How to get from Tirana to Ohrid

tirana central bus station
Tirana Central Bus station

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.

tirana central bus station
Tirana Central Bus station

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.

tirana central bus station
HAK Bus office

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.

hak bus ticket to ohrid

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! 🙂

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16 Comments

  1. February 28, 2018 / 4:09 PM

    thanks for sharing the post, as I’m trying to get from tirana to ohrid by bus. where are you now?

    • Nina
      Author
      February 28, 2018 / 5:57 PM

      Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out! 🙂 I just got to Istanbul, Turkey! 🙂

  2. Rola
    July 9, 2018 / 1:19 AM

    Thank you for info….. it was helpful…..just to let you know, there is a direct bus to Ohrid at 2pm….ticket price 17 euro….

    • Nina
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 2:39 AM

      Thank you so much for sharing. This is going to be super helpful for anyone reading your comment! 🙂 Do you remember the bus company that you took and where it stopped? 🙂

      • Hayley
        July 13, 2018 / 9:52 PM

        I just took this yesterday. It’s Euro Bus (counter 6 at the bus terminal.) I was told it only runs in July and August, though.

        The driver was really friendly, dropping us off in the center of Ohrid instead of the bus station. It was also a mini bus that was nowhere near full, so lots of space and quick border crossing! No other stops along the way, except a quick bathroom/snack stop. 🙂

        • Nina
          Author
          July 14, 2018 / 2:25 AM

          So interesting that it only seems to run in the summer! There probably wouldn’t be enough people in the colder months. Thank you so much for sharing! This will is so helpful! Good to know that the minibus only made one quick stop. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! 🙂

  3. Juliana
    September 14, 2018 / 2:18 PM

    Thank you for sharing wonderful experience.
    Base on your experience, do u think a single lady traveler are safe and comfortable being alone at Albania?
    I am planning to travel from Albania to Macedonia alone.

    • Nina
      Author
      September 15, 2018 / 6:56 AM

      Based on my experience absolutely! There are really only a few places in the world that travelers aren’t recommended to visit! 🙂

  4. Daniel
    September 16, 2018 / 9:39 PM

    Hi Ninja! As I found your post helpful for planning my trip, I will just update with my experience from Friday:

    I also went to the Hak Bus office in the Bus Terminal, and there is an info hanging outside that there is everyday bus on 2 PM. I bought tickets and it was for Eurobus company, cost was 17 EUR / 2200 ALL. I could have left my luggage in the office (free of charge), as I still had 2 hours left and didn’t want to carry it with myself. Bus was 1:30 PM on the terminal, and left even earlier than 2 PM, so it’s better to be there 15 minutes before scheduled departure. Minibus was nice, air conditioned, with additional box for luggage. Driver was nice even though he was smoking during the ride (nothing exceptional in Albania). There was 10 people on board, the trip took only 3 hours with like 20 mins spent on the border (didn’t have to walk out from the bus). Bus stopped in the Ohrid city centre, so we also didn’t have to take a taxi from bus station (which is 2 km away next to nearly nothing) or Struga.

    Cheers!
    Daniel

    • Nina
      Author
      September 18, 2018 / 3:33 PM

      Hi Daniel,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience! That’s a much better bus route! I remember someone telling me that the connections tend to be better in the busier months and unfortunately I was there during the off-season.

      It’s neat that this bus took you straight to the heart of Ohrid and that you didn’t have to get out in Struga. This is going to be incredibly helpful for anyone reading this. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! 🙂

      All the best,
      Nina

    • Georgie Brander
      September 19, 2018 / 8:34 AM

      Hi Daniel and Ninja. We want to do this trip in a weeks time as a 2 day trip returning to Tirana as we fly to Rome from there. We’re at the tail end of 7 weeks in the Balkans – so my question is – was Orhid worth the effort?

      • Nina
        Author
        September 19, 2018 / 9:38 AM

        It depends on what you are into, really. When it comes down to it, it’s all personal preference. I LOVED Ohrid and everything it has to offer. It’s really beautiful, serene and I plan on going back in the summer. When I was there it was freezing!

  5. Freddy Bogan
    October 1, 2018 / 8:44 AM

    Hi great help.
    I have just taken the small Euro bus (Hak) from the bus station behind the ring shopping center .
    Direct to Ohrid, only border stop.Did not check our luggage only passports. Easy.
    The price was a bit steep for a 3 hour journey 17 euros, but hastle free.

    • Nina
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 8:55 AM

      Thank you so much for sharing! Awesome that they didn’t check your luggage and only your passports! That’s a lot easier than having to get out and having everything checked manually. I agree, 17 Euros is definitely a little steep. Sounds like it was worth it though!

  6. Rachel
    October 9, 2018 / 7:08 AM

    We went to that same office yesterday and were told the direct buses to Ohrid stop today (for the season, I suppose) so we’ll be changing at Struga too!

    • Nina
      Author
      October 9, 2018 / 12:00 PM

      Ah! This leads me to believe that it must indeed be a season thing! In the autumn and winter, they are probably less busy and may, therefore, stop in Struga as opposed to going to Ohrid’s city center. Thank you so much for sharing! That’s going to be useful to anyone planning a trip this time of the year! 🙂

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