How to get from Tirana to Shkoder?
I got many emails asking: How do I get from Tirana to Shkoder? In this blog post, I will discuss getting from Tirana to Shkoder by bus, by taxi and by rental car.
How to get from Tirana to Shkoder? You can get from Tirana to Shkoder by bus, by taxi or by rental car. The bus from Tirana to Shkoder departs from the Regional Bus Station, takes 1 hour and 45 minutes and costs 400 LEK (3.30 euros). By taxi, it costs 54 – 72 euros varying by company. A basic rental car is 20 euros a day + 25 euros for petrol for a one-way drive.
- All busses to Shkoder depart from the Regional Bus Station, how do you get there? And what is the timetable?
- Price comparison of the taxi companies & taxi apps
- Renting a car for your trip & the best route
- Can you travel to Shkoder by train?
What is the best way to get from Tirana to Shkoder?
Let me discuss the different ways you can get from Tirana to Shkoder. I will outline the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Option 1: Travel from Tirana to Shkoder by Bus
- Advantage: It is cheap. You take the bus from the city centre to the Regional Bus Station for less than 1 euro. Then, you take the bus from the Regional Bus Station to Shkoder for 3.30 euros.
- Disadvantage: You have to switch busses at the Regional Bus Station, therefore, it is time-consuming. Moreover, you will spend time figuring out where exactly you must wait for the bus.
- Disadvantage: Many of the sightseeing attractions in Shkoder, like Rozafa Castle, Lake Shkoder and the Mesi Bridge are not within a walking distance from the centre of Shkoder. So you will need to take another bus or taxi in Shkoder to visit the sights.
Option 2: Travel from Tirana to Shkoder with a rental car
- Advantage: The driving route from Tirana to Shkoder is quite straightforward and the road is in a good condition.
- Advantage: You can easily visit the different sightseeing attractions around Shkoder. For many of them, like Rozafa Castle, the Mesi Bridge and Lake Shkoder, you do need a car to get there.
- Disadvantage: It is quite pricy. Because you will spend at least 20 euros on the car rental and then additionally 3000 Leke (25 euros) on petrol for a one-way trip.
- Disadvantage: Driving in Albania as a foreigner can be daunting and challenging. Because the Albanian people have a rather chaotic driving style. Albanian drivers will surprise and scare you, as they often do not follow the rules of the road.
Option 3: Travel from Tirana to Shkoder by taxi
- Advantage: A taxi journey is very convenient and comfortable. You don’t have to worry about finding the bus station and you avoid driving in Albania, which is a lot safer.
- Disadvantage: When you are in Shkoder, you will need to take another taxi or bus to visit the different sightseeing locations. Because sightseeing locations, like Rozafa Castle, Shkoder Lake and the Mesi Bridge are not within a walking distance from the city centre.
- Disadvantage: Taxi journeys in Albania are very pricy. Any taxi company will charge you between 54 – 72 euros for a one-way journey from Tirana to Shkoder.
- IMPORTANT: Make sure you compare the taxi prices with the price of booking a tour! Because often booking a tour is a better deal, because you get two-way transportation, a guide and all the sightseeing attractions for the same price or less than a taxi!
Option 4: Book a tour from Tirana to Shkoder
- Advantage: It is stress-free and convenient. Because you will be picked up, transportation is taken care of and you visit all the sightseeing attractions too! In Shkoder, sightseeing attractions are far away from each other. So having a tour guide, who takes you around will allow you to see many sightseeing places, without having to worry about how to get there.
- Advantage: Group tours and private tours are often better deals than taxi journeys or car rentals in Albania. You will get the transportation and the sightseeing for less money than you would spend on a taxi only or petrol and a car rental.
- Disadvantage: A tour is more expensive than taking the local bus and buying your own entrance tickets. So if you are on a tight budget or backpacking, you may prefer to travel by local bus.
How to get from Tirana to Shkoder by bus?
You can get from Tirana to Shkoder by bus by taking two steps:
Step 1: Travel from the city centre of Tirana to the Regional Bus Terminal
Step 2: Take the bus from the Regional Bus Terminal to Shkoder
Step 1: Travel from the city centre of Tirana to the Regional Bus Terminal
All the busses from Tirana to Shkoder depart from the Regional Bus Terminal. Basically, you must always travel to the Regional Bus Terminal, if you want to travel from Tirana to another city in Albania.
Regional Bus Terminal – North and South Albania
In Albanian language: 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/6E1rETJH76i5irWj8
From the city centre of Tirana, you can take the bus to Instituti Bujqesor to the Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania.
Bus to Instituti Bujqesor departs behind the National History Museum, which is on the central Skanderbeg Square. The bus station is on the backside of the National History Museum in the Dede Gjo Luli Street (In Albanian: Rruga Dede Gjo Luli).
Or you can take a short 15-minute taxi ride from the city centre to the Regional Bus Terminal North and South. It will cost you around 5 euros.
Step 2: Take the bus from the Regional Bus Terminal to Shkoder
The bus from Tirana to Shkoder departs from the Regional Bus Terminal. You can see the location of the regional bus terminal on a Google Map here: https://goo.gl/maps/6E1rETJH76i5irWj8
It takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to travel from Tirana to Shkoder by bus. There is a bus from Tirana to Shkoder every 30 minutes between 6:30 AM and 17:00 PM.
The bus from Tirana to Shkoder departs at 6:30 AM, 7:00 AM, 7:15 AM, 7:30 AM, 8:00 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:00 AM, 9:18 AM, 9:30 AM, 10:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 12:30 PM, 13:00 PM, 13:30 PM, 14:00 PM, 14:30 PM, 15:00 PM, 15:30 PM, 16:00 PM, 16:30 PM, 17:00 PM.
You can always check the up-to-date timetables on the website of Gjirafa Autobus here: https://gjirafa.com/Autobus
A one-way bus trip from Tirana to Shkoder costs 400 Leke (3.30 euros). And a return bus trip from Tirana to Shkoder costs 800 Leke (6.60 euros).
Don’t worry about finding the correct bus. Each minibus in Albania has a sign with the destination in the front window. Moreover, when you get to the bus station, bus drivers will approach you and ask for your destination to get you on the correct bus.
You do not need to book your bus ticket online or reserve a seat. Simply travel to the bus station and pay for your bus ticket in cash to the bus driver. Albanian people always pay for their bus tickets in cash.
It is not possible to pay by debit card or credit card for your bus ticket in Albania.
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How to get from Tirana to Shkoder with a rental car?
An affordable rental car in Albania will cost you 20 euros per day.
But I highly recommend that you contact different car rental companies before your holiday by email to get quotations. Because there certainly are car rental companies that will charge you a lot more than 20 euros per day. So do your research to get a good deal!
You may also want to Google “Makina me qera Tirane”, which is Albanian for “Rent a car in Tirana”. So that you can contact some of the local car rental companies, which can offer better deals than the well-known international brands (e.g. Europcar, Avis, Enterprise etcetera).
You will spend approximately 25 euros on petrol for your car journey from Tirana to Shkoder.
Attention! Driving in Albania can be daunting and challenging as a foreigner. Because the Albanian drivers have a chaotic driving style. For instance, drivers may overtake you on the left and the right or join a roundabout whenever they feel it is their turn. Basically, Albanian people do not really follow the rules of the road.
That said, you are the only one, who can determine whether you have the driving skills, driving experience and confidence to drive in Albania.
How to get from Tirana to Shkoder by taxi?
I asked several taxi companies in Tirana, what they would charge for a taxi from Tirana to Shkoder.
- Merr Taxi charges 72 euros for a taxi from Tirana to Shkoder.
- Speed Taxi charges 6500 Leke (54 euros) for a taxi from Tirana to Shkoder.
- Tirana Airport Taxi charges 55 – 62 euros for a taxi from Tirana Airport to Shkoder.
- UPs Taxi charges 60 euros for a taxi from Tirana to Shkoder.
Merr Taxi is a branded taxi company in Tirana. And they actually have a taxi fare calculator on their website, which you might find very helpful. You can find the taxi fare calculator here: https://merrtaxi.com/tirana-taxi-fare-calculator
Speed Taxi is another branded taxi company. They have a taxi app, which is convenient. You can find more information below.
Tirana Airport Taxi is the official taxi service licenced by the airport. They actually have a set price list for all destinations in Albania. I find the price list very helpful because I always know if a quote from another taxi company is high or low by comparison. You can see the taxi price list here: https://tiataxi.al/travel/
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Is there UBER in Albania?
UBER does not exist in Albania. In the past, UBER did announce that they would come to Albania, but so far, UBER is not operating in Albania.
However, there are some taxi Apps that you can use, as an alternative to using UBER.
Taxi APPs in Albania:
1. UPs Taxi App
2. Speed Taxi App
3. Taxi.al App
The UPs taxi app is similar to UBER. Because it will connect you to a taxi owner near your location. If you request a taxi through UPs taxi, it is always a licenced taxi.
Speed Taxi is a branded taxi company, who has its own taxi app. So if you request a taxi through the app, you will get a branded taxi and the driver is an employee of the Speed taxi company. Which is a bit different from UBER.
The Taxi.al App is very similar to Uber. Because drivers register on their website and these are private drivers with their own cars. You will most likely pay for your taxi in cash.
Book a day tour from Tirana to Shkoder
Always do your research! Because very often a group tour or a private tour in Albania is cheaper than booking a taxi or renting a car and paying for petrol.
As I mentioned before, taxi services in Albania are pricy. A taxi from Tirana to Shkoder costs between 54 – 72 euros for a one-way trip.
Often if you check tour prices online, you may get this same price for a tour. However, the tour will include two-way transportation, a guide and all the sightseeing attractions. So it is often the better deal!
Can you get from Tirana to Shkoder by train?
You cannot get from Tirana to Shkoder by train. Let me explain the reasons why you cannot get from Tirana to Shkoder by train.
Firstly, Albanian people do not travel by train. Because the rail network was built during the communist regime which ended in 1992. And there has not been any refurbishment, maintenance or expansion on the rail network since that period.
As a result, the trains in Albania are very old and they travel very slowly. Many of the trains have broken windows and are covered in graffiti. And because so few people travel by train, there are very few trains a day. It is simply faster to travel from A to B by bus in Albania.
Secondly, the Albanian government demolished the train station in the city centre of Tirana in 2013. And no new rail station has been built in Tirana’s city centre. So the nearest train station is in the Kashar neighbourhood of Tirana, 10 kilometres from the city centre of Tirana.
The only reason to travel by train in Albania is if you want to experience an old fashioned train. It is not really an effective manner of transportation. So if you take a train, you must do it simply as an adventure. And in that case, I would recommend a shorter distance train journey from Tirana to Durres.
How to get from Tirana airport to Shkoder?
You can get from Tirana airport to Shkoder by taxi or with a rental car.
- Taxi from Tirana airport to Shkoder 55 euros – 62 euros
- Rental car 20 euros per day + 25 euros for petrol from Tirana to Shkoder
- Taxi to the bus station 13 euros + Local bus to Shkoder 3.30 euros
A taxi from Tirana airport to Shkoder costs between 55 euros – 62 euros. This is the price of the Official Airport Taxis. The Official Airport Taxis have a set price list, which you can see here: https://tiataxi.al/travel/
There is no direct bus from Tirana airport to Shkoder. Because the bus from Tirana to Shkoder departs from the Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania (in Albanian: Terminali i Autobusave të Jugut dhe Veriut).
So if you want to travel by bus, you must first take a taxi from Tirana airport to the Regional Bus Terminal North and South Albania, which costs 13 euros. And then you take the bus from the regional bus station to Shkoder, which costs 400 Leke (3.30 euros). More information can be found above.
If you really prefer travelling by bus, I would recommend that you book your first night hotel in Tirana or Durres. Because there is a direct bus from Tirana International Airport to either Tirana or Durres. Which will be a lot more convenient for you.
What is the distance between Tirana and Shkoder?
The distance between Tirana and Shkoder is 103 kilometres. It will always take you about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get from Tirana to Shkoder.
Because you always travel on the same road, regardless of whether you travel by rental car, by bus or with a taxi. There is no effective train connection.
What are the best things to do in Shkoder?
Rozafa Castle is the top sightseeing attraction in Shkoder. It is a large castle on the top of a hill near Shkoder city. The castle has a spectacular, panoramic view over Shkoder city and the Lake of Shkodra. The Illyrians originally founded the castle in antiquity, but it was later rebuilt by the Venetians and the Turkish Ottomans. Apart from the stunning views, the castle is also known for its famous legend about the 3 brothers who built the castle and the sacrifice of lady Rozafa.
Venice Art Mask Factory
The Venice Art Mask Factory is a factory and exhibition of Venetian Masks. The factory was started in 1997 by Edmond Angoni, who is originally from Albania, but spend a long period of time in Venice. Back in Albania, he began creating Venetian masks and turned it into a worldwide factory. The factory has eight shops in Venice and one in Las Vegas, and it sells masks in luxury shops in Dubai and Australia as well.
In the Venice Art Mask Factory, you can see a display of 1700 unique art masks. Each mask is produced by 12 or 13 professionals, who work on the moulding, papier-mache, painting and decorations. The factory produces more than 30.000 masks per year. It is very enjoyable to browse through the beautiful collection of masks. Each mask is a unique work of art. The masks vary in price point, so you might even find a unique souvenir to take home.
Marubi National Photography Museum
The Marubi National Photography Museum is a collection of photos taken by three generations of photographers. In 1850, Pietro Marubbi, an Italian painter and photographer, emigrated from Italy to Shkoder for political reasons. Whilst in Shkoder, he founded a photo business called Foto Marubi. He trained Kel Kodheli, who took over the family business after Pietro’s death and changed his name to Kel Marubi. And later Kel’s son, Gege Marubi followed in his footsteps.
In the Marubi National Photography Museum, you can see a collection of 400.000 photographs that tell Albania’s history. The Marubi family photographed significant national events and daily life in Albania. There are portraits of tribal leaders, highland uprisings and influential persons, like Edith Durham.
The Mesi Bridge is a cultural monument to the northeast of Shkoder city. It is a historical bridge that was build in the 18th century when Albania was ruled by the Turkish Ottoman empire.
Today, it is the largest remaining bridge from the Ottoman period in Albania. The bridge is a tourist attraction and it was voted the top bridge to visit in Albania by TripAdvisor. The bridge is 108 meters long and it has a total of 13 little arches. It is surrounded by the beautiful mountains in the background.
Rruga Kole Idromeno
Kole Idromeno Street is a famous pedestrian street in the centre of Shkoder city. It is a very pretty boulevard with many terraces. The pedestrian street was designed by a local architect and painter called Kole Idromeno. The architect was schooled in Venice and therefore, the boulevard has a very Italian feel. It has many decorative details like beautiful stones and romantic lighting. The Kole Idromeno boulevard is a lovely place for strolling, shopping for souvenirs or enjoying a beautiful afternoon on the terrace.
If you enjoy spending time in nature, you will enjoy visiting Shkodra Lake. The Lake of Shkodra is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula. It is located on the border between Albania and Montenegro. It is a calming and refreshing area. You can drive along the road to Shiroka and visit the Buna River delta. The lake has crystal clear water and it is a very beautiful location.
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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I am a Tour Guide in Albania
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