7-Day Albania road trip from Italy by ferry

Your coastal and inland adventure awaits!

Do you know that Albania is one of the trendiest travel destinations for 2023? If you're an adventure enthusiast with a penchant for unspoiled landscapes, you should seriously consider embarking on a road trip in Albania!

Taking the ferry from Italy to Albania is one of the best ways to reach the country, providing both the convenience of vehicle transport and the opportunity to explore multiple destinations.

Read all about Italy - Albania ferries, follow our advice for a worry-free road trip and book your ferry tickets online with no hidden costs!

Tirana's Skanderbeg Square with the Clock Tower, the Ethem Bey Mosque and the statue of the national hero of Albania

The famous Skanderbeg square in Tirana, the capital of Albania

Ferry from Italy to Albania + Road trip: useful info

Our journey to the "land of eagles" (as Albania is known) starts from Italy, which is connected all year round with 2 ports in Albania. More specifically, from Ancona and Bari in Italy, you can reach the city of Durrës by ferry.

Durrës is located on the west coast of Albania along the Adriatic Sea and about 33 km from the capital Tirana. In summer, it is also possible to take the ferry to Vlorë from the Italian port of Brindisi and reach the south of Albania in less than 8 hours.

Considering the frequency of the ferry schedules and the central location of Durrës, we recommend choosing the Italy - Durrës ferry route to kickstart your road trip and explore Albania's most scenic destinations with your vehicle.

But first, we want to provide you with more useful information to better organize your trip:

Which Italian port is best to depart from to reach Durrës?

If you are traveling from Northern or Central Italy, the most convenient port to reach Durrës is Ancona. Keep in mind that the Ancona - Durrës ferry is usually active 3 days a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) with 16-hour night crossings.

If you are traveling from South Italy, the Bari - Durrës ferry is the best option to get to Albania from Italy. The connection is active every day with 2-3 crossings. Also, the shortest trip takes 10 hours.

Tip: for more info, take a look at all the 2023 ferries to Albania!

Boats and modern buildings at the port of Durrës, Albania

The port of Durrës, the largest in Albania

What’s the price of a vehicle ticket on Italy - Albania ferries?

The ticket price for motor vehicles depends on the type of vehicle you wish to board. Note that all ferry companies operating routes between Italy and Albania allow passengers to travel with cars, motorbikes, campers, and caravans.

Usually, the ferry fares for motorbikes are the cheapest, while car ferry tickets start from €50. If you want to take your camper on the Italy - Albania ferry, tickets start from €90. Always keep in mind that ferry fares change depending on the operator and increase in high season.

What documents do I need to drive in Albania?

To drive in Albania, you must have a valid driving license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP).

The other mandatory documents to drive in Albania are ID/Passport, vehicle insurance and vehicle registration certificate.

Important: check whether your vehicle insurance also covers Albania. Alternatively, you can always get a temporary car insurance upon arrival in Albania before customs checks at the port.

Is driving in Albania difficult?

No, but you must always be cautious as the condition of the roads varies widely depending on where you are.

While urban roads in larger cities such as Tirana and Durrës are generally in good condition, rural and mountain roads can be bumpy and narrow. They are very scenic, but require a lot of attention while driving. In many cases you may also encounter animals on the road.

In Albania, road signage adheres to the European standard. When it comes to city speed limits in Albania, the maximum permissible is 40 km/h, while on rural roads the limit extends to 80 km/h. The good news is that in Albania there are no tolls!

Important: weather conditions can affect the roads in Albania, so it’s always good to check the weather beforehand and be cautious during your road trip.

City street lined with palm and pine trees near the seafront of Vlorë in Albania

Provincial road in Vlorë running along the city promenade

1-week road trip in Albania: where to go

With all the essential information in hand for your journey from Italy to Albania by ferry and exploring the country by car, let's now dive into the top destinations to explore!

While a mere 7 days may not seem enough to fully experience Albania, we’ve crafted the perfect itinerary for you to embark on a road trip through the most captivating cities, natural parks, local traditions, and culinary delights

There are quite a few kilometers to cover, but it will be truly worth it! 🚗

Day 1: visit Durrës and drive north

Upon your early morning arrival in Durrës by ferry, you'll have plenty of time to immerse yourself in the city's rich offerings.

Start by exploring Durrës city center: marvel at the remnants of the Roman amphitheater, take in the architectural beauty of the local mosques, delve into the treasures of the Archaeological Museum, and stroll along the city's scenic waterfront. Have lunch in a local tavern or try a delicious byrek, one of Albania’s most popular savory pies.

Continue your journey northward to the Cape of Rodon promontory (located 47 km from Durrës). Renowned for its natural beauty, it features a striking combination of dense forests and rugged cliffs that extend into the sea. Here you can also visit the Skanderbeg Castle and the charming church of St. Anthony!

Make your way from the Cape of Rodon toward Lezhë, the oldest city of Albania and consider spending 1 night here. Next morning we suggest you visit Lezhë’s most famous attractions, such as the castle, the Skanderbeg Mausoleum, the nearby Kunë Island, and the amazing Rana and Hedhun Beach, famous for its sand dunes.

Panoramic view from the promontory of Lezhë castle, Albania

Breathtaking view from Lezhë castle in Albania

Day 2: Shkodër - Lake Koman

After exploring the surroundings of Lezhë, set your sights on the captivating city of Shkodër, located about 39 km away. 

Shkodër is renowned for its museums, the majestic Rozafa Castle and its picturesque lake in the border area between Montenegro and Albania. If you have time, you should also visit the scenic Mesi Bridge!

Continue driving towards Koman Lake, but since you will probably arrive late in the evening, we recommend staying here overnight. The next morning, you can decide between experiencing the 3-hour crossing over Lake Koman or simply relaxing in nature.

Day 3: Krujë - Tirana

Regardless of your decision, bear in mind that on day 3 you'll need to start heading south and drive for several kilometers until you reach the village of Krujë.

Krujë is a fascinating window into Albanian culture and is an absolute must-visit for history enthusiasts. Krujë's main attractions include the castle, the Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg National Museum (celebrating the heroic 15th-century Albanian leader), and Krujë bazaar.

Drive another 38 km to Tirana, the vibrant capital of Albania. You can leave your vehicle in the underground parking at Skanderbeg Square and start your city tour from here. Walk by the Et'hem Bey Mosque, admire Tirana’s Clock Tower and visit the National Historical Museum to delve into Albania's rich history!

Tirana’s central square is also surrounded by cafes and restaurants where you can savor local cuisine. Try the popular qofte meatballs, the vine leaf rolls dolma and end your meal with a delectable baklava (a sweet pastry made with filo dough, honey and dried fruits).

To fully experience Tirana's vibrant nightlife, we recommend spending the night here. As for the next day's destination, we're headed to the picturesque Lake Ohrid and its charming villages of Lin and Pogradec!

Yellow boats on the shore of Lake Ohrid surrounded by mountains in Albania

The beautiful scenery of Lake Ohrid in Albania

Day 4: Lin - Pogradec - Korçë

The trip from Tirana to Lin takes almost 2 hours, but the final destination is definitely worth it!

The quiet, fisherman village of Lin is a hidden gem of Lake Ohrid and the ideal place to relax. During your stay here, you can also walk up to the archaeological site situated on a promontory to admire an early Christian church with its beautifully preserved mosaic.

The village of Pogradec (just 20 km from Lin) is another unmissable stop! This still little-known location offers mesmerizing landscapes, culture and excellent cuisine

It’s time to hit the road again! We recommend driving 40 km to the town of Korçë, called the "Little Paris of Albania" for its French-style villas and coffee culture. Take your time to wander its city center, visit the Resurrection Cathedral and lose yourself in the charming alleys of its historic bazaar.

Note: every year in August, Korçë holds its famous Beer Festival, the biggest summer event in Albania!

The little shops of the old bazaar in Corizza, Albania, with carpets and other colorful items displayed outside

Shops with colorful items in the Old Bazaar of Korçë

Day 5 & 6: from Gjirokastër to the Albanian Riviera

Our journey takes us further south: from Korçë, you'll need to drive approximately 190 km to Gjirokastër. Remember to take the longer route to remain within the borders of Albania.

The town of Gjirokastër in Albania is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it's often referred to as the "city of stone" due to its well-preserved Ottoman-era architecture

Explore Gjirokastër's top attractions, including the castle and the Zekate House, and savor delicious local dishes such as the creamy soup pasha qofte and the shap (a fig-based sweet).

Now, get ready to bid farewell to the inland, as you'll drive for approximately 1 hour from Gjirokastër to the coast. Albania's dreamy beaches are waiting for you!

The best of the Albanian Riviera: Sarandë - Lukovë - Porto Palermo - Dhërmi

Begin your adventure in the charming coastal town of Sarandë, where you can relax by the pristine waters of Mango Beach and drive towards the alluring Kakoma Beach, a true natural wonder. As you continue your journey, prepare to be mesmerized by the breathtaking beauty of Krorëza Beach!

Continue your road trip to Lukovë, famous for its beaches and its vibrant nightlife. During your time here, visit Buneci Beach and drive to the bay of Porto Palermo. The entire region is framed by dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters, making it an ideal haven for snorkeling enthusiasts.

Don't miss the captivating Porto Palermo fortress, perched on a rocky promontory, and get ready to take amazing pictures from its ancient ramparts.

Aerial view of the fortress located on the lush promontory of Porto Palermo, Albania

The picturesque Porto Palermo Castle standing on a small island in the Bay of Porto Palermo

Elevate your coastal exploration of Albania by visiting Livadi Beach and the captivating Gjipe Beach, one of our favorites! Keep in mind that the road leading to Gjipe Beach is a two-way path, though it's notably narrow. Once you've parked your car in the designated lot, a roughly 40-minute descent along a slightly rugged trail awaits.

Another beautiful place along the Albanian coastline is the charming village of Dhërmi, very popular among trekking enthusiasts. Close to Dhërmi you can visit the Holy Monastery of Saint Theodore and the old pirate cave of Shpella e piratëve, only accessible by boat.

Panoramic view of Gjipe Beach with straw umbrellas and turquoise waters in Albania

Gjipe Beach, a paradise on the Albanian Riviera

Day 7: Llogara National Park & Vlorë

On your last day in Albania, we recommend visiting the Llogara Park, one of the largest and most popular natural reserves in Albania.

Take a few hours to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and capture the stunning views of the valley! You'll also have the chance to drive along the Llogara Pass, renowned for its scenic splendor.

If your plan entails returning to Italy with the Vlorë - Brindisi ferry, you'll have ample time to explore the city of Vlorë and its surroundings. Be sure to include the island of Zvërnec and the archaeological site of Apollonia in your itinerary!

However, if you have planned to take the return ferry to Italy from Durrës, you will have to travel another 123 km to get to Durrës from Vlorë.

The temple of Artemis and the ruins of the archaeological park of Apollonia, in Albania

The ruins of the Apollonia archaeological site, near Vlorë

Everything is ready to organize a sensational trip to Albania!

All you have to do now is take a look at our Map of ferries, choose the Italy - Albania trip that most appeals to you and get ready for a unique adventure!