Transportation In Albania
Albania is a breathtaking example of the beauty of the Balkans. Whether you are driving or taking a bus or train, enjoying the scenery laid out before you will be well worth the journey. Fortunately getting around Albania is fairly straightforward and cheap, with many different transportation options to suit your needs so that enjoying the view is that much easier.
Current there is only one International airport in Albanian airport which has commercial schedule and charter flights arriving, this is obviously the airport by Tirana, but soon further airports will be available, in the northeastern part of Albanian south of the city Kukës the airport has recently been upgraded with a 1800 long asphalt runway, so it is likely that commercial traffic could start from this airport in 2017. Also the small airport by Shkodër is like to get and upgrade soon, so that commercial traffic could be flying to this airport from around 2018.
The common name for the airport by Tirana is Rinas airport or Tirana International Airport Nënë Terezat, the airport is located about 18 km northwest of Tirana center. The cheapest way of getting to town, is to take the Rinas Express Bus which has hourly service from 6am to 6pm, the trip to the center takes about 30 minutes. The companies Adria airways, Mistral Air, Ablawings, Alitalia and Blu-express has the Tirana airport as focos airport, in total more than 20 airlines has routes to Tirana airport. If you need to continue your travel to cities like Durres, Shkoder, Vlore you can do so from the bus station in Tirana, which has connection to most of the country.
Other airports in Albania:
In additional to the above mentioned airports there are airports with grass runways near the cities Sarandë, Gjirokastër, Korçë, currently there is no plans to upgrade any of these.
Alternative airports when flying to Albania:
If you are traveling to the northern part of Albania e.g to Shkodër, flying to Podgorica airport might be an alternative to consider.
If you are traveling to the eastern part of the country e.g. to Pogradec or Korçë, the airport in Ohrid might be an alternative to consider.
From Tirana airport to the southern part of Albania e.g Sarandë there is about 300 km, which is a 5-6 hour drive, so could check if flying to Corfu Airport in Greece, would shorten the trip.
The trains in Albania are very old and never fast, though they do offer unique views. Though there are trains, it is more common to travel by bus or car in Albania now, and the schedules for the trains are questionable at best.
Buses in Albania are cheap and a great way of meeting people, and you see much more of the countryside than you would squashed up, hurtling along in a furgon, but they tend to take a long time. Road work continues even on Sundays and the roads can be quite bad. Buses also often stop on the way to pick people up or let them off, unlike furgons, which don’t start until they’re full, then only stop occasionally for snacks. The timetables at bus stations are fairly accurate and the buses are reasonably comfortable which makes them a great way for foreigners to navigate the country. It’s best to get yourself a bottle of water – pronounced oowi – before you set off.
Minibus or Furgon
Some visitors to Albania have a great time on the Furgons. These minibuses usually go the same routes as buses, but pick people up until they are full and then make no stops except when people need to get off, making them much faster on certain routes. However, because Furgon timetables are more focused on the number of people riding, arrival or departure times can vary. Pay attention to always get on the furgon with the most people, because that’s the one that will leave first. There will more than likely be several drivers trying to get you to take their furgon but be warned, if you choose one because it looks comfortable but has no one else in it, you could end up waiting for 45 minutes. Furgons are amazing because you can literally go cross-country for about 1o euros.
Rental Car & Taxi
Taxis are common and easy to grab when getting from place to place. Though they are more expensive than buses or furgons, they are not prohibitive for most travelers. Another popular thing to do in Albania is to simply rent a car. You can rent a 4×4 which is very capable of handling the roads and there are some good off-road driving opportunities along the coast and in the mountains.