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I'm planning to go from Ionian coast of Greece (specifically, Preveza) towards north and east, and cross over into the Republic of Macedonia (visiting at least Skopje and Ohrid).

What would be the easiest way to do that (on public transport)? Are there only buses or trains too? Where to find detailed information — can you name any specific bus companies etc? Would there be good (better?) routes towards Macedonia if I went to Albania first?

Also, does the Macedonia naming dispute and less-than-chummy relations between the two countries complicate traveling in this region at all?

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I'm also in the Balkans right now and intending to go to those countries soon. If you don't get a good answer here try Lonely Planet Thorn Tree and also Couch Surfing has decent forums but you have to subscribe to each one to use them. – hippietrail Aug 31 '11 at 15:13
I actually never got to Macedonia on that trip; I spent most of it (just a week) in Albania instead. Here's an answer to my side question: in all likelihood, options will not be better going through Albania. On the Greek side bus services were good, and I got from Preveza to Ioannina to Albanian border crossing at Kakavia (Κακαβιά) easily. It's possible to get from Kakavia or Saranda towards Lake Ohrid and Macedonia, but public transport options are limited. There are minibuses, but only in the mornings, and it probably takes a lot of time. – Jonik Nov 18 '11 at 7:13
So for Greece-Macedonia, direct buses are probably the best bet now; see Peter's answer. – Jonik Nov 18 '11 at 7:14
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I am currently in Skopje in Macedonia and there is a 6am bus to Thessaloniki every Monday, Wednesday and Friday see Skopje bus station site No trains at the moment.

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In terms of trains, I think you're currently out of luck. Rail Europe report that as of January 2011, all international trains from Greece have been cancelled until further notice. That means no trains linking Thessaloniki with Sofia, Belgrade, Budapest and Istanbul. As the cancellations are down to the financial situation, it may be some time (years) until the trains are restarted.

Rail Europe currently suggest that to go to Greece by train, you take the ferry from Italy (Venice, Ancona or Bari). That probably won't help for your case though...

Looks like you'll need a bus, hopefully someone else can advise on that. Looking at the map you can get close on a domestic train, but it will need a bus for the last bit.

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This link may be useful for you:

It says that there are buses between Greece and Macedonia, but a lot of them are not running anymore. Still you should be able to find some!

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