Albania Fierza Gjakova Koman Kosovo Shkodra

A Magical Ferry Ride on Lake Koman, Northern Albania

Last Updated on March 23, 2018.

As a new resident of Kosovo, I was delighted to learn that Liqenin e Komani, or Lake Koman, was just across the border from me now and an easy road trip west from Prishtina.

Road from Kosovo to Northern Albania © The Blonde Gypsy

Supposedly one of the best boat rides in Europe (and the world, according to the Brandt Guide), I did a little recon during my first few weeks of being in the region and immediately decided that though not planned, this ferry ride absolutely had to be included in my Blonde Gypsy Balkan Tour of Kosovo and Albania. Sometime, somewhere, somehow.

And so it was. Sunset Fierza Lake Koman Albania © The Blonde Gypsy

The closest embarkation point from Kosovo (or debarkation point if you’re heading to Kosovo) is in Fierza which is a 50km drive across the border from Gjakova in western Kosovo. As we had our own transportation, I have no idea about bus schedules or how much longer they take, but if you’re trying to catch a morning ferry out or just not a fan of dreadfully early travel and possibly having to shell out for a cross-border taxi if you can’t find a bus, it might be better for you to stay overnight in Bajram Curri. From Bajram Curri, Fierza is only 30 minutes away and there are plenty of furgon (mini bus) options in the early morning or taxis which shouldn’t cost more than 5 euros.

To be honest though, the best way to see this pocket of Albania and really all of Albania/Kosovo for that matter is with a car if you can. In Prishtina you can easily rent one that includes Albanian insurance for 30-40 euros a day and I’m sure the rates are pretty similar in Tirana.

Roads in Northern Albania © The Blonde Gypsy

Just as an interesting side note, I think I’ve seen every single animal known to man driving along this road from pigs to cows to horse donkeys. Yes, horse donkeys (no photo). So make sure you keep an eye out and maybe your camera. There is also one fabulous statue farm/restaurant in Bujan where you can grab a quick coffee, raki, or fried up trout and admire their extraordinary collection of plaster and stone artwork on your way in or out. God knows what it’s called or if it even has a name, it doesn’t need one, but you absolutely cannot miss it when driving down SH22.

Statue Farm Northern Albania © The Blonde Gypsy

Fresh trout Norther Albania © The Blonde Gypsy

Our experience was leaving Fierza on the 9am Alpin car ferry which now only runs between May and August, but for the rest of the year, all other local options are listed on Journey to Valbona – a wonderful northern Albania travel resource compliments of the lovely Catherine (more on her in a future post). This ride is a perfect starting or ending point when exploring Valbona Valley National Park if that’s what you are looking to do, but for all intents and purposes of our tour which was headed straight to Shkodra, it was also the most unbelievably beautiful “WELCOME TO ALBANIA” that I think the crew could have had.

Alpin Ferry Fierza to Koman Albania © The Blonde Gypsy

Lake Koman Ferry 11 © The Blonde Gypsy

Hate to crush your dreams at this point, but actually Lake Koman is not a real lake. It’s a reservoir that was created by a hydroelectric project carried out by everyone’s favorite dictator (not), Enver Hoxha, in the 1970s. Man-made or not, it will still leave you in awe as you tug on through the narrow, rocky cliffs and mountains surrounded by nothing but untouched, wild beauty and as it widens, the occasional farmhouse or small village. The water is so glassy and reflective, at some points it was literally tripping me out. Swear it wasn’t just the breakfast beer.

Lake Koman Ferry 1 © The Blonde Gypsy

Lake Koman Ferry 2 © The Blonde Gypsy

Lake Koman Ferry 7 © The Blonde Gypsy

Looking back. Lake Koman Ferry Albania © The Blonde Gypsy

The Alpin ferry itself was a pleasant surprise as it’s brand, spanking new – definitely nothing Hoxha left behind – and therefore the sleekest public transportation you might find in the entire country. The only downside is missing out on rubbing elbows with the locals and their goats who take the smaller, rustier rustic options that have been running for decades.

Lake Koman Ferry 6 © The Blonde Gypsy

Lake Koman Ferry 4 © The Blonde Gypsy

Lake Koman Ferry 5 © The Blonde Gypsy

Back in the day, Lake Koman was just one of the few ways to get to the rest of Albania from these remote northeastern parts and Kosovo after borders were unsealed – the other being “roads” which before a few years ago took 8+ hours from Prishtina. Now it takes just 3.5 hours on the slick new 2 billion euro A1 highway and in fact most people from Bajram Curri and its surroundings now use that highway as well to get to Tirana. Only recently have more people (like the Albanian tourism board) started to realize its incredible tourism potential so let’s keep our fingers crossed that not only will the Albanian government and locals keep all of these ferries running, but that they will also start making a conscious effort to keep Lake Koman clean.

Lake Koman Ferry 10 © The Blonde Gypsy

Lake Koman Ferry 8 © The Blonde Gypsy

Lake Koman Ferry 9 © The Blonde Gypsy

Koman, Albania Ferry © The Blonde Gypsy

The journey from Fierza terminates in Koman approximately two hours later and from there you drive onwards to your final destination whether it be Shkodra, Valbona, Tirana, or Lazarat (I really find it hard to believe that place actually burned). From here you will get a taste of those “roads” I mentioned before. Stunning scenery but you might be ready to do backflips once you reach the better-paved roads and highways again.

Alternately, if you didn’t get enough beauty or want to see it in a different light, you can just chill for about 45 minutes at the little restaurant there and jump back on before the ferry heads back to Fierza at 12pm.

Drive from Koman to Shkoder Albania © The Blonde Gypsy

Drive from Koman to Shkoder Albania 2 © The Blonde Gypsy

Whether this is one of the best boat rides in Europe, I can’t say as I can’t recall too many I’ve taken, especially that one in Amsterdam, but it is hands down one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in the Balkans. And I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things in the Balkans.

It can be a bit out of the way if you are just city hopping, but totally worth the effort to squeeze it in if you can somehow and incredibly affordable (4 euros for passengers and 9 euros per car). It will just take time – as all the good things usually do in one of the most intriguing countries in Europe


  • Reply
    Karisa @ Flirting with the Globe
    October 16, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Wow – absolutely stunning. I’d love to make this trip in the near future!

    • Reply
      October 25, 2015 at 7:10 pm

      Let me know when you do, maybe I’ll join :)

  • Reply
    October 17, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    great inside tip… one way or another you can see it’s an artificially created lake

    • Reply
      October 25, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      I don’t have that much experience with artificial vs natural lakes so I couldn’t tell until we got to the end. Great place to put it anyhow..

  • Reply
    October 21, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    … And now I NEED to go to Albania! Thanks for this. :)

    • Reply
      October 25, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      Yes you do :) You’re welcome!

  • Reply
    Arifur Rahman
    November 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    This is one of the most beautiful place i have never seen before.

    • Reply
      March 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      And even more beautiful in real life so you still have something to look forward to should you ever make it there :)

  • Reply
    March 2, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Hi :)
    I am really fan of you blog.
    I am going to the balkans for 5 weeks in the summer with starting and ending point in Belgrade, where I am gone do a internship in the fall.
    My plan for the trip is to not have an exact plan but just plan step by step on the trip.
    The only thing I am a little nervous about is the public transportation.
    It seems like it is quit changeable, ustable and difficult to use for people who only speak english and danish :P
    So I will just ask about you have any advice about the public transportation?

    • Reply
      March 20, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Don’t stress too much about it if you are intending to visit mostly the bigger cities of the region, buses between them are pretty reliable and enough people who kind of speak English or just want to help there to make sure you get where you need to go. It’s only when you start having to navigate using the minibuses that things can be fickle and totally informal, but also manageable if you have patience, time and a little help perhaps from a local (the hotels/hostels should always be able to guide you to your next destination). Hope you have a wonderful time and good luck with the internship in Belgrade!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Can’t wait to visit myself one day!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    This article was the reason for visting albania two weeks ago. And even the weather wasn`t as sunny as on the pictures, the lake an whole albania was a really exploring-highlight. We get from germany to albania – and lake koman – by public transport. It takes only 5 Euros from Shkodra to Koman the southern end of the ferry-ride. And I think it`s much more relaxing driving the small road through the mountains with locals. Beside the koman-lake I much recommend Berat and Bogova waterfall.

    • Reply
      June 3, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      That’s great to hear :) Thanks for the information, I’ve never done it the other way around from Shkodra to Koman but will try that next time!

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Komani Lake Ferry Berisha
    Komani Lake Explore

    Every day from Koman at 09.00 and from Fierze at 13.00

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