How to get from Tirana to Saranda (bus, car or shuttle)
Navigating Albania’s public transport system can be a tunnel of confusion, but it doesn’t have to be. Getting from the lively city of Tirana to Saranda is relatively easy when you know where to go, how to get a ticket and know what to expect.
As I live in Saranda I have travelled this route many times, going back and forth to the capital on various occasions by bus and by car. I’m pleased to tell you that although there’s not a whole lot of information around this route it’s super easy. Let’s start with the bus.
How to get from Tirana to Saranda
The bus to Saranda leaves from a big roundabout which is just outside of the centre. This used to be easier to explain because there was a giant eagle in the roundabout but recently, they have taken it down. Use the map below to see where the bus station is. it’s called ‘Regional Bus Terminal – South Albania’.
There are two bus national bus stations in Tirana, one serving buses that go to the north and one serving buses that go down to the south. If you are getting a taxi, just tell them Saranda bus station (‘Saranda stacion autobuzi’ in Albanian), or south bus station and they should understand you.
Once you arrive at the ‘station’ you will soon say to yourself ‘where the fuck am I?’ and ‘Is this actually a bus station?’ and to answer those questions, ‘yes, this is a bus station’. You can grab your ticket from the office which is just around the corner from the station. When you arrive back just yell Saranda to the 30 men asking where you are going and one of them will lead you to the bus. Don’t worry this is the most effective way to find it and the men asking where you are going are actually trying to help you and are assistants to the bus drivers.
The ticket costs around 1300 lek and will take around 5 hours, depending on how fast your driver drives.
Also depending on what time you leave will depend if it’s a bus or a furgon. A furgon is a smaller bus like a van and can always be a little more uncomfortable than a large bus because it’s usually full and it can be very hot!
The bus is usually a standard bus, nothing fancy, no WIFI or anything like that but it’s relatively comfortable. In the summer, however, it can be unbearable in the heat of the day as most buses don’t have aircon. So, if you are travelling in the heat of summer then leave on an early bus to avoid hours of heat! The bus will stop halfway for around 15 minutes so you can go to the toilet and grab some food.
If you’re travelling from Saranda check the map above to see where to get your ticket from. The buses wait outside between the ruins and the park in the centre of Saranda.
Tirana to Saranda timetable
Check the timetable below to see when the buses run. I will try and update this as much as possible as the bus times can change regularly.
Saranda to Tirana (1300 LEK)
Tirana to Saranda by car
If you are hiring a car and want to drive to Saranda from Tirana it’s super easy too. There are two ways you can drive there. One is fast (You basically follow the SH4 most of the way) and the other is much slower, but you also have the scenery of the Albanian Riviera so if you’re not in a hurry then choose the second.
The first route will take you through Fier, Tepelena and past Gjirokastër. The travel time is around 4 hours and the road is a highway for nearly all of it so it’s in good condition. This is the most popular way people go back and forth from Tirana to Saranda.
The second route will also take you through Fier but when you get near Levan you will take the turnoff towards Vlora and go through the city then through the Llogara Pass (one of the most beautiful drives!), Dhermi, Himara and Saranda. There are many beautiful villages and beaches you can stop off to have a look at. The travel time for this route is about 6 hours but be prepared for more than that as there are ample places to see on the way! The road along the coast is a little bendy in places but other than that it’s good. You will have to go slower than the other route because of that.
Tirana to Saranda by shuttle
There’s also another way you can get from Tirana to Saranda and that’s by taking a shuttle with Riviera Bus. Riviera bus takes you the coastal route, so you get to see the Albanian riviera. The shuttle has air conditioning and stops along the way so you can take pictures.
The price is a lot more expensive than taking the local bus. A ticket costs €40 compared to the local ticket which is around €10 but you do get a more pleasant ride and see some parts of the country you will miss if you take the local bus.
Tickets can be purchased on their website. Take note that this is only an option between June and September when it’s tourist season for Albania.
This is a small shuttle bus which takes you along the quick route and can pick you up from the airport if need be. Tickets are around €30 and can be booked via Viator. The van has air conditioning and will be more pleasant than the local bus. But again, you are paying a premium price for it as expected.
There are 4 different ways to get from Tirana to Saranda by bus, car, transfer, and shuttle. Depending on your budget and your time constraints will depend on which option you choose!
If you have any questions, make sure to comment below so I can answer them for you!
Other articles you will love:
- 26 Incredible Things to do in Tirana, Albania
- 18 Things to do in Saranda, Albania
- The Best Places to visit in Albania
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