How to get from Tirana to Ksamil by public bus
Many tourists land at Nënë Tereza International Airport in Tirana, Albania but they have Saranda or Ksamil as their final destination. We did the same.
We had already planned to have a beach vacation so we had already reserved an apartment in Ksamil for seven nights.
Well, whether we made a good or bad choice by doing so, I will tell you in another post in which I will talk about Ksamil, therefore let’s focus now on “How to get from Tirana To Ksamil by public bus.”
How to get to the bus station in Tirana
In our case, we visited Albania in September and we stayed three nights in Tirana and we decided to reach the bus station in Tirana by taxi.
We would have gone there by bus, but since we wanted to reach Ksamil with sunlight we didn’t want to waste too much time. Tirana is a very crowded city so it would have taken a lot of time to reach the station by bus.
We checked out from our apartment in Tirana at 11.00, we had a quick breakfast nearby, and then we stopped a taxi by the road.
Because of the crowd the taxi ride to the bus station in Tirana took 40 minutes and it cost 1010 LEC. Obviously if there wasn’t traffic we would have gone a lot faster and spent at least 200 LEC less. If you decide to do the same as me, ask the driver to use the meter for this ride.
By the way, when in Albania, always ask again and again for the taxi drivers to turn on the meter, even if they insist it’s “broken.”
And also, if you have the chance, I suggest you download Google offline maps and follow the driver’s track so that they do not cheat you by taking more roads than what they should. Yes, this could easily happen in Albania.
If instead if you decide to get to the bus station in Tirana by bus you won’t spend more than 150 LEC per person. For more details you can ask your hotel upon reservation.
Bus tickets from Tirana to Ksamil
There is no direct bus line from Tirana to Ksamil so…
The bus ticket for the ride from Tirana to Ksamil can be purchased only as far as Seranda. Once you arrive in Seranda, if you are planning to go forward until Ksamil then you have to take another bus. I’ll tell you later about the journey from Seranda to Ksamil.
Bus tickets from Tirana to Seranda can be purchased online or directly at the bus station.
We bought the tickets at the bus station in Tirana but I feel, in retrospect, that it would have been better buying them online for two main reasons. Not only could we have spent 2 euros less each, but also because we would have gotten seats that were closer to the front. Yes, the later you buy the tickets, the farther back you are likely to sit. This is a big problem for those who suffer from bus sickness. Know that once your seat number is decided they won’t change it. They absolutely don’t care if you get motion sickness.
Another advantage of buying your bus ticket from Tirana to Seranda online is that the taxi driver will leave you right in front of your bus, so that you don’t need to go around and search for your bus.
Anyway, if you buy the ticket from Tirana to Seranda at the bus station, you should also know that there are several cabins that sell the ticket to Seranda. It is easy to identify them because it is written all over them. Whichever you choose, all of them cost the same.
Well, one of the things that I wondered was whether each cabin already assigned seats. I mean maybe the first cabin can sell seats from 1 to 20 and the second cabin from 21 to 40 and so on. If you care a lot about your seat, inquire before buying. Again, this last one is just my doubt.
If you buy the ticket at the counter cabins to date it costs 1700 LEC.
Which is the parking position number of the bus from Tirana to Seranda
At the ticket cabins by the entrance of the bus station in Tirana, you can ask for the parking area number of the bus to Seranda. As I said first, if you are arriving there by taxi, the driver will drop you right in front of your bus so you don’t have to worry about this.
Our bus was leaving from number 22.
Now, there is one thing I’d like to tell you.
The various parking position numbers of the busses are not marked, so you have to search for the destination name on the busses. This means that you have to walk around and find the bus which has a board saying Seranda.
Once you find the bus, make sure about this with the driver.
How long does the bus ride from Tirana to Seranda take?
The distance from Tirana to Ksamil is approximately 270 km and there are two types of busses departuring from Tirana. One has several stops so it takes a lot more time than the other one which has only one stop.
To make this clear to the tourists they call them SLOW bus and FAST bus.
We took the fast one at 12.30. It took 5 hours and 20 minutes to reach Seranda.
There are numerous runs per day so if you miss a bus you can take the next one. However, beware of not missing the other one, too. Because of the tourism which is taking off exponentially in Albania and expecially in Ksamil and Seranda, the bus from Tirana to Ksamil is always full. This means that if you close your eyes for a second you risk losing more than one run.
Our bus stopped 20 minutes at 2pm for lunch break. The restaurant served very good traditional Albanian food and we spent only 1300 LEC for two. You must be quick here. Eat and go to the toilet as fast as possible because they don’t wait for you.
One more reason why our bus took more that 5 hours was because two tourists got sick on the bus so the driver had to stop. He was not very happy about doing this. Actually, he didn’t even want to stop the vehicle for a long time and the two tourists were getting way worse, so at a point he had to stop.
From Seranda to Ksamil by bus.
Once the bus from Tirana reaches Seranda it will leave you at the main junction where there is a small archaeological find on the right. At this point if you are staying in a hotel in Seranda, you can check on Google maps the position of the hotel and decide if you want to get to your hotel by taxi or by walking.
When you get off the bus, you will be engulfed by taxi drivers who will do anything to make you believe that without them you will not get anywhere. That’s not true, so take your time to decide.
If instead your destination is Ksamil, know that 30 or 40 steps forwards in the same direction where the bus from Tirana left you, on the opposite side of the junction, there is a bus stop which will take you to Ksamil for only 150 LEC per person. This bus tickets can be purchased on board. Ah by the way, many buses in Albania have a separate “conductor” so, instead of paying beforehand or paying the bus driver as you climb aboard, once you get on the bus the conductor (this job is often done by children) will come to collect the payment from you. You can only pay in cash and often they don’t give you a receipt.
For this run from Seranda to Ksamil I didn’t receive any confirmation paper of my payment.
HEADING TO KSAMIL BUT STILL HAVE NO HOTEL PLANS? ↓ ↓ ↓
This bus from Seranda to Ksamil runs frequently and it takes about 20 minutes.
If you want to go to Ksamil by taxi, know that the taxi drivers hardly use meters here. They will ask you for-like 3000 or 4000 LEC to reach Ksamil which is only 15 km from Seranda. In order to get you to take a taxi they can even say that the last bus left five minutes ago or that the busses stop running at 4 pm. Don’t let anyone convince you. Just take your time and decide.
Important things to know about the bus from Tirana to Ksamil.
- If you reach the bus station in Tirana long before the bus leaves, know that it’s better to buy the tickets as fast as you can and identify your bus.
- Once the bus is identified, you can load your bags and suitcases in the lagguage area of the bus. But before that, make sure with the driver that it is the right bus.
- If you are travelling from Tirana to Seranda during the summer season, know that they won’t turn on the AC while waiting for the departure. So, you better not get in the bus because it’s much too warm inside.
- You can sit only on the seat which is marked for you. Don’t sit in others places because before the departure they will check everyone’s seat and if it is not correctly occupaid, the departure may delay since they want everyone at their assigned place.
- During the summer, expecially if you are travelling by the fast bus from Tirana to Seranda, take a couple of water bottles with you. You can also buy them at the bus station from vendors going around.
- Tickets may also be paid for with Euros. The exchange rate they apply is terribly low so try to withdraw a significant amount of money at an ATM of any bank. I specified here the word bank because it is important. When you are in Albania, try not to use the private ATMs along the streets which are not linked to a bank because their commissions are way higher than the ones linked to a bank.
- Seats of the bus from Tirana to Seranda may not be comfortable for short people (160 cm tall or less) because the head support is not designed for their height. Yes, it’s annoying, but it’s bearable.
- I advise you to bring a vomit bag. Just in case… unfortunately, humanely speaking, the drivers didn’t seem very inclined to help their travellers with this.
- Lunch break is very short. You must eat and do your things quickly.
- You better not expect special privileges from the drivers. They are very cold and not interested in your needs.
Final thoughts about the bus from Tirana to Ksamil.
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I’m so glad I had this public bus experience in Albania. Travelling from Tirana to Ksamil by bus revealed to me a part of Albania that otherwise I would not have known. For better or for worse.
The typical tasty food that I had in the restaurant where the bus stopped was not served in the touristy areas. In both Seranda and Ksamil, even though there is a huge amount of restaurants, everything was created for tourists. Sadly they don’t serve Albanese food in these cities.
On the other hand, by travelling by a public bus from Tirana to Ksamil, I also saw how Albanians have a very different cultural concept from me. For me it was often hard to accept but that’s their culture.
So, all in all, I’m really happy for giving myself this chance. If I had rented a car upon my arrival at Nënë Tereza International Airport in Tirana and if I had gone to Ksamil right after I picked up my car, I would have never learnt anything about Albania. In the sense that Ksamil is a complex of resorts, shops, and restaurants built specifically to create a place for tourists. Since it is built to particularly meet tourists’ satisfaction, it has no cultural identity.
We will talk about these Albanese tourist places later someday.