How to get to Albania from Greece?
A friend was travelling from Greece to Albania, but she could not find any information online. I wrote all the travel information down and I decided to turn it into a blogpost.
How to get to Albania from Greece? You can get to Albania from Greece by plane, bus, car or ferry. A direct flight from Athens to Tirana takes 1h and 15 minutes. A bus trip from Athens to Albania will take you 10-12 hours. The ferry from Corfu island to Albania takes 30 minutes. To cross the border by car, you need a green card.
The best way to get to Albania from Greece, depends on the time you are willing to spend travelling, your travel destination in Albania and your travel budget. So, let’s dig a little deeper into travelling from Greece to Albania.
Transportation from Greece to Albania
Firstly, you need to figure out your budget for the trip from Greece to Albania. If you are on tight budget, a bus trip from Greece to Albania is an affordable option. A ticket will cost you only €30 – €35 for a one-way ticket. Another relatively cheap option is flying to the Greek Corfu island and then booking a ferry from Corfu to Albania. A ferry ticket will cost you only €19 – €24 depending on the season.
Secondly, you need to determine if you are interested in the capital cities Athens and Tirana. Because if you are most interested in the capital cities. You can save yourself a lot of time, by simply booking a direct flight. However, if you are more interested in the Albanian Riviera in the South of Albania, it is better to travel by bus, by ferry or by car. Because the bus, ferry or car will get you to the beaches more easily.
And thirdly, you need to determine if you prefer the freedom of driving a car. Since, a rental car will give you the opportunity to stop along the way wherever you like. Bear in mind, that driving a rental car across the border requires you to arrange extra paperwork. Furthermore, you may have to pay some additional fees to the car rental company. The advantage of driving a car is that you have the chance to explore some hidden beaches and smaller attractions at your own pace.
How to travel from Greece to Albania by flight?
When you search for a flight from Greece to Albania, you will most likely be overwhelmed by the large number of airlines offering you a search result. However, it is not necessary to check most of those websites. Because there is only one airline that operates a direct flight from Greece to Albania, which is Aegean Airlines.
Aegean Airlines is a Greek airline, which flies directly from Athens to Tirana. The flight is very short and lasts only 1 hour and 15 minutes. This flight is a very good option, if you plan to visit the capital cities of Greece and Albania. However, if you are more interested in beaches or sights further away from the capital cities, you may need to consider a bus, a car rental or a ferry.
How to get from Greece to Albania by bus?
A bus ticket from Greece to Albania is one of the cheapest options, however, it is also time consuming. A bus ticket will cost you between €30 – €35 for a one-way trip. And the bus journey from Athens to Tirana will take you 10 – 12 hours, which is very long compared to the 1 hour and 15 minutes journey by flight.
However, obviously bus tickets are easy to obtain last minute and very affordable compared to flight tickets. Anna Tours operates a daily bus that leaves Athens at 20:00 pm and it arrives in Tirana at 6:00am the next day. This journey will cost you €35.00 for a one-way trip. Albtrans offers more flexibility with regards to the departure time. Three busses a day depart Athens at 8:00 am, 18:30 pm and 20:00 pm. The tickets are slightly cheaper at €30.00 for a one-way journey.
Although a flight from Greece to Albania is faster, it may still be easier to book a bus ticket instead. For instance, if you aim to visit the South of Albania, a bus journey is excellent. The bus from Greece to Albania has many stops along the way, therefore, you can get out at your preferred city. If you were to book a flight, you would still have to travel from the airport to Tirana’s city centre. So that you can get on a bus from the city centre to the south of Albania.
The bus journey from Thessaloniki to Tirana takes you 10 – 12 hours. However, the bus stops in the Albanian cities: Korce, Pogradec, Elbasan, Durres and Shkoder. All these cities have great touristic attractions, and if you wish to visit one of these cities, getting on the bus from Thessaloniki to Albania will be very convenient.
Moreover, there is another bus that drives from Thessaloniki via Kakavia to Tirana. This bus is even better because it stops at more touristic attractions in Albania. You can get off the bus in: Permet, Vlore, Fier, Berat, Durres and Tirana. The bus departs Thessaloniki at 19:30 pm and will arrive at various Albanian cities in the early hours of the next morning.
How to get from Greece to Albania by car?
It is also possible to drive a rental car across the border from Greece to Albania. However, before you drive a Greek rental car to Albania, you need to discuss the arrangement with your car rental company. Some car rental companies may charge you an additional fee for taking the car abroad.
Moreover, you need to ensure your paperwork is in order, so that you can cross the border without issues. You will need a Green Card, a vehicle registration document and a power of attorney from the owner of the car. A Green Card is an international certificate, that shows you are covered by insurance. It is a document that proves, that the rented car is covered with basic insurance. The price for a Green Card is €42.35 including VAT.
Where is the Greece-Albania border crossing?
There are four border crossings between Greece and Albania. The border crossings are called: Kakavia, Bilisht, Qafe Bote and Tre Urat.
The most popular and well-known border crossing is Kakavia. Once you cross the border at Kakavia, you are only 45 kilometres from Gjirokaster city. This border crossing is a very good for tourists, because it is near touristic sights. Gjirokaster, for instance, is a UNESCO World heritage city. Moreover, the Blue Eye of Albania, Butrint, Ksamil and Saranda are all near to Kakavia.
Alternatively, you can cross the border at Qafe Bote. This border crossing is a great option for tourists, because it is only 43 kilometres from Saranda. You will also be close to Butrint UNESCO sight and Ksamil beach. Furthermore, on the Greek side of Qafe Bote, you will find some of the calmest beaches in Greece.
Moreover, you can choose to cross the border at Bilisht, if you are interested in the east side of Albania. The border crossing is only 35 kilometres from Korca city. In this area, you will be able to visit Lake Ohrid, Pogradec and Korca. All of these location are beautiful for tourists.
And finally, the border crossing of Tre Urat is a good option if you are interested in visiting Permet. Once you cross the border, you will be 35 kilometres from Permet, which is known for the beautiful scenery and nature.
Can I get from Greece to Albania by train?
There are no trains that cross the border between Greece and Albania. Simply said, Albania has no international rail connection for passenger trains. The only rail that crosses the Albanian border is between Montenegro and Albania, however, this rail is only used for cargo transportation.
You might be amazed to find out that Albania has no international passenger trains. However, do not forget that Albania was ruled by communism for many decades. In fact, under the rule of the former communist dictator, Albania was isolated from the rest of the world. Therefore, no international rails were built.
Can I get from Greece to Albania by ferry?
You can travel from the Greek Corfu Island to Albania by ferry. Corfu Island is very close to the Albanian coast. The distance is only 18 kilometres. A ferry journey will take you 30 minutes by high speed boat or 70 minutes by ferry boat. The tickets vary from €19.00 in low season to €23.80 in high season. In the spring, summer and autumn there are 3 – 5 ferry departures per day.
When you search for a ferry between Corfu and Albania, you will find many companies offering tickets. Like Ionian Seaways, Finikas lines, Sarris cruises and Joy lines. However, don’t be fooled by the number of ferry companies selling tickets online, because many of them work together and they sell tickets for each other.
Is Albania safe to drive through? Albania is safe to drive through, but you need to consider whether you need a four-wheel drive car. The road from Tirana to the Albanian Riviera and Berat is in a good condition. However, for remote areas and mountains, you will need a four-wheel drive car.
Do I need an international driver’s license in Albania? To drive in Albania, you will need an international driving licence. Make sure that you have a valid driving licence, an international driving licence, a passport, a car registration document and insurance documents with you.
Fisherman in Himare, Albania | Marguerite | Flickr
Boeing 737 – 400, Aegean Airlines | Felix Gottwald | WikiCommons
Driving in Albania | Manon | Albania Tour Guide
Albania from Corfu 018 | Piotrus | WikiCommons
Albania from Corfu 175 | Piotrus | WikiCommons