When you want to buy a bus ticket to go from Tirana to Skopje there is not a lot of information online. The little that is available is often inaccurate and it’s impossible to buy a ticket.
Most of the bus companies situated in Balkan countries don’t have an online presence and FlixBus isn’t active in the area. If you are in Tirana and want to travel to Skopje, the best thing to do is go to Tirana’s international bus station [MAP] and buy a ticket there instead.
Why I Think It’s a Waste of Time Looking for Information Online
I could only find two companies listed online. Both of them were based in Macedonia. That meant placing international calls.
When I rang the first bus company they didn’t do that route at all, so the information I found on the internet was either outdated or just plain wrong. I had to ring the other company twice. The first time I rang the number I asked very politely, “Do you speak English at all?” The guy hung up. I rang back and asked the question again. It sounded like it may have been the same guy but this time he remained on the line and he did speak English.
The first thing I asked was how much the journey would cost. He told me €20. I then asked how to buy a ticket. He told me I would have to buy one from the bus driver on the day I needed to travel. I did not like that idea because if there were a lot of people waiting to make the journey I may not be able to board the bus.
Next, I asked where the bus departed from. He said, “Black Beard.” That didn’t sound right. I thought I may have misheard him, so I asked again. “Black Beard,” he repeated. I’m not sure if this guy was making a joke. Perhaps he had something against English people. After all, I’m pretty sure he’d already hung up on me once. Either way, when I tried to find a place called Black Beard in Tirana, I could not.
About Tirana’s International Bus Station
Tirana’s international bus station is situated near the Ring Centre. If you have Google Maps on your phone both are easy to find.
The international bus station in Tirana is actually just a bus parking area surrounded by little travel offices. All of them have numbers above the doors. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to find a bus company that operates a service between Tirana and Skopje. You just have to walk from one to the next and ask if they do that route.
Judging by the signs next to the doors, some of the companies specialize in journeys to certain countries, but the signs are not always reliable. The company I went with mainly arranges trips to Italy. However, it was not my first choice and may not have been the best.
Tips On Buying a Bus Ticket from Tirana to Skopje
It will make it easier if you ask lots of questions. I made the mistake of not asking enough.
I’d originally planned to travel with the company in office no. 8. The lady told me they do several trips per day, seven days per week. The first bus of the day departs at 6 am. That would have been perfect. I never bought a ticket, because I still needed to arrange a room.
When I went back the following week, office 8 was closed. I didn’t want to return later so I tried a few other companies. The lady in one of the other offices said they had a daily service that departs at 12 pm. I said that was too late in the day. Then she said I could go at 06:30 am using the company’s minibus service.
I should have asked her if the minibus would be taking me all the way to Skopje, but I didn’t. When arrived at the bus station I discovered the minibus only went to Pristina. The driver didn’t speak English and when he indicated I had to get off the vehicle at Pristina bus station I had no idea what to do. Fortunately, it all worked out okay in the end. I had to change bus. That’s only a problem if you don’t know it’s going to happen.
If you are reading this because you want to travel from Tirana to Skopje by bus, I hope the information I’ve shared here makes things easier for you.
To summarize it:
1. Don’t waste your time looking for a way to find information or buy tickets online. The information may be outdated or wrong.
2. Do go to the international bus station.
3. Do check with several companies. Of the two companies I tried, I think the one in office no.8 would have been the best, but it’s possible other companies may be able to get you there as well.
4. Do ask if there will be any transfers involved. If they tell you there will ask where the transfer will happen. Then ask the name of the bus company that will be taking you the rest of the way and how you are supposed to find the bus. Also, check if there may be additional charges involved. Check how long you will need to wait for the second bus as well. I wish I had done all of these things, but did not.
It’s also important to be aware the bus is unlikely to have a toilet on board, so drinking a lot of fluid before your journey may be unwise. I’ve travelled long-distance on a few buses in the Balkans and have yet to see one with a functional toilet.
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