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Europe Trains Guide Forum  |  General discussion  |  Travel plans, routes and timetables  |  Albania - Macedonia - Greece
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warlord
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« on: January 04, 2018, 03:01:32 pm »

    Looking at another option for my 2 week trip in May this year, I was also looking at trying to do Tirana - Ohrid - Sarandë (for the beaches) - Corfu (maybe for a night or two) - Shkallnur (Gollum Beach) and back to Tirana.

  My big thing is how is transportation along this possible route with frequency and reliability and time travel times to get this in for 2 weeks?  Another option if flight prices allow it would maybe having Corfu - Sarandë - Ohrid - Shkallnur - Tirana or something if I can fly out of there with a good deal.

  Just was hearing more and more about Albania's coast and the fact many people seem to take a side trip to Macedonia well.  Other idea are also welcome as usual as I often will take those suggestions...
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tUt
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2018, 07:49:56 pm »

As you can probably guess by looking at the rail network map of the region, rail option is almost entirely unavailable in this case. Trains in Albania are very slow and with foreigners it's mainly for hardcore rail fans ))) However buses & minibuses (so-called "furgons") entirely make up for absence of the proper rail transport. On the major routes buses/furgons are frequent and relatively cheap, the later will depart without strict timetable, but during the day (morning/afternoon) you won't wait for long, especially since you will be traveling rather touristic routes

Tirana-Ohrid: personally done this trip using Tirana-Pogradec-Tushemisht-Sveti Naum-Ohrid route (from Pogradec to the border in Tushemisht it was taxi, while on the Macedonia side bus). Probably you can take a taxi all the way from Pogradec to Ohrid, but it will cost at least 30 euro vs. 5 with taxi+bus option). Heard that there is also a ferry line during the season, but it will make sense to check whether it's actually running closer to the start of the season. Totally alternative option is to use travel agency & shuttle bus (directly from Tirana)
Ohrid-Sarandë: probably the trickiest journey. Option a) would be to come back to Elbasan/Tirana and travel the usual way with bus/furgon, while option b) would be to go Pogradec-Korçë-Sarandë (it seems there are some buses available)
Sarandë-Corfu: not as cheap as transport elsewhere in Albania, however very easy & simple, e.g. see https://ionianseaways.com/timetable
Sarandë-Shkallnur: again, super easy journey using bus/furgon going to Durres (it would be 5 or so hours trip), but if you have time you can also take a train from Vlore

Another option if flight prices allow it would maybe having Corfu - Sarandë - Ohrid - Shkallnur - Tirana or something if I can fly out of there with a good deal.
Imho, not a much of a difference, so you can easily just book cheaper flight option and then simply reverse your journeys     
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warlord
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 10:06:34 pm »

  Ok thanks, I am still waiting for flights to either do Serbia/Montenegro or as I asked last year before going to Ukraine/Moldova, being the Serbia-Slovenia.

  And yes I knew the train issue with this trip wouldn't be an option as compared to the Serbia/Montenegro (though would need buses there as well).

  With this trip I like to keep it as simple as possible, but I'm thinking the furgons would be very similar to the Marshrutka I took in Moldova correct?  Not the most comfortable at all, but if there is an option of a direct one that might work.  I'd rather not try to do what you did and do bus and taxi and then another bus as I want to keep it simple and not have to deal with getting ripped off by Taxi drivers when I don't know the language.  I will check on local buses via tourist agencies like you mentioned.

  At least the other parts of the trip seem decent enough with the bus or fugons.  The ferry is fine to Corfu I think in price if I'm to stay a day or two rather than just a day trip.  And as you said returning up the coast back to Tirana seems easy.

  I'll come back after I check the flight options with one of the trips and then get more details if I have questions.

Ideas for my upcoming trip (Arrive/Depart city - Arrive/Depart city)
Albania - Macedonia - Greece (Tirana or maybe Corfu)
Serbia - Montenegro (Belgrade - Podgorcia or Dubrovnik)
Serbia - Slovenia (Belgrade - Ljubliana) - As you already helped with and gave me the details on this alread


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