t have your own car. The advantage of driving yourself is that you can do a lot of things in a day, but you don’t have to either, as you don’t have to follow a pre-programmed plan. You can stay anywhere as long as you want and enjoy the ultimate freedom you deserve on your holiday!
Is It Safe To Drive In Albania?
Yes, driving in Albania is definitely safe if you adhere to the traffic rules and always use your common sense. Road conditions have drastically improved over the last few years and every year more of the smaller rural roads get paved as well. Most main roads are in a good condition, but be aware that if you get off the main roads towards a deserted beach or smaller rural village you might end up at more challenging, unpaved roads. It’s also good to take in mind that you still see herds of cattle using the roads and some vehicles also drive very slowly, so always be careful and mind your speed. For more tips also check out our article with Tips For Driving A Car In Albania.
Where To Rent A Car In Saranda?
Most car rental companies in Saranda are located inside the Port of Saranda, so if you’re arriving by ferry from Corfu you can go directly to the rental desk inside the ferry terminal. Some car rental companies also offer pickup in your hotel or other downtown location.
If you’re flying to Tirana, you can also pickup a rental car at Tirana International Airport and some companies also offer one-way rental options for an additional fee, which is useful if you don’t want to come back to the same location. Here you can find a full list of car rental locations in Saranda and Tirana.
How To Find The Best And Cheapest Rental Car?
Prices of rental cars can fluctuate a lot depending on the season, and there are a lot of differences among competitors. It’s therefore recommended to compare prices online, which you can simply do with our car rental comparison tool. If you enter your preferred rental dates and pickup location, it gives you the best prices available.
When To Book A Rental Car?
We always recommend to book your rental car upfront, to avoid surprises or disappointment. Prices are driven by supply and demand and this means that rental cars are much more expensive during the busy summer months, when many people spend their holidays in Albania. This means that the later you book, the higher the prices and the lower the availability. So search and compare prices online, and lock in the best deal as early as possible.
Who Can Rent A Car?
To be elligible to drive in Albania you need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid drivers’ license, but to be able to rent a car, the minimum age is 21 years old. Some rental companies also apply a surcharge for drivers below the age of 25, so if this applies to you it’s best to check this when shopping around for the best deals.
Which Documents Do I Need To Rent A Car?
In order to rent a car in Albania you need to have a full and valid drivers’ license, a passport, and in some cases a credit card. If your drivers’ license is not in the latin alphabet (e.g. cyrillic, mandarin, etc), you wil need an International Driving Permit, which is basically an official translation into English. Some companies require a credit card to claim the deposit, while other rental companies also accept a debit card or cash deposit, so it’s best the check this before booking if you don’t have a credit card.
Make Sure You Have The Right Insurance
The chances of something going wrong are very slim, but of course you want to enjoy your holiday without having to worry about anything by taking the right insurance. Basic mandatory insurance like third party liability insurance should always be included as a standard, but is often limited and an access amount applies. So it’s good to check the additional options and prices to reduce the access amount, cover tires and windshields, theft of your belongings, and personal injury of yourself and your fellow travelers.
The first step is to check what is already included in the rental price, but also check what is being covered by your credit card, bank, or travel insurance, so you don’t pay twice for the same insurance. When you book your car online, you also get several options to add additional coverage to your insurance. By booking this upfront you don’t have to think about this anymore when you arrive to pick up the car.
Crossing The Border With A Rental Car
If you plan to cross the border with your rental car, for example into Greece or North-Macedonia, you have to first make sure that the rental company allows this. In order to cross the border, they need to prepare a border document and give you the original green insurance card. Most rental companies charge an additional fee for this and need a few days to prepare this, so make sure to notify them of this upfront.
Be Aware Of Additional Fees
Most rental companies charge additional fees for extra services so it’s good to check upfront what additional costs to expect if any of those are applicable:
- Pick-up or return at a different location (one-way rental) or outside office hours
- Additional driver registrations
- Cross-border fees
- Additional tools such as GPS, child booster seats etc.
- Cancellation policy and fees
Always Check The State Of The Rental Car
Especially when you pick up, but also when you return your rental car, make sure to thoroughly check the state of the vehicle and document any damage with photos or videos. If you find any damage not marked on the rental agreement, make sure to report this to the rental company immediately so they won’t charge you for this upon return.
Stick To The Fuel Policy
The level of fuel at pick-up can vary, so sometimes you can drive off with a full tank, and sometimes it’s nearly empty and you have to drive straight to a petrol station. To avoid overpaying on fuel, or be charged additional fees, always make sure to bring the car back with the same amount of fuel.
Have a safe trip and enjoy your holiday!