Albania is a country rich in natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and cultural heritage. To truly experience all that the country has to offer, many tourists opt to rent a car in Albania, allowing them to roam freely and discover the hidden gems that lie off the beaten path. However, there are certain areas where driving a rental car is either prohibited or highly discouraged due to various reasons, such as road conditions or environmental protection.

Road Conditions in Remote Mountainous Regions

One of the most common reasons for restricted driving areas in Albania is the challenging road conditions, particularly in remote mountainous regions. While the country has made great strides in improving its infrastructure, some roads in these areas remain unpaved or poorly maintained, making them unsuitable for rental cars or inexperienced drivers. Some of the areas where this is a concern include:

Theth and Valbona Valley

These stunning locations in the Albanian Alps are popular for their breathtaking views and hiking opportunities. However, the road to Theth is narrow, steep, and often in poor condition, while the road to Valbona Valley can be equally challenging, especially during inclement weather.

Gjirokastra and the surrounding villages

Gjirokastra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit destination in Albania. However, some of the roads leading to the nearby villages are not recommended for rental cars due to their poor condition.

Environmental Protection in National Parks

Albania is home to several beautiful national parks that offer pristine natural environments and a wide range of outdoor activities. To protect these ecosystems and ensure their preservation, driving rental cars is either prohibited or restricted to specific areas within the parks. For example:

Llogara National Park

Located along the Albanian Riviera, Llogara National Park boasts stunning coastal views and diverse flora and fauna. While the main road through the park is accessible to rental cars, off-road driving is strictly prohibited to protect the environment.

Divjaka-Karavasta National Park

As one of the most important wetland ecosystems in the Mediterranean, this national park is home to a wide variety of bird species, including the endangered Dalmatian pelican. To minimize the impact on the environment, driving is limited within the park, and visitors are encouraged to explore on foot or by bicycle.

When planning your trip to Albania and considering renting a car, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the restricted driving areas and the reasons behind these limitations. By doing so, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable journey while respecting the environment and local communities.