Greece to Croatia Overland (or vice versa, Croatia to Greece)
We have just made the trek overland from Greece through Albania and Montenegro continuing on to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia . An amazing and fun trip we would definitely do again. Since transport information about this trip was hard to find and came from a number of sources we thought we would throw a few things down in one place to help anyone thinking of doing the same, or in reverse.
Greece to Albania
At present, due to Greece’s financial woes it is only possible to reach Albania from Greece by bus or ferry, not train. (If you need to take a train inside Greece however check out http://www.viva.gr – it is an awesome site with a good English version). The only cities we could find to leave from were Athens and Thessaloniki. But a number of people we spoke to also came up via the ferry from Corfu, which we don’t have information on sorry, but is apparently an easy trip. Pre booking bus tickets for English speakers is extremely difficult in Greece. You also need to understand that every bus office (even with the same company) is independent of each other, so you must contact the office relevant to your trip location. Couple websites that may assist in booking a ticket though are:
We booked out trip Thessaloniki to Tirana using Ktel on the following number once in Greece: 00302310316555 or try emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The trip from Thessaloniki takes around 10hrs and the busses currently depart 9am and 9pm from the Macedonian bus station just 10-15 minutes out of town. The station is accessible using the 8, 12 and 31 bus. Big round building, can’t miss it.
Now it is possible to arrive at a number of destinations in Albania and we would recommend any of the following; Tirana or Pogradec on the Lake Ohrid which is very beautiful. The story of our crazy bus trip from Thessoloniki to Tirana is in the last paragraph of this post: https://thenurseandthebuilder.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/the-monasteries-of-meteora/
Tirana is in a developing stage, being cut off from tourism for so long due to its communist past but it is beautiful, completely safe and the people are really warm and friendly. There is a good Tourism Office in Tirana, even though some of the locals dont know about it. The timetables below will assist you getting around Tirana by furgon (small local mini bus) or regular bus:
You will need to ask around for where each bus/furgon departs as all destinations leave from different locations. We did a day trip from Tirana to Vlora which wasn’t the nicest city, but the coastline further south is apparently very beautiful and unspoilt. Llagotta has a great view of the coast and is not far from Vlora also. Skodra looks a great spot for hiking if we ever make it back. Some photos etc of our quick Tirana visit are here: https://thenurseandthebuilder.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/tirana-albania/
Albania to Montenegro
The best way north from Albania is from Shkodra to Ulcinj (pronounced Ulchini) in Montenegro by bus or furgon which takes around an hour and costs about 5euro. The bus departs Shkodra at 9am and 4pm from the round-about in front of the theatre, and the furgons leave whenever they fill from the same spot. There is also a good tourist information centre 200m down the street from the theatre. The locals will happily help you with any and all of this and usually pretty trustworthy. A taxi will take you between Shkodra and Ulcinj for 30euro. Others will offer to take you to the border but this is likely to work out expensive as there is nothing at all at the border so the cabs from there charge as they please apparently. Also it is possible to get from Skodra to Podgorica. For the reverse trip from Ulcinj to Shkodra the busses leave the main station at 7am, 9am and 1:15pm.
Ulcinj is a little coastal city full of Albanians (which is great). From here you can get a bus to Podgorica (the Capital) throughout the day or along the coast to Bar and onwards. The busses up the coast leave from mid morning to early afternoon.
Montenegro to Bosnia and Herzegovina or Croatia
Montenegro is very well connected to Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) by bus. You can depart from either Podgorica or Niksic as well as a number of other locations along the coast North from Kotor. We headed over to Zablak and then onto Sarajevo via Niksic. The bus for Sarajevo departs Niksic at 9am, 11am and 2:40pm and costs around 10 euro. Our adventures in Kotor and Zablak are here: https://thenurseandthebuilder.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/mountainous-montenegro-kotor-and-zablak/
The busses are very easy from Sarajevo to Mostar and then on to Dubrovnik or Split. Just don’t forget that in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina you pay a fee for your luggage as you enter the bus, so keep some coins handy. I was also able to jump Mostar’s 24m high bridge along the way which was amazing. Here’s a video and a few photos, etc:
If you have any corrections or updated information on the above please leave a comment. Cheers.