How to get from Tirana to Theth? In one day.
The information online about how to get from Tirana to Theth can be confusing. And as a result, I often get emails asking “How do I get from Tirana to Theth by car or by bus?” To make it easier for everyone, I decided to explain the best ways to get from Tirana to Theth in a blog post.
How to get from Tirana to Theth? You can get from Tirana to Theth by bus, by car or with a local driver/guide. By bus, first take a bus from Tirana to Shkoder (1 h 45 min, 3.30 euro). Stay overnight in Shkoder. At 7 AM the next morning, take a bus from Shkoder to Theth (3 hours, 10 euros). By car, I recommend hiring a 4 x4 car for your safety. And finally, the best way to go to Theth is booking a local driver or guide, who knows the terrain.
Theth is a remote area, high in the Albanian Alps. And due to the poor condition of the road to Theth, there are some important things to consider for your safety. Keep on reading to make sure you are well prepared for your trip from Tirana to Theth.
IMPORTANT: I HAVE WRITTEN A 2022 UPDATE OF THIS BLOG POST HERE -> Is the road to Theth completed? 2022 UPDATE -> https://albaniatourguide.com/is-the-road-to-theth-completed-2022-update/
How to get from Tirana to Theth in one day?
You can get from Tirana to Theth in one day with a rental car, by hiring a local driver or by hiring a local tour guide.
IMPORTANT: You cannot get from Tirana to Theth with the local bus in 1 day. Because the first bus from Tirana to Shkoder departs at 6:30 AM and it takes 1h and 45 minutes to get to Shkoder. However, there is only 1 bus from Shkoder to Theth at 7:00 AM. So you will miss this bus and you must stay overnight in Shkoder to catch the bus to Theth the next day. Or you must take an early morning taxi to Shkoder to catch the bus to Theth, which departs at 7:00 AM.
Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each way to get to Theth.
Option 1: Travel from Tirana to Theth by bus
-Advantage: Cheap journey, it will cost you 3.30 euros to get from Tirana to Shkoder by bus. And 10 euros to get from Shkoder to Theth by bus for a one-way journey.
-Disadvantage: It is very time-consuming. If you want to travel by bus from Tirana to Theth and back, it will take you 3 days.
- Day 1: Take the bus from Tirana to Shkoder and stay overnight in Shkoder. You cannot travel by bus from Tirana to Shkoder and onwards to Theth on the same day. Because the first bus from Tirana to Shkoder departs at 6:30 AM and it takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. However, there is only one bus from Shkoder to Theth, which departs at 7:00 AM. So you cannot catch the bus from Shkoder to Theth, because you won’t be in Shkoder on time if you take the bus from Tirana to Shkoder. Unless you take an early morning taxi.
- Day 2: Take the 7:00 AM bus from Shkoder to Theth. Explore the Theth village and hike to the Blue Eye of Theth or the Waterfall of Theth. You must stay overnight in Theth because there is no bus back to Shkoder in the evening.
- Day 3: Take the bus from Theth back to Shkoder at 12:00 PM and then another bus from Shkoder back to Tirana.
-Advice: You can save time by taking an early morning taxi ride from Tirana to Shkoder and catch the 7:00 AM bus to Theth. But in that case, booking a tour might be easier, no?
-Disadvantage: You must stay at least 1 night in Theth because there is no bus going back in the evening. So you must pay for a guest house in Theth, which costs 40 euros per person.
-Disadvantage: You must travel to the Intercity bus station in Tirana, which is 20 minutes from the city centre of Tirana. So that is another bus or taxi simply to get to the bus station.
-Disadvantage: The bus to Theth will drop you at the guest house, from there you must hike 4 hours to the Blue Eye of Theth and 4 hours back. Or you pay extra for a taxi from the Theth village to the hiking trailhead. This taxi is 40 euros.
-Disadvantage: As you can see the bus trips themselves are cheap. However, with the additional costs of accommodation and taxi rides, you may not really save money if you compare it with a tour package.
Option 2: Travel from Tirana to Theth with a rental car
-Advantage: You can travel direct from Tirana to Theth. No need to switch busses!
-Advantage: When you arrive in Theth, you can drive to the Blue Eye of Theth trailhead. Which saves you 3 hours of hiking along the road, so you only hike 1 hour to get to the Blue Eye of Theth and 1 hour to hike back.
-Disadvantage: Safety! The last 1 hour of the road to Theth is a dirt track with stones. It is a single track, so if you meet cars from the other direction, you must manoeuvre on the top of the cliff.
-Advice: You absolutely must drive with a 4 wheel drive for your safety. Moreover, I recommend that you hire a local driver with a 4 wheel drive car instead, who knows how to manoeuvre the terrain. It will be safer, less risky and less stressful.
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Option 3: Travel from Tirana to Theth with a local driver or tour guide
-Advantage: Travelling to Theth with a local driver or local tour guide is the safest option. The locals know the terrain. The last hour of the road to Theth is a dirt track with stones. Plus the roads from the Theth village to the Blue Eye and the Waterfall are dirt tracks with large stones as well. So having a local driver will make the journey quicker, stress-free and much safer.
-Advantage: You safe time. Because if you hire a local driver with a 4 x 4, you can go for only 1 day and come back the same day.
-Advantage: You can see more sights in Theth, because you have private transportation. Because if you were to travel by bus, the bus will drop you in the Theth village. And then you would spend 4 hours hiking from the Theth village to the Blue Eye of Theth and 4 hours back. However, if you have a 4 x 4 with a driver, you can drive to the trailhead and hike only 1 hour to the Blue Eye of Theth and 1 hour back. So you will still have time and energy, to also drive to the waterfall and hike there.
-Disadvantage: Hiring a 4 x 4 with a local driver or booking a tour is more expensive than travelling by bus.
How to get from Tirana to Theth by bus?
If you want to get from Tirana to Theth by bus, you must take 3 steps:
Step 1: Travel from Tirana’s city centre to the Intercity bus station
Step 2: Take the bus from Tirana’s Intercity bus station to Shkoder and stay overnight
Step 3: Take the bus from Shkoder to Theth the next day
How do I get to the Intercity bus station in Tirana?
All the busses from Tirana to another city depart from the Intercity Bus Station.
The Intercity Bus Station is called: Terminali i Autobusave të Jugut dhe Veriut. You can see the location by clicking on this Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/yXLYE2VSafBQ35RM8
From Tirana’s city centre, it takes roughly 20 minutes to get to the Intercity Bus Station. You can simply take a short taxi ride. Or you can take the bus from the city centre to Kamez or the bus from the city centre to Instituti. Both these busses stop at the Intercity bus station.
It is also helpful to download the “Tirana Public Transport” App so you can see the bus routes inside the city centre of Tirana. You can download the free public transport app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=inovacion.al.tiranapublictransport&hl=en&gl=US
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How to get from Tirana to Shkoder by bus?
You can get from Tirana to Shkoder by bus in 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The busses from Tirana to Shkoder depart from the Intercity bus station, which is located here: https://goo.gl/maps/yXLYE2VSafBQ35RM8
The bus from Tirana to Shkoder departs every half hour between 6:30 AM and 17:00 PM. So there is a bus at 6:30 AM, then at 7:00 AM, then at 7:30 AM and so on. You can check the latest bus timetable on the website of Gjirafa Autobus ( https://gjirafa.com/autobus ).
A bus ticket from Tirana to Shkoder will cost you 400 Leke (3.30 euros) for a one-way trip.
I often get the question about whether you should book your bus ticket online or not? The answer is no. The Albanian people simply show up at the bus station and pay cash money to the bus driver for their ticket.
IMPORTANT: You must have cash, bus drivers in Albania cannot process credit card or debit card payments.
After you arrive in Shkoder by bus, you must stay overnight in Shkoder. Because the next bus from Shkoder to Theth will depart the next morning at 7:00 AM.
How to get from Shkoder to Theth by bus?
To get from Shkoder to Theth by bus, you must take the 7:00 AM bus. There is only one bus from Shkoder to Theth which departs at 7:00 AM.
The bus journey from Shkoder to Theth takes roughly 3 hours, so you will arrive in Theth between 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM.
The bus from Shkoder to Theth picks up passengers from their hotel in Shkoder. So you can ask your hotel to call the bus so that the bus will pick you up from your hotel the next morning.
Or you can book a tour package online or with an agency in Shkoder. A tour package will usually include the bus journey as well as the guest house in Theth with breakfast and dinner. If your tour package includes a bus journey, it will be the shared bus, which departs at 7:00 AM.
The bus trip from Shkoder to Theth costs 10 euros per person for a one-way journey.
Can you drive to Theth in Albania?
You can drive to Theth, however, you must hire a 4 x 4 car due to the poor condition of the road. And actually, for your safety, I would recommend that you hire a local driver with a 4 Wheel Drive instead.
Driving from Tirana to Theth:
Step 1: Drive from Tirana to Shkoder
It takes 2 hours to drive from Tirana to Shkoder and the condition of the road to Shkoder is good.
Step 2: Drive from Shkoder to Theth
It takes roughly 3 hours to drive from Shkoder to Theth. The first two hours of the road are in a good condition. Because the first two hours of the road, you will drive on asphalt.
However, the last hour of the road to Theth is a dirt track. There are big stones on the dirt track and the road has potholes.
Moreover, the road is high in the mountains, so you drive on the top of a cliff without a guardrail. The road is a single track road, so if you meet a car from the other direction, you must manoeuvre on the top of the cliff.
For this reason, if you decide to drive to Theth, I highly recommend you rent a 4 x 4 car. And for your safety, it will be best to hire a local driver with a four-wheel-drive car, who knows the terrain.
A local driver knows the different mountain routes and can also drive you close to the Blue Eye of Theth and close to the Grunas Waterfall. So that you can see a lot of beautiful places in Theth in a shorter amount of time.
What is the distance between Shkoder and Theth?
The distance between Shkoder and Theth is 76 kilometres. However, it will take you 3 hours to drive from Shkoder to Theth.
Because the road from Shkoder to Theth is in a good asphalted condition for the first 2 hours, but the last hour of the trip is a stony dirt track. So you will only be able to drive slowly for the last hour of the trip.
Where to stay in Theth?
In Theth, you will stay in a guest house. Theth is a remote mountain village and the accommodations are all guest houses.
A guest house is a basic accommodation. So your room will simply be equipped with a bed, a bathroom and some hooks to hang your clothes.
All guesthouses in Theth include breakfast and dinner because there is no supermarket in Theth.
All of the guests in the guesthouse will be served the same dinner and the same breakfast. What I mean to say, is that it is not an a la carte menu, you do not choose what foods you get served. Instead, you eat whatever the chef prepared that day.
The food in the guest houses is of great quality, usually biological and very fresh.
What to see in Theth?
In Theth, you can visit these sightseeing places:
1. The Blue Eye of Theth
2. The Grunas Waterfall of Theth
3. The Church of Theth
4. The Lock-in Tower of Theth
The Blue Eye of Theth
The Blue Eye of Theth is a natural pool in the mountains near the Theth village. The natural pool has incredibly clear water and it is filled by a little waterfall. Surrounding the blue eye of Theth, there are beautiful cliffs and nature.
How to get to the Blue Eye of Theth?
It is worth making a plan of how you are going to the Blue Eye of Theth. Because if you travel to Theth by bus, you will be dropped off in the Theth village. However, from the Theth village it takes 4 hours to walk to the Blue Eye of Theth and 4 hours back.
The alternative is hiring a 4 Wheel Drive taxi from the Theth village to the trailhead of the Blue Eye. By hiring a 4 Wheel Drive taxi, you skip the first 3 hours of hiking along the road. So when you arrive at the trailhead by car, you only have to hike 1 hour to the Blue Eye of Theth and 1 hour back.
It is really worth taking a 4 Wheel Drive to the trailhead. Because after visiting the Blue Eye of Theth, you will still have time and energy to visit the Grunas Waterfall. Whereas if you were to hike for 8 hours, you won’t be able to visit the Grunas Waterfall.
The Grunas Waterfall of Theth
The Grunas Waterfall is a beautiful 30-meter high waterfall close to the Theth village. After the Blue Eye of Theth, the Grunas Waterfall is the second most interest place to visit in Theth.
If you hike from the Theth village to the waterfall, it will take you about 1 hour to the waterfall and 1 hour back. If you go with the 4 Wheel Drive car, you only hike for about 30-40 minutes from the trailhead.
The Church of Theth
In Theth village, there are two historical sights that you can visit: the Church of Theth and the Lock-in Tower of Theth.
There is the little Theth church. The original inhabitants from Theth were Catholics. This little church was built in 1982. In 1917, the church became the first Albanian language school in Theth. This was just after the Albanian independence of 1912 from the Ottoman Empire.
During the communist time, the church was closed, because religion was forbidden. And the church was used as a hospital and birthing centre. So a lot of the Theth inhabitants were born in this church.
The Lock-in Tower of Theth
The Lock-in Tower of Theth is an important landmark related to the mountain traditions.
For hundreds of years, the inhabitants of the mountains used to follow the Kanun of Leke Dukajin. Essentially, the Kanun is a set of oral laws from the 15th century.
The Kanun had rules about what to do when someone committed a crime and how to handle conflict. Blood feud due to family conflict was common. If one man killed someone from another family, according to the Kanun, a revenge kill was in order.
The Lock-in Tower was an essential building. Because it was the places where the next man in line to be killed could imprison himself, until the conflict between the families was resolved. The tower was also used as a court, where families in conflict could come together to come to a resolution.
Theth to Valbona Hike
After visiting the Theth village, the Blue Eye and the waterfall, you have two choices:
Option 1: You can travel back to Shkoder and onward to Tirana
Option 2: You can hike across the Theth to Valbone Pass
The Valbone Pass is an 1800 meter high mountain pass. The hiking trail across the path connects Theth and Valbone. Both Theth and Valbone are very remote villages.
There is no road connecting Theth and Valbone, only a hiking trail across the pass.
If you want to hike across the pass it will take you a full day, most likely between 6-8 hours depending on your speed.
You may rent a mule or donkey to carry your luggage so that you can hike without extra weight on your shoulders.
You do need an additional two days after your visit to Theth to complete this journey. Because it will take you one day to hike accross the Valbone Pass and stay overnight in Valbone. Then the next day it will take you a full day to travel back from Valbone, with the Lake Koman Ferry to Shkoder city.
Lake Koman Ferry and the Shala River boat
If you do not enjoy hiking or believe the hike across the Valbone Pass is too challenging for you. You can travel back from Theth to Shkoder. And the next day, I recommend you go on a tour with the Lake Koman Ferry or the boat on the Shala River. This way, you avoid the day-long hike, but you can still experience the beauty of Lake Koman.
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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