Replies: 5 - Last Post: Feb 21, 2012 7:39 AM Last Post By: footlooseferrett
Feb 9, 2012 10:01 AM
Albania ItineraryHi guys
My girlfriend and I are going to be travelling around Albania in October.
I have read a number of discussions on here which have helped in formulating a list of places I think we will enjoy. Now I am at the hard part of sorting the logistics.
Here’s what I have so far:
Tirana – Berat (Bus 2-3 hrs)
Berat – Saranda & Ksamil (Bus)
Saranda – Gjirokastra (Bus)
Gjirokastra - Korca (Bus)
Korca – Ohrid (Bus)
Struga (Ohrid) – Tirana (Bus)
Tirana – Prizren (Kosovo) (Bus)
Prizren - Shkodra (Buses and Ferry?)
So, what I would love is for someone to help me with any of the below:
- Does anyone have info on any of these travel legs – any of them too much for one day? I have read the Prizren – Shokdra Ferry is worth doing – anyone done this?
- Any places people think we should add or drop?
- Does the order make no sense and needs to be mixed around?
- Any tips, amazing places to stay, eat or visit? Open to any and all suggestions
- In terms of budgeting, how much will a say a half day minibus ride cost on average? And how much would you expect to pay on average for a budget to mid-level hotel room? I know any numbers will be very subjective but just trying to get a ballpark figure. I assume it’ll be sweet just to turn up and find accom on the day in most of these places in October.
One big question I have is does anyone think it is worth doing Ohrid - (via Skopje to) Pristina and on to Prizren instead of Ohrid – Tirana – Prizren? I guess we are probably just after the easiest route here however conscious that it will be our second visit to Tirana.
- This is part of a larger European trip. The start needs to be somewhere we can fly to from Rome. After Albania we plan to head north into Montenegro and from there on to Bosnia and Herzegovina. So from Shkodra we’ll move on to Ulcinj and further north from there (as far as we can get in that day travelling from Prizren).
- We’ll probably stay at least 2 nights in each place but like to decide this on the road. Don’t really have much in the way of time constraints.
- Travel interests mostly revolve around culture and photography but also an excursion here and there e.g a day walk or a bit of history (but not so into museums). So preference would be towards towns with 1. lots to do e.g. markets, cafes, people out and about and 2. Places with amazing scenery to chill out or go for walks OVER 3. Towns with not much happening but a lot of walking routes available or historical significance.
Thank you in advance for any help!
Feb 9, 2012 10:45 AM
1Sounds like a great trip!
There's no direct bus from Korca to Ohrid that I'm aware of. Get the bus to Pogradec, on the Albania side of Lake Ohrid, then here are my experiences of getting over the border, to the monastery at Sveti Naum and then on to Ohrid: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2063735
Minibuses are incredibly cheap. A half day journey is maybe €5.
Kruja might be nice for you. Castle with good views, museum dedicated to Skenderbeu and an interesting little bazaar where you can see carpets being made. It's an easy day trip from Tirana, maybe 1 - 1.5 hours by bus or furgon. You may have to change at Fushe-Kruja.
Edited by: kingsmeadow
Feb 9, 2012 10:46 AM
2I'm not an expert on Albania but your plans are somewhat problematic to me.
Since you need to fly from Rome, have you considered flying into Skopje (check whichbudget.com or flybudget.com) and heading to Ohrid and then taking the bus to the border, and then proceeding into Albania. Look for some posts about this route and getting to the coast.
You should be able to travel from Shkodra to Prizren and into Montenegro (probably Podgorica). Don't bother spending much time in Podgorica but from there you can take a bus to the coast where I would base myself for a few days and visit Stary Bar, Budva, Kotor Bay and perhaps Cetinje.
In this region I have never stayed in a hotel, preferring instead to take a room in an apartment or an entire flat usually from someone offering at the bus station or ferry terminal. Rooms in October were 10-15 euro for a single person but I expect during the summer they may be more.
Feb 10, 2012 2:24 AM
3Seems feasible. Travelling without planning ahead, and finding a hotel won't be a problem.
Berat – Saranda is a long trip. You could opt to take the much more scenic route via the coast (Berat - Fier - Vlora - Himara - Saranda) and split it in two days, staying the night in Himara. I probably won't be beach weather but the views along the road are great.
Ksamil may be closed up by October, better stay in Saranda in one of the hotels or the hostel. There's city buses to Butrint.
Korca–Ohrid is best done via Pogradec - taxi to the border - Sveti Naum - Ohrid.
I'd go to Prizren direct from Ohrid: Ohrid - Skopje - bus to Pristina - bus to Prizren (or catch the less regular direct Skopje-Prizren bus); can be done in a day.
From Prizren go to Gjakova (worth an hour or two) from where there is a very early morning bus via Lake Koman to Shkodra. The lake route is really beautiful. You reach Shkodra by noon, so you could perhaps make it to Kotor that same day - though I'd suggest a night in Shkodra as I think it's a very nice town; there's the photography archive, city centre, bazaar area and castle to see. Much livelier than Kotor.
If you want wild mountain scenery you could get of the bus from Gjakova at Bajram Curri and take the noon bus up to Valbona (see journeytovalbona.com) for a night or two. Should be really pretty in October with autumn leaves, great for calm walks in the valley.
Feb 15, 2012 6:02 AM
Feb 21, 2012 7:39 AM
5Berat to Saranda is a 6 hour journey which you may or may not want to do in one day. Once in Saranda, make a day trip out to Butrint and the Blue Eye scenic spot. Not much else to do in Saranda though, so pla to move on quickly after here. I did a similar itinerary last year and have written a review of it which should help you with your planing:
Lastly, be sure to try and mingle with the locals. The country is not over-travelled and so the Albanians are keen to talk to foreigners travelling around.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$86.35 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$694.75 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$251.39 per night