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best day trips from Tirana Albania

Albania is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe I’ve explored. At first, I had no idea what to expect, and people even told me not to travel there. That triggered me to book a flight and travel to Albania. After spending almost 2 weeks traveling around the country, I ranked it in the top 3 most beautiful European countries in my travel list.

So, in this article, I’ve made a list of the 12 best day trips you can make from the capital city, Tirana. I recommend spending more time on a road trip to see more of this wonderful country. However, if you don’t have much time, make at least some of these excursions.

Let’s explore Albania together!

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How To Get Around Albania & Make These Day Trips

The best way to get around Albania is by car. Whether you have a car or a van or rent one in Tirana, don’t hesitate. You’ll have a lot of flexibility and can get to the places where the bus won’t take you.

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Taking Local Buses In Albania

If you don’t get the chance to travel by car, you can also take buses from Tirana. Note that buses don’t have any timetable or a schedule in Albania. So it’s a bit more challenging.

Tirana has two bus terminals. One is international (Rruga Ali Kolonja, 1000 Tiranë (near the Zogu I Zi Roundabout), and the other is regional (Rruga Nëntori 29, Tiranë), from which you’ll take most of the buses within Albania.

Make sure to have cash (LEK – Albanian currency). The way it works once you get to the bus terminal is to locate your bus first. Then make sure it’s going to your destination. Don’t be afraid to ask; locals kind of understand English, so you’ll be fine. But speak slowly to them.

Then, you’ll either pay directly to the bus driver or sit down and wait for someone to collect cash for the bus ride on the way.

Don’t pay anyone before getting onto the bus. Wait and watch what the others do.

Albania buses how to get around Albania
Albanian buses

👉 READ ALSO: How To Get Around Albania: Buses, Taxis & Prices

List Of The 12 Best Day Trips From Tirana & Map

Here is a list of the 12 best day trips from Albania’s capital. Choose one or two and explore Albania by yourself, or join one of the tours I recommend under each section:

  1. Kruje
  2. Berat
  3. Shkodra
  4. Cape Of Rodon & Fishte Village
  5. Vlore & Zvernec Island
  6. Dhermi & Himare
  7. Gjirokaster
  8. Korce
  9. Sarande
  10. Albanian Alps
  11. Ohrid & Lake Ohrid
  12. Kosovo & Prizren

Map Of The Best Places To Visit From Tirana

Here is a map of the places I recommend visiting on a day trip from Tirana. Save it and navigate to the place while on the road:

Day Trips From Tirana To Albania

First, I have some day trip suggestions for you within Albania. You’ll explore its history and culture, go hiking, and even enjoy some of Albania’s stunning beaches.

So check out these trips you can make from Tirana within Albania.

👉 NOTE: You can also make some of these day trips from Tirana by bus. So if it’s possible, I’ll include instructions on how to get to the places by bus under each section.

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1. KRUJE

Kruje used to be the capital city of Albania until 1920, when Tirana got the status. It carries a lot of history, so it’s the perfect day trip for you if you’re a history lover. Kruje is where Gjergj Kastrioti, nicknamed Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania, fought against the Ottoman Empire and banned it from spreading further to Western Europe.

The city was established as a tribe of Illyrians in 150AD. At that time, it was named Albanopolis and was part of the ancient Roman Macedon.

Kruje best day trips from Tirana

Nowadays, you can visit the Skanderbeg Museum inside the Castle of Kruje, which is the highlight. After, stroll through the Old Bazaar or visit the ethnographic museum.

Kruje is one of the best excursions from Tirana because it’s close, less crowded, and offers a great insight into Albanian history.

How To Get To Kruje From Tirana By Bus

To get to Kruje from Tirana by bus, you must take one from the Regional Terminal Rruga Nentori 29.

🚍 Distance Tirana Kruje by bus: 1 hour & 30 minutes: costs approx. 200LEK

Organized Tour To Kruje From Tirana

Join this organized tour to Kruje from Tirana if you don’t want to plan and prefer exploring it with a local guide. Listen to interesting stories and get insider tips.

2. BERAT

Berat, the city of thousands of windows, sits next to the River Osum and is built on a small hill. The main reason to visit this charming town is its white Ottoman houses climbing the hill towards the castle.

Berat sits between two mountains, Mount Tomorr and Mount Shpirag, named after two brothers, Tomorr and Shpirag.

Legend says that these two brothers fell in love with a local girl called Osum. They started dating her separately, but they didn’t know about it. When they found out, a big fight started between them. They were throwing stones at each other, and eventually, both of them died.

Berat
Berat: Albania

When Osum found out, she cried for days. The River Osum that flows through the town reminds us of her tears and the two mountains of the brothers and their big love.

The highlights of Berat are its castle, ethnographic museum, and mosques.

How To Get To Berat From Tirana By Bus

Many buses to Berat from Tirana leave from the regional bus terminal. Berat is probably the easiest day trip to make by bus.

🚍 Distance Tirana Berat by bus: approx. 2 hours &: costs 400LEK

The bus will leave you at the Bus Terminal near Berat. It’s still a 30-minute walk to the city of Berat. Or take the city bus (green and white) to the center, which costs between 50LEK and 100LEK.

Organized Tour To Berat From Tirana

If you don’t like planning and want to take the hassle out of your trip, join this guided tour to Berat from Tirana with a local guide.

3. SHKODRA

The city of Shkodra is located next to Lake Shkodra, bordering Montenegro

One of the most important landmarks of Shkodra is the Rozafa Castle, where Ottomans fought against Serbian and Montenegrin forces and managed to defeat them back in 1912.

Albania Rozafa Castle Shkodra
Me exploring Albania

Many Albanian artists fled to Italy in the past, and Shkodra has been home to one of them, who started a factory for Venetian masks here.

His name is Edmond Angoni, and thanks to him, you can now learn more about the art of making these masks and even try to make them on your own in his factory in Shkodra.

Lake Shkodra creates a natural border between Albania and Montenegro. It’s the largest lake in the Balkan peninsula. Get a bike in Shkodra and cycle to the Lake Shkodra Resort, where you can rent a kayak and spend a few hours on the lake with stunning views.

When you’re in Shkodra, I also highly recommend having dinner at Hotel Tradita. The food is absolutely delicious, and the atmosphere with traditional live music is unforgettable.

Albania road trip itinerary 10 days Shkodra Castle
Shkodra – Rozafa Castle

How To Get To Shkodra By Bus

Buses to Shkodra from Tirana depart almost every hour throughout the day from the Regional Bus Terminal. It’s a rather long journey, so I recommend driving. But it’s possible:

🚍 Distance Tirana Shkodra by bus: approx. 3 hours 15 minutes: costs 350LEK

👉 READ ALSO: Is Albania Safe For Solo Female? My Experience

Organized Tour To Lake Shkodra From Tirana

You can also join this organized tour to Lake Shkodra with a guide, go on a panoramic boat trip, and visit Kom Monastery.

4. CAPE OF RODON & FISHTE VILLAGE

The Cape of Rodon is the largest cape in Albania. It attracts visitors thanks to its natural beauty, the local Rodoni Castle, and the Church of St. Anthony. The Rodoni Castle, also known as the Skanderbeg Castle, was used as a piracy port and for transporting goods to the nearby Ishmi.

Cape of Rodon also has beautiful beaches with a campsite. So you can stay a couple of hours on the beach before making your way further up to Fishte village.

The best beaches around the Cape of Rodon are: 

🏖 Rera E Bardhe
🏖 Lalez Beach
🏖 Plazhi I Hamallaj

Albania Hotel Tradita Shkodra
Me enjoying dinner at the Hotel Tradita

After, head to Mrizi I Zanave and experience agrotourism in its best shape. Try local specialties such as smoked meat, Albanian cheese, wine cheese, wine, and Raki, traditional fruit liquor. It’s an experience on its own, so plan to visit this place for lunch or, even better, to have dinner here. It’s definitely one of the best things you can do in Albania.

👉 NOTE: There are no buses from Tirana to the Cape of Rodon or the restaurant, so you’ll have to rent a car for this day trip.

Organized Tour To Mrizi I Zanave & Shkodra From Tirana

If you don’t like traveling by yourself, join this guided tour to the best agro farm in Albania – Mrizi I Zanave, and experience Albanian hospitality with a guide (the food is delicious) – the tour also includes a visit to Shkodra.

5. VLORE & ZVERNEC ISLAND

Zvernec Island is located only 12km from the city of Vlore, and it’s one of the most beautiful places in Albania.

It’s connected to the mainland with a tiny pedestrian bridge. Walk through and see St. Mary’s Monastery with beautiful tall pines, which shelter the island. The monastery was built on this island between the 12th and 13th centuries during the Byzantine Era.

It was abandoned during the Communist Era when it banned religion, and Albania became one of the first atheist countries. After the fall of communism, Zvernec Island became a popular Albanian pilgrimage site.

Zvernec Island most beautiful places in Albania to visit
Zvernec Island

Locals and pilgrims come here every year on the 15th of August to celebrate the woman who gave birth to Jesus Christ.

After that, I recommend visiting Vlore, the third biggest city in Albania, with a great vibe. Have lunch in Vlore on the main street, Boulevard Ismail Quemali, or buy something for your afternoon on the beach.

Then, spend some time on one of these stunning beaches before returning to Tirana:

🏖 Plazhi Jon 2
🏖 Narta Beach

How To Get To Vlore & Zvernec Island By Bus

Getting to Vlore from Tirana from the regional bus terminal is also quite easy. Just ask about the bus departure the day before (at the bus terminal or in the tourist office in Tirana) so that you know when the bus is leaving.

🚍 Tirana Vlore by bus: 3 hours: approx 700LEK

If you travel by bus, stay overnight in Vlore as there might not be a bus later in the afternoon driving to Tirana.

There are no buses to the Zvernec Island. So you can take a taxi or bike there. I biked, and it was an amazing experience.

Vlore best things to do in Albania
Vlore – Albania

6. DHERMI & HIMARE

If you feel more like relaxing and spending a day on the beach and swimming in the sea, visit Dhermi or Himare.

Both towns are located on the Albanian coast, also known as the Albanian Riviera.

Enjoy the Adriatic Sea and spend a day or two in one of the nice resorts with everything you need.

Before reaching these towns, you’ll drive on the Llogara Pass, an experience on its own. Enjoy the stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and the ride down until you reach the coast.

It’s one of the most breathtaking road trips in the country.

Day Trips from Tirana Dhermi beach
Dhermi & Himare Beaches – Albania

How To Get To Dhermi & Himare By Bus

For this day trip, I suggest renting a car. Only one bus runs from Tirana to Dhermi and Himare (direction Saranda). You might have to change buses in Vlore.

The timetable is not fixed so unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly. Again, inform yourself at the bus terminal the day before.

I recommend renting a car to be more flexible.

🚍 Distance Tirana Dhermi & Himare by bus: 4 hours: between 900LEK and 1000LEK – tell the bus driver you want to get off in Dhermi/Himare

7. GJIROKASTER

Gjirokaster is my favorite city in Albania. It’s unique, situated on a hill and overlooking Albanian countries with stunning mountains in the background.

Even though it’s far from Tirana (3 hours), it’s worth visiting only for a day.

It’s the birthplace of Albania’s former communist leader Enver Hoxha, named Stone City, thanks to its beautiful Ottoman Houses.

Gjirokaster best day trips from Tirana
Me exploring Gjirokaster

Spend some time strolling the town, going souvenir shopping (it’s one of the best places to do so), and visiting its castle. Don’t forget to check out the Cold War Tunnel, which locals used to transport goods during the war.

👉 NOTE: There are a few buses to Gjirokaster, but it takes almost 5 hours, so I don’t recommend getting there by bus. Rent a car for this day trip.

Organized Tour To Gjirokaster From Tirana

Join this guided tour to Gjirokaster and take the hassle out of planning your trip. Your local guide will take you to the best spots and show you around.

8. KORCE

Korce was a surprise for me because it belongs to the less visited places in Albania. But if you want to experience authentic Albanian culture, try local fruit brandy Raki, taste Albanian beer in the brewery, and enjoy the hospitality with delicious food, Korce might be the perfect day trip for you.

It’s also known as the cultural capital of Albania, and one can really feel it. Stroll the Old Bazaar, enjoy local cuisine, and go to the Café-Musem Komiteti, where you can try different types of Raki.

best things to do in Albania Korce
Korce

Don’t forget to see the beautiful Orthodox Cathedral or climb up to the Red Tower to see stunning views of the area.

👉 NOTE: There are a few buses to Korce from Tirana, but as with Gjirokaster, it’s unpredictable and takes too long. So it’s better to drive to Korce.

9. SARANDE

While Sarande is also quite far away from Tirana, it’s the perfect place to be if you want to enjoy some beaches and a good city vibe.

Sarande offers a mixture of activities for everyone. You can explore its castle and enjoy stunning views of the sea (and even spot Greece from a distance), walk on the boulevard seaside promenade, and enjoy delicious Greek cappuccino.

Sarande Albanian Riviera best day trips from Tirana
Sarande & Albanian Riviera

Then check out some of the most beautiful beaches and swim before returning to Tirana.

Here are some of the best beaches around Sarande:

🏖 Buneci Beach
🏖 Lukova Beach

👉 NOTE: There is only 1 bus leaving to Sarande from Tirana daily. But it takes over 7 hours to get there. So don’t rely on it and rent a car for this road trip.

Saranda albania road trip itinerary
Me exploring Saranda with a Greek iced

Organized Tour To Sarande & Ksamil From Sarande

Join this organized tour to Sarande and beaches of Ksamil, visit Butrint National Park, and learn about the history with your guide. NOTE: The excursion starts in SARANDE, not Tirana.

10. ALBANIAN ALPS

Another area you should add to your Albanian bucket list is its impressive mountains. The Albanian Alps are located in the north, and I would consider spending at least 2 full days there.

But you can definitely manage to see them within a day if you don’t have more time.

Albanian Alps have a special charm and atmosphere, and I was so happy to experience them on my Albanian road trip.

Albanian alps hiking
Albanian Alps

The main town is called Theth, where you can make several excursions. One of the most exciting things is taking a jeep and hiking 30 minutes to the majestic Blue Eye.

Or drive to Lake Komani and cruise on this crystal-clear lake between the vast mountains.

If you want to relax in nature and be away from the hassle of Tirana for a while, the Albanian Alps are the place to be.

Lake Komani most beautiful places in Albania to visit

👉 NOTE: There are no direct buses from Tirana to the Albanian Alps. You can only take a van from Shkodra to Theth, but you can’t make it within a day. So you need a car to get to the mountains or join this organized tour from Tirana.

Organized Tour To Albanian Alps From Tirana

Join one of these organized tours to the Albanian Alps (for a day). With one of them, you’ll experience the traditional village Theth and hike to the Blue Eye. With the other one, you’ll take a cruise on Lake Komani and enjoy the atmosphere of the Alps.

Both start in Tirana and include a professional guide with transportation.

Day Trips From Tirana To Other Countries

I’ve also got a few day trips that you can make from Tirana to neighboring countries. They’re very popular, so you can join an organized guided tour.

Or rent a car and make these trips yourself to be more flexible.

11. OHRID & LAKE OHRID

Ohrid is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Europe. The town itself is beautiful, with many Ottoman-style houses and cute shops. But the highlight is the impressive Lake Ohrid.

Lake Ohrid is claimed to be the oldest lake in Europe. You can do many activities such as swimming, kayaking, and boat riding, or join some excursions to nearby places.

One of the main tours is to see the St. Naum Monastery, where Cyril & Method translated the Bible and invented the Cyrillic.

Ohrid and Lake Ohrid monasteries best day trips from Tirana
Me exploring Ohrid and its monasteries next to Lake Ohrid

If you have a car, I highly recommend driving around the lake to see it all.

👉 NOTE: There are a couple of buses from Tirana to Ohrid, but the border control takes at least 2 hours. So you would lose a lot of time. Therefore, I recommend driving to Ohrid or joining the organized tour.

Organized Tour To Lake Ohrid From Tirana

Book this guided tour to Lake Ohrid, including St. Naum Monastery, and explore the places from Tirana with a professional guide on a private bus.

12. KOSOVO & PRIZREN

Last but not least, I’ve got an exciting trip for you to a completely new country that many people skip (and some don’t even recognize as a country).

Kosovo is a controversial country, and there have been many disputes and even wars between the neighboring states, who wanted to claim its territory.

Serbia still doesn’t recognize Kosovo as a country, and northern Kosovo theoretically belongs to Serbia.

Yet, Albania and other Balkan countries recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

Kosovo Prizren best day trips from Tirana
Kosovo – Prizren

One of the most beautiful towns you can visit is Prizren, only 2 hours away from Tirana. See its Ottoman-style buildings and stunning views from the castle, and go shopping in the Old Bazaar. Eventually, you can add another country to your travel bucket list.

👉 NOTE: The best way to reach Prizren is to drive or book this organized excursion. There are no direct buses from Tirana.

Organized Tour To Kosovo From Tirana

You can also join this organized excursion to Kosovo, explore it with a local guide, and listen to interesting stories.

BONUS: Albania Road Trip Itinerary

recommend spending at least 7 days in Albania to see some of its beauties. So, if this article convinces you and you consider spending more time in the country, follow my Albania road trip itinerary.

It also includes a few driving tips for Albania.

I’ve designed a full itinerary to take you to the most beautiful places. Get it for free by clicking on the image below:

FAQs

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

How Many Days Are Enough For Tirana?

1 or 2 days are enough for Tirana. It’s a small city in Albania with more beautiful places than Tirana. So spend only one or two days and explore the coast or the Albanian Alps.

Is Tirana Worth A Visit?

Yes, Tirana is worth visiting for the experience. It’s not the most beautiful city and might appear hectic at first. But it’s definitely worth visiting to learn about Albania’s history and visit the Bunk’Art.

How To Spend 3 Days In Albania?

To experience the diversity of Albania, I recommend spending half a day in Tirana and then driving to Ksamil. Enjoy its beaches for a while and visit Gjirokaster, one of the most beautiful cities in Albania.

On the last day, drive up to the Albanian Alps in the north and cruise on the beautiful Lake Komani.

How To Get From Tirana To Lake Ohrid?

You can get to Lake Ohrid from Tirana by local buses, organized transfer, or join a guided tour. Several bus companies will take you to Lake Ohrid, but the border controls take up to 2 hours.

So it’s better to drive by yourself or join a small van excursion.

WRAP-UP: Excursions From Tirana

These are the best day trips I recommend you make from Albania’s capital. It’s truly a surprising and wonderful country worth exploring. Albania is your best bet if you’re looking for a cheap destination and a country that offers many activities and beautiful landscapes. Even if you don’t have much time, these excursions will show you the highlights.

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:

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