As I’m traveling using mostly public transportation, i was very confused about getting around in Albania. There were almost no shedules or exact location of bus stops, so i was absolutely not sure whether it’s possible to take my route. In reality, it was easy, but you need to know how it works, which is close to impossible to find online. Surprise! Not everything is available online!
Very quickly i realized that i need some help from the local and contacted one guy, who was so kind, that he literally helped me to plan all my route and explained me the situation with the buses. That’s the magic of social networks! It wasn’t first time i reached to you, my dear friends, and got really good help!
The trick is that there is no prior reservation or any exact bus shedule in Albania. Generally you need just to ask: bus station, taxi driver, sometimes hotel reception is the best source of information. They will point you to the right direction or shedule. Most of the time there are shedules, sometimes you have to get to the larger towns to find the right bus.
Usually there are mini-buses, which goes when they filled and larger buses, which sometimes have shedules. Surprise, but larger buses were cheaper and more comfortable, so choose them where there is a choice. Finding exact information online is just a waste of time, better to ask when you are on site.
So, as I’m in Ksamil, in the morning i took local bus to Sarande, which is larger city and got bus station. There i have found that the bus to my next destination – Himare – will be in 2,5 hours. I also asked for a taxi and it was 40€ to get there. The bus costs around 6€. So i spend some time drinking coffee and waiting for the bus. Bus itself wasn’t too comfortable and more like mini-bus: definitely not posh, but fine.
The distance between Sarande and Himare is about 45km, but it took us around 2,5 hours to cover it. The drive was very scenic: hills and sea – perfect! Especially i love the area of Borsch village with absolutely fabulous 10km long beach. From distance it looks half empty. I saw it on the pics before, but it looks really stunning in real life. If i ever get back, i will go there!
So here are the main things about transportation in Albania:
– word of mouth works, just ask the right person (bus or taxi driver, sometimes hotel reception)
– don’t be afraid to stuck somewhere, by some miracle it works
– don’t plan too much, you got to have time as generally moving from one place takes a lot of time, it’s very hard to predict how much time it could take because the topography of the country is very tricky (just look to the road at this picture)
– If you absolutely don’t know where to go, take the taxi and ask them to bring you to the right place
– for international busses it’s better to reserve in advance. Better to buy your ticket on the bus station, it would be cheaper. In Tirana there is international bus station, they have plans to move all international busses there.
So after learning about traveling in Albania with public transportation, I decided just to relax and go. That’s definitely feels little adventurous at first, but in real life everything is easy.