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Tirana is the capital of Albania.
North towards Shkodër and Montenegro and Kosovo
Get to the square 'Zogu i Zi' and then follow the street 'Rruga Dritan Hoxha' for 100 metres. There will be a bus line emerging on the right where a bus to Kamez runs. It will have Kamez written on it, and probably a number. It costs 40 LEK and it takes roughly 20-25 minutes. You pay for the ticket in the bus, but not to the driver - there will be a ticket vendor walking around the bus who can sell you one. Get off at the last stop, from where you can walk 20 metres forward to a roundabout. You can hitchhike directly after it. Be prepared to defend from all the buses wishing to take you and from all the people advising you to take one of them.
Since there is a brand new highway to Prizren beginning 40km after Tirana, the best way to hitchhike to Skopje (Macedonia) is to go through Kosovo and not through Struga. Watch out, this highway is not mentioned on most of the maps and on google maps only part of it is marked.
Update: as of october 2017, the highway is completely marked on Google Maps. It is a very comfortable road for hitchhiking, and due to the low amount of traffic one can even hitchhike on the highway itself (but take extra care if you're doing so).
Alternatively, there is a cheap train running from Tirana to Shkodër, which can be an interesting experience.
This section was written in November 2011, and updated in July 2016.
West towards Durrës (over Vorë)
Walk along the "Durrës road" (Rruga Durrësit) until you find a suitable spot. A good spot is past a roundabout (about 15 minutes' walk) where you can board minibuses to Durrës. There is an extra line for buses. Keep in mind that the further you walk, the faster will the cars drive.
There is a free bus going to CITY PARK shopping center but it also stops to MEGATEC which is where you must drop off. if you forget and drop off at city park walk back to the underpass to go to the right direction toward Durres. In Albania cars stop to the highway, but better if you find a suitable spot because it is too dangerous and only minivans and taxis, which ask for money, will stop. If you get off on the MEGATEC mall, you can walk back to the highway where there's a Gulf gas station nearby. The employees are friendly but (as a solo female) need to confirm time and again that you're doing autostop and don't want them to stop a bus for you. Worked fine.
South towards Vlorë
The main road south goes from Durrës, so use the advice above. Have a look at the map so you know approximately where you want to get out. Let your driver know that you really don't want to go into the city, but would like to get dropped somewhere outside, on the road leading south.
If you want to go to Vlore without taking again public transport from Durres than is better if you go through the old road and not through the highway going to Durres: From the city center take a bus going to Sharrë which will bring you to the end of the city. The last stop is already a good spot for hitchhiking, but you can even walk further if you want, cars can stop everywhere. From there can find cars going to Durres which will drop you to a roundabout where all cars going further south will pass.
East towards Macedonia
- Rozwal while hitchhiking to Tirana from Skopje through Struga in November 2011 entered the city from the East next to a to-be-opened East Gate Tirana enormous shopping mall (the biggest in Albania). There was a new very big roundabout next to it. It seemed like a very good spot to start hitchhiking as it is at the outskirts of the city. One could try asking people in Tirana or at the tourist information for a bus to this mall. Before someone reported that it is good to take a bus to Elbasan, from where you can start hitching. Personally, I believe there is no reason to go so far with a bus. Good luck! -YES, the roundabout is the best spot to start HH toward Elbasan and Macedonia.
- tiani-tolkay can confirm what Rozwal told. Opposite to the Clocktower (albanian: Kulla e Sahatit) there is a bus stop from where a free bus to Tirana East Gate leaves every 20 minutes, from 9.00 to 21.00. There is also a paid bus for 30 lek from the same place to TEG. At that roundabout, i got a ride to Elbasan very fast, waiting time was less than 5 minutes. (July 2013)
Entering the city from the west, on Rruga Durresit (coming from Durrës, or from the north) could be slightly tiresome if you get dropped early on. The road through the suburbs could become rather long, and it's dense with very busy traffic. Catching a ride to the center could be difficult (but is certainly possible, though a lot of taxis will stop for you), and you might be better off just walking or taking a very cheap city bus. But on the other hand, it's not unlikely that your ride takes you straight to the center, or wherever you are going.
From the central bus station you will find a bus to Tetovo, Macedonia. It will pass Durrës, Elbasan, Qafë-Thanës-Struga border crossing, Struga, Tetovo. You will have to pay €10 for a ticket to Struga. There is one departing early in the morning.
Places to Visit
Places to Avoid
Accommodation and Sleep
In Tirana one can easily get accommodated in so called private sector: these are people who have their apartments arranged to accepts occasional tourists. It is safe, quite cheap (you can talk about how much you can pay), you get friendly company (if needed) and tips how and where. To find these kind of places just ask some more tidily looking folks on the street, or in Internet cafes and other similar places.
Tirana Backpacker Hostel on Rruga Myslim Shyrit (near the highway towards Elbasan), "Villa 7" in a back alley, behind the Alpet petrol station has free wifi and may allow you to pitch your tent in the garden for less than the normal price of a bed.
There's a lovely park area to the south of the city center, about 25 minutes' walk. It would certainly be possible to find a spot to sleep there.
Other Useful Info
In Tirana (and probably in other cities, too) you can find very cheap local food markets with really good and fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, olives, etc. Local olive oil and freshly baked bread is something everyone has to taste!
Do not drink tap water in Albania.trash:Tirana