This post should give you a better understanding on how to get from Tirana to Ohrid by bus. If you have ever been to Albania then you probably know that the bus system can be a tricky one to navigate. Of course, locals are familiar with it all, however, for people visiting it can be quite confusing. We went from Budva, Montenegro, to Tirana, Albania’s capital and ended up taking three different buses just to get to Tirana. Whenever the bus stopped to drop people off and pick people up, a lot of the times, it was at seemingly random places, with no bus station in sight. While it’s relatively easy to take a bus to Albania, it takes a little more research and asking around to figure out how to exactly leave the country. We got dropped off at, what looked like a bus station, and was surprised to not see a ticket counter and upon reading up on it I realized that’s because there isn’t one.
Our plan was to travel from Tirana, Albania to Ohrid, Macedonia by bus and this is how we did it.
Upon looking into it we saw that there is a bus station with ticket counters right behind the Tirana Ring Center, the Tirana Central Bus station. If you punch it into google maps it should lead you directly to the bus station. It’s literally right behind the Ring Center. Make sure to ask around, should you have trouble finding it.
At the Tirana Central bus station, you have heaps of bus companies selling tickets to places all over Europe. There are only one or two tour companies selling tickets to Macedonia and we went with HAK Bus. Unfortunately, our research revealed that, as of February 2018, there seem to be no direct buses from Tirana to Ohrid and we, therefore, bought tickets to Struga, Macedonia which is roughly a 20 minutes drive away from Ohrid. A single bus ticket from Tirana to Struga was 1,750.00 ALL which translates to 13 Euros or 16 US Dollars.
The woman who sold us our tickets was incredibly friendly and upon inquiring about luggage fees confirmed that there are no luggage fees on their buses to Struga. We just came from Montenegro were we ended up paying the equivalent of 2,50 USD for our backpacks and a little over 1 USD just to get to our bus gate and were relieved to hear that there are no extra costs for buses to Montenegro. Buses to Struga go two times a day, at 9 AM and at 4 PM. We decided to go with 9 AM and were advised to be there at 8:40 AM, just to be safe.
On the day of our departure, we were greeted with our names by the lovely woman who sold us our tickets the day before. She checked us in and we departed, right on time, at 9 AM. The bus we took was a minibus and the ride to Struga took roughly 4 hours. It’s worth mentioning that we stopped at the border for roughly 20 minutes and had all our luggage as well as personal items examined. This is a standard procedure and as we were roughly 12 people on the bus, the procedure was fairly fast.
We ended up getting dropped off at the main bus station in Struga were we were immediately approached by a fairly aggressive cab driver insisting that he’d drive us to Ohrid for 10 Euros (600 MKD). Cab rides from Struga to Ohrid should not cost more than 300 MKD, and even that is considered a bit pricey by Macedonian standards. The local rate is around 180 MKD. The cab driver followed us into the bus station, left and came back with a counteroffer of 5 Euros. He kept talking to us and I was starting to feel really uncomfortable and just kept ignoring the dude. He insisted that local buses were 2 Euros and that taking his cab would be a good deal. Well, he was full of poop and why he kept mentioning Euros, given that the national currency is Macedonian denar, is beyond me.
We asked the woman behind the ticket counter where we could buy tickets to Ohrid and she helped us mark the bus station we would need to go to on Google maps. It took us roughly 15 minutes of walking to reach it. At this bus station, heaps of local minibusses depart every couple of minutes. Locals get on and off and it can be a little tricky to figure out which bus takes you to Ohrid. It’s best to ask locals which bus you’d need to take to go to Ohrid. We ended up asking bus drivers and locals and upon asking a lovely woman about which bus to take to Ohrid she watched out for us and told us immediately that THIS bus is the one.
Please bear in mind that the bus taking you to Ohrid is a minibus with no space for luggage. If you have a gigantic suitcase or backpack bigger than 40L then I’d advise you against taking the bus. Although our 40L backpacks are fairly small we were cramped and had to be mindful about not hitting other passengers with our luggage. The bus ride took roughly 30 minutes, stopped at various places and dropped us off right in the center of Ohrid. The bus ride from Struga to Ohrid ended up being just 50 MKD per person which is roughly $1.
While getting from Triana to Ohrid took heaps of research, it was absolutely manageable and in retrospect, I am surprised how easy and inexpensive it was. I’ve taken heaps of buses in my lifetime and HAK Bus is, hands-down, the smoothest and nicest bus operation I’ve ever dealt with. Both the driver as well as the woman selling us our tickets were incredibly lovely and professional, there were no luggage fees, the driver didn’t smoke on the bus and we got where we needed to go on time. If you are planning to go from Tirana to Ohrid I highly recommend going with HAK Bus, their service is truly outstanding! 🙂
Did you ever go from Tirana to Ohrid? If yes, how did you do it? I’d love to update this post with alternative routes and companies that you had great experiences with! 🙂