Albania

By bike
By bike

There is a lack of respect for people riding on bikes on the highways. Also, there are few places to put your bike. These and other challenges make Albania a difficult cycling destination, but a rewarding one. Often asking around to see if you can stay in somebody's home or camp in their garden is the only option. Food and water are easily available in the many roadside cafes and bars.

It is OK to camp in all not-strictly-private places, and even if a place is private, there should be no problem with your stay; just ask someone if you are in doubt.

Be aware that it's very hard to get parts or repairs for modern bicycles.

By train
By train

A train ride is a must, as there are few such enjoyments in Europe these days. Tickets are very cheap, journeys are very long, and the views and the atmosphere are usually priceless. Among the things you will see along this unforgettable journey are people working their land with primitive tools, beautiful landscapes and wild terrains, houses under construction with various things hung on them to ward off the evil eye, and a chance to meet interesting passengers, mainly from rural areas. At most stations you'll find people selling sunflower seeds, fruits, chewing gum and many other different things.

Services operate between Durrës and Shkodër, Fier, Ballsh, Vlorë and Librazhd via the Vorë junction. The train route from Lezhë to Shkodër has scenic beauty.

No direct service to Tirana has operated since September 2013, due to planned relocation of the capital's only railroad station and redevelopment of the previous site into a residential area. Kashar is thus the closest rail station, at a distance of approximately 10 kilometers. The station was completely renovated in May 2015. Rail replacement bus services are reportedly operating between the old station sites at Tirana and Kashar, departing twenty minutes prior to the advertised train departure from the Kashar station.

Train timetables are available here: (http://www.transporti.gov...).

Albanian trains are still in relatively poor condition. Wealthier Albanians never use trains and, if not traveling in their own cars, use the many mini-buses. On the other hand, trains offer more space than the often overloaded minibuses.

Note that the train from Durrës to Librazhd in eastern Albania via Elbasan takes about four hours. So instead of going up to Kashar from Tiranë to catch the train, you might want to consider taking a bus to Elbasan, which is only about 30 kilometers away.

No service has operated between Librazhd and Pogradec since 2012.

By road
By road

Hitchhiking is not very common in Albania; however, many people will pick you up if they are able.

Travelers can get assistance from Albanian travel authorities like Albanian Tourism Association Albania Travel Assistance, .  edit and other non-government sector, too. It's always advisable for travelers to request information from the relevant organization/s before traveling to a destination.

By car
By car

Roads between important destinations have been re-paved and fixed recently and offer most of the security measures one would expect on a highway. There are no fees for using the highways.

Beware of minor roads: road surfaces can be poor, deeply pitted, or non-existent, and sometimes a decent paving can suddenly disappear, necessitating a U-turn and lengthy doubling-back. This is the case for the road between Tirana and Gjirokastër. It seems that all the expensive cars in Albania are SUVs rather than low-slung sports cars - and for good reason. Consult the locals in advance if you are planning to travel away from a highway.

Highways have frequent changes in speed limit, sometimes with little apparent reason, and there are frequent police mobile speed checks. Police will stop you if you have not turned on your car lights. Police will often stop foreign cars often owned by Albanian and Kosovan expats returned home, which seem to be good targets for extracting fines or other money. However, it seems that once the police recognize you as a foreign driver, they wave you on with minimal fuss, sometimes without even checking your documents. Expect to be stopped by police once per hour while driving in Albania that frequently!. Beware of temporary lane closures and temporary rules such as no left turn which serve no apparent purpose but are watched by police who are ready to stop you if you misinterpret the confusing signs. Make sure you travel with a proper driver's license and insurance documents ask your car hire company for these to present to the police.

Car-driving behavior on the highways is not as orderly as elsewhere in Europe. Expect cars to pull out in front of you, little use of indicators, and hair-raising overtaking. Lanes on dual or triple carriageways tend to be observed. Also expect pedestrians, horses or donkeys to cross highways or walk on them. Especially beware of cows on the motorway.

Navigation is pretty easy, although some maps of the country are out-of-date or contain errors. It is strongly recommended to have an up-to-date GPS in your vehicle, as new roads are constantly being added to the Albanian road network. In case the GPS does not work, have a paper or internet-based map available as an alternative.

In the cities, especially Tirana, many roads are being upgraded and fixed. As a result, traveling by car inside the city is slow. Be aware that Tirana in particular suffers from great traffic congestion during mornings and midday.

The Vlorë-Saranda mountain road is a very nice ride. It is a typical Mediterranean road, and offers an amazing view of the sea from the mountains.

Gypsy and beggar children may approach your car at major stop lights. Nudge slightly forward to get them off your car and, if necessary, go into the traffic intersection to get rid of them. The locals will understand.

Note that around Greek holiday seasons, including Orthodox Easter, the roads leading to and from Greece can be crowded with cars with Greek plates of Albanian immigrants going to Albania or returning to Greece after their holidays.

Renting a car is a good option to choose, but the practice is fairly new in the country. Rental companies are available mainly at the Tirana Airport and in Tirana proper. Various travel agencies may offer such services as well.

By bus
By bus

Most people in Albania travel by public bus or by private minibuses called "furgons" which depart quite frequently to destinations around Albania. Furgons have no timetable they depart when they are full and in addition to big cities provide access to some smaller towns where buses don't frequently run. Furgon stations aren't always in obvious locations, so you can ask around to find them, or keep an eye out for groups of white or red minivans gathered together. Destination place names are generally displayed on the dashboard; prices are never posted. Furgons are loosely regulated and provide a real "Albanian" experience.

One publicly-edited list of the departure locations and times of furgons and buses in Albania may be found at: here -- but of course these should be viewed with caution.