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Albania

 

Albania Destinations Travel Guide

Below is a list of Travel Destinations in Albania. Feel free to leave your comments or additions to any of the sites.

 

 

Language: Albanian

Currency: Lek (ALL)

Calling Code: 355

 

 

 

Travel Destinations in Albania

 

Berat County (Albania)

Berat Castle

Much of the current Berat Castle you see today was constructed by Despot of Epirus, Michael Angelus Comnenus, cousin of the Byzantine Emperor.

Balibardha Castle

Balibardha Castle is a medieval citadel in Berat County of Albania. Modern location is fairly remote. Little remains from the original structure today.

Mbjeshovë Castle

 

 

Mbolan Castle

 

 

Peshtan Castle Plënckë Castle Prishta Castle Skrapar Castle

 

Dibër County (Albania)

Burgajet Castle Grezhdab Castle Bruç Castle Petralba Castle

 

Shkopet Castle Scanderbeg Castle Xibër Castle  

 

Durrës County (Albania)

Durrës

Durrës is one of the largest cities in Albania with rich history and plenty of historic sites that date as early as the Antiquity to magnificent, but abandoned palace of the Albanian monarchs of the early 20th century.

 

Ishëm Castle

 

Kruje Castle

Krujë Castle became famous as the last resort of Christian resistance against invading Ottoman Turks. A small garrison of Albanians was headed by an Albanian lord George Kastrioti Skanderbeg.

Rodoni Castle

 

Elbasan County (Albania)

Elbasan Castle

Elbasan Castle is a Turkish citadel constructed by the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century. It controls Ancient Roman road Via Egnatia that was in use centuries after its construction.

Mengel Castle Peqin Castle Qafë Castle

Shebenik- Jabllanice National Park

Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park is a fairly new national park established in 2008. It covers 33,927 hectares of pristine virgin forests full of wild life.

     

 

Fier County (Albania)

Apollonia

Apollonia is an ancient city in Illyria was found in 588 BC by the Greek colonists from Corinth and Corfu. Although much of the city buried, its ruins are impressive.

Ardenica Monastery

Ardenica Monastery was found in 1282 on the orders of Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos after he defeated Capetian House of Anjou that ruled Sicily.

Margëlliç Castle  

 

Gjirokastër County (Albania)

Gjirokastër Castle

Gjirokastër Castle was originally constructed in the 12th century to guard the strategic route in the river valley below. Western additions were ordered by Ali Pasha of Tepeline in 1812.

     

 

Korçë County (Albania)

       

 

Lezhë County (Albania)

       

 

Shkodër County (Albania)

Rozafa Castle

Rozafa Castle is a medieval citadel near a town of Shkodër in Albania. It is most famous for its gruesome legend of its construction.

Shkoder
Shkoder in the North Albania is one of the most unique and interesting places not only in Albania, but in Adriatic basin.
   

 

Tirana County (Albania)

Mount Dajti National Park

Mount Dajti overlooking the capital of Albania is deemed as "balcony of Tirana" and offers a beautiful view of the capital.

Petrelë Castle

Petrelë Castle is located on top of the mountain overlooking Erzen valley in Tirana County. It was constructed as guard post in the fifth century by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

Tirana

Tirana, capital of Albania, is also the largest city in the country. It was found by the Ottoman Turks in 1614 by Sulejman Bargjini. In 1920, shortly after gaining its independence in 1912, Albanian capital was moved here.

 

 

Vlorë County (Albania)

Ali Pasha Castle

Ali Pasha Castle was constructed on the orders of Ali Pasha of Tepelenë in 1819. It was found on the base of the 17th century citadel that belonged to Corfiote family.

Butrint

Butrint is famous for its ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman city that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Llogaraja Pass

Llogaraja Pass is a protected National Park that is situated between Vlora and Dhermiu nearby.

Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park
Karaburun- Sazan National Park is located in the South- West part of Albania in a Vlore Region. It covers a total area of 12,428 hectares with an offshore section of Karaburun peninsula equal to 9849 hectares.

Saranda

Saranda is a large Albanian port that is often called "the Southern gateway to Albania". It stands on shores of the Ionian coast opposite the Greek Island of Corfu.

The Blue Eye Spring 

The Blue Eye Spring is a natural geologic formation in karst origin near Saranda, capital of the District of Saranda in Albania.

Vlorë

Vlorë is situated on the Albanian coast of the beautiful Adriatic sea. The city officially was found in the 6th century BC by the Greek colonists.

 

 

 

Geography of Albania

Albania is situated in the South Western corner of the Balkan peninsula. Albania mild climate is owed to the shores of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The country is bordered by Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. Most of the country is covered by mountainous terrain with deep valleys.

Albania Weather

Albania is dominated by the subtropical Mediterranean climate. Its summers are dry and hot while its winters are cool and rainy. Average temperatures in summer range from 78F to 85F in July and from 26F to 46F in winters. Mountains are usually colder depending on the elevation.

Albanian Politics

Albania is a democratic republic. The head of the state is the president, head of the government is a prime minister. The legislative branch of the government is presented as an unicameral Parliament.

Albanian Language

The official language in Albania is Albanian, although many people understand and speak Slavic languages, Italian and Greek. Few people speak and understand English.

Religion in Albania

Albania is the only country in Europe that is predominantly Muslim. Sunni Muslims make up 70% of the population, Greek Orthodox make up 20% and Roman Catholic another 10%.

Office hours

Many businesses are open between 8am and 4pm. Restaurants usually work longer.

Tips

While on travel in Albania don't forget that tips are not included in the price of the order. If you find the service satisfying leave about 10% of the order after paying the bill. It is preferred to give the money directly to the waiter instead of leaving it on the table.

Albanians usually nod for "no" and shake their head from side to side for "yes". Don't confuse the two.

If you feel sick, broke your leg or have sharp unbearable pain at your lower left abdomen suck it up and be a man. Going to Albanian hospital will only make your suffering worse.

Emergency Numbers in Albania:

Police 19

Fire 18

Ambulance 17

Road Administration: (42) 23 600

Traffic Police: (42) 34 874

Interesting facts about Albania:

- Albanians call their land "Shqiperia" that means "land of the eagles". Legend claims that the ancestors of the first Albanians were in fact eagles who left their traditional homes in the mountains.

- Albania is the only country in Europe that had more Jews after the World War II than before its outbreak. In fact Albanian resistance issued a warning in 1943 to anyone who can defend Jewish refugees must offer any help they can. After all charity is one of the five pillars of Islam.

-Albania is covered by UFO looking structures scattered all around the country. These structures were constructed in the 1970's and 80's by the  paranoid government who wanted to provide a defensive structure for every Albanian family. It is hard to say if they succeeded, but they certainly came close. These forts can be found in every single corner of the city.

 

-Albanian King Zog I, Skanderbeg III of the Albanians survived 55 assassinations attempts during his long reign. On February 21st, 1931 he became the first head of the state who use weapon to defend against an assassin who tried to shoot him when he was leaving the Vienna State Opera House after performance of Pagliacci.

-Flag of Albania dates back to medieval times when it was a symbol of resistance of Albanian armies against Ottoman Turkish invasion.

 

 

History of Albania

The first traces of the human presence in Albania, dating back to the Middle and Late Paleolithic, were found in the village of Dzarre (near Saranda) and on Mount Daiti (near Tirana). The finds in the cave near Zarre include flint and jasper objects, as well as petrified animal bones. Bone and stone tools similar to those of Aurignac culture were discovered on Mount Daiti. The Paleolithic finds of Albania bear great resemblance to artifacts of the same era found in Crvene Stien in Montenegro and northwestern Greece.

In central and southern Albania, several Bronze Age artifacts from burials in mounds were discovered that demonstrate the close connection of these territories with southwestern Macedonia and Lefkas. Archaeologists concluded that these regions were inhabited from the middle of the third millennium BC. e. Indo-Europeans who spoke the Proto-Greek language. Part of this population migrated towards Mycenae around 1600 BC. e., which led to the development of Mycenaean civilization.

In antiquity, the territory of modern Albania was predominantly inhabited by many Illyrian tribes. Illyrian tribes never collectively considered themselves "Illyrians", and it is unlikely that they used any one common name for all their tribes. This name, apparently, refers to only one Illyrian tribe, which was the first with whom the ancient Greeks came into contact in the Bronze Age, as a result of which it was transferred to all tribes with similar language and customs.

The territory, known as Illyria, roughly extended along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea to the mouth of the Vyos River in the south. The first well-known description of the Illyrian groups is contained in The Periplus of Pontus of Euxinus, an ancient Greek composition from the middle of the 4th century BC. e. .. The south was inhabited by the Greek tribe of Chaonians, whose capital was Foinika. By the 7th century BC e. On the coast of present-day Albania, ancient Greek city-states founded numerous colonies, such as Apollonia, Epidamnos and Amantia. The West of modern Albania was inhabited by a Thracian tribe of brigs.

The Illyrian tribe of the Ardiyes ruled most of modern Albania. The Ardian kingdom reached its greatest size under Agron, son of Pleuris II. Agron extended his power to other neighboring tribes. After his death in 230 BC e. his wife Teuta inherited the kingdom of Ardian. She managed to expand its territory further south, reaching the Ionian Sea. In 229 BC e. Rome declared war on the Illyrian kingdom over the looting of its ships. The war ended in the defeat of the Illyrians two years later. In 181 BC e. Theutus was succeeded by Ghent. In 168 BC e. between him and Rome, the Third Illyrian War began, which the following year led to the Roman conquest of the region. After this, the Romans divided the region into three administrative units. The Illyrians were finally conquered in the year 9 BC. e. Tiberius (Roman emperor from 14 to 37 A.D.), who established the region of Illyria with an imperial legate at the head.

In the 1st century AD e. Christianity gradually penetrates into Illyria.

Middle Ages
After the Roman Empire in the 4th century was divided into Eastern and Western, the territory of Albania remained within the Eastern Roman Empire. In the following centuries, the Balkan Peninsula suffered from invasions of barbarians. Illyrians are last mentioned in the text of the 7th century. In the late 12th – early 13th centuries, Serbs and Venetians began to seize Albanian lands.

The ethnogenesis of the Albanians is unclear, however, the first indisputable mention of the Albanians dates back to 1079 or 1080 years. The historical records of Michael Attaliat contain mention of the participation of the Albanians in the uprising against Constantinople. By that time, the Albanians were completely Christianized.

The first fully independent Albanian state was formed in 1190, when the archon Archon founded the Principality of Arberia with its capital in Krua, which was part of the Byzantine Empire. The progon was succeeded by his sons Gin Progon and Dimitri Progon, with the latter it reached the peak of its development. After the death of Dimitri, the last representative of the Progon dynasty, the principality came under the rule of Grigor Camona, and later the Golem. In the XIII century, the principality ceased to exist.

 

A few years after the collapse of Arberia, Charles I of Anjou concluded an agreement with the Albanian rulers, promising to protect them and their ancient freedoms. In 1272, he founded the kingdom of Albania and annexed to it the areas conquered from the kingdom of Epirus. The kingdom claimed the entire territory of central Albania: from Dyrrahia along the Adriatic coast to Butrint. The expansion of this Catholic kingdom contributed to the spread of Catholicism in this region of the Balkan Peninsula. The internal struggle for power in the Byzantine Empire in the XIV century allowed the Serbian king Stefan Dusan to create a short-lived empire that briefly occupied all of Albania, with the exception of Durrës. In 1367, various Albanian rulers founded the Art Despotate. At the same time, several Albanian principalities were created, the most famous of which were Topia, Kastrioti, Muzaki, Balsa and Arianiti. In the first half of the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire invaded most of Albania, in response the Lezha League was created under the leadership of Skanderbeg, who became a national hero.

Ottoman era
The Ottoman invasion of Albania marked a new era in its history and made enormous changes in the political and cultural life of this region. In 1385, the Ottomans first reached the Albanian coast. By 1415, they had set up their garrisons in southern Albania, and in 1431 occupied most of its territory. With the advent of the Ottomans, Islam became the second religion in Albania as a result of the mass emigration of Albanian Christians to other Christian European countries (arberes in Italy). At the same time, Muslim Albanians were gradually moving to Turkey and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, such as Algeria, Egypt and Iraq.

In 1443, under the leadership of Skanderbeg, a large and long uprising began, which lasted until 1479. He repeatedly defeated large Ottoman armies led by Murad II and Mehmed II. Skanderbeg first united the Albanian princes, and then established centralized power over most of the territories not conquered by the Ottomans, being recognized as the ruler of Albania.

Skanderberg tirelessly but unsuccessfully tried to create a European coalition against the Ottoman Empire. He thwarted all their attempts to return Albania to their power, which the Ottomans considered the bridgehead for the invasion of Italy and Western Europe. His unequal struggle with the most powerful power of that time won the respect of Europe, and also received some financial and military assistance from Naples, Venice, Sicily and the Pope.

When the Ottomans finally managed to regain control of Albania, they divided it into four Sanjaks. Authorities contributed to the development of trade in Albanian lands, placing a significant number of Jewish refugees expelled from Spain in the region. The port of Vlora was important in trade between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe.

As Muslims, some Albanians gained important political and military positions in the Ottoman Empire and contributed to the wider Islamic world. So the post of the great vizier was held by more than 20 immigrants from Albania, including Köprül Mehmed Pasha and Fazyl Ahmed Pasha. Another Albanian, Muhammad Ali Pasha, being governor of Egypt, carried out a number of successful modernization reforms there, crushed the Wahhabi uprising in Arabia, rebelled against the Ottoman Empire and founded the dynasty in Egypt that ruled it until 1953.

The process of Islamization of the population went gradually, only in the XVII century, most Albanians became Muslims. This process has been gradual since the arrival of the Ottomans. The holders of the timars were not necessarily converted to Islam and sometimes rebelled against the Ottoman Empire.

Catholic Albanians predominantly converted to Islam in the 17th century, while Orthodox Albanians followed their example in the next century. Initially, the process of Islamization was actively going on in urban centers such as Elbasan and Shkoder, after which it spread to the countryside. The motives for conversion, according to historians, were different depending on a particular context.

Independent Albania
In November 1908, after the overthrow of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, the first national congress was held in Bitola. In 1910, a rebellion broke out in northern Albania. The following year, a new uprising set out to gain autonomy for Albania. In the spring of 1912, a nationwide uprising took place, the rebels captured Skopje, Dibra, Elbasan, and Permeti. A truce was declared on August 23; The Albanian people were given a certain autonomy, but administrative autonomy was not fixed.

In October 1912, the First Balkan War began. On November 28, in the city of Vlore, a congress of representatives of various sectors of the population proclaimed Albania an independent state and formed the first provisional government.

In 1912-1913, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia and France recognized autonomy at first, and then Albania's independence from Turkey.

 

The first parliament of Albania was created in 1920, during the struggle for the independence of the country and against its division of the Paris world between Greece, Italy and Yugoslavia.

In 1928 the parliament was dissolved, Albania was proclaimed kingdom.

The Second World War
In April 1939, Italy occupied Albania, King Zogu Ahmet fled the country.

The resistance movement was led by pro-communist forces. In November 1941, a unified CPA structure was created, which was to lead the liberation struggle. In September 1942, a congress of progressive forces that opposed the occupation took place in Big Peso. A General National Liberation Council was created, which was to lead the liberation movement. He became the governing body of the National Liberation Front. In July 1943, the General Council of the National Liberation Front decided to organize the General Staff of the National Liberation Army. In May 1944, the 1st Anti-Fascist National Liberation Congress formed the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Committee, which transferred the functions of the interim government. In 1944, universal suffrage was introduced.

Socialist Albania
In 1945, parliamentary elections were held, in which the Democratic Front led by the Communists received 97.7% of the vote (other political forces did not participate in the elections). Gradually, Enver Hodge concentrated his power in his hands, brutally cracking down on his political rivals. Until 1956, Albania maintained relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as opposed to Yugoslavia, however, after the 20th Congress of the CPSU, a policy of political isolation was adopted. Relations were maintained only with the PRC and Romania. In 1968, protesting against Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, Albania withdrew from the Warsaw Pact. The country lived in a state of constant readiness for war: each family was obliged to build a bomb shelter. Religion, wearing a beard were forbidden. In 1967, Albania was proclaimed an atheist state.

In 1978, cooperation with China was sharply curtailed.

After the death of Enver Hoxha in 1985, the new leader Ramiz Aliya began a policy of radical economic reforms and expansion of relations with other countries.

 

 

Climate

With its coastline facing the Adriatic and Ionian seas, its highlands backed upon the elevated Balkan landmass, and the entire country lying at a latitude subject to a variety of weather patterns during the winter and summer seasons, Albania has a high number of climatic regions for so small an area. The coastal lowlands have typically Mediterranean weather; the highlands have a Mediterranean continental climate. In the lowlands and the interior, the weather varies markedly from north to south.

The lowlands have mild winters, averaging about 7°C (45°F). Summer temperatures average 24°C (75°F). In the southern lowlands, temperatures average about 5°C (9°F) higher throughout the year. The difference is greater than 5°C (9°F) during the summer and somewhat less during the winter.

Inland temperatures are affected more by differences in elevation than by latitude or any other factor. Low winter temperatures in the mountains are caused by the continental air mass that dominates the weather in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Northerly and northeasterly winds blow much of the time. Average summer temperatures are lower than in the coastal areas and much lower at higher elevations, but daily fluctuations are greater. Daytime maximum temperatures in the interior basins and river valleys are very high, but the nights are almost always cool.

Average precipitation is heavy, a result of the convergence of the prevailing airflow from the Mediterranean Sea and the continental air mass. Because they usually meet at the point where the terrain rises, the heaviest rain falls in the central uplands. Vertical currents initiated when the Mediterranean air is uplifted also cause frequent thunderstorms. Many of these storms are accompanied by high local winds and torrential downpours.

 

 

Holidays
January 1: New Year's Day
March 7: Teacher's Day
March 14: Summer Festival
Easter (moveable)
Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha (Islamic high holidays)
October 19: Mother Teresa Day
November 28: Independence Day
November 29: Liberation Day
December 8: Youth Day
December 25: Christmas

 

Get in

Visas
There is no longer a visa charge for any foreigners entering Albania.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nationals of the following countries/territories can enter Albania without a visa: Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia *, Austria *, Azerbaijan, Belgium *, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria*, Canada *, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus *, Czech Republic*, Denmark*, Estonia *, Finland *, France*, Germany *, Greece *, Holy See, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary *, Ireland *, Iceland *, Israel, Italy *, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia *, Liechtenstein, Lithuania *, Luxembourg *, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta *, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands *, New Zealand *, Norway *, Poland *, Portugal *, Romania *, San Marino *, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia*, Slovenia *, South Korea, Spain *, Sweden *, Switzerland *, Taiwan (Republic of China), Turkey, United Kingdom *, USA *, Ukraine, Qatar - in the period 25 May - 25 September 2012. United Arab Emirates - in the period 25 May - 25 September 2012. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - in the period 25 May - 25 September 2012. (Those countries with an asterisk can enter with an ID card).

States whose citizens may enter without visas due to their visa liberalization with Schengen area: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Brunei, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, El Salvador, Seychelles, St. Kitts and Nevis, Uruguay, Venezuela, Macao (China). For staying more than 90 days within the period of six months, they need to get visa type D.

There is a €1 road tax for the first 60 days of your stay. For every additional day it is €1 per day. Be sure to receive a receipt and keep it with you, as guards may request it upon exiting the country as proof of payment. The former €10 entrance fee per person has been abolished. The Albanian guards are very nice and do their best to help out and will, on occasion, allow fees to be paid in dollars or will forget to charge you. It's worth making sure you've got the Euros on you as the customs officers at Mother Teresa airport don't give change.

Be careful not to be charged the €1 road tax again when leaving the country. In that case the border guard assumes that you didn't pay the road tax when entering the country.

By plane
Tirana's "Mother Teresa" International Airport TIA IATA is located just 15 minutes away from the city. It is served by numerous European carriers such as British Airways, Alitalia, Lufthansa, Austrian, and the low cost carriers Eurowings and Belle Air. There is a large and modern terminal and a tourist information center.

You can book your taxi online with MerrTaxi Tirana 24/7 and it will cost you €10,99. The national toll-free number to call a taxi is 0800 5555. The international number to call a taxi is +355 67400 6610.

At the airport exit there are also numerous taxis 24/7 that can take you to the city. The taxi fee to the city center is €11-€15 (1500 - 2000 lek). Taxi fees to other locations are available here.

There is a bus that runs once an hour between the airport and Skanderbeg Square, called Rinas Express. It costs 250 lek each way and leaves on the hour from both the airport and from Skanderbeg Square. It runs from about 8AM to 7PM. The trip takes around 25-30 minutes. From the airport exit doors, walk towards the parking lot past the taxi touts to find the bus stop. At Skanderbeg Square, the bus stop is located around the northwest corner, near other bus stops. The bus is not only punctual but sometimes even early, so plan to be there a few minutes in advance. Do not be intimidated by the signs not mentioning "airport" or any variation of it at the Skanderbeg Square stop. "Rinas" means the bus goes to the airport. If in doubt, ask the locals, who will be happy to point you to the correct bus.

Another cheaper and convenient way to reach the Albanian Riviera in Southern Albania is by landing in Corfu and taking the hydrofoil to Saranda.

By train
It is not possible to enter or leave Albania via train. There are, however, trains that operate within the country. Though the service is limited, the price is inexpensive. There is no direct service to Tirana, due to closure of the capital's only railway station. Tirana is served by renovated Kashar station located 10 km west of the capital.

By bus
You can reach Tirana by coach from
Istanbul, Turkey (20hr, €35 one-way)
Athens, Greece (12 hr, €30-35)
Tetovo, Republic of Macedonia (7 hr, € 15)
Prishtina, Kosovo (4,5 hr, € 10 )
Sofia, Bulgaria (12 hr, € 35)

 

 

 

From Montenegro
There are 3 daily buses from Ulcinj in Montenegro to Shkoder. They depart at 7am, 12:30pm and 16.30 at Ulcinj bus station and traveling time is between 2 and 3 hours depending on the time needed to cross the border. The 12:30 bus tend to get full very quickly during the high season. Shared taxis (mini-busses) are also an option to go to Albania from Ulcinj. They depart from the parking place next to the market in Ulcinj. It goes at 1PM and costs €5; it takes 1.5 hr. The stop is not marked, a reservation can only be made by finding the driver in the cafe at the corner of the parking place. Ask around and be persistent, as not all the locals know about this.

There are also scheduled buses twice a day from Kotor (Montenegro) to Tirana, passing through Budva, Podgorica (both in Montenegro), and Shkoder.

From Greece
There are buses running daily from Ioannina to the border at Kakavia (9 daily, €5.70, 1 hour). From there it's a short walk between the Greek and Albanian checkpoints. Just make sure you don't delay, as the furgon (minibus) to Gjirokastra won't wait for one extra passenger and you will be forced to haggle with predatory cab drivers. In Gjirokaster you can buy a bus ticket to Athens, Greece or anywhere in between. The buses are new, cheap, air conditioned, and stop along some gas stations.

By boat
Ferries to Durrës arrive from Bari (9h, €50) and Ancona (19h, €70). A high-speed service operates from Bari (3h, €60).
There are also two reliable overnight ferry services operated by Skenderbeg Lines and European Seaways from Brindisi to Vlore.
Ferries from Corfu to Saranda every day.
Ferry between Brindisi and Shengjin by European Seaways operating twice a week in the summer (2015).
By yacht
Yachts can be anchored at Albania's only marina in Orikum, south of Vlore. Contact Orikum Marina for details.

By car
To enter the country, ensure that your International Motor Insurance Card is valid for Albania (AL) along with the Vehicle Registration and a Power of Attorney from the owner if the car is not yours. The border guards are very strict about allowing cars through without these documents.

The road between Ioannina, Greece and Tirana (E853/SH4) is of sufficient quality. Construction works between Tepelene and Fier are mostly finished (2014). The new portion between Rrogozhine and Durres is also mostly complete (2014). This is the main north-south route between Montenegro and Greece.

The road between Struga, Macedonia and Tirana (E852/SH3) is of a sufficient quality. There are a lot of slow moving vehicles along the curvy mountainous route so extra caution must be exercised especially around corners or during over-taking. A new motorway is being constructed between Elbasan and Tirana (2011).

The road between Prizren (Kosovo) and Tirana (Albania) (E851/A1/SH5) is to the levels of quality found in other parts of Europe. Extra caution should be exercised along some bridges near the Kosovo border, as they have not been widened while uncontrolled access points are becoming dangerous. Also beware that cows run free on the motorway: there is no fence and before dusk they return home using the motorway itself.

The road between Shkoder (border of Montenegro) and Tirana (E762/SH1) is of sufficient quality for driving but there are a lot of slow moving vehicles and uncontrolled access points so extra caution must be exercised especially during over-taking. A portion between Milot and Thumane has been widened to dual carriageway standard.

There are two border control points in the north of Albania with Montenegro. The narrow windy road from Ulcinj, Montenegro to Shkoder via Muriqan/Sukobin (E851/SH41) is used mainly by locals. There is a new Montenegrin section near the Albanian border. However, it is worth a try to avoid heavier traffic on the newly built main road (E762/SH1) between Hani Hotit and Shkoder. Ask any police officer to point you in the right direction from Shkoder. They are helpful, courteous and friendly.

By taxi
Albania is geographically a small country and as such it is possible to leave by taxi.

A taxi from downtown Pogradec to the Macedonian border at Sveti Naum is about €5 (and less than 10 minutes). After Albanian exit procedures, walk about 500m down the road to the Macedonian border control. The beautiful Sveti Naum church is very close by, and from there you can get a bus north around the lake to Ohrid (110 Macedonian denars). (prices April 2010)

A taxi from Ulcinj in Montenegro to Shkoder in northern Albania costs about €30. It takes 1hr. You do not have to change at the border, the taxi will bring you all the way. (June 2010)

Some taxis can take you into Greece; however most will not go further then Ioannina.

 

 

 

 

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