Kotor was one of the 9 destinations we were travelling to on our Balkans trip. I didn’t do much research on how to get a bus from Tirana to Kotor. As it was a common theme for there to be limited information about buses for most of the Balkan destinations we decided it was easier to buy tickets when we arrived at each destination.
As soon as we arrived at Tirana station we were on a mission to book our bus trip from Tirana to Kotor for a few days ahead.
The first travel agent we visited, to our surprise, didn’t have a bus leaving for 5 days! With our tight schedule, this was not going to work. However, the second travel agent (Osumi Travel) we visited sold tickets for the daily bus run by Old Town Travel which is the company that has established a direct bus from Tirana to Kotor. This has made the journey a lot easier and quicker. Here is the approximate timetable for the journey:
Bus station Depart
g.p.HANI I HOTIT (AL) 11:00
g.p.BOŽAJ (CG) 11:20
Travelling from Kotor to Tirana follows the same timetable but of course in reserve. The buses from Kotor and Tirana meet at g.p.HANI I HOTIT (AL) stop where you will swap buses and continue to your destination. The bus driver kept us informed of which bus stops we were reaching and when we needed to swap over.
Which bus station do I catch a bus from in Tirana? And what facilities does the bus station have?
The Tirana bus “station” is just an open parking lot with lots of travel agents and stalls. It was not obvious whilst walking around that there was WIFI, ATMs or toilets available around the station.
As the station is just off the main street there are cafes and ATMs down the main road so it won’t be an issue finding something close by to get WIFI, money or toilets.
Where to buy bus tickets in Tirana?
Unlike some of the other Balkan countries, you can buy your tickets in advance and online! If you head over to Old Town Travel you will be able to purchase tickets there. This is the only available method you will be able to pay by card and print the tickets beforehand.
As mentioned above we didn’t book tickets in advance for any of our bus journeys in the Balkans and at each bus station we scouted out who sold tickets for our journey, in this case, the bus from Tirana to Kotor. There are two travel agents that will sell you tickets to Kotor but one only runs ad-hoc bus and the other will sell you daily tickets to Kotor.
The travel agent and bus station is located in the same location, so if you head to the station below you will be able to get your tickets and catch the bus. Psst you can save the map below.
The company that sells daily tickets is Osumi Travel. However, they only take cash to purchase tickets and as we had no money we opted for buying tickets the morning of departing. The company advised us that the bus doesn’t sell out during offseason and it wouldn’t be a problem to buy a ticket on the day. They were right, we only had two other people on our bus making a grand total of four people.
What do I need to buy tickets for Tirana to Kotor and how much will a ticket cost?
Arriving on the day the bus driver told us not to buy tickets at Osumi Travel and ushered us on to the bus where we paid at a later point. It was straightforward buying tickets from the bus driver, although he only requested payment about halfway to the border and was a bit disappointed when we handed over Albanian Lek instead of Euros. A ticket will cost €25 Euros or 3,500 Albania Lek.
Osumi Travel did accept Euros or Albania Lek to purchase tickets from them as well.
Another common theme with buses is that you also need to pay for each larger item of luggage (rucksack or suitcase) you hold underneath the bus or in this case the minivan so make sure you have €2 euros per bag.
Things to consider and what to expect on the bus journey from Tirana to Kotor
Be on time! The bus left exactly on time so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there as there is only one bus a day leaving for Kotor.
Be prepared! The road quality is poor in Albania and there is a tremendous amount of potholes to endure on the trip! When you enter Montenegro the road is better quality but they do have very windy roads along the coast.
The first stop of the journey is Shkoder and there were no free toilets at this stop. The bus does make another stop just before the border which will be g.p.HANI I HOTIT (AL) stop. The stop will be a petrol station where there will be free toilets and a shop to buy supplies like water and snacks.
Once you arrive at the petrol station you will be swapping from the minivan to a standard bus. Depending on border security the other bus may take 20 – 30 minutes to pick you up and the other passengers will swap to the minivan.
Do I need to go through border security exiting Albania?
Yes, you will need to go through border security exiting Albania. The border crossing was long as it was basically a one way street with cars, trucks and buses weaving in and out.
The guard boarded the bus to check everyone’s passports and then collected them. Then they were taken for processing and once clear handed back to the bus driver who distributed the passports back to their owners.
Additionally, they open the luggage sections underneath the bus and have a brief look around. Although they may do stricter spot checks that we did not experience on our journey.
Do I need to go through border security entering Montenegro? And will I need a visa?
Yes, you will need to go through border security when entering Montenegro. The same level of security was applied when we were entering the country.
Anyone that is from the EU, USA, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Japan may enter Montenegro for up to 30 days without a visa.
Those holding a valid Schengen Visa can enter, transit and stay in Montenegro without needing to show a Montenegrian visa for up to 30 days. For more information about Montenegro visas check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Arriving at Kotor Bus Station
Above is where the Kotor bus station is located. Psst you can save the map below.
Kotor bus station has an undercover area with an ATM (cash machine), toilets and taxis.
WIFI is free at the station and requires no password to access the internet.
Toilets will also cost money to use and cost €0.50 cents.
Everything is walking distance away, especially if you are staying in the Old Town of Kotor. If you exit the station, in front of you will find the main road that you arrived on, turn right and there will be a supermarket 3-5 minute walk away. Once you have walked about 6-8 minutes you will reach the first entrance to the Old Town of Kotor.