My limited experience of Albania is also very dated (15 years) but may be better than nothing. Then, south of Tirana might as well have been the moon, as far as facilities and terrain were concerned. Private ownership of cars had only been allowed since 1991, at which time there were a mere 6,000 or so in the country. While roads in Tirana were quite adequate and a link to the airport good, the average speed further south was barely faster than a walking pace because of potholes – feet deep caverns with borders inches wide before the next precipice. The path of choice was determined solely by attempting to minimise rapid changes in vertical movement and entirely regardless of which side of the ‘road’ that might be. I understood however that the infrastructure was slightly better north of Tirana.
Google Maps has 2½ hours (presumably before allowance for border formalities) for Podgorica to Tirana by car (100 miles) along SH1 “E762” but no public transport details. It includes warnings like “extra caution and patience is required from motorists as abrupt ends to paved surfaces with little prior notice, poorly marked temporary signage, gravel surfaces, and sudden stops can be expected.” and “expect reckless driving such as left turns on the right lane, running of red or amber lights, and complete ignoring of stop signs at intersections”. It seemed to me that there was just so much room for improvement and so little experience of driving that a single generation would definitely not be enough to bring standards up to what is normal elsewhere in Europe.
For public transport, Wikipedia has:
“Public transport in Albania is mainly characterized by the use of furgons, the equivalent of minibuses, vans or shuttles, though bus transport is also available. Tirana, the capital city does not have a central bus station. Thus, minibuses and buses depart from various places around the city. Prices can be negotiated with the driver before departing*. A similar situation is also observed in other towns”.
Advice from TripAdvisor (admittedly, in the opposite direction) in 2011 was “The most comfortable way is to take a taxi from the Tirana Airport to Podgorica. It will cost you less then 100€. The cheapest way is: Take a bus to Tirana (2€). There you can take another bus (or minibus) to Shkodra (3€). From Shkoder you can take a bus to Ulcinj and from there another one to Podgorica. It may sound difficult but it isn't. Or you can take a taxi from Shkodra to Podgorica (about 40€).
There is one thing you should absolutely do: AVOID TRAINS!”
Even less current information here – but at least in the appropriate direction!
If settling for a taxi I'd suggest heeding the local preference and plump for a Mercedes-Benz if possible - when I was there it seemed no other vehicles were sufficiently durable to survive for long the abuse they were subjected to. It was definitely odd that, on a spot check, in a Third World country over 60% of all motor traffic was that brand.
- Don't count on being able to negotiate in English.