Your average Albanian still gets around by minibus, and also sends post that way. Also fresh farm produce on a daily basis to their [presumably otherwise starving] city-dwelling family relatives, furniture . . . you name it, it’s moving around Albania by minibus. I have also, just once, seen a cow transported by minibus (and I have the photograph to prove it! But don’t worry – it wasn’t a passenger minibus. Well, not unless you’re a cow I guess?).
The network can seem daunting to foreigners, as there’s usually no published schedule or system, no information in print or on-line, no tickets sold, and no formally organized way to make reservations. Oh, and no proper bus stations. Welcome to Albania! If you can relax your expectations of bureaucracy, you’ll find the system actually works much better than more impersonal and “professional” systems!
Some tips to bear in mind: 1) Your best bet is probably always going to be to ask wherever you’re staying to help you get whatever minibus you need the next day. Believe me, they’re probably used to this, and will have more up-to-date information than anyone else. 2) Even if you need to take a series of buses, as long as this is explained to the first driver, he’ll take it upon himself to explain it to the next driver he delivers you to. This is part of the culturally sacred responsibility of every Albanian to look after every single guest. 3) In general, minibuses leave villages in the morning to travel to ‘urban’ centers (possibly just bigger villages) and return the other direction in the afternoon/evening. Makes sense when you consider that they’re mostly serving people who need to “go to town to take care of shopping/business” and then get home again in the evening.
For those travelling to the North, you have the extra-special opportunity to travel by one of the several small ferries (passenger and/or car) plying the bizarre and dramatic hydroelectric lake of Koman (and rumor has it someday in the near future of Fierze). The three narrow and interconnected lakes of Vau e Dejes, Koman and Fierze were created in the 1970s by the hydroelectric damming of the Drin River, which accounts for their narrow and twisty nature, and the distinct impression you get when you’re traversing them that you’re floating past mountain-tops: You ARE! The 2-3 hour trip has been called “one of the great boat trips of the world” by the Bradt Guide.
Much seems to have been written about the perils of driving in Albania, but most of it is probably less and less true every year. True, you will probably encounter at least one or two cars which appear to be driven by either 10 year olds or centenarians (neither being able to peer far over the steering wheel), and yes habitually using roundabouts instead of traffic lights does seem like an odd planning choice for a nation culturally predisposed to drive the wrong way around them on principle, but a ton of EU money is being poured into Albania, and most of it seems to have gone into road-building projects. So you will find more new asphalted roads than not these days (even if there are cows wandering up the verges of highways, as well as small cars driving the wrong way up the shoulder because someone forgot to leave them access to their houses from the opposite direction). The biggest challenges these days are: 1) Albanian drivers’ love of passing other cars at high speeds, even on curves (but what are shoulders for?) 2) The difficulty of finding an up-to-date road map (and don’t think google maps knows any better). [actually: Scratch “difficulty” and insert “impossibility of finding.”] 3) The seemingly counter-intuitive fact that the fastest way of getting anywhere on an Albanian road often involves driving many many kilometers in the wrong direction.
DEPARTING FROM VALBONA
- Valbona – Bajram Curri
- Valbona – Tirana
- Valbona – Fierze
- Bajram Curri – Tirana
- Valbona – Shkoder
- Bajram Curri – Tropoje e Vjeter
- Bajram Curri – Gjakova
- Valbona – Prizren
- Valbona – Prishtina
- Valbona – Kruja
- Valbona – Skopje
- Valbona – Berat
- Valbona – Kukes
- Airport – Tirana
- Airport – Shkoder
- Shkoder – Tirana
- Shkoder – Skopje
Arriving in Valbona
Tirana -> Valbona (no needed change in Bajram Curri).
- Taxi. 200€. Insane.
- By Boat without a car. There is just one bus leaving Tirana for Koman daily to catch the ferries, and this is the minibus operated by Gjelosh Susaj which leaves Tirana at 4:50. The easiest way to arrange this is by booking online a through-ticket (actually a reservation ticket, since you don’t pay till you get to the ferry) with the Berisha Ferry people at https://komanilakeferry.com/en/. Cost is 20€ per person. They will tell Gjelosh to expect you and reserve you a seat. Once you catch Gjelosh, you’ll have options to take the 9:00 Berisha Car Ferry or the 9:00 Dragobia Passenger Ferry. They also arrange a connecting bus on the other end, to bring you to your guesthouse of choice in Valbona. All included in the 20€.
- By Boat with a car (camper, motorcycle or bicycle). Presuming you can get yourself to Koman (about a 3 hour drive, because the road is bumpy and bad), you have a choice of ferries in summer:
- Always my favorite: Berisha Car Ferry. Departs Koman for Fierza at 9:00. Cost is 5€ per person, plus 5€ per meter 2 of car. (ie, a “normal car” of 5m x 1m is 5m2 or 25€). You can reserve a space ahead of time online (in English!) here: https://komanilakeferry.com/en/. They operate April 15 through September or October. Check!
- Last choice: Alpin Car Ferry. Departs Koman at 12:00, June to September, WHEN THEY FEEL LIKE IT. I don’t like this company because they take reservations right up to the night before, and then cancel at the last minute if they don’t have enough bookings to cover their fuel expense. If you get cancelled, you’re stuck in Koman with no boats till the next day, and only an 8 hour drive as an option to get to Valbona, if you need to arrive the same day.
- Driving (with no boats involved). You have a bunch of options:
- Fastest Route: Tirana to Milot, turn right up the Kukes Highway (“Welcome to the Tunnel!” Albanias were super excited about their first ever highway tunnel and put up a LOT of signs), then after Kukes you have to enter Kosova, pass Prizren and Gjakova, and then back into Albania at Qafa e Morina (Morina Pass). THEN you pass Bajram Curri (ignore the road sign for Bajram Curri / Valbona and TURN RIGHT). Tirana to Valbona should take you about 5 hours maximum.
- Next fastest route without entering Kosova. Do the same thing, but at Kukes turn left, through the city (“city” – big town really) and then ask directions to drive on the Has/Krume road. The road gets narrower and narrower and twistier and twistier but it will drop you out before Bajram Curri (turn left for BC, and as ever, turn the opposite way from the road sign for the correct route). It’s actually really beautiful, oddly amazing for birdwatching (I swear I saw a Hoopoe there!) and hedgehogs and tortoises, and I have actually counted and on average, over 2.5 hours you see about 5 other cars. Tirana to Valbona, maybe 6 hours (depending on how fast you drive on the twisty bits).
- Absolutely the slowest crazy route, but very scenic, if you don’t get car sick. From Tirana drive north as if for Shkoder. Somewhere near Lezhe you need to turn East for Puka/Fushe Arres, and just past Fushe Arres you turn North for Fierze, passing Dardhe and Hotel Alpin (where they do NOT have small bears in a cage anymore, so it’s okay to stay there again)(but what did they DO with them?!). Fushe Arres to Fierze alone will take you about 4 hours, so the whole trip, Tirana to Valbona is at least 7 hours. But like I said, very scenic. You see rural Albania, for sure. Also, if they’ve opened the sluices of the Fierze Dam, you get to drive across a narrow bridge in a sort of horizontal waterfall. Fun!
- Choose Balkans. Based in Tirana, Choose Balkans offers a door-to-door service from and to Tirana. Therefore, even if you didn’t arrive this way, if they happen to have brought guests up in the morning, they may be returning to Tirana around 16:00 in the afternoon. Cost is around 25euro per person, as long as there’s 4 people going. I believe that returning they offer a small stop in Prizren. firstname.lastname@example.org or +355 (0)69 88 01 181
Tirana -> Bajram Curri
(to Valbona, if you catch the daily bus or take a taxi. See Bajram Curri -> Valbona)
- By Bus. 1000 lek per person. Buses and minibuses leave Tirana periodically from super early in the morning until about 14:00. You’re better to get there early, and reserve a seat. I’ve gotten caught with 3 hours between buses, and all seats taken. It takes around 5 hours, and they ALL pass through Kosova (so make sure you have a passport or something). The bus station is a dusty parking lot on Rruga e Durresit. Usually they make one stop in Kukes, before the border, so you can pee and have a coffee (or whatever). My personal advice is to look for the oldest bus possible, in the hopes that the windows open. The buses offering “aer kondicion” are often like small torture-ovens (ie, the air-conditioning doesn’t work or is feeble, and the windows don’t open). At best you will be subjected to hours of Albanian traditional music. At worst it will be modern Albanian hip-hop.
Bajram Curri -> Valbona
- Daily Bus. The daily bus returns to the valley in the afternoon, leaving Bajram Curri around 14:00. Costs 300 lek. There’s no proper bus stop (even though locals call it “Valbona Station”). The minibus just waits in front of the hardware store/Universal Café near the corner of the “Pazaar” (market) road and the road to Valbona. But if you ask ANYONE, they’ll show you where it is.
- A taxi to Valbona should cost 20-25euro. There isn’t anywhere that they hang around waiting though, so you’d probably be better off asking anyone, who will inevitably have a cousin they can call.
- Feasible, but not reliable (in the sense that it could take a while, depending on the time of year).
Hiking. The existing car road was actually only built in the 1970s, so theoretically the old road (horse track) still exists on the other side of the river, but last I heard it’s now blocked in Klysyr (nearer Bajram Curri). You can get off the bus at Gryka e Motines in Dragobi however, and hike up the 6km of marked trail to Quku i Valbones, which is a very nice hike next to one of the prettiest stretches of the river.
Shkoder -> Bajram Curri
By Bus. Possible, but pretty nutty. You would need to take a bus for Tirana, get off in Milot, stand by the impromptu market (made of little transport containers turned into shops) on the road for Kukes/Kosova and flag down one of the Bajram Curri Buses. Then in Bajram Curri you’d need to catch the daily minibus (or take a taxi, or hitchhike). Altogether it might take 8 hours and be a bit stressful.
Shkoder -> Valbona
- By Boat without a Car. The whole trip should take about 7.
- Your best bet is to book a ticket (which really means ‘reserve a seat’ since you don’t pay till you get to the boat) with Berisha’s Komani Lake Ferry website: http://komanilakeferry.com/en/ They arrange everything – bus from Shkoder (see departure point on the map OR ask your hotel/hostel if they have a pick up – some do!), the boat, and the bus to wherever you’re staying in Valbona. Just be aware that they don’t answer emails until evening, so expect to wait for the confirmation. Cost is 15€ per person for the whole trip. If you somehow get yourself to Koman, I believe the price breakdown is 5€ for each leg. Both of their boats (the passenger “Bus Boat” Dragobia, and the small car ferry Berisha) leave Koman at 9:00.
- Next option is Rozafa Small Car Ferry, also leaving Koman at 9:00, and also costing 5€ per person. They’re also very nice, but I’m not sure what they do about helping with buses on either end. Also they don’t have a helpful English-speaking person answering emails, so your only option is to have an Albanian-speaker call Florini: +355 (0)68 52 54 496 the day (or night) before.
Last and definitely least favorite is the Alpin (Gigantic) Car Ferry. Least favorite because they are prone to cancelling at the last minute if they feel there are not enough reservations to justify the expense, and since they are the last departing ferry from Koman (at 12:00) if they pull this stunt you’re stuck there until the next day, on a rock sticking out in the middle of the lake, with a 5€, 3 hour bus trip back to Shkoder as your only option.
- By Boat with a car. It takes about 2.5 hours to drive from Shkoder to Koman (it’s not far, but the road is bumpy & slow). The boat takes about 2.5 hours as well, and the drive from Fierze to Valbona should be less than one hour. So assume 6 hours for the whole trip.
You have the following options for car ferries:
- Your best bet is to book a ticket (which really means ‘reserve a space’ since you don’t pay till you get to the boat)with Berisha’s Komani Lake Ferry website: http://komanilakeferry.com/en/. Charge for the car is 5€ per m2 (length by width), plus 5€ per person. Departs Koman at 9:00, will arrive Fierze around 11:30. Remember they do all their emailing in the evening, so don’t expect an answer before then.
- Rozafa Ferry. Same as Berisha: Departs Koman at 9:00, costs 5€ per m2 (length by width), plus 5€ per person. Ask an Albanian-speaker call Florini: +355 (0)68 52 54 496 the day (or night) before to reserve space for your car.
Alpin (Gigantic) Car Ferry. Least favorite because they are prone to cancelling at the last minute if they feel there are not enough reservations to justify the expense, and since they are the last departing ferry from Koman (at 12:00) if they pull this stunt you’re stuck there until the next day, on a rock sticking out in the middle of the lake, with 7 hour drive across Albania and through Kosova as your only option.
Gjakova -> Bajram Curri
- By Bus. Mini-Buses leave every 2 hours(-ish, aka: ‘when they are full’) from 10h00 to 14h00. However! Welcome to the North – now you are travelling like a local, so be aware minibuses don’t depart from the official bus station in Gjakova, but instead are found in what is officially called ‘Mula Jusuf square’ – except I don’t think anyone knows that’s what it’s actually called. This happens a lot around here – municipalities get excited about someone and re-name a street after them, which turns up on google maps, only no one local knows about it. Locals call this area ‘Bardhoshat” (pronounced barth-O-shi), and there’s no recognizable bus stop. But if you ask ANYONE, I am quite sure they will help you get on the next bus. Even going so far as to call the bus driver for you, who is probably a cousin. Good news is that Bardhoshat is in a straight line from the ‘proper’ bus station through the Old Bazaar (taking so-called “Ismail Qemajli Street”), so good excuse for visiting the most beautiful and historically interesting part of Gjakova. A seat on a minibus costs about 2 euros and takes less than 1 hour.
Prizren -> Valbona
Honestly I think your best bet is to ask wherever you’re staying in Prizren to help you with this. If you check the reverse-direction trip (Valbona to Prizren) you’ll see it doesn’t really work very well so reversing it doesn’t make much sense. I assume this will evolve in the near future, since it’s crazy that you can’t easily connect two of the most interesting destinations within a virtual stone’s throw of each other, but – eh, what can I say? When they declare me Queen of the World, things will work better . . . and the trains will run on time? (eek!).
- By Taxi. I would guess it to be about 50€ (since that’s what it costs the other direction).
- By Bus. All I’m going to say is that there IS a “proper bus station” in Prizren, with big buses going to major destinations. So you’d think there’d be one going to Somewhere Near Here.
Prishtina -> Valbona
- By Bus. Last I heard, buses run every 20 minutes from 8:00 to 21:00 from Prishtina to Gjakova. After that see the Gjakova -> Bajram Curri -> Valbona notes. Just remember you’ve got to be in BC by 14:00 to catch the last (only) bus to Valbona.
Tropoje e Vjeter -> Valbona
- By Taxi. You can take a taxi from Tropoje e Vjeter to Bajram Curri for 600 lek. After that you either have to catch the daily minibus at 14:30 to Valbona, or take another taxi for 20€.
Departing from Valbona
Valbona -> Bajram Curri
- Daily Bus. There’s only one, and it starts from the end of the Valley in Rrogam at 7:00 daily and then drives up the road picking up whoever’s standing there waiting and/or looking expectant. Cost is 300 lek per person. On the odd chance that the bus is full, if they see you they might then call someone else to come and get you (it’s happened!). Wherever you’re staying may be able to call in the morning to tell the bus to expect you, and also explain if you need any extra help (like going to the bank machine, or connecting to a bus for somewhere else), but as this is a bit of a bother (especially early in the morning), the offer should be used sparingly.
- A taxi to Bajram Curri should cost 20-25€. Wherever you’re staying can call one for you.
- The Ferry Buses. There are usually buses and taxis going to Fierze around 10:30-11:00 to meet the Ferry Boats arriving at 12:00. These cost around 5€ per person, and might be willing to drop you in Bajram Curri as they pass through.
Hitchhiking. This is perfectly safe (at least, depending on the driving skills of whoever picks you up), and local people driving by will often stop and offer you a lift, whether you want one or not. A couple of years ago there did seem to be one guy driving around giving people lifts and then announcing he was a taxi and asking for 10€, but I think he gave up on that after people simply refused to pay him. In general, it’s polite to offer the driver 200 lek which he will probably refuse, but you can say “Please drink a coffee!” and then he’ll take it most likely.
Valbona -> Tirana (ie, no stop/change necessary in Bajram Curri)
- Taxi. 200€. Insane.
- Choose Balkans „mini-tour” Service. Based in Tirana, Choose Balkans offers a door-to-door service from and to Tirana. Therefore, even if you didn’t arrive this way, if they happen to have brought guests up in the morning, they may be returning to Tirana around 16:00 in the afternoon. Cost is around 25€ per person, as long as there’s 4 people going. I believe that returning they offer a small stop in Prizren. email@example.com or +355 (0)69 88 01 181
- By Boat without a car. If you want to get to Tirana via Komani Lake and you don’t have your own car, there’s only one boat option which has a connecting bus to Tirana, and that’s the 6:00 Dragobia Passenger Ferry. This means you have to take a taxi from Valbona at 4:45 in the morning (costs 35€). And no, there’s really no where in Fierze to stay the night before – Fierze is basically a crossroads with a petrol station, a coffee bar and a shop that sells potato chips and soap and other useful things. You’ll find Gjelosh Susaj (and his minibus) in Koman, waiting to take you on the 3 hour drive to Tirana. The boat should be 5€ per person, the minibus is I think 800 lek (maybe 1000 lek?). If you don’t want to get up this early (or pay the taxi), your only budget option is to take a later boat and go to Shkoder. I guess, theoretically, from there you could then take a bus from Shkoder to Tirana (last one leaves at 17:00). Not sure what it costs. Maybe another 1000 lek?
In winter/offseason (November-ish through March), this is the only boat operating, so your only choice to go to Tirana (or Shkoder).
- By Boat with a car (camper, motorcycle or bicycle). During summer high-season (June through September, usually) there may be as many as 3 car ferries operating.
- By far the most reliable and convenient is the Berisha Car Ferry (https://komanilakeferry.com/en/) which departs Fierze at 13:00. Cost is 5€ per person and I think 5€ per meter square of car (seriously! They have to figure out how many they can fit – a normal car is 5m x 1m, so 5m2 or 25€). From their website you can actually reserve (in English!) a space for you and your car, and they will email you back a nice ticket. You still don’t pay anything until you show up however. Then you can drive yourself to Tirana. The whole trip from Valbona to Tirana should take about 7 hours. Berisha Ferry usually starts operating in April.
- Also very nice is the Rozafa Ferry, also departing Fierze at 13:00. Also 5€ per person and 5€ per meter square of vehicle. (Bicycles are 10€, motorcycles are I think 15€). Only challenge with them is that I think you can only make a reservation by calling, and I think they don’t speak English. You can call Florini @ +355 (0)68 52 54 496 to make a reservation.
Less reliable, and therefore my least-favorite option is the Alpin (mega-luxury) Car Ferry, departing Fierze at 9:00. I resent them because they tend to take reservations and then cancel at the last minute. Well, okay, the night before. But if they can’t reach you, you may show up to find there’s no ferry! This is so-not Albanian behavior. Your average Albanian would carry you on their back if they have to, if they told you they’d take you, so this cancelling-at-the-last-minute-thing offends my sense of inherited national pride. The logic is that it costs them 2000€ of fuel to operate, so if they don’t have enough clients to pay for it, they just cancel. That said, it’s pretty sure they’ll run on weekends, so you could chance it then. I have no idea what their price is, because they annoy me. http://alpin.al/?lang=EN.
Valbona -> Fierze
NB: Most of the Komani Boats have some sort of arrangement about getting people from Valbona to the boat, so look under -> Tirana or -> Shkoder for those details.
- By Taxi. Is the only way. Should be 30-35€.
By Bus. Take the daily bus from Valbona -> Bajram Curri, and then take a taxi (maybe 5€ maybe 10?) to Fierze. I think there IS a bus from BC to Fierze, but leaving at 5:00 in the morning, which doesn’t really help you, unless you sleep the night before in Bajram Curri.
Bajram Curri -> Tirana
- By Bus. 1000 lek per person. Buses and minibuses leave Bajram Curri from super early in the morning until about 14:00. It takes around 5 hours, and they ALL pass through Kosova (so make sure you have a passport or something). They just line up in front of the Pallati Kulture and Big Statue of Bajram Curri. Usually they make one stop in Kukes, after the border, so you can pee and have a coffee (or whatever). My personal advice is to look for the oldest bus possible, in the hopes that the windows open. The buses offering “aer kondicion” are often like small torture-ovens. At best you will be subjected to hours of Albanian traditional music. At worst it will be modern Albanian hip-hop.
Valbona -> Shkoder
- By Bus. You have to go to Bajram Curri, then take a bus for Tirana, then get off at a crossroads called Milot and wave down a bus for Shkoder . . . it could take 7-8 hours and be pretty confusing.
- By Boat without a car. Very easy and the fastest way!
- Berisha small car Ferry departs Fierze every day at 13:00 from April(ish) through October(ish). They also organize a bus which picks people up from their guesthouses around 10:30-11:00 and delivers them to the boat. On the other end there’s a connecting minibus to Shkoder. Easy to reserve on-line for one price of 15€ at the Komani Lake Ferry website (https://komanilakeferry.com/en/). They’ll email you back a ticket in the evening, but you don’t really need it and you probably don’t have any way to print it, so don’t worry about it. They have your name, and you pay when you get to the boat. You can also call Mir Marku at +355 (0)69 68 00 748 to make a reservation.
- Dragobia Passenger Ferry is the only boat which runs year round (ie, also in winter), and is actually the transport for people living on the lake. It’s ALSO the famous one which is actually a bus with a hull welded onto it. Downside is that it departs Fierze at 6:00 in the morning, which means you have to pay 35€ for a taxi at 4:50 in the morning to catch it. A ticket is 5€. There are always minibuses waiting on the other end to go to Shkoder which should also be around 5€. If there’s only a few of you, you don’t really need a reservation, but if there’s a chance you might fill up the boat, you can email them through the Komani Lake website, or call Mir Marku at +355 (0)69 68 00 748.
- Rozafa Ferry also runs in summer, departing Fierze at 13:00, and costs 5€ per person. Reservations can be made the day or night before by calling Florini @ +355 (0)68 52 54 496. I don’t think they have a formal taxi service from Valbona yet, but last time I asked, Florin sent his father to pick up the guests, and charged the going rate of 5€ per person.
- Alpin Ferry. Departs Fierze at 9:00. When they feel like it. As stated elsewhere in these directions, they really irritate me, so best is to check their website. http://alpin.al/?lang=EN
- By Boat with a car.
NB: Car Ferries run only in summer! Usually from mid-April or May until October(ish).
- Berisha Car Ferry. Departs Fierze at 13:00. Cost for the vehicle is 5€ per m2 (length times width) plus 5€ per person. Whole trip from Valbona to Shkoder should take about 6 hours. You can make a reservation on-line at the Komani Lake Ferry website (https://komanilakeferry.com/en/).
- Rozafa Car Ferry. Departs Fierze at 13:00. Cost for the vehicle is 5€ per m2 (length times width) plus 5€ per person. Reservations can be made the day or night before by calling Florini @ +355 (0)68 52 54 496.
Alpin Car Ferry. Theoretically departs Fierze at 9:00. Check their website. http://alpin.al/?lang=EN. Just be warned that the often cancel at the last minute, especially on weekdays.
Bajram Curri -> Gjakova (Kosova)
- By Bus. Not sure exactly when they leave, but it should be from around about 10:00 to 14:00. Not sure what they cost! If you’re going to connect with some other bus, remember that these minibuses do not end at the “proper” bus station, but leave you somewhere near the old pazaar, so you’ll have to go find the other bus station.
Valbona -> Prizren (Kosova)
- By Taxi. About 50€ and takes 2 hours. Actually not a bad option if you can afford it (or find someone to share it with you), when you see how nutty a bus is.
- By Bus. First you have to get to Bajram Curri (see Valbona -> Bajram Curri). Then you have 2 options:
- Take a minibus to Gjakova. I’m not sure when they really start and stop, but should be about hourly from 10:00 to 14:00. Also not sure what they cost (shouldn’t be a lot – maybe 500 lek?). THEN you have to walk from the Minibus station in Gjakova (“in Mula Jusuf square, in a straight line from the Old Bazaar near the Catholic Church”) to the “proper bus” station. Where you can take a bus to the station in Prizren. Call me picky, but having to change buses 3 times to make a 2 hour trip sounds crazy to me.
- Otherwise, from Bajram Curri you can catch one of the buses to Tirana. Cost is 1000lek and they leave around every hour until 14:00. The trick here is to ask to be let off the bus at Prizren, and the fact that the buses don’t actually go INTO Prizren, but will let you off at the roundabout where they turn to pick up the highway for Tirana. The last couple of KM into town you’ll need to hitchhike.
Valbona -> Prishtina
- By Bus. Take the early morning bus Valbona -> Bajram Curri. I think you THEN need to catch the Bajram Curri -> Gjakova bus. In Gjakova (from the PROPER bus station) there should be buses running frequently (maybe even every twenty minutes?) from early morning to late evening. Last time I did it, it cost 3€. Seems to me like you ought to be able to be in Prishtina by 14:00. (Which is at least twice as long as it would take you to drive, but nevermind.)
Valbona -> Kruja
- By Bus. Take a bus for Tirana (see Bajram Curri -> Tirana) and get off in Fushe Kruja (the plains before the town itself). From there you’ll have to flag down a ride to get up to Kruja, but it’s not far.
Valbona -> Berat
- By Bus. I believe it can be done in one long day. If you take the Valbona -> Bajram Curri -> Tirana buses, then you get to Tirana by 14:00, which should be enough time to catch one of the last buses to Berat which is about 2 hours away from Tirana. But you should check this with wherever you’re staying in Berat.
Valbona -> Kukes.
By Bus. Not sure why you’d WANT to do this, but theoretically you’d just take the Bajram Curri -> Tirana bus and ask to be let off in Kukes. They may charge you for the seat for the whole trip.