Getting to Albania
Tirana's "Mother Teresa" International Airport is located just 15 minutes away from the city. It is served by numerous European flag carriers such as British Airways, Alitalia, Lufthansa, Austrian, and the low cost carriers Germanwings and Belle Air. A new, larger and modern terminal was opened in 2007.
At the airport exit, there are numerous taxis 24/7 that can take you to the city. The taxi fee to the city center is ˆ15 (2000 Lek). Taxi fees to other locations are posted on a placard just outside the exit doors.
There is a bus that runs once an hour between the airport and Skanderberg Square in the centre of Tirana. It costs 250 lek each way, leaves on the hour from the airport and at 25 past the hour from Skanderberg Square. It runs from about 8AM to 7PM.
It is not possible to enter or leave Albania via train. There are, however, trains that operate within the country. Though the service is limited, the price is inexpensive, and the line from Pogradec to Elbasan in particular is scenic.
You can reach Tirana by coach from
- Istanbul , Turkey (20hr, ˆ35 one-way)
- Athens , Greece (12 hr, ˆ30-35)
- Sofia , Bulgaria (22 hr, ˆ25)
- Tetovo , Republic of Macedonia (7 hr,ˆ 15)
There is now a daily bus link between Ulcinj in Montenegro and Shkoder. There is also a shared taxi (mini buss) from the parking place next to the market in Ulcinj. It goes at 1PM and costs ˆ5 euros, it takes 1.5 hr. The stop is not marked, a reservation can only be made by finding the driver in the cafe at the corner of the parking place. Ask around and be persistent, as not all the locals know about this. There are no scheduled buses from any other point in Montenegro into Albania.
There are also buses running daily from Ioannina to the border at Kakavia (9 daily, ˆ5.70, 1 hour). From there it's a short walk between the Greek and Albanian checkpoints. Just make sure you don't delay, as the furgon (minibus) to Gjirokastra won't wait for one extra passenger and you will be forced to haggle with predatory cab drivers.
- Ferries to Durres arrive from Bari (9h, ˆ50) and Ancona (19h, ˆ70). A high-speed service operates from Bari (3h, ˆ60).
- There is also a reliable overnight ferry service operated by Skenderbeg Lines from Brindisi to Vlore Skenderbeg Lines
- Ferries from Corfu to Saranda every day.
There is a 10-euro/person tax, which must be paid upon entering Albania. After payment of the tax to the police, the customs officer will issue a "road tax certificate", which you must keep until you leave the country. When you exit the country, you'll pay ˆ2/day and return the certificate.
To enter the country, ensure that your International Motor Insurance Card is valid for Albania (AL) along with the Vehicle Registration and a Power of Attorney from the owner if the car is not yours. The border guards are very strict about allowing cars through without these documents.
The road between Ioannina, Greece and Tirana (E853/SH4) is in good condition until Tepelene. The road is narrow in some places, so travel with caution. Between Tepelene and Fier there are several sections under construction and you should proceed with extreme caution (2011). This is the main North-South route between Montenegro and Greece.
The road between Struga, Macedonia and Tirana (E852/SH3) is not to the levels of quality found in other parts of Europe but it is sufficient. There are a lot of slow moving vehicles along the curvy mountainous route so extra caution must be exercised especially around corners or during over-taking.