Albania buses how to get around Albania

How To Get Around Albania: Albania Buses & Taxis

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How To Get Around Albania Taking Local Buses Or By Taxis

Getting around in Albania with Albania buses is one of the challenging things you will face during your visit. I am not saying it’s something bad. Indeed, it was quite an adventure. You’ll manage it, hopefully, without some issues. But keep in mind that rule number one is to be very flexible and relaxed when traveling in Albania. Especially if you want to mainly travel with Albania buses.

This article will give you all the information about getting around Albania, traveling by Albania buses and taxis. It’ll give you tips and tricks, prices, and prepare you for your trip.

Albania buses getting around Albania
Me traveling by Albania buses, Llogara Pass, Albania

 

My Top Tips For Traveling 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 buses, minibusses/vans, taxis, or just cars.

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

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 at a bus station some driver, they usually know. Even though their English is not very good, they understand the basics.

So if you tell them busShkodratomorrow or the next bus, they’ll understand and reply.

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. When two of them told me the same time, I was almost sure about the departure time.

Albania buses travelling in Albania
Traveling by Albania buses

 

Albania Buses: Traveling Albania By Bus

I knew which places I wanted to visit in Albania. Still, as I mentioned above, it’s generally quite challenging to find out the timetable of the buses. I traveled alone, and so hiring a car wasn’t a good value for me at that time. That’s why I traveled Albania only by bus, alone. And it was completely fine, thanks to my rule number one: Being flexible.

 

Timetable For Albanian Buses

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 (driver or someone at the station) when a 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. But it always worked out. After, I went to the city and explored it. Then I took the other bus to my final destination for that day. Once I arrived, I again asked when was the first bus leaving for my destination tomorrow.

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 if you do it this way. After once I got to my hotel, I also asked about the departure time at the reception, but they never knew. So honestly, the only way to get this information is at the bus station asking some drivers (when talking about smaller cities/towns).

If you travel from Tirana, there are offices for various bus companies to ask them. But other cities/towns usually don’t have these offices.

Random bus station in Albania, Saranda, minibus driving to Vlora
Random bus station in Albania, Saranda, minibus driving to Vlora

 

Book Your Accommodation 1 Day Before

Also, I booked my hotel/guest house only in the afternoon for the upcoming evening when I was sure I would get to my planned destination. You never know, the last bus might be at 4pm and you’re still exploring one place.

Following your Albania itinerary, the places you’ll visit are mostly well connected, so you don’t have to be afraid. Just take it easy.

 

How To Buy Tickets For Albanian Buses

When you come to a bus station in Albania, people will be shouting at you names of the destinations. 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 telling you 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.

In Tirana, the bus station is huge, and once you enter, there are many buses and people going around shouting various names of destinations. You’ll for sure hear your’s so don’t be afraid to follow the person and he’ll accompany you to the bus. After, you’ll pay on the bus or at the end of the journey.

In other smaller towns, people might shout the destination names or just look at each bus and the sign with a destination at the front window. Then tell the driver you want to go there and ask him about the price.

 

No Need To Book Tickets In Advance

In Albania, you don’t get or book any tickets for a bus. Once you see a bus, just go towards it. The driver will take your luggage/backpack and give it to the back. Then just sit down and enjoy the ride.
Depending on the bus, sometimes there is another person (except the driver), who will come after some time during the journey and collect cash from each passenger.

But mostly in the minibusses, you’ll just pay the driver when you reach your destination and when getting out of the bus.

So just sit down, enjoy the ride and see what other people do. When they pay, you can pay as well.

Albania buses travelling in Albania
Traveling with Albania buses

 

Price Of Bus Rides In Albania

Remember to have local cash (Albanian Lek) always handy when you travel in Albania. Cards areAlbania lek barely accepted anywhere.

You can ask the driver at the beginning how much it will cost. Don’t worry, and don’t feel like he will charge you more when he sees you’re a foreigner. They are honest, and they’ll tell you the real price other local people pay as well.

To have a general idea about the prices for bus transportations on your Albania itinerary, I’ve put this table for you together.

 

 

Albanian Destinations & Prices: Travel By Albania Buses

Below, I give you the approx. prices for the bus rides between destinations you’ll visit during your Albania itinerary. Note that these prices might change. I was traveling Albania in the summer of 2021, and these were the prices I paid for the bus rides.

The duration of the bus ride is dependant 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 wave at the driver to stop for them. Sometimes, there are more people, sometimes nobody. 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 ⇒ Shkodra: 350LEK, approx. 3 hours ride (without a stop)

Tirana ⇒ Berat: 400LEK, approx. 2 hours ride (without a stop)

Tirana ⇒ Sarandë: 1800LEK, approx. 6 hours ride (with a stop)

Shkodra ⇒ Theth: 10EUR (1200LEK), approx. 3h 30min (with a stop) – they also accept EURO

Berat ⇒ Vlorë ( to see the Zvernec Island): 350LEK, approx. 1 hour & 30 minutes ride (without a stop)

Vlorë ⇒ Saranda:1000LEK, approx. 4h 30min (with a stop)

Sarandë ⇒ Ksamil: 50lek by local bus, approx. 30 minutes

Sarandë ⇒ Butrint National Park: 100LEK by local bus, approx. 1 hour

Ksamil ⇒ Butrint National Park: 50LEK by local bus, approx. 20 minutes

Sarandë ⇒ Gjirokaster: 350LEK, approx. 2 hours (without a stop)

Gjirokaster ⇒ Korcë: 1500LEK, approx. 6 hours (with 2 stops)

Korcë ⇒ Tirana: 1000LEK, approx. 4 hours & 30 minutes (with a stop)

 

 

Traveling Albania By Taxis/Cars

If you miss a bus or there happened to be no bus at all, that’s when taxis and cars come into play.
Taxis in Albania are not that 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 you to drive you to your destination. It’s completely fine and common in Albania.

Don’t be afraid. I was traveling solo as a girl, and nothing happened to me, nor did I feel uncomfortable. I just knew they would drive me there. And if I saw some backpackers/travelers waiting for transport, I approached them and asked if they were going to the same destination as me to share the cost. So even if there is no bus, don’t worry, a taxi/car will always get you where you want.

taxi travelling in Balkan
Travelling in a taxi in Albania

 

How To Negotiate With Taxi Drivers

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 1200lek, ask for 900lek.

Personally, I always managed to bring the price down by at least 300lek. 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 even travel by car a la taxis, which didn’t have the sign ‘taxi.’ Because it was way easier to negotiate with those guys.

Here is an overview of what I experienced during my Albania itinerary to have a general idea about the transfer prices. First, prices the taxi drivers told me and eventual prices I was traveling for:

 

Tirana ⇒ Shkodra: regular buses, I suggest to take a bus here

Shkodra ⇒ Theth: Only mini bus; van is driving there for 10EUR (1200lek) fix price (one way) – approx. 3h 30min (with a stop)

Tirana ⇒ Berat: 1200LEK, negotiate for 800 or 900LEK

Berat ⇒ Vlorë (Zvernec): 1000LEK, negotiate for 700 or 800LEK

Vlorë ⇒ Sarandë: 1500LEK, negotiate for 1200LEK

Sarandë ⇒ Ksamil: 1000LEK because of the traffic, try to negotiate to 600LEK

Sarandë ⇒ Butrint National Park: take a local bus, it’s better, otherwise it costs 1200LEK

Ksamil ⇒ Butrint National Park: 700LEK, negotiate for  500LEK

Sarandë ⇒ Gjirokaster: 1200LEK, try to negotiate to 900LEK

Gjirokaster ⇒ Korcë: better to take a bus here

Korcë ⇒ Tirana: better to take a bus here

 

love travelling voices of travel
Crossing the border between Albania and North Macedonia

 

This is my personal advice for you to travel by Albania buses and generally getting around Albania. Remember, be flexible and enjoy the experience. Adapt and don’t be disappointed when something doesn’t go according to your plan. Rather avoid planning to avoid disappointment.

Adapt to the culture, to the way people think there and travel. Then you’ll be completely fine. If you are used to the more European travel style, organized travel with timetables, being on time, etc., forget it in Albania; otherwise, you’ll be stressed for no reason, and your trip might not be that enjoyable anymore.

 

 

More Tips For Albania Travel

Let me know if you have any questions down in the comments. Tell me where you’re going, and I’ll be happy to give you some more hints and advice.

For general information about Albania, its most beautiful places, economy and budget you’ll need and food you have to try, check out my Albania travel guide.

Enjoy traveling in Albania. It’s one of the most beautiful European countries I’ve visited. I am sure you will love it, too. I’ve also put together a list of itinerary for a trip to Albania for different purposes. You’ll find one for yourself based on your interests. There is an itinerary for history and culture lovers, gastronomy and food lovers, nature and beach lovers.

If you don’t have a lot of time in Albania, get some inspiration from my other article and make some day trips from Tirana.

Get my Albania road trip itinerary for 10 days for a packed itinerary. Eventually, if you love nature and hiking, don’t miss visiting Albanian Alps. Check out my article for the best things to do and see.

Since you’re in Albania, you might be interested in seeing other Balkan countries as well. Get my North Macedonia road trip itinerary and see its highlights. Or learn more about the country in my North Macedonia travel guide.

Happy Travels!