Getting to Albania has never been this easy, with affordable links over land, sea and air. Once you're here, keep in mind that as long as you are on the ground it’s going to be a bumpy ride, whether you take a taxi, bus, car or train.
Click on the links to the left for all the arrival and transport information you need. To see the flight, bus and train schedules, download the free PDF version of our Tirana guide.
Airlines in TiranaTo see the flight schedule, download the free PDF version of our Tirana guide.
Airport of TiranaA taxi to the airport costs about €20. The official yellow cabs of Airport Express Taxi (ATE, tel. +355 4 222 21 22, +355 66 208 01 91, www.atex.al) charge 2500 lek, 20% more between 21:00-07:00. A trip to the airport usually takes 30 minutes. Dropping off passengers is free, parking costs 150 lek for the first hour, 720 for a day, 3,000 lek for a week.
The Rinas Express airport bus (tel. 069 209 89 08, 069 205 40 02) departs every hour between 07:00 and 19:00 from beside the National Museum on Skenderbeg Square; tickets cost 250 lek and the trip takes 30-45 minutes. Buses from the airport to the centre depart every hour between 06:00 and 18:00.
Arriving in TiranaArriving by plane
Tirana's modern Nënë Tereza (Mother Teresa) airport, 17km northwest of Tirana, is a 30 minute drive from the city centre. Beside the baggage carousel in arrivals there are ATMs, an exchange office with so-so rates, and a tourist information desk. Buy a local SIM card at the mobile phone shops. Ignore any taxi drivers harassing new arrivals, but take an official yellow airport taxi to the centre for 2,500 lek, 3,000 lek between 21:00-07:00. Alternatively, hop on the Rinas Express airport bus (250 lek) to Skanderbeg Square, departing every hour between 06:00 and 18:00.
For a map of the airport, click here.
Arriving by train
As Tirana's train station is under construction, weary rail arrivals from Shkodra, Durrës and Pogradec will find themselves deposited at Vore, where there's a shuttle bus to Tirana's station at the northern end of Blv. Zogu I. It's a 15-20 minute walk down this boulevard to Skanderbeg Square, a short taxi ride, or hop on any bus heading that way from the bus stop across the street. Note that Albania has no international passenger trains.
For a map of the train station, click here.
Arriving by bus
Despite the popularity of intercity bus travel in Albania, Tirana remains the last city in the universe without a bus station. Buses drop off passengers at various points around the city; you may need a taxi or city bus to get to the centre.
For a map of the Durres and Shkodra bus departure points, click here.
Arriving by car
Driving to Albania is an option now that roads and safety have greatly improved - but don’t expect to get there quickly. Coming from Greece, expect long queues and grinding bureaucracy. The Kakavija and Kapshtica crossings are open 24hrs; Qafë Boti near Konispol and Tre Urat near Permet open till 22:00.
From Macedonia, Qafë Thanë is the main crossing, though the Tushemisht crossing near Pogradec is quieter, has beautiful scenery and few delays. Together with the Bllade crossing near Peshkopi they are all open till 22:00; the Gorica crossing near Lake Prespa is open till 19:00.
From Kosovo, you can quickly cross over at Qafë Morina and Qafë Prush, from Montenegro at Han i Hotit and Muriqan.
Arriving by ferry
There are ferry lines from several Italian cities to the ports of Durrës, Shengjin and Vlora. Flying to Corfu and using the daily passenger ferry to Saranda (see www.ionian-cruises.com) is often the cheapest way to reach South Albania from Western Europe.
Driving & Car rentalLack of parking space, signs and general discipline makes driving in Tirana adventurous, but despite the apparent chaos traffic doesn't really move very fast. When parking, beware of Tirana's effective tow-trucks. The only central parking garage can be found below the Vesa Center on Rruga Abdyl Frashëri. Petrol costs about 165 lek per litre, diesel 160 lek per litre.
Renting a car costs from around €45 per day for the cheapest model. The agencies have desks at the airport, but these are often only manned on demand, so inform them in advance. Make sure you have the rental agency phone number and a good map before setting off.
Cycling in TiranaA few years ago in the Mercedes days, only fearless old men and complete fools cycled around Tirana. But with better asphalt and more traffic jams, locals are realising that two wheels get you around this flat city much quicker, and the number of bikes is on the rise. There are even a few token bike paths, though most pedestrians yet have to grasp the idea. Apart from the Ecovolis bike sharing scheme, the Tirana Backpacker Hostel also rents out bikes (mountain bikes, €15 per day). The Tirana Backpacker Hostel and Outdoor Albania also offer guided bike day trips to Mount Dajti.
BusesDespite the importance of bus travel in Albania, Tirana has no bus station and few scheduled departures, so it's all a bit of a Balkan mess. Bus transport is either in normal buses, increasingly comfortable and with air-conditioning, or in minivans called furgons which may be a bit cheaper and faster, but take risks in blind corners.
Most bus departures are between early morning and early afternoon. Only the most popular cities also have connections in the late afternoon too, so it's best to set off early.
International buses often depart from behind the National History Museum, where you'll also find most of the ticketing agencies. Buses to Durrës depart very regularly from beside the train station. Buses to Shkodra depart nearby, from Rruga Karl Gega.
Minibuses (furgons) depart as soon as they're full, starting from various places in town, sometimes trawling through the streets to find more passengers to cram in. See the timetable for approximate operating hours, prices and departure points. It's a good idea to ask around for the exact departure locations before travel.
Furgons heading southeast for Elbasan, Pogradec and Korça will most likely depart from beside the Qemal Stafa stadium and trawl around on Rruga Elbasan. Those south to Berat, Vlora, Gjirokastra and Saranda depart from Nëshërak and Sheshi 21 Djetori, west of the centre. Those heading to the north (Shkodra, Kukës, etc) leave from Sheshi Zogu i Zi or from Laprak, one traffic light further along the Durrës highway.
To see the flight, bus and train schedules, download the free PDF version of our Tirana guide.
A very useful online furgon and bus schedule with departures from Tirana can be found at http://www.matinic.us/albania/furgon.php.
Public transportTirana has a few bus lines, marked on the map printed in our guidebook. A ticket costs 30 lek per ride regardless of distance, to be paid to the conductor on board. Buses run every 6-15 minutes between 05:00 and 22:00. The days of dilapidated old state buses conking out in the middle of the road are over - Tirana has a fleet of modern and privately-run buses, liberally dipped in advertising.
TaxisTaxis are a useful form of transport in Tirana, and after 22:00, they’re the only game in town. Several companies use meters and can print receipts; our experience so far is that drivers do not have to be reminded to use them. Rates start at 300 lek for the first 2km (sufficient for most city centre trips) and 95 lek/km after that (count on paying 500-700 lek for a ride to the outskirts). Between 22:00 and 07:00 the flagfall is 350 lek. Few drivers speak English, so it's a good idea to write down the address, or to call someone who can explain.
Tourist Information in Tirana
Trains in AlbaniaTirana's train station has closed as the old building makes way for a modern station. Until it's finished there are no trains to or from Tirana. Other services by Albanian Railways, Hekurudha Shqiptare, are running as usual; shuttle buses run between Tirana and the closest operational station, at Vore.
The slow, second hand Western trains run to various destinations in the country, though there are no services beyond the borders. Great for train fans, but if you need comfort and speed, consider taking a bus instead. The short run from Tirana to Durrës is perfectly bearable - once the train service is back on its tracks.
Travel agentsTirana's travel agents can arrange everything from plane tickets to hotel bookings, car rental and tours.
Travel agents abroadThese travel agents have travel offers and packages to Albania.