A Day trip To Kruja & How To Get There From Tirana

The landmark of Kruje

Kruje or Kruja sounds confusing to some of us. Anyway, the way we pronounce it is comprehensible for Albanian people. This charming village is about thirty kilometers north of Tirana and definitely worth a day trip from the capital. So, if you plan a city trip to Tirana, you should include this on things to do. Spending one day in Kruje feels like being in a different world that brings you back in time.

In this blog, I will explain to you how to get there. It may not seem easy because you need to take two buses, but a lot easier than you think. I got a detailed explanation of which buses I had to take and thanks to my hotel staff in Tirana for guiding me.

Let’s start with how to get to the regional bus terminal in Tirana if you are coming from the city center.

First, you need to take a bus from Skanderbeg

If you are staying in the city center, walk to Skanderbeg I’m pretty sure you know the place, near the National Museum. This is the area where you find the buses and taxis in the center of Tirana. Also, it’s the end stop of airport bus if you can remember.

Look for the bus with the sign KAMZA or KAMEZ if you have some doubts, it is better to ask someone. To make sure that you get onto the right bus, you should double-check with the driver if he is going to the station (terminali). The word pronunciation “terminali” is pretty much known I don’t know if it’s Albanese or not.

The ticket is available on the bus, but not by the driver, you have to wait until the bus starts to run. Then you see a person inside issuing the ticket, it costs 40 lek. It should take 20-30 minutes to get to the regional station.

Castle ruin of Kruje
The ruin of Fethiye Mosque

The minibusses to Kruje

The bus terminal in Tirana is not quite arranged like we used to. You will enter in a big parking lot where you can find all the buses. It can be perplexing to find the buses for Kruje but to make this easy – on your left side, you see a minibusses. You’ll see that each of them has a signboard in front with a destination.

Take the bus with a Kruje sign, not with Fushe-Kruje – because this is a different town. If unsure double-check with the bus driver. Just one thing I like about Albania, the locals are friendly and very helpful too, also most of them can understand English.

You need a lot of patience with public buses

The buses in Albania will not leaving with empty seats. So if you are the first passenger to arrive, you will have to hang out for quite a while. I waited for almost one hour before they leave. And traveling during the summer in Albania, can be extremely hot and some buses has no air conditioning. Although Kruje is not really that far, the trip can take up to one hour, depending on the traffic. The ticket price is very cheap it only costs 200 lek (1.85 euros) and can be paid by the driver.

In the stipulation of public transportation, Albania is far behind compared to its adjacent land Serbia. The buses in Belgrade run on schedule – they don’t care if there’s only one passenger onboard. As for visitors to Albania who like to travel around the country using buses, it can slow down your plan.

I had a small talk with people at my hotel, and they said don’t rely on the timetable because they could change in a minute. Thus, if you plan a long-distance trip check the night before for departure time.

And speaking about Serbia, this should be on your bucket list. Most travelers who has plenty of time combine Albania, Serbia, and North Macedonia. To give you more ideas on what to do in neighboring countries, read my blog post about Serbia and North Macedonia. The Balkan cities are a great place for long weekend trips.

Tips for the Balkan cities

So you see, I spent a long weekend in Belgrade and made a day trip to Novi Sad. Belgrade Serbia: how to spend two days in the city. As for Novi Sad, read my detailed post: How to spend the best day in Novi Sad & tips.

I did the same in North Macedonia I took a long weekend trip to Skopje, and managed to visit Ohrid for one day. How to spend one day in Skopje North Macedonia. Of course, Ohrid should be on the list when visiting North Macedonia. Ohrid North Macedonia: How to spend in one day

The mountain view from the roadside
The mountain view from the roadside

You’ll be dropped on a street in Kruje

Anyway, when you arrive in Kruje the driver knows exactly where to drop you off. He will never forget his passengers, I was lucky that there were other tourists on the bus. Because Kruje has no terminal, he will drop you off on a street not far from the old bazaar. There’s only one road that leads to the old town. But before you continue take a good shot of the castle in the mountains and its surroundings.

Buses from Kruje to Tirana

The buses going back to Tirana are not in the same place where you arrive. You have to find the Grand Hotel in Kruje, if I were you, put this in your Maps.me favorite. On the other side of the Grand Hotel, you will find the minibus going to Tirana. Again, you will see the sign in front of the buses. Be aware that there is only one service in an hour, and the last trip departs from Kruje at 4:00 PM.

Going back to Tirana city center

Once you’re back in Tirana terminal, you just have to cross the road and wait for the city bus. The buses will have signs of Tirana, but it doesn’t mean they are going to Skanderbeg. It’s puzzling because they all have the same signboard. Maybe the driver had forgotten to change or remove them, but when I got in and asked if he is going to Skanderbeg, he said no. The ticket inspector will be around you can double-check with him.

Skanderbeg museum
Skanderbeg museum

A day trip to Kruje it is worth it?

A day trip to Kruje will definitely not disappoint you. You will be pleased to escape from Tirana’s bustle for a day. This small town on the foot of the Albanian mountain has a rich of history. In fact, one of the most famous towns in Albania that known for its old bazaar and castle, which is one of the highlights of your trip to Kruje.

Although I only spent a long weekend in Tirana, I have added Kruje to my list of things to do. And if I have more time, I could spend a night here as recommended by others. But that’s too bad I’ve missed the opportunity, though there will be a next time.

Stroll through Kruje’s old bazaar

Kruje old bazaar
The colorful old bazaar

The old part of Kruje has transformed into a souvenir market – you will find this on your way to the castle. Kruje’s bazaar is one of the oldest in Albania – although reconstructed a few years ago, it still holds its old charm. The cozy little streets that date from the seventeenth century present numerous handmade Albanian products at reasonable prices, so if you are looking for souvenirs, this is a place to go.

This is by far the most interesting market I’ve seen in the Balkans. It’s enjoyable for browsing and shopping experience, even if you don’t buy anything you will enjoy the walk there as it feels like strolling back in time. However, for comfort, wear gym shoes when visiting Kruje. Because the narrow cobblestone street isn’t made to walk with high heels.

Climbing to Kruja Castle

This historic castle and attached museum are nestled in the mountains and can be seen anywhere in the town of Kruje. It takes a little effort to get there, especially since I was traveling during the summer months, which was so hot. But once you scope the top, the high altitude allows you to admire unparalleled views – a vista that takes your breath away.

Views from Kruje castle
The views from the castle

Just don’t get too excited about this place, there’s isn’t much left of the original castle. It may look impressive from the outside however, the modern museum building of Skanderbeg compensates the whole area. If you love history, this gives a good primary of Albania’s bygone days. Besides, the surrounding area is nice to walk through if you are looking for a day out of the hustle and bustle of Tirana, this can be pretty relaxing to explore. By the way, the entrance fee for the museum is 500 lek and it’s a good value for money.

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