We arrived and left Shkoder by bus from Ulcinj in Montenegro. Although most guidebooks list several possibilties to get from Ulcinj to Shkoder, we only found one bus company which serves this route.
The Albanian bus company "Vllazen Lluja" runs a bus between Ulcinj's bus station and the square Sheshi Parruce in Shkoder. Here the bus stops just near the Albatour shop, where the street 16 Rruga Dhjetori begins at the square.
The bus leaves at 06:00 h and 12:30 h from Ulcinj (MNE) and at 09:00 h and 16:00 h from Shkoder (AL). Depending on the border control the trip takes just about 2 hours.
On both our trips the border controls were almost hassle free. For me it looked like that the bus was even quicker through the controls than cars, as it could pass the long car queue to get to the seperate bus lane.
In Ulcinj tickets can be bought for 6 Euro from the bus station, whereas in Shkoder they can be bought for 5 Euro directly at the bus.
Shkoder can easily be explored on foot, even though it is with more than 100.000 inhabitans the 5th biggest town in Albania.
Most of the main sights, which are nowadays even well signposted, are in short walking distance to the square Sheshi Demokracia (former: Sheshi 5 Heronjte).
Only Rozafa Castle is located about 2,5 km outside of the centre, but it can still be reached on foot within less than 1 hour.
As we were a bit short on time we decided to go by taxi to Rozafa Castle, which is situated on a small hill about 2,5 km southwest of Shkoder's city centre.
Taxis can be found around the square Sheshi Demokracia (former: Sheshi 5 Heronjte) and it seems to be quite common that they don't have a taxi metre, so the fare has to be negotiated.
As our driver recognised us as foreigners he offered us the trip to the castle for 5 Euro and we agreed on a price of 500 Leke, which was about 4 Euro (08.2010).
Please also read my "Things to do tip - Rozafa Castle" for more options on how to get to the castle.
We booked our taxi driver through our hotel,
which happened to be the best one per chance
in Shkodra, so anything the owner/manager
recommended to me I took on very good faith.
I wish taxi drivers were as good as the 2 we used
in Albania, Bardh in Shkoder with his air conditioned
dark blue almost new Merc with air bags, a great sound
system to listen to either Shkodra Radio or some good
stuff he had on cd's. He even wipped out a DVD player
on our 2nd trip of dancing gypsies from Pristina that made
Bad Taste look Super Cool.
He charged us €40 for our afternoon trip to Razma
with about an hour there,
an hour back and over 90 there and another pit stop
at a cafe on the way down. We gave him a well earned tip so
so was 5,500 Lek (€1= 120 Lek)
Then on our return back through Shkodra we used him for the
trip Shkodra to Podgarica leaving around 7pm so we could
make the 10 pm Bar to Belgrade train.
He charged us €40, and had so much fun and laughing on both our
He didn't speak any English but we got by with a hotch potch
of mine and my travel companions few words in Albanian,
Italian and Serbsky/Russian/Polish
He was the sort of person I would feel safe with my life in
The only town in Montenegro with a direct bus connection to Shkoder is Ulcinj which is the southern most town in Montenegro. There are 2 buses per day in each direction. The Ulcinj to Shkoder buses go at 6am and 12.30pm. The Shkoder to Ulcinj buses go at 9am and 4pm.
If you´re coming from/going to Bar or Budva in Montenegro, there are regular buses throughout the day between Ulcinj and Bar and between Bar and Budva.
Alternatively, there are plenty of taxis running between Montenegro and Albania:
Shkoder to Ulcinj - 20 euro - 1 hour
Shkoder to Bar - 40 euro - 1.5 hours
Shkoder to Budva - 50 euro - 2 hours
Quite absent from the net and travel books are some NUTS AND BOLTS INFO
for your average backpacker and budget traveller.
So here are a few must know things when travelling
from central Europe.
Train prices from Budapest:
Budapest to Podgarica (Montenegro nearest crossing point
from train station when coming from Central and Western Europe)
16,125 HUF (67 Euro) Return single more expensive as rtrn has 65% discount.
Sarajevo 12,960 HUF Return
Then 4 hour bus trip to Podgarica (Price unknown)
Thesalonika 29, 472 HUF Return Single 24, 192 Huf
(For entering into Albania the southern route)
Trains leave from the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest
and 2 trains leave daily to Belgrade, 1 at 13.20 (AVALA) and
arrives (NEVER ON TIME, SOMETIMES 2 or 3 HRS LATE)
20.00pm we arrived 21.40 with just enough time to catch
the 22.00 and get the last couchette places for 10 Euro
YOU CAN'T BOOK PLACES OUTSIDE OF SERBIA!
There are no buses to Shkoder from Podgorica or Ulcinj.
To cross the border you take a taxi, walk past the queue of traffic and pick up a taxi at the other side.
The metered rate from Podgorica to the border was €17.
From the border to Shkoder was €12
From Shkoder to the border by Ulcinj was €12
From the border to Ulcinj was €20
This last could have been cheaper as the guy had a little mini van and obviously shutted backwards and forwards. I was the sole traveller however. On re-entering Montenegro, there was no taxci waiting at first. If you walk a little way past the border however you come to a cafe, where you can enjoy coffee and a doughnut. A taxi will either turn up as it did for me, or the cafe owner will call for one. He speaks no English, but is fluent in German!
To get to Shkoder is relatively easy from Ulcinj, Montenegro. There is a bus at 06:00 from the bus station in Ulcinj which brings you to Shkoder in a couple of hours. The border control is efficient at least in January. People on Canadian passports are to pay 10Euros for the entry visa. There is no charge when leaving Albania. By the way, the Albanian embassy in Canada or rather the particular official said: "Maybe you need a visa"!? May be they do not want to disappoint you but it is better if you have the 10Euros in your budget.
Another approach is the so called combibus. There is an office half way between the bus station and the beach in Ulcinj where one can buy the ticket and board the vehicle (12:30 departure). I used this option on the way back because of the times offered and the departure location - in front of the Rozafa hotel.
Like everywhere in Albania everybody drives a Mercedes, old ones, new ones, broken ones, luxurious ones, wathever you like. Minibuses are very cheap and ok. Taxis are more 'expensive' but I guess this because of your tourist status.
BUT, be careful on the road. The roads ARE dangerous, more dangerous than in the Former Yougoslav countries.
We were considering alternative ways of heading north,
and if you don`t take the route of the direct road north
through the Huni Hoti border crossing to Podgarica which
has direct trains to Belgrade and Budapest (up till Sept 21st),
Then the Ulcinj option is very good with a minibus connection
onto Bar for trains. We paid 40 Euro from Shkoder to Podgarica
as we arrived late from Tirane and we wanted to take the 7pm
train to Belgrade. In an air conditioned new mercedes I don`t
think 40 Euros is bad for the 70 minute drive. Allow time for the
border crossing, took us about 10 minutes but beware if there is
Well the minibus option to Ulcinj was 6 Euro and allow 1 or 2 Euro
extra per bag if you have extra luggage. Ulcinj tourist web site informed
me the cost was similar Ulcinj to Shkoder. Allow another 10 or 15 Euro
for minibus onto to Bar.
The taxi price might have gone up, but try and count half a Euro
per kilometer to know it`s a fair price. There are no fixed prices so
one can always try to bargain.
Remember if you pay too much, you will make it more expensive
for visitors after you. Better to negotiate a good price and give a good tip.
Contact the reception at Hotel Kaduku as they are very helpful,
there is no tourist info at present except using hotel receptionists.
There are minibuses leaving in he morning and at 12:00 from Ulcinj to Shkodra directly for nearly 5 euros.
And they pass the border faster than with normal cars.
If you need further information, feel free.
Although the road through Shkoder itself is slightly less pothole ridden than the surrounding rural roads watch out for this large lump of concrete that protruded from the road almost right bang in the centre of the city. There was a junction to the right here but no-one observed this lump as a roundabout and I was unsure of its purpose.
The best way to travel to Shkoder is to fly to Podgorica the capital of Montenegro and then take a bus to Shkoder. The travel link between Albania and Montenegro damaged in 1997 is being reconstructed and in a one to two years will start a passanger line linking Podgorica with Shkoder and the capital Tirana.
Another way from Montenegro would be through the tourist town of Ulcinj only 40 km or so away.
The other possibility is to fly to Tirana and from there take one of the many daily buses to Shkoder.
I just called the bus station in Podgorica and they said that there is no bus connection from Podgorica to Shkodra,(he said, maybe next year).
If not there is the taxi solution an friend of mine did in that way and she had to pay 25 euros.
You are going for the second year in Albania. It's funny, an friend of mine is going in Albania every summer since 3 years, careful;
Beware of untethered livestock at the roadside. Although with the road conditions you are unlikely to be travelling fast enough to cause much injury/damage.