Public Transport Around Albania
The first thing we need to tell to the western travelers visiting Albania and the neighboring countries is to forget their way of using public transport in their own courtiers. Here it functions the Balkan way, however it does function. So lets start:
How it functions: intercity transportation among Albanian cities mostly functions with fixed bus lines or minibuses (called “furgon” by the locals). In major cities there is a bus station usually near the city centre. These minibuses are mainly located at the bus stations of every city. Try to not waste your time searching for online time tables or online tickets, rather ask the locals where to find the bus station to go to Vlora, for example, and just show up at the bus station. There you would come across different buses and minibuses that show their final destination at their first glass. Buses usually run every hour, whereas minibuses will leave the bus station as soon as they get enough people. You do not need reserve a ticket; rather you just buy the ticket ones you get on the minibus.
Prices: Public transportation with furgons and buses in Albania is pretty cheap compared to western standards. For instance you would normally pay between 5 – 6 Euros per person (about 800L) for traveling between cities that have a distance between 100 to 150km long.
Trains: trains are almost inexistent as a public transportation in Albania. Back in communism time trains used to be the main transportation mean for some of the main cities of Albania. They used to connect Tirana (the capital) with Pogradec, Durres, Shkodra and Vlora.
Since Albania broke free from communism there have been no investments in trains or railways so the actual infrastructure does not have much to offer except for nostalgic use or for transporting goods.
If you are traveling in small groups (more than two people) it is sometimes more convenient to get a shuttle service or a taxi. It is quicker, faster and sometimes almost the same price as getting the public transportation.