It’s getting ever easier to fly into Albania, with the number of international connections increasing every year. Local low-cost carrier Belle Air (www.belleair.it) flies to Tirana’s Mother Teresa airport (www.tirana-airport.com) from several Italian cities, as well as London, Athens and Vienna. Direct British Airways flights from London can be quite reasonable, while in warmer months you can fly cheaply to Corfu then get a ferry to Saranda. Visas are not required for citizens of most nations; South Africa is a notable exception.
Greece offers by far the simplest international bus connections – there are daily services to Tirana from both Athens and Thessaloniki (from €25), and it’s also possible to get direct buses to a number of other Albanian cities. From Macedonia there are direct services from Tetovo (west of Skopje) to Tirana, via Struga and Elbasan. It is still not straightforward to get here from Montenegro – there are no services at all from the capital Podgorica, though there are a couple of daily buses, and some unofficial minivans, linking Shkodra and Ulcinj.
The most interesting form of arrival is by ferry. Several operators make overnight sailings to Durrës from Bari in Italy, including Ventouris Ferries (www.ventouris.gr; from €56); it’s also possible to get to Saranda by ferry from Corfu (www.ionian-cruises.com; from €19), with at least two ferries per day making the thirty-minute hop.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
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