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Albania Transport: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around Albania

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Albania Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around

Finding information about Albania’s transport system online is a long and gruelling task and you will find virtually no information.  To save you time and headache here’s a complete guide on how to get around Albania and to show you that Albania travel isn’t that bad!

 

When travelling Albania, you will have to learn to trust the transport system.  There are timetables but quite often they are wrong or have been changed.  There’s no rail system so it’s all about furgons, buses and hitchhiking!

 

Albania Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around

Furgons

This is the most popular way to get around Albania.  Furgons are essentially minibuses that are privately owned and not licensed.  Sometimes they have a timetable, sometimes they don’t.  They will usually travel to smaller villages and also more popular routes like from Saranda to Gijrokastёr and Berat.  The furgon is usually crammed with a lot of people in so in the high season, it can be a little cramped, but this is usually my preferred transport choice.  They will drop you off at any point along the way, you just have to let them know.

I had an interesting/wonderful experience on a furgon that was going from Saranda to Berat.  When we stopped halfway for a break we ended up drinking multiple rakis (the local alcohol) and got extremely drunk within the 15-minute stop.  We ended up dancing and making a complete fool of ourselves (or in other words, having a lot of fun) with the entire bus.  It made the rest of the trip fly by.  Furgons are definitely more intimate than big coaches!

 

travelling albania

 

The good thing about furgons is you can flag one down and they will usually stop for you and let you on if it’s not full.  So, if hitchhiking fails then you always have that as a backup option as long as you’re not in the middle of nowhere.

In terms of the timetables there are some but most of the time they change.  The best option is to ask a local as they always seem to know everything about transport.  Most likely the bus driver will probably be a relation or friend.

If you are wanting information about furgons and buses leaving Saranda then read my ultimate Saranda guide where I list a rough schedule.

 

accommodation in albania

 

Albania Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around

Buses

Buses run for more popular and longer routes like for example from Saranda to Tirana.  They also have rough timetables.  Be prepared to share the bus with car motors, washing machines, and other household essentials.  Usually, the buses are a delivery service as well.  You can do the same as with the furgons and tell the driver where you want to get off, they will usually stop.  Buses will sometimes stop for hitchhikers too if they aren’t full.

 

 Bus + furgon stations

In each city, there’s either a bus station or a bus road/s.  Albania’s bus stations are a lot less official than you think and most of the time it’s just a carpark with a whole lot of buses.

 

Albania Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around

Tirana, there are two bus stations for Albania– one for buses going north and one for buses going south.  They are about a 15-minute walk from each other so make sure you get the right one!   The station for buses going south is the further one away from the city.  As soon as you turn up to either of these bus stations you will hear an array of men asking where you’re going.  Just scream which place you want to go and one of them will show you to the bus.  They are not asking for a tip, they usually are the guys who help the driver fill the bus up with people.  If you’re looking for a full travel guide to Tirana then click here.

 

Albania Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around

Saranda, the buses go from a few places, but they are all very near to each other.  There is a couple of ‘bus roads’ in the middle of the city.  Usually, the ones to and from Greece go from outside the ticket office, which is opposite the red building called Partizani.  The buses that go within Albania are found on the street Rruga Flamurit, near the ruins and the park.  If you ask anyone there where you want to go, they will lead you to the right bus.  The buses and furgons will have a sign in the window saying where they are going.  Read about 26 things to do in Saranda here (most tourists don’t know half of these places!).

 

Albania Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around

Shkoder, there are two locations.  One for buses going south to Tirana, which is located opposite the radio station.  The other one is on the opposite side of the big roundabout near the mosque.  Again, just yell where you’re going, and someone will take you to your bus.

 

Albania Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around

Berat, the bus station is located just outside of the city.  You will need to catch a bus, which is situated next to the petrol station (across the road from the bus station).  Or you can catch a taxi (500lek) or hitchhike into Berat as it’s about a 10-minute drive away.

 

Tickets: For the longer bus rides you will usually need a ticket beforehand, especially if its high-season. In low season you can just buy it on the day.  For the furgons sometimes you will buy a ticket from the driver or just give him cash when you arrive at the destination.

 

Albania Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around

Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking in Albania is incredibly popular with tourists and locals.  It’s very normal to hitchhike here and you will never wait for more than 20 minutes (usually).  In my experience, it’s taken no longer than 5 minutes!  There’s no real art to hitchhiking.  Stick your thumb out, make sure you’re visible and that you’re in a spot that’s easy for someone to pull over.  Although in Albania they will stop in the middle of the street for you – that’s Albanian driving for you!

Is it safe?  Yes, as long as you listen to your instincts.  If someone pulls over and you don’t get a good feeling, then just wave them on and try again.  From all the travellers I met this summer, most of them hitchhiked and none of them had any problems with it so that is saying something!

Fun fact: In the summer I always hitchhiked to the clubs just out of Saranda!  I met the funniest and craziest people by hitchhiking, some which are now good friends!

Accommodation in Albania

 

If you are wanting information about furgons and buses leaving Saranda then read my ultimate Saranda guide where I list a rough schedule.  If you have any further questions about Albania travel, please leave them below and I will try to answer them for you!

 

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Albania Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Around

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Agness of a Tuk Tuk
    November 25, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    This is such a detailed and exceptional travel guide for Albania, Anita. Hitchhiking there should be fun. Did you try it?

    • Reply
      Anita Hendrieka
      November 28, 2017 at 6:27 am

      Thanks for reading. Yes, I’ve tried hitchhiking in Albania, it’s fun!

  • Reply
    Raul (@ilivetotravel)
    November 28, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Very helpful – love the maps!

  • Reply
    Tamara
    December 3, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Super handy guide! I’m interested in travelling to Albania as the beaches look gorgeous- do you know if you can get to them via public transport?

  • Reply
    Chris Bloomfield
    December 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Hitchhiking is something I have never done, but should really try just for the thrill of it. I love the information you provide in the article. What was the rakis like? I have never heard of it.

  • Reply
    Steph and Zach Dorworth
    December 4, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Love this post! Learned a lot about what furgons are. Love your story about how you got drunk on a furgon trip! haha You did a great job too with the detailed maps.

  • Reply
    Victoria
    December 4, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Omg thanks for this! I’ve always wanted to go to Albania but I’ve heard it’s super difficult to get around so I’m scared but this is so helpful! The mini bus thing is how they got around in Peru too! It was confusing for sure but we used Uber

  • Reply
    Indrani
    December 4, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Good list of transports there. Furgons is new to me.
    Hitch hiking is something I have never tried, but I believe you get to meet interesting people like you mentioned.

  • Reply
    Claudia
    December 5, 2017 at 5:21 am

    You’ve provided some very helpful transportation tips for getting around Albania. The furgons are a very interesting way to travel between towns and villages in the countryside. Albania still seems like an off-the-beaten path destination in may ways but at least know I know how to get around when I visit!

  • Reply
    Kiyoko
    December 6, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Thanks for the great info! Figuring out transportation is probably one of my least favorite parts of trip planning as it usually causes me the biggest headache because I struggle to find the information I need. Will definitely save this for if I ever go to Albania!

  • Reply
    Francesca Murray
    December 6, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Taking the Furgon sounds fun! Especially your experience during that 15 minute break, lol! I would just be a little nervous without an actual timetable, but as you said, locals usually know best

  • Reply
    Aleah
    December 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I’ve been planning so long to visit Albania because I heard it’s very beautiful there, cheap, and generally friendly to digital nomads. I also heard it can be difficult to travel around if you don’t have a car so it’s nice you have a whole post on getting around. The furgons sound like the public transport in South America or Asia, so I should feel right at home LOL I doubt if I’ll get drunk though. As a solo traveler, I’m very careful where I drink haha Bookmarking this for my visit next year!

  • Reply
    Siddhartha Joshi
    December 7, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing this post Anita…I think it’s a great resource for anyone if finding online information about Albania is so tough! I really like the word Furgons though…but traveling in the these without a timetable could be tough, but then they must be great for spontaneous travel plans. And of course, hitchhiking works everywhere…I do the same as you – follow my instincts 🙂

  • Reply
    afisindhu
    December 28, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this post Anita. I heard it can be difficult to travel around if you don’t have a car so it’s nice you have a whole post on getting around. 🙂 I really enjoyed this post. 🙂

  • Reply
    Rob
    January 7, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Nice, and informative Blog! Thanks. We know from your FAQ page that you are not rich and work hard….but what do you do to earn money on the move? My wife and I are retiring around Oct and looking around for good destinations. Do you know if Albania is considered a Schengen Member? Would like to know if the 90 day clock resets while in Albania. Have you checked out Patreon? It funds artists. One video blogger I follow in Ecuador receives funds thru them. Really interested in finding economical longer term rental there but concerned the language barrier will make it difficult. Wishing you the Best! Rob

  • Reply
    Linda
    April 5, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    This is gold! Thank you so much! We were getting confused about all the bus traveling, even though we have lived 7 months in Asia and traveled just by public transport, coming back to Europe seemed like a bit of a challenge!
    Thanks again!

  • Reply
    Anna
    May 11, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Anita,

    Great reading, I had actually just been researching travelling through albania and was getting quite anxious that I might have to pass, as I couldnt find any info. I am going in August this year and now feel confident that I’ll be able to get around no problems! Yay! Are furgons quite obvious mini vans? And what about luggage restrictions?

    Also what would you say are a definite to see. I am coming from Montenegro and probably going to Corfu.
    Thanks so much Anna

  • Reply
    Lane Beck
    May 26, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Hitchhiking through Albania! Now that would definitely be outside my comfort zone… but I might just be up to it! Just don’t tell MissTIC. I think she would freak.

    • Reply
      Anita Hendrieka
      May 30, 2018 at 2:56 am

      It’s the best way to get around and you meet the most interesting people!

  • Reply
    Thijn
    August 7, 2018 at 1:36 am

    Great read Anita! Going to Albania in September and will be trying out these spots. Thanks:)

  • Reply
    Deborah Jane
    April 19, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Hi Anita – my family and I are travelling to Albania this summer (from the UK) and thinking of hiring a car. We’re flying into Tirana and staying in Shiroka, Shkoder. We want to travel to possibly Berat and Gjirokaster. Would you recommend driving in Albania? So difficult to get reliable opinions. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Anita Hendrieka
      April 21, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Deborah,

      That’s great! Yes, driving in Albania is a good idea. This way you can see lots of little villages and sites along the way that you would miss otherwise. Driving in Tirana is hard because the traffic is so bad all the time but it’s great to travel around the rest of the country. Just beware that Albanians are renowned for being ‘crazy’ drivers – speeding, overtaking on blind corners etc. If you worried about the drivers then you can also easily catch buses between those places you mentioned.

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