Albania is one of those places in old Europe that has yet to be discovered by the traveller. Surprising and authentic, the Balkan or Mediterranean country is becoming increasingly popular with Spaniards and travellers from Latin America. We have different ways to get to Spain, not always as direct as one would like, but that is precisely one more reason to choose it as a holiday destination.
How to get to Albania
ARRIVING BY PLANE – FLIGHTS
Until recently there were no non-stop flights between Spain and Albania. Tirana airport is the only airport operating flights of passengers and fortunately there are direct connections from Barcelona and Madrid to the capital of Albania.
From Italy however, there are a large number of cheap direct flights, from airports such as Bologna, Milan, Pisa, Venice, Verona, Rome, Bari, Rimini, Ancona, Florence, Genoa, Perugia or Turin. There are also direct flights to Tirana from Greece, Turkey or Germany with Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Aegean Airlines or Alitalia. So we can fly from Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Valencia, Zaragoza, Bilbao, Malaga or the Canary and Balearic Islands to Italy and make a stopover in Albania.
Other options are to fly to neighbouring countries and from there to Albania. For example, Podgorica airport in Montenegro is not far from the northern border of Albania, and there are transfers to Tirana. It is also possible to fly to the island of Corfu and from there take the ferry to Sarande. Finally, if you have flown to Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia, you can visit it and then cross into Albania across the border at Lake Ohrid, over which both countries have a portion.
HOW TO ARRIVE BY BOAT – FERRIES
There are several ferry companies that connect with Albania from the south of Italy. There are boats from Bari, Brindisi, Ancona or further afield from Trieste. There are also ferries from the Greek island of Corfu to Saranda run by Ionian Cruises.
ARRIVING BY CAR
Getting to Albania by car from Spain is an adventure, more than two thousand kilometres from Barcelona, for example, to Tirana, after a ferry crossing in Bari. This does not mean that one cannot and should not consider the options of flying to Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Italy or the Republic of Macedonia, and after renting a car cross over to Albania. Not surprisingly, one of the best places to get to Albania is Kosovo, where there is a large ethnic Albanian community. The motorway from Pristina to Durres takes just over three hours. If you choose to arrive by rental car, it is advisable to make sure that the company allows you to travel to other countries, as in the event of incidents, accidents or breakdowns, they may not cover it.
The border crossing points to access Albania are Morina”(from Prizren, Kosovo); “Hani i Hotit” (if accessing from Podgorica, Montenegro), the border crossing point of “Kakavi” (coming from Ioannina, Greece), the crossing points of “Kapshtice”, “Tre Urat”, “Igumenica”, “Qafe Bote” (when accessing from Thessaloniki, Greece), or from Macedonia Kafa San (near Struga) and San Naum.
ARRIVING BY TRAIN
In the years of the communist period in the second half of the last century, the railway network was the most important public transport system, but after its collapse in 1991 it was abandoned. As a result, there are no international train connections to Albania.
GETTING BY BUS
Greece offers daily bus connections to Tirana from Athens and Thessaloniki, and it is also possible to reach other Albanian cities. From Macedonia there are direct services from Skopje to Tirana via Struga and Elbasan. From Montenegro there are services from the capital Podgorica and Kotor to Tirana or Shkoder. It is common for border police to carry out slow checks when entering Albania by bus.
From different parts of the neighbouring countries it is possible to reach Albania by private transfers. From Kosovo, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia or Greece there are affordable transfers, especially if you are travelling in a group. As there are direct flights from Spain to Podgorica airport in Montenegro, and Skopje airport in Macedonia, we can choose to fly there and then go to Tirana by transfer.