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Albania Buses How to get around Albania image

Getting around in Albania without a car is adventurous and sometimes challenging. Buses don’t have fixed timetables, and it’s slightly more chaotic. I covered many routes by traveling on local minibuses and furgons when I explored Albania.

So in this article, I’ll give you all the details about booking tickets, paying for buses and taxis in Albania, how to get around, and how to navigate the situation from my experience. I traveled on every route I covered in this article, so check the prices and how to prepare for the craziness.

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How To Get Around Albania Without A Car: Answered!

If you don’t have a car, you can get around Albania by minivans, furgon minibusses, local taxis, or private taxis.

The minivans and buses cover all the routes between major cities in Albania, such as Tirana, Vlore, Sarande, Shkodra, Kruje, Gjirokaster, Dhermi, and Korce.

If you want to reach your destination faster, you can also take private or local taxis. They’re more expensive but reliable. These also work between smaller towns and destinations, where minibusses won’t take you.

In this article, I’ll give you all the details about minivans, buses, and taxis in Albania, how to navigate them, and everything you need to know to prepare for your trip to Albania.

Is It Easy To Get Around Albania?

If you don’t have a car or don’t rent one and plan to travel on local minivans and furgon buses, it’s challenging to get around Albania. It’s not so difficult, but you’ll need to dedicate more time to finding out your bus’s departure times and costs.

There are no fixed timetables, and you can’t buy tickets online in advance in Albania. You must go to the bus station, find out about the departure, look for your bus, and pay for the ride.

What Is The Best Way To Get Around Albania?

The best way to get around Albania is by private car, van, or rental car. It gives you flexibility; you can get anywhere you want at any time, and you’re not dependent on the local surgeons and minivans.

Public transportation in Albania isn’t reliable, and you would waste a lot of time if you take public minibusses.

Tirana Bunk'Art bunkers and underground tunnels
Me exploring the Bunk’Art tunnels in Tirana
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Albanian Buses, Furgons & Minivans

Albania has an interesting transportation system, and it’s rather challenging to get around by public buses.

The most common way to get around Albania is by furgon buses and minivans. Interestingly, these furgons and minibuses don’t have fixed timetables. So, it’s adventurous getting around if you don’t have a car.

You can find the timetable online, but I would always double-check the departure time at the local bus stations since I found the online timetable to be often inaccurate.

So, rule n. 1 applies when taking minivans and furgons in Albania: Be Flexible.

Albanian Alps accursed mountains northern Albania

Timetable For Albanian Furgons & Minivans

You can check the approximate departure times of the buses online, but it’s not 100% accurate. The best way is to go earlier to the bus station and ask bus drivers about the departure times to your destination (or the day before is even better).

The information I got from random bus drivers at the station was always correct, so you can be sure you won’t face any difficulties doing it this way.

If you travel from Tirana, Shkodra, Sarande, and Berat, there are offices for various bus companies to ask them. But other cities/towns usually don’t have these offices. So make sure to ask directly at the parking place at the bus station, and the drivers will help you.

My Experience With Albanian Minibuses

I woke up earlier in the morning when I wanted to see 2 places in one day. When I arrived at the first place, I immediately asked somebody (the driver or someone at the station) when the bus to my other destination was. I asked two or three people to be on the safe side.

That was the only way to find out the departure time of my next bus. I usually got different answers :D, but it always worked out.

Albania buses how to get around Albania without a car
Albanian buses

πŸ‘‰ READ ALSO: 23 Amazing Things To Do In Albania (With Map & Tips)

How To Book Buses In Albania

In Albania, you can’t buy tickets online or in advance. You always pay for the bus ride in the bus – make sure to have cash with you – Albanian LEK.

When you come to a bus station in Albania, people will shout at you the destinations’ names. It’s not a trap or something. It’s completely normal in Albania.

Once you see a bus with the name of your destination on it, or you hear somebody yelling the name of your destination, just approach the person, tell him you want to go there, and ask him about the price and the departure time.

The yelling happens mainly in Tirana as it’s the biggest bus station in the country. In other cities, it’s usually calmer.

The driver or an assistant will take your luggage/backpack and give it to the back. Then, just sit down and enjoy the ride.

Gjirokaster Castle
Me exploring Gjirokaster Castle

How To Buy Bus Tickets In Albania

Depending on the bus, another person (except the driver) will sometimes come after some time during the journey and collect cash from each passenger.

But mostly in the minibusses, you’ll pay the driver when you reach your destination and get out of the bus. Sometimes, you pay the driver right after getting onto the bus.

PRO TIP: Watch what others are doing and when to pay. Know approximate cost for the bus ride to avoid any scams. Have cash (LEK) to pay for the ride.

Albania buses how to get around Albania without a car
Me crossing the border on the bus to Albania

Bus Prices & Travel Duration In Albania

Below, I give you the approximate prices for the bus rides between destinations in Albania.

The duration of the bus ride is dependent on the traffic situation. Sometimes, it might take a bit longer. Also, the bus driver sometimes randomly stops to buy a watermelon on the way or so :D.

There are also people waiting on the side of the road and waving at the driver to stop for them. So, the duration depends on all these factors.

If the bus ride takes longer than 2 hours, the bus driver usually stops on the way near a cafe, restaurant, or bar so you can go to the toilet and get some refreshments.

Tirana β‡’ Shkodra400 LEK / approx. 3 hours
Tirana β‡’ Berat500 LEK / approx. 2 hours
Tirana β‡’ Saranda1800 LEK / approx. 6 hours (with a stop)
Tirana β‡’ Kruje100 LEK / approx. 1.5 hours
Shkodra β‡’ Theth1200 LEK or 10 EUR / approx. 3.5 hours (with a stop)
Berat β‡’ Vlore350 LEK / 1.5 hours
Vlore β‡’ Sarande1000 LEK / 4.5 hours (with a stop)
Sarande β‡’ Ksamil50 LEK / approx. 30 minutes
Sarande β‡’ Butrint National Park100 LEK / apprix. 1 hour
Ksamil β‡’ Butrint National Park40 LEK / approx. 20 minutes
Sarande β‡’ Gjirokaster350 LEK / approx. 2 hours
Gjirokaster β‡’ Korce1500 LEK / approx. 6 hours (with a stop)
Korce β‡’ Tirana800 LEK / approx. 4.5 hours (with a stop)

πŸ‘‰ READ ALSO: Albanian Alps: Complete Guide For Your Visit & Itinerary

My Tips For Traveling By Furgons & Albanian Buses

To help you navigate the public transportation in Albania, here are my top tips and lessons I learned when getting around Albania:

  1. Be flexible.
  2. Always carry cash with you (LEK).
  3. Ask about the bus departure when you’re at the bus station/terminal.
  4. Follow what others do – if nobody is paying when entering a bus, just enter without a ticket. You’ll either pay during the journey or once leaving the bus.
  5. Don’t stress out.

Albania doesn’t have trains. They only use busesminibusses/vanstaxis, or cars.

Albania doesn’t have existing bus timetables. So how do they travel? Yes, they come to the ‘bus station’ (if you can call it that way) and either wait until a bus to their destination arrives or hop on one already waiting there. 

Gjirokaster best day trips from Tirana
Me exploring Gjirokaster

One of the more difficult things in Albania is figuring out your bus’s departure time. Nobody knows it :D. The only way is to ask some driver at a bus station, they usually know. Even though their English is not very good, they understand the basics.

So they’ll understand and reply if you tell them; ‘bus β€“ Shkodra β€“ tomorrow or the next bus’.

I suggest you ask two or three independent people (at the station) to make sure it’s right. That’s what I did when traveling in Albania.

πŸ‘‰ READ ALSO: 21 Most Beautiful Places In Albania To Visit

Albanian Taxis & Private Cars

If you miss a bus or there is no bus at all, that’s when taxis and cars come into play. Albania’s taxis are not expensive, especially if you can share the cost with other travelers.

Be aware that the cars might not have the sign taxi on the top. The car might not even look like a taxi (and maybe it isn’t), but the guy will offer to drive you to your destination.

It’s completely fine and common in Albania. Locals know the public transportation in Albania isn’t reliable and take advantage of it to earn extra money. And there is nothing wrong with it.

Don’t be afraid. I was traveling as a solo female in Albania, and nothing happened to me, nor did I feel uncomfortable. I recommend finding other travelers/backpackers and sharing the ride. It’s better in terms of the price and safety, too.

So, even if there is no bus, don’t worry; a taxi/car will always get you where you want.

Albania taxis how to get around Albania without a car
Taxis & Private Cars in Albania

How To Negotiate With Taxi Drivers & Taxi Prices

Try to negotiate. Even if they tell you the price is fixed or not so much for you, just negotiate. If they tell you it’s 1200lekask for 900lek.

I always managed to bring the price down by at least 200 LEK. You can do it, just stay confident and if they don’t want to agree on your price, walk to another taxi driver and ask him.

I preferred to travel by car a la taxis, which didn’t have the sign ‘taxi’; it was way easier to negotiate with those guys.

Here is an overview of what I experienced during my Albanian itinerary to have a general idea about the transfer prices.

Tirana β‡’ Beratapprox. 1000 LEK
Berat β‡’ Vloreapprox. 900 LEK
Vlore β‡’ Sarandeapprox. 1400 LEK
Sarande β‡’ Ksamilnegotiate for 700 LEK
Ksamil β‡’ Butrint National Park500 LEK
Sarande β‡’ Gjirokasterapprox. 800 LEK

Travelling Albania By Car

Traveling to Albania by car is the best option. You’ll be flexible and can get to all the places you want without relying on public transportation (which is not working very well).

So I highly recommend getting around Albania by car.

If you have your own car or a van, prepare for longer border controls. Albania isn’t in the Schengen Zone, which means the border controls still exist.

➑ Check what documents you need to enter Albania via iVisa.

Crossing Tushemisht St. Naum border

Driving Tips For Albania

Here are my tips for driving around Albania. Some roads are curvy and narrow, so pay attention. But overall, Albania has pretty well-developed roads, and you don’t have to pay tolls (except for 1 highway section):

πŸš” There is only 1 highway in Albania (A1), a section from Kosovo to Tirana, where you have to pay a toll – you can pay by cash or card at the toll gate directly on the highway

πŸš” Some roads in Albania are very narrow, so you must pay attention and give way

πŸš” Most roads are well-developed, only a few in remote areas are in worse conditions, but you can drive through

πŸš” Have cash handy (mainly for parking fees)

πŸš” Locals sometimes drive super crazy, so be careful

Renting A Car In Albania

Renting a car in Albania is fairly easy and also pretty cheap. The best way is to rent a car in bigger cities such as Tirana or Sarande. You can return the car to the same spot or a different city.

I suggest renting a car online and picking it up once you arrive in Albania. It’s easier in terms of the language barrier and the system.


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PRO TIP: Check ratings of the company you choose before booking (ratings can be off). Go on Google, see ratings of the car rental company, then book on Discover Cars.

Albania Road Trip Itinerary

If you want to go on a road trip through Albania, check out my Albanian road trip itinerary. I’ve explored Albania for almost 2 weeks and saw all the beautiful places. Thanks to my experience, I’ve designed this road trip itinerary so you can enjoy all the highlights this country offers.

Follow my road trip itinerary through Albania by clicking on the image below:

FAQs: How To Travel Around Albania

I’ve also answered some of the frequently asked questions about Albanian transportation. Check my answers below:

What Is The Easiest Way To Get Around Albania?

The easiest way to get around Albania is by car. You’ll have a lot of flexibility this way. Public transportation isn’t reliable, and the minivans, buses, and surgeons don’t have fixed timetables.

What Is Commonly Used For Transportation In Albania?

Minivans, furgons, and taxis are common means of transportation in Albania. There is no fixed timetable, and you can’t book them online in advance. You always pay for the minivans and furgons or taxis on the spot in cash.

How Much Is Public Transport In Albania?

The public transportation in Albania is very cheap and costs anywhere from 100 LEK up to 2000 LEK. You can pay as low as 100 LEK for an hour ride and 2000 LEK for an 8-hour bus ride in Albania.

Do You Need To Hire A Car In Albania?

You don’t need to hire a car; you can also travel by local minivans and surgeons. But they’re not so reliable. So it’s better to rent a car. However, suppose you don’t have the option to hire a car. In that case, getting around Albania, even without a car, is possible.

WRAP-UP: Transportation In Albania

This is what traveling around Albania without a car looks like. It’s an adventure. I recommend going for it and not stressing out. Just enjoy the trip and go with the flow. My biggest tip is to be flexible, and if you’re not sure whether you can reach your destination, book your accommodation on the way, and don’t plan too much. All in all, the taxis will always get you everywhere.

If you have any questions or need help planning your trip to Albania, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you. Or check out my favorite travel resources and plan by yourself.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

ALBANIA: Interested in more articles for Albania?
Check out my Albania Travel Page:

This Post Has 4 Comments

    1. Nicoletta

      Thank you Michael. I am glad you enjoyed and hopefully, it will make your travel in Albania a lot easier :).

  1. Shiraz

    Hi thanks for your travel advice it is so helpful when it is a new experience. We love the country it is great! We hope to cross the border to Montenegro have you done this? We want to take a bike with us do you know if you get charged extra on the buses for bikes in Albania? I read that someone was charged for a suitcase is this correct too?
    I admire you that you travel alone so easily and you look so happy!
    Happy travels, stay safe ????

    1. Nicoletta

      Thanks for your lovely comment.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have experience crossing the border to Montenegro from Albania.
      I can tell you that the buses are mostly small vans within Albania, where it is not really possible to fit in a bike.
      But if you cross borders to another country, there should be a bigger bus, and I think they’ll charge you for the bike.
      For the luggage, you definitely shouldn’t be charged.

      I often experienced in these countries that they don’t have fixed rates for something like luggage. So it might happen that you’re charged but only because you met a kind of person or a driver who feels like charging you.
      But generally speaking, you shouldn’t be charged for luggage.

      Let me know if you have any more questions. I’ll be happy to answer you if I can.

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