Lake Komani in the north of Albania is home to one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. On my road trip through the South Balkans visiting the beautiful countries of Albania, North Macedonia, and Kosovo, the one thing that stuck out to me the most was visiting the north of Albania and visiting its stunning mountain range. Specifically, this 2.5 hour ferry ride through the Albanian fjords that will undoubtedly captivate anyone.
I’ve been on many ferry rides in my life, and some of them surprisingly beautiful. However, this unassuming ferry ride on an even more unassuming boat will blow your mind in many ways. This post will explain everything you need to know about this ferry and hopefully by the end after countless photos, you’ll make sure it goes on your “can’t miss list”.
What is the Komani Lake Ferry?
The Lake Komani ferry is a daily ferry between the towns of Koman and Fierze in the north of Albania. It’s located in the Albanian Alps and is one of the most beautiful ferry rides you’ll ever witness. It’s a 2.5 hour journey and the ferry runs once a day (Koman to Fierze, and back to Koman). It’s operated by the company called Berisha.
The ferry itself is nothing to write home about. The boats are largely unassuming carrying both passengers and cars. It’s definitely not any sort of luxury experience. This ferry route opened decades ago before tourism was a thing. While this ferry ride was never created for tourism, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Albania. I can just picture the first tourists on that ride decades back thinking to themselves how is this not more well known?
What is the Lake Komani Ferry Schedule?
The ferry runs on Lake Komani twice a day. Once in the morning from Koman to Fierza and again in the afternoon from Fierza back to Koman. The schedules as of 2021 are the following:
- 9:00 – Koman to Fierza
- 13:00 – Fierza to Koman
Sometimes in the summer months, there will be additional ferries with other times available.
What is the route?
I made this map so to help you visualize just where this ferry is. From the below map, the red line is where the ferry goes. If you start in Shkoder (A), you will take drive to Koman which is B. After the ferry ride, you will be in Fierza and if you continue Valbona it will be the A and B points on the right side of the map.
Why take the Lake Komani Ferry?
You might be asking why should I go all this way just to take a ferry on a random boat? Well, if the pictures above haven’t already convinced you otherwise, this is also the ferry that is part of the Valbona to Theth hike which is perhaps even more famous.
Valbona and Theth National Parks are absolutely stunning mountain ranges that rival that of the Italian Dolomites. The jagged peaks of these mountain ranges are among the most dramatic and beautiful that I’ve seen. They are more beautiful than any mountain ranges I’ve come across in the US. A very famous hike is to make the trek from Valbona National Park to Theth National Park. This hike walks through valleys surrounded by beautiful peaks, scenery, and trails. It’s a mostly leisurely 6-7 hour hike and offers you a glimpse of the best that Albania has to offer. You will also stay the night at cute guesthouses in Valbona and Theth.
Valbona to Theth – 3 days
To make this hike, most people take a minibus and ferry combination. This is because you cannot drive to Valbona for example, make the hike to Theth and then take a taxi back to Valbona. This is because there are no roads connecting these national parks. The only way to get back to Valbona is making the hike back. Therefore, many people opt to park their car in Shkoder and do the following:
- Spend the night in Shkoder
- The following morning, take a minibus to Koman where you will take the ferry to Fierza. From Fierza, take another minibus to Valbona
- The following morning, hike from Valbona to Theth. Stay the night in Theth
- The following day, take a minibus back to Shkoder or Tirana
All in all, this is a three to four day itinerary that has become incredibly popular in recent years (and for good reason).
What about taking the ferry just for the views?
You can do the ferry as a day trip plain and simple. From Shkoder or Tirana, you can essentially do this trip in one day by making a roundtrip itinerary on the ferry. It would look something like this:
- 6:30 – Pickup from Shkoder to drive to Koman
- 9:00 – Take the ferry from Koman to Fierza
- 11:30 – Arrive in Fierza
- There is nothing to see in Fierza but would be a good time to visit one of the shops nearby for food
- 13:00 – Take the ferry from Fierza to Koman
- 15:30 – Arrive in Koman
- 18:00 – Arrive in Shkoder
For this trip, you’ll need to pay for round trip pickups by minivan and pay for a round trip ferry. In total, this will be roughly €20 or 2,500 LEK.
Alternatively, if you have a car, you could drive here from Tirana or Shkoder. Once you get to Koman, leave your car there and take the round trip ferry. Alternatively, you could go onto the ferry with your car one way and then drive back from Fierza once you’re done.
How much are the Komani Lake ferry tickets?
So once you’ve decided on your itinerary, it’s time to book the tickets. This is the best part. For such a stunning ferry ride, the prices are incredibly affordable. Again, this is a routine ferry that just morphed into this big tourist attraction. You will no pay tourist prices here.
The prices of the ferry:
- Passenger – €6 or 800 Leke
- Bicycle – €10 or 1400 Leke
- Motorbike – €20 or 2800 Leke
- Car – €6 or 800 Leke per m2
Buying Your tickets for the ferry
You can purchase your tickets on the official Lake Koman ferry website. Nowadays, to buy tickets you will need to fill out their online form where you can pay with a credit card (small fee of course). If you are bringing a car, you will need to calculate your surface area of the car which is probably somewhere between 7-9 square meters. The price will be €6 a square meter. So a small Skoda like mine was around 7 square meters which meant it was €42 for the car.
During high season months, I would highly recommend booking the tickets in advance especially if you have a car. If the ferry sells out, you are out of luck and will have to wait until the next day!
How to get to the ferry
So now you know everything about the Lake Komani ferry. However, you might be wondering how do you actually get there from a more well known city like Shkoder or Tirana?
Simple, you just need to organize transportation to Koman from Shkoder or Tirana. There are multiple ways to do this including driving your own car, asking your guesthouse/hotel to arrange a taxi for you, or arranging the minivan taxis with the Koman ferry company themselves. Since I drove, I did not have to organize transport but met many other people that did.
When you buy your tickets, you can ask for transportation and they will book this on your behalf. These are their prices
The prices for the pickup services:
- Minibus from Shkoder to Koman – 700 Lek
- Minibus from Fierze to Valbona – 700 Lek
- Minibus from Tirana to Koman – 1400 Lek
The Ferry ride itself
Now that you’re on your way, what can you actually expect while on this epic journey? For starters, don’t expect much in terms of services offered on the boat. There is a small toilet on the main deck where all the cars are and that’s about it. There are no refreshments sold on board.
The upstairs deck is great for viewing the Fjord like mountains which is where I spent most of my time. However, since I traveled during COVID, this ferry was nearly empty and I was able to get some absolutely epic shots in front of the ferry boat looking out at the mountains. Normally, cars would pack this boat to the max so there’s no way I could get this type of shot.
Breathtaking views everywhere
Having just visited Valbona, I was already in awe of the beauty in the Albanian Alps. However, this ferry ride was even more impressive than that! There are certain parts of the journey that are more beautiful than others in my opinion. From Koman to Fierza, this starts about 1 hour into the journey when grassy hills make up for jagged rock mountain peaks. From Fierza to Koman, this will start around 40 minutes into the journey.
As soon as the mountains came into view, I was just in shock at what I was seeing. This river snakes through these enormous mountains and you feel like you’re in a movie of sorts! The water is also a beautiful light green color that lit up with the sun shone down on it.
In the end, I was very happy I took this trip and hopefully this will help you plan your trip as well!