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Albania by bus in 10 days??

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Apr 15th, 2014, 02:36 PM
  #1
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Albania by bus in 10 days??

Hi!
I'll be in Albania in September. I'm travelling solo. Albania is my first stop. I'm considering spending 8-10 days in the country before moving to Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro. In total, I'll be traveling for 32 days.

My traveling plan is this one for Albania:
- Tirana 2 days
- Berat 1 day
- Drymades - Butrint 2-3 days
- Gjirokastra 1 day
- Shkodra (Koman lake, Valbonë, Theth) 2-3 days.
and then off to Serbia.

I'm planing to travel only by bus in Albania but I don't find recent informations about the bus system, (schedules, etc). From old post, it's seems like the bus system is pretty slow, chaotic and not reliable.

Does anyone have informations about getting your way around Albania. Is it better to rent a car? It's not my first option but if it's the best way to see the country and it's safe I might consider it...

thanks a lot for your answer!
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Apr 15th, 2014, 04:53 PM
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I hope you are kidding. Albania is the only country in Europe in which I felt uneasy--it really seemed seedy to me.
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Apr 15th, 2014, 05:37 PM
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I've never been but I know a couple who went to Albania about 18 months ago and both of them said they'd never go back. (And they do like traveling in Eastern Europe)

But like I said - I don't have my own personal experience
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Apr 15th, 2014, 06:21 PM
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I don't want this to sound mean, but it probably will. It's not meant that way. I just have to say that Albania by bus is my favorite thread title on Fodor's, ever.

From what I've read and heard, I think you might not want to do this, even by car. I watched a documentary wherein petrol and tires were often stolen in Albania.
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Apr 15th, 2014, 06:24 PM
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Several years ago I spent a couple of days in Albania with a National Geographic Expedition. I loved it; the country is fascinating but, that said, I would NOT adventure into the country by myself. I am quite certain that trying to travel by bus would at the very least be frustrating. Personally, I wouldn't even think about driving on my own. Your best bet would be to find a guide or guiding service for your travels through Albania.
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Apr 15th, 2014, 06:54 PM
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Well, I am really surprised by these posts. I (older female) traveled solo in Albania in 2011, mostly by bus or minibus plus one hired car and driver. I even posted about it on Fodors - http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rn-balkans.cfm

Friends of mine just visited, also by bus, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I traveled from Macedonia (a place I recommend, especially Ohrid), through Albania and on to Montenegro, my friends arrived from Greece.

I did feel a little uncomfortable in Korca, the least touristed of the places I visited, but otherwise I was fine. WRT the buses, the only problem I found is that they tend to leave early, and it's not always easy to figure out the timetable.

I do wonder when, exactly, tuscanlifeedit's documentary was shot. These negative threads sound very dated to me.

BTW, for the same text as my Fodor's thread but with pix, start here: http://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com/...on-to-albania/
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Apr 15th, 2014, 09:10 PM
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Wow! I'm getting the same answers as the blog i'm reading! Its either people telling me not to go by any means (most of them although never step a foot in the country) or other telling me its going to be just fine.... Im still not sure what to think of it....
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Apr 15th, 2014, 09:24 PM
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"most of them although never step a foot in the country"

Precisely.

For my friends' take on Albania, bearing in mind they were actually there, just last month, start here: http://meckleyearth.blogspot.com/201...o-albania.html
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Apr 15th, 2014, 11:48 PM
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It would really help if people who said they "felt uncomfortable" would also say why and detail, at least a little, the circumstances, etc. This lack of detail and rationale is never helpful but for some posters it seems to be the rule rather than the exception.
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Apr 16th, 2014, 04:42 AM
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I know three people who have been to Albania as " tourists."

Two are Albanian Americans, people whose fathers or grandfathers immigrated to the US. They are not related, and their families came from opposite ends of the country. They did not travel in the same year. Both speak about as much Albanian as third generation American Jews speak Yiddish, words and phrases. Both had a fabulous time. Albania is a very small, very poor country with a chaotic history. It is not a place to visit if you require luxury accommodation or gourmet meals. Their experience was that Albanians were very proud and were wonderful hosts, delighted to see Albanian Americans visiting " home".

My third friend is a UK ex-pat who prefers to live well, though he has knocked around quite a bit. He felt he was a target for scams and likely to be a target for criminal activity. He was offered lots of sex and drugs. He refused all offers.

Wildly differing experiences like these are consistent with the above and will either make ou more or less eager to go. My guess is that if you don't display wealth and do display interest, you will be fine. I would not myself play up my interest in going on to Serbia and Montenegro as these countries have a history of atrocities against Albanians and vice-versa. I would probably exit to a third country and go on from there.
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Apr 16th, 2014, 05:00 AM
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@Dukey - I wrote an extensive TR about my trip to Albania, linked above. People who want to know more about my visit can read it, I see no reason to rewrite it here.
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Apr 16th, 2014, 06:10 AM
  #12
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thanks a lot Thursdaysd and Ackislander for your great answers.

From what I read from your experience or your friends experiences, it's not the easiest country to travel but I think I'll give it a try.

I'm starting with Tirana the capital so I'll see from there if I'm feeling confortable and safe and then see where to go next.

thanks again
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Apr 16th, 2014, 06:43 AM
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You're welcome, cath. I hope you'll come back and write a TR for your trip, as you can see, there's not a lot of info on Albania here, lol. Also, do consider going over the border to Macedonia, another place that doesn't get a lot of coverage here. As you can see from my TR, I found some really good scenery and a quite interesting capital city.
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Apr 16th, 2014, 06:48 AM
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BTW, neither I nor my friends had any trouble going to Montenegro from Albania. I took the bus from Shkodra, they took a bus to Shkodra and a taxi from there (I suspect they got to Shkodra after the bus had left).
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Apr 16th, 2014, 12:41 PM
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thanks again thursdaysd. I'll write about my experience when i'll come back in October.
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May 28th, 2015, 01:51 AM
  #16
 
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Hi Cath,

I hope you are still planning this trip and you haven't been put off by the comments. My partner and I spent 8 days in Albania this April, travelling on public transport and it most certainly was an experience.

We found Albanian's to be very honest, decent and helpful individuals, everyone whom we met was helpful and not once did we feel anyone tried to rip us off.

You won't find anything online about bus schedules/timetables etc because they don't really exist. Albania hasn't figured out how to make best use of the internet yet, they aren't a commercialist society and work is very much underway for improving their infrastructure. People are just coming to terms with getting there heads around the "Business" world, which is also why you probably won't get "ripped off" anywhere.

When in Tirana if you go to the tourist info, the one thing they do have is a bus timetable. Buses leave Tirana for Berat every 30mins or so between 6:30 & 18:00 cost 400 Lek, takes 3hr 15mins.

In Berat, where the buses drop you off there is a large timetable on a sign in the square with all onward destinations.

For perspective Tirana to
Gjirokastra 6 Hours - 1000 Lek, Hourly from 6-12 then 14:30 & 18:30
Shkodra hourly 7-17:00 2 hr 300 Lek.

Buses are reliable, but they pack people on the furgons so make sure you get on these first to ensure you have a seat, driving is erratic, but we always got from A-B fine. Roads in parts are fine and new, in others old and full of pot holes.

The Koman Lake is the highlight and easy to do from Shkodra, all accommodation will arrange the public transport for you.

Accommodation is good, especially in Tirana and Berat. Food is great and the people are just lovely. Down side, litter is a big problem.
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May 28th, 2015, 06:29 AM
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Didn't you bother to look at the dates? This thread is from 2014.
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May 28th, 2015, 06:53 AM
  #18
 
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How often does one see posts about traveling in Albania?

How often does one see recent, useful posts about traveling in Albania?

It adds to information posted last year, and it seems perfectly reasonable, decent and helpful, really to add to the community of information.

If we had sticky threads rather than a less-than-useful search engine, anyone could add to existing information on a topic: not 100 threads on getting from CDG to the 5th Arrondisement but one thread to which new information could be added.

I am not complaining about what we have. I am going to Paris next week for the umptyumpth time, and these forums are very helpful, even with their limits.
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May 28th, 2015, 07:04 AM
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It would be more useful to put up a new TR, instead of adding to a whole slew of existing threads.
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May 29th, 2015, 02:32 PM
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Thanks Ackislander, I'm new to this forum, totally didn't see the year was 2014 (I forget somedays we actually moved into 2015 LOL)
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