Taking the bus from Budva to Tirana is actually fairly straightforward.
There are, however, a couple of parts during the journey that may make your head turn. If you had done this a few years ago it would have been much more complicated. There seem to have been numerous travel and bus companies supporting access to Tirana since I last visited some 4 or 5 years ago. Let’s start with the easy way.
The Easy Way
The simple way which has, in my opinion, the most convenient travel time. Old Town Hostel in Kotor has it’s own travel company called Old Town Travel that offers daily direct service from Budva to Tirana for 20-23 Euros. The mini bus starts in Kotor making stops in Budva and Podgorica along the way so you could book with this company from any major city in Montenegro.
Below you can see the ticketing timetable for Old Town Travel’s bus departures to Tirana. The total trip is between 6-7 hours – if you’ve already taken some buses in the region you know this is pretty well the norm. Download a few books on your Kindle and bring some snacks.
Now, to be honest, I wouldn’t necessarily call this “direct” in the traditional sense. You are going to have to change buses a couple of times but they make it easy for you. For one of my transfers I’m not entirely sure if the transfer was meant to happen. We crossed the border into Albania and got put onto a different minibus from our break at a gas station. I’m thinking it might have been because we were the only two people on the minibus from Budva all the way to the Albanian border.
Once we made it to Shkoder in Albania we were then put on the local bus heading to Tirana. The driver of the minibus purchased our tickets for this bus and transferred our luggage. It was all quite effortless. After this we were dropped off at the Ring Center in Tirana. There was no such thing as a “center” bus station last time I was in Tirana.
The Slightly More Difficult, Cheaper Way
Okay, so you really need or want to save 5-10 euros? This is the way it used to have to be done. I’m going to break it down real quick in 3 simple steps:
- Buy a bus ticket from the main station in Budva, Podgorica, or Kotor to Shkoder.
- Once in Shkoder, catch the local bus from in front of Hotel Rozafa for 2-3 euros (paid in Albanian Lek equivalent).
- This local bus will take you all the way to Tirana.
That’s it! Pretty simple right? I think most people would choose one of the “direct” transfers given the ease of them but this is still an option. Shkoder is actually a really nice, beautiful city to walk around for a bit. If you’re coming from Montenegro and choose to do it this way, transferring in Shkoder, you’ll most likely have 2-3 hours to wander around before heading to Tirana. This is definitely the easiest way to fit a visit to Shkoder in on your trip. Hope my post was helpful!