How to get from Tirana to Saranda? 2023 Prices Update
If you are wondering how to get from Tirana to Saranda, this blog post is for you. I will describe how to get from Tirana to Saranda by bus, by taxi or by rental including the prices for 2023.
How to get from Tirana to Saranda? You can get from Tirana to Saranda by bus, taxi or rental car. The bus departs at 7:30 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:45 AM, 12:30 PM, 16:00 PM and 22:00 PM from the Regional bus terminal, a ticket costs 15 EUR p.p. A taxi costs 126 – 152 EUR. A rental car is at least 20-25 EUR per day + 80 EUR petrol.
In this blog post, I will describe how to get from Tirana to Saranda by bus, including timetables, companies, bus stations and pricing. I will also compare the taxi prices from different taxi companies for a journey from Tirana to Saranda. And I will compare car rental rates from popular car rental companies. I will also discuss alternative routes, like travelling directly from Tirana airport to Saranda or flying to Corfu island and taking the ferry to Saranda.
Best ways to get from Tirana to Saranda
I will give you a quick summary of the ways you can get from Tirana to Saranda so that you can decide what is most suitable for you. Then I will go into detail in the next paragraphs.
Tirana to Saranda by bus (summary)
- Price: 15 euros per person one-way
- Departure times: 7:30 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:45 AM, 12:30 PM, 16:00 PM and 22:00 PM
- Departure Location: Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania (20 min from the city centre)
Tirana to Saranda by taxi (summary)
- Costs between 126 – 152 euros
- Cheapest taxi companies: Speedtaxi and Do Taxi
- Tirana airport to Saranda taxi costs 165 euros with the official airport taxi service
Tirana to Saranda by rental car (summary)
- A rental car costs at least 20-25 euros
- Do your research to get a good deal
- 80 euros for petrol from Tirana to Saranda
- Choose between an inland route or a coastal route
How to get from Tirana to Saranda by bus?
You can get from Tirana to Saranda by bus 6 x times per day. A bus ticket from Tirana to Saranda costs 15 euros per person. Let me outline all the details of getting from Tirana to Saranda by bus below.
Tirana to Saranda bus price
The price for a bus ticket from Tirana to Saranda is 15 euros per person.
Buying a bus ticket from Tirana to Saranda
You will need to bring cash euros or Albanian Leke with you to buy your bus ticket. In Albania, it is common practice to pay for all of your expenses in cash. So booking a bus ticket online is not something Albanian people do.
Tirana to Saranda bus timetable
The bus from Tirana to Saranda departs 6 x times a day. The bus departs at 7:30 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:45 AM, 12:30 PM, 16:00 PM and 22:00 PM. The bus is operated by Tisa Travel. I have personally spoken with Tisa Travel and double-checked the timetable for 2023. You can always find the Albanian bus timetables on the website of Gjirafa Autobus here: https://travel.gjirafa.com/
It is important to remember that buses in Albania do not always depart exactly on time. In essence, there may be a small delay. Bus drivers may wait for a few more passengers or simply start the bus up 5-10 minutes later. This is simply how buses operate in Albania, it is a lot less accurate than in for instance Western Europe. If you are travelling by bus in Albania, you need a bit of patience and you will get to your destination.
How long is the bus from Tirana to Saranda?
The bus from Tirana to Saranda takes between 4 hours and 30 minutes and 5 hours depending on traffic.
Road update: As of the summer of 2022, there is a new road that connects Tepelena directly with Saranda. This road is basically a shortcut. Before this new road was completed all buses would drive to Saranda via Gjirokaster. Now that the new road is open, the buses skip Gjirokaster. And it is a faster journey.
So if you are taking a bus or taxi from Tirana to Saranda, it will now take between 4 hours and 30 minutes and 5 hours.
Regional bus terminal
The bus from Tirana to Saranda departs from the Regional bus terminal. In the Albanian language this bus terminal is called “Terminali i Autobusave të Jugut dhe Veriut”. In the English language, this bus terminal is called “South and North Albania Bus Terminal”.
You can see the location of the bus terminal on a Google Map here: https://goo.gl/maps/WVNwFLHVEix7p9Qt5
Getting to the bus terminal
The Bus Terminal for South and North Albania is located outside the city centre of Tirana. So if you are staying in a hotel anywhere near central Skanderbeg Square, you will need to take a taxi or a city bus to get to the bus terminal. The bus terminal for Saranda is not within a walking distance of the city centre.
You can take a 15-minute taxi ride to get to the bus terminal. Ask the taxi driver to drop you off at “Terminali i Autobusave të Jugut dhe Veriut”. You can grab a taxi off the street. Or you can call taxi companies, like Merr Taxi, Speed Taxi, City Taxi Tirana or Do Taxi. You can also reach them via WhatsApp chat or Viber.
I have spoken with Merr Taxi, Do Taxi Tirana, City Taxi Tirana and Speed Taxi Tirana. And basically, there is no set price for a ride to the bus terminal. The taxi driver will switch on the taxi meter and that will determine how much it will cost you.
You can also take a city bus to get to the Bus Terminal North and South Albania. The city bus departs behind the National History Museum. So when you see the entrance of the National History Museum, you will need to walk to the back of the building to “Rruga Ded Gjo Luli”. You can see the location of the bus stop on a Google Map here: https://goo.gl/maps/GzJhE5m9XtfwgHsR6
From the bus stop on Rruga Ded Gjo Luli, you need to take the bus to “Instituti”. This bus will make a stop at the Bus Terminal for North and South Albania.
Where is the Saranda bus station?
The Saranda bus station is located in the city centre between Friendship Park and the Archaeological Remains of the Synagogue – Basilica, Archeological Remains. You can see the location of the Saranda bus station on a Google Map here: https://goo.gl/maps/VWwBE6NuFFH1TDzb6
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How much is a taxi from Tirana to Saranda?
A taxi from Tirana to Saranda does cost between 126 – 152 euros. To give you a good indication of the taxi price from Tirana to Saranda, I have reached out to several taxi companies in Tirana. There were their quote rates.
- Merr Taxi charges 18000 Leke (152 euros) for a taxi ride from Tirana to Saranda.
- Speed Taxi charges 16000 Leke (135 euros) for a taxi ride from Tirana to Saranda.
- Do Taxi Tirana charges 15000 Leke (126 euros) for a taxi ride from Tirana to Saranda.
- City Taxi Tirana charges 17000 Leke (143 euros) for a taxi ride from Tirana to Saranda.
So if you are looking for a more affordable taxi ride from Tirana to Saranda, you can reach out to Do Taxi or Speed Taxi for more competitive rates.
If you are planning to take a taxi directly from Tirana airport to Saranda. You may want to consider the official Tirana Airport Taxi company. These taxis have the airport logo on them and are parked right in front of the airport terminal building. The official Tirana airport taxi service charges 165 euros for a taxi from Tirana airport to Saranda.
Can I get from Tirana to Saranda by using Uber?
You cannot get an Uber from Tirana to Saranda. Because Uber does not operate in Albania. Although, there were some announcements in the past online about Uber coming to Albania. Uber has not come to Albania (yet).
Taxi apps – As an alternative to Uber, you can use some of the local taxi apps for Albania. The popular taxi apps are the Speed Taxi app, Ups Taxi app and Taxi.al app.
You can download the Speed Taxi app on this website: https://www.speedtaxi.al/ You can download the Ups Taxi app on this website: https://www.upstaxi.com/#/ And you can download the taxi.al app on this website: https://taxi.al/
Calling a taxi via Viber/Whatsapp – But really, you don’t need a specific taxi app, if you have Viber or WhatsApp. The taxi companies in Albania all use Viber and WhatsApp, so you can simply drop a message in the WhatsApp chat and you will immediately get prices quoted.
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How much does it cost to rent a car and drive from Tirana to Saranda?
It does cost at least 20-25 euros per day to rent a car + 80 euros for petrol to drive from Tirana to Saranda.
To give you a good insight into the prices for car rental companies in Albania, I did reach out to several car rental companies and compared their rates. I will say that I asked for the cheapest car they had available, so nothing luxurious on this list!
- Albania Airport Rent a Car charges 20 euros per day for a Skoda Fabia with manual gear from 2019.
- ARA Auto Rental Albania at Tirana airport charges 20 euros per day for a Fiat Punto from 2018.
- Avis Rent a Car Tirana Airport charges 25 euros per day for an Opel Corsa manual gear from 2022.
- G Rentals Tirana airport charges 20 euros per day for an Opel Corsa from 2021.
- Green Motion Tirana airport charges 20 euros per day for a Skoda Fabia.
- Hertz Tirana airport charges 22 euros per day for a Suzuki Ignis from 2019.
- Eurocar Rentals Tirana charges 25 euros per day for a Kia Rio from 2021.
- Easy Rent Tirana charges 30 euros per day for a Fiat Panda.
- Eagle Rent Car Renting Albania charges 20 euros per day for a manual Volkswagen Up.
IMPORTANT – If you are travelling to Albania in July or August, it is the absolute top of the high season. So you will most likely pay more for a rental car since the cheapest cars won’t be available anymore. And as a result, you will only be able to rent a more expensive rental car.
IMPORTANT – I highly recommend you reach out to car rental companies in Albania before you travel. I have received messages from travellers who paid 50-70 euros per day for a rental car. There might be a better deal out there for you, but you must reach out to several car rental companies and compare their offers, to get a good deal.
IMPORTANT – Driving in Albania as a foreigner can be daunting and challenging. Albanian drivers have a chaotic and sometimes aggressive driving style. Of course, there are rules on the road, but Albanian drivers often do not follow these rules. That being said, you are the only one who can judge your driving experience and ability. But I will say that if you have any doubts about driving in Albania, I recommend you take a bus or taxi instead.
There are two routes to drive from Tirana to Saranda:
- Option 1: The coastal road from Tirana to Saranda (Tirana -> Durres -> Fier -> Vlore -> Himare -> Saranda)
- Option 2: The inland road from Tirana to Saranda (Tirana -> Durres -> Fier -> Tepelena -> Saranda)
Option 1: The coastal road from Tirana to Saranda (Tirana -> Durres -> Fier -> Vlore -> Himare -> Saranda)
If you drive from Tirana to Saranda via the coastal route, this is a longer journey. You will drive at least 6-7 hours. However, the coastal road is very beautiful. The stretch of road between Vlore and Saranda is called the Albanian Riviera.
It is worth taking 1 day to drive from Tirana to Saranda via the coastal road and making stops along the journey for a swim or sightseeing. You can stop at Zvernec island, the Llogara Pass, Dhermi beach, Jale beach, Himare beach and the Castle of Ali Pasha in the Bay of Porto Palermo. Part of having a holiday is relaxing and taking your time to view these beautiful spots!
Option 2: The inland road from Tirana to Saranda (Tirana -> Durres -> Fier -> Tepelena -> Saranda)
The inland road from Tirana to Saranda is the quicker route to Saranda. This is the route the bus drivers and taxi drivers take. You drive from Tirana via Durres to Fier. However, Fier, you take the road in the direction of Tepelena.
ROAD UPDATE 2022 – There is now a new road that leads from Tepelena directly to Saranda. So you don’t have to drive via Gjirokaster anymore. This makes the journey quicker. It now takes only 4 hours and 30 minutes or 5 hours to drive from Tirana to Saranda via the inland route.
That being said, you may want to take the older road via Gjirokaster, because Gjirokaster is a UNESCO city. And if you drive from Gjirokaster to Saranda, you will also pass by the beautiful Blue Eye spring, which is an absolute highlight!
How to get from Tirana to Saranda by train?
You cannot get from Tirana to Saranda by train. Because there is no railway connecting Tirana and Saranda. So travelling from Tirana to Saranda by train is not possible.
Train travel in Albania is very limited. Albania is not connected to the European or Balkan railway network, so there are no international passenger trains in Albania. And within Albania’s borders, there are only 2-3 operational trains per week. Since the railway network constructed by the communist regime before 1992, is in desperate need of refurbishment and investment.
How do I get from Tirana airport to Sarande?
You can get from Tirana airport to Saranda by taxi or you can transfer buses. Unfortunately, there is no direct bus from Tirana airport to Saranda, so more info is below.
Tirana airport has a licensed taxi service called “Taxi Tirana Airport by Auto Holiday Albania”. These taxis have the airport logo on them and they are always parked in front of the terminal building. The official Tirana airport taxi services charge 165 euros for a taxi from Tirana airport to Saranda. You can always verify their pricing list online here: https://tiataxi.al/travel/
Since there is no direct bus from Tirana airport to Saranda, you have two options if you plan on travelling there by bus.
- Option 1: Tirana airport to Vlore and then take a bus from Vlore to Saranda
- Option 2: Taxi from Tirana airport to Regional bus terminal and then bus to Saranda
Option 1: Tirana airport to Vlore and then take a bus from Vlore to Saranda
Although there is no direct bus from Tirana airport to Saranda, you can take a direct bus from Tirana airport to Vlore. Basically, by taking the bus to Vlore, you will travel 2.5 hours to the South of Albania in the right direction. Then maybe you stay overnight in Vlore, which is a beautiful coastal town as well, and travel onwards the next day.
The direct bus from Tirana airport to Vlore departs at 00:30 AM, 3:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:30 PM, 14:30 PM, 17:30 PM, 20:00 PM and 22:00 PM. A bus ticket from Tirana airport to Vlore costs 1200 Leke (roughly 10 euros). The bus is operated by Hermes Aeroport. I have personally spoken with Hermes Aeroport to double-check the timetable and pricing.
Option 2: Taxi from Tirana airport to Regional bus terminal and then bus to Saranda
Because there is no direct bus from Tirana airport to Saranda, you must get to the Regional bus terminal to get on the bus to Saranda. A taxi from Tirana airport to the “Albania Bus Terminal North and South Albania” or “Terminali i Autobusave të Jugut dhe Veriut” costs 20 euros or 2500 Leke.
Once you get to the bus terminal, you then transfer onto the bus from the bus terminal to Saranda. This bus departs at 7:30 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:45 AM, 12:30 PM, 16:00 PM and 22:00 PM. You can find the details above in this blog post.
Does Sarande have an airport? Can I take a flight from Tirana to Saranda?
Saranda does not have an airport yet. So you cannot take a flight from Tirana to Saranda.
The Albanian government has announced that a new airport in Saranda is under construction. However, this new airport in Saranda has not opened, since it is not finished yet. As a result, you cannot take a direct flight to Saranda.
So if you want to take a flight to Saranda, you have two options:
- Option 1: Book a flight to Tirana airport. Then take a taxi, bus or rental car to Saranda.
- Option 2: Book a flight to Greek Corfu island. Then take a ferry to Saranda.
Option 1: Book a flight to Tirana airport. Then take a taxi, bus or rental car to Saranda.
Since Saranda does not have an airport, you can fly to Tirana airport instead. Then from Tirana airport, you take a taxi to Saranda (126 – 152 euros) or a rental car (at least 20-25 euros per day) or you take a bus (15 euros p.p.). I have described how you can travel by bus from Tirana to Saranda above.
Option 2: Book a flight to Greek Corfu island. Then take a ferry to Saranda.
The alternative is booking a flight to the Greek Corfu island. Although Corfu is a Greek island, it is actually located closer to the Albanian coastline. As a result, there are daily ferry boats between Corfu island and Saranda.
A ticket for the ferry from Corfu to Saranda costs between 19 euros and 23.80 euros per person depending on the season. You can book a ticket for the ferry from Corfu to Saranda with either Ionian Seaways or Finikas Lines.
How long is the ferry from Corfu to Saranda?
The ferry from Corfu to Saranda takes either 35 minutes if you book the quick boat or 65 minutes if you book the slower boat. There are basically two types of boats:
- Flying Dolphin which is a highspeed hydrofoil. If you book the Flying Dolphin, your boat journey from Corfu to Saranda takes 35 minutes.
- Regular Ferry Boat. If you book a ferry boat or passenger ship, your boat journey from Corfu to Saranda takes 65 minutes.
The timetables on the websites of Ionian Seaways and Finikas Lines do indicate which departures are Flying Dolphins and which departures are regular ferry boats.
What is the distance between Tirana and Saranda?
The distance between Tirana and Saranda is 265 kilometres if you drive the fastest route. The fastest route from Tirana to Saranda is Tirana -> Durres -> Fier -> Tepelena -> Saranda. This is the inland route to Saranda. The journey via this route will take either 4 hours and 30 minutes or 5 hours.
Quick note: Google Maps will underestimate the amount of time you need to drive through Albania. Some roads are older roads and you drive by city centres with traffic, like Durres and Fier, which will slow your journey down.
If you drive from Tirana to Saranda via the coastal road, your journey will be longer, at least 5-6 hours. This route is Tirana -> Durres -> Fier -> Vlore -> Himare -> Saranda. However, this route is very beautiful, as it leads by the Albanian Riviera coastline with many beautiful viewpoints and stopovers.
Is Saranda worth visiting?
Saranda is certainly worth visiting. In Albania, Saranda is known as “the capital of the Albanian Riviera”.
Basically, Saranda is a large coastal town with a harbour. Like many big coastal cities in the Mediterranean Sea, Saranda has all the facilities. In Saranda, there are many bars, clubs and restaurants. There is a huge variety of hotels and apartments. And the atmosphere in Saranda is very vibrant.
One of the main sightseeing spots in Saranda is Lekuresi Castle. Which is basically a viewpoint on the top of the hill. From the castle, you have a stunning view of the entire city of Saranda surrounding the large horseshoe bay.
For many tourists, Saranda is a place to stay from where they make day trips to the sightseeing spots and beaches in the area.
Best sightseeing day trips you can make from Saranda:
1) Butrint UNESCO archaeological park
2) Blue Eye of Saranda
3) Gjirokaster UNESCO city
4) Ksamil beach and islands
Butrint UNESCO archaeological park
Butrint is the most impressive historical sight in Albania. In essence, Butrint is an archaeological park, where you can see the ruins of an ancient city. Butrint was a Greek Colony, a Roman city and a bishopric. What is most impressive about Butrint is that the park is set on a little peninsula surrounded by the water of the Vivari Channel and Lake Butrint. The little almost “island” is overgrown with lush nature. So you basically go on a circular walk on a little island and explore ruins along your walk. Even if archaeology is not your passion, you will really enjoy this beautiful park.
Blue Eye of Saranda
The Blue Eye of Saranda is a natural wonder. It is the magical blue pool surrounded by lush nature. Actually, the Blue Eye is a freshwater spring. Basically, an underwater cave pumps fresh water to the surface of the river. However, what makes this freshwater spring so special, is its mesmerizing beauty. The spring is extremely bright and blue. You won’t believe that it is all-natural. You can see the waving underwater plants and see the ice-cold water going up to the surface with enormous pressure. I definitely recommend you take 1 hour to explore this truly unique natural wonder!
Gjirokaster UNESCO city
Gjirokaster is a historical city in the South of Albania. The old town centre of Gjirokaster is on the UNESCO heritage list and is certainly worth a visit. Within Albania, Gjirokaster is also known as “the stone city”. Because the old town centre has beautiful two-story stone houses. The town is a UNESCO heritage site because it has typical tower houses dating back to the period that Albania was a part of the large Ottoman Empire. The highlight of Gjirokaster is the Gjirokaster Castle, which is located on the top of the hill and offers a stunning view of the entire old town centre. It is also worth exploring one of the old houses, like Zekate House or Skenduli House. So that you can gain a unique insight into what life was like for a rich family during the Ottoman Empire.
Ksamil beach & islands
Without a doubt, Ksamil beach is the most beautiful beach in Albania. Therefore, Ksamil is also known as “the pearl of the Albanian Riviera”. Ksamil beach is set on a little peninsula, so far in the south of Albania, it is incredibly close to the Greek border. The beach of Ksamil has perfectly fine white sand and turquoise green water. But what makes this beach truly special are the four little Ksamil islands in front of the beach. From the beach, you can basically swim, paddle or kayak to the four uninhabited islands. This is your opportunity to visit an uninhabited island! Stay until the evening to watch the sun sink into the sea at sunset.
How do I get to Saranda? You can get to Saranda by flying to Tirana airport and taking a rental car (at least 20-25 euros per day), bus (15 euros) or taxi (126 – 152 euros) to Saranda. Or you can fly to the Greek Corfu island and take a ferry boat to Saranda. The ferry costs 19-23.80 euros and takes 35-65 minutes.
How do I get from Saranda to Tirana airport? You can get from Saranda to Tirana airport by taxi, which costs between 125-165 euros. There is no direct bus. So take the bus from the Saranda bus station near Friendship Park to the Regional bus terminal in Tirana, for 15 euros. Then a taxi to the airport costs 20 euros.
Is Saranda Albania nice? Saranda in Albania is nice. When you travel to Saranda, expect a big coastal town with apartments, hotels, restaurants and bars. This city is mostly a natural harbour with a promenade alongside the sea with many facilities. Smaller beaches for swimming are nearby.
I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania. I arrange your transportation and I am your English speaking guide. So that, you get to experience the most beautiful places in Albania!
Kind regards, Manon
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