How to get from Tirana to Saranda?
If you are planning a trip from Tirana to Saranda, I will help you with the best ways to get from Tirana to Saranda in this blog post. You can get from Tirana to Saranda by bus, by taxi or by rental car, so I will discuss each manner of transportation to get from Tirana to Saranda.
How to get from Tirana to Saranda? You can get from Tirana to Saranda by bus, by taxi or by rental car. There is no train. The bus costs 12 euros for a one-way trip, departs 7 times per day and departs from the Regional Bus Terminal. A taxi costs between 134 euros – 191 euros depending on taxi company you book. A rental car costs at least 20-25 euros per day + 80 euros for petrol.
In this blog post, I will discuss all the details of getting from Tirana to Saranda by bus, by taxi or by rental car. I will also discuss how to get from Tirana airport to Saranda by transferring 1 x time. And the reasons why Saranda is worth a visit!
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
- Price: 12 euros per person one-way
- Departure times: 6:15 AM, 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 city centre)
Tirana to Saranda by taxi
- Price range: 134 euros – 191 euros one-way
- Cheapest taxi companies: Speedtaxi, City Taxi, Euro Taxi
- Tirana airport to Saranda taxi costs 165 euros
Tirana to Saranda by rental car
- 20-25 euros for a rental car per day
- Do your research to get a good deal
- 80 euros for petrol from Tirana to Saranda
- Choose between inland route or coastal route
How to get from Tirana to Saranda by bus?
You can get from Tirana to Saranda by bus in 5 hours. A bus ticket from Tirana to Saranda costs 12 euros per person for a one-way trip.
The bus from Tirana to Saranda departs 7 times per day. The bus from Tirana to Saranda departs at 6:15 AM, 7:30 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:45 AM, 12:30 PM, 16:00 PM and 22:00 PM. You can always check the latest bus timetable from Tirana to Saranda on the website of Gjirafa Autobus here: https://gjirafa.com/autobus
The bus from Tirana to Saranda departs from the Regional Bus Terminal – North and South Albania. In Albanian language, the bus terminal is called “Terminali i Autobusave të Jugut dhe Veriut”. You can see the location of the Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania on a Google Map here: https://goo.gl/maps/bShqRnG1KnenBMfWA
The Regional Bus Terminal for North and South Albania is located about a 15-20 minute drive from the city centre of Tirana. So if you are staying in a hotel in the city centre of Tirana, you must take a short taxi ride or a city bus to get to the Regional Bus Terminal.
The city bus from Tirana’s city centre to the Regional Bus Terminal departs close to Skanderbeg Square. Skanderbeg Square is the central square in the city centre of Tirana. If you are standing on Skanderbeg Square, you need to walk to the back of the National History Museum, to the Dede Gjo Luli Street (In Albanian: Rruga Dede Gjo Luli).
From the bus station on Dede Gjo Luli Street (In Albanian: Rruga Dede Gjo Luli), you must take the bus to Instituti Bujqesor. The bus to Instituti Bujqesor makes a stop at the Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania. A bus ticket will cost you less than 1 euro, so take some Albanian Leke coins with you.
A taxi ride from the city centre of Tirana to the Regional Bus Terminal costs around 5 euros. By taxi, it will take you approximately 20 minutes to get to the Regional Bus Terminal. But I do recommend that you leave on time! Because traffic in the city centre of Tirana can be heavy and it may slow you down significantly.
You do not need to book your bus ticket from Tirana to Saranda online. Albania is a rather “old fashioned” country when it comes to travelling by bus. Basically, Albanian people never pay for your bus ticket online. And nobody in Albania pays for their bus ticket by credit card or debit card. So, I recommend that you bring some cash money with you to the Regional Bus Terminal. And you can buy your bus ticket from the driver of the bus.
How much is a taxi from Tirana to Saranda?
A taxi from Tirana to Saranda costs between 134 euros – 191 euros.
- Merr Taxi charges 191 euros for a taxi from Tirana to Saranda
- UPs taxi charges 21502 Leke (177 euros) for a taxi from Tirana to Saranda
- Speedtaxi charges 16000 Leke or 134 euros for a taxi from Tirana to Saranda
- City Taxi charges 16000 Leke (134 euros) for a taxi from Tirana to Saranda
- Euro Taxi charges 130 euros for a taxi from Tirana to Saranda
The taxi journey from Tirana to Saranda takes 5 hours. If you take a taxi directly from Tirana airport to Saranda, the licensed airport taxis will charge you 165 euros.
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Can I get from Tirana to Saranda by Uber?
You cannot get from Tirana to Saranda by Uber, because Uber does not exist (yet) in Albania. Although Uber did announce in the past that they would come to Albania, this has not happened yet.
However, if you would like to use an app to request a taxi, there are some alternatives to Uber. The popular taxi apps in Albania are the Ups Taxi app, the Speed Taxi app and the Taxi.al taxi app.
You can also request a taxi via Viber or Whatsapp since many of the taxi companies in Albania show their Viber and Whatsapp numbers on their website.
How much does it cost to rent a car and drive from Tirana to Saranda?
It costs at least 20 – 25 euros to rent a car in Albania. And it will cost you around 80 euros to buy petrol for your drive from Tirana to Saranda.
I have recently written a blog post about the costs of renting a car in Albania. I basically requested car rental rates from many car rental companies in Tirana. The most affordable car rental will cost you 20 – 25 euros per day.
However, you must reach out to several car rental companies before your holiday. I recommend you do your research, to ensure you get a good deal! You can read my blog post about the costs of renting a car in Albania here: https://albaniatourguide.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-rent-a-car-in-albania/
There are two possible routes to drive from Tirana to Saranda:
Option 1: The shorter inland road (Tirana -> Durres -> Fier -> Tepelene -> Gjirokaster -> Saranda)
Option 2: The longer coastal road (Tirana -> Durres -> Fier -> Vlore -> Himare -> Saranda)
The shortest route to get from Tirana to Saranda is via the inland route. However, I highly recommend you drive via the longer coastal road instead, because the coastline between Vlore and Saranda is stunning.
The 120-kilometre long coastline between Vlore and Saranda is called “the Albanian Riviera”. And even if, you won’t have time to stop at every beach. You will still enjoy stunning views along this route. I recommend you plan 1 day to drive along the coastline. You can make stops at Zvernec island, the Llogara Pass, Dhermi Beach, Jale beach and the Castle of Ali Pasha in the Bay of Porto Palermo. Take your time, because you are on holiday after all!
Important! Driving in Albania can be daunting or challenging as a foreign driver. The Albanian drivers have a chaotic and aggressive driving style. Although there are rules on the road, you will certainly meet Albanian drivers, who do not follow the rules. You are the only person, who can judge your driving ability, but you must be an alert and confident driver to drive in Albania. Do not drive in Albania at night, because street lighting is very limited.
How do I get from Tirana airport to Sarande?
You can get from Tirana airport to Saranda by taxi or by rental car. There is no direct bus from Tirana airport to Saranda, so you must transfer.
A taxi from Tirana airport to Saranda costs 165 euros. This is the price of the official Tirana airport taxi service. These are the licensed yellow taxis with the airport logo parked in front of the arrivals hall at Tirana airport. If you book a taxi with a different taxi company like Speed taxi, City taxi or Euro taxi, you may be able to get a taxi for around 130 – 135 euros.
If you want to travel by bus from Tirana airport to Saranda, you have two options:
Option 1: Take the direct bus from Tirana airport to Vlore. Then transfer to a bus from Vlore to Saranda.
Option 2: Take a taxi from Tirana airport to the Regional Bus Terminal of Tirana. Then take a bus from the Regional Bus Terminal to Saranda.
Because there is no direct bus from Tirana airport to Saranda. You could take a bus from Tirana to Vlore so that you are already travelling 3 hours to the south in the right direction. The bus from Tirana airport to Vlore costs 1000 Albanian Leke (8.11 euros). The bus from Tirana airport to Vlore departs at 10:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 13:30 PM, 14:30 PM, 16:30 PM and 22:00 PM.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi from Tirana airport to the Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania. A taxi from Tirana airport to the Regional Bus Terminal will cost you 13 euros. And it will take you about 15-20 minutes to get to the Regional Bus Terminal. I have described the bus ticket prices and timetable already above.
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Does Sarande have an airport? Can I take a flight from Tirana to Saranda?
Right now, Saranda does not have an airport. So you cannot take a flight from Tirana to Saranda.
In July 2021, the Albanian government announced that they would be accepting bids from construction companies to build a new airport in Saranda. This new airport in Saranda will cost 37 million euros. Because the airport in Saranda is not finished yet, you cannot currently fly to Saranda.
If you want to take a flight to get to Saranda, you have two options:
Option 1: Book a flight to Tirana International Airport. Then take a taxi, rental car or a bus (transfer needed) from Tirana to Saranda.
Option 2: Book a flight to the Greek Corfu island. And then take a ferry boat from Corfu island to Saranda.
How long is the ferry from Corfu to Saranda?
It takes 35 minutes to take the ferry from Corfu to Saranda. The ferries between Corfu and Saranda are operated by Ionian Seaways and Finikas Lines. Tickets cost between 19 euros – 23.80 euros depending on the season. In the low season, there are 2 ferry departures per day and in the high season 6 ferry departures or more.
If you cannot find an affordable flight from your country to Tirana Airport. You could consider booking a flight from your country to the Greek Corfu island. And then taking the ferry from Corfu island to Saranda.
Another reason to fly to the Greek Corfu island could be that you only want to visit the South of Albania. Including destinations like Saranda, Gjirokaster, Ksamil and Butrint. If you are for certain you are not interested in visiting Tirana, Berat, Shkoder, Lake Koman or the Albanian Alps, it may be worth flying to Corfu.
However, do consider that it will be a long journey because you will first fly to Corfu airport, then take a taxi or bus from the airport to the ferry port, then take the ferry to Saranda and then another taxi to your hotel in Saranda. Moreover, there is an extra border check between Corfu and Albania (including Coronavirus entry requirements).
What is the distance between Tirana and Saranda?
Tirana is 283 kilometres from Saranda.
According to Google Maps routes, it takes about 4 hours and 22 minutes by car. However, from my personal experience as a tour guide, I recommend you schedule 5-6 hours for your journey from Tirana to Saranda. Although the roads are of good quality, you will certainly meet traffic in the cities that you pass, like Durres, Fier, Vlore or Gjirokaster.
If you drive along the coastal route, I recommend you plan 1 day for your drive from Tirana to Saranda, so that you can make stops at the beautiful places and take pictures of stunning views.
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 on 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 the 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 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 is a historical city in the South of Albania. The old town centre of Gjirokaster is on the UNESCO heritage list and 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 perfect 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.
Where is the Saranda bus station?
The bus station in Saranda is in the Rruga Onhezmi, next to the Friendship Park in Saranda. You can see the location of the bus station in Saranda here: https://goo.gl/maps/wN6kxsdFVR427yu37
How to get from Durres to Saranda by bus? You can get from Durres to Saranda by bus once per day at 6:30 AM. The bus is operated by the bus company called “Nord”. The bus departs from the “Stacioni Autobuzave Durres”, which is the Durres Bus Terminal.
How do I take the bus from Tirana to Vlore? You can take the bus from Tirana to Vlore from the Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania, which is about 20 minutes from the city centre of Tirana by taxi. A bus ticket costs 500 Leke (4.05 euros). The bus departs every 30 minutes between 5:00 AM and 17:30 PM.
How do I take the bus from Tirana to Himare? You can take the bus from Tirana to Himare twice per day, at 5:30 AM and 13:00 PM. The bus departs from the Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania, which is a 20 min taxi ride from the city centre of Tirana. A bus ticket from Tirana to Himare costs 1000 Leke (8.10 euros).
How do I take the bus from Tirana to Gjirokaster? You can take the bus from Tirana to Gjirokaster from the Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania, which is 20 minutes from the city centre of Tirana by taxi. A bus ticket from Tirana to Gjirokaster costs 9 euros. The bus departs at 5:00 AM, 6:45 AM, 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 13:00 PM, 14:30 PM, 15:30 PM, 18:30 PM and 20:30 PM.
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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