After you have seen all there is to see in Shkoder, my advice is that you book a Komani Lake ferry ride. Bookings can be arranged via your host (at least that’s how it was at the Wanderers Hostel). You will actually pay for a trip on a small bus to the lake plus the boat ride itself. You can book one-way or return tickets.
Bus ride to Komani Lake
You should have your breakfast early in the morning and be ready when the bus arrives. Make it a light breakfast, though, as you’ll be off on a bumpy ride! Several portions of the road are in really bad condition so you will be jumping in your seat when the driver speeds over holes in the asphalt, or you will be watching the world go by in areas where it’s too dangerous to go any faster.
Luckily, the scenery is beautiful, so the two-hour bus ride will come to an end in no time.
Test your patience in Koman
I remember when we got to Koman, the starting point of the Komani Lake ferry ride, it was sunny and there was no shade. The small harbor was very crowded with cars and people, and incredibly noisy.
It took some time to get on a ferry boat, and at one point we were thinking if it’s worth trying to switch to another, but we ended up waiting.
There’s a small bar (or maybe a taverna?), where you can get something to drink while you wait. I recommend using their bathroom because I remember the other available option was horrible.
There’s also a shop, and it’s a good time to get some water if you haven’t brought any with you.
The trip from Koman to Fierza
You’re looking at a Komani Lake ferry ride of 2.5 to 3 hours, so take a look at the sun and find a shaded place outside. There should be places inside, as well, but you’ll be missing all the amazing sights and occasions to get some gorgeous photos.
Slowly advancing between the rocky walls of tall mountains will cast a feeling of insignificance of you, as a human, in front of nature, in all its might. Much like myself, this might be too overwhelming to even take photographs. You just want to enjoy the moment, to absorb all those sights and to keep them to yourself. Forever.
It’s a different way of remembering things. If you take a photo, it is much like making a note of something: you can put it off your mind, as you can always go back to that little (mental) note, and check it as needed. But if you have to remember it, you will, and you will keep only those aspects which impressed you the most.
Plus, no matter how good the camera, looking at your surroundings through the lens is always less impressive than the real thing. Even for having to focus on taking a great shot instead of letting go of everything, relaxing, and just being present.
But to each his own, so let’s return to the trip! Besides admiring nature, you will also find yourself taking a peek at how others live when discovering simple, yet charming households. They are isolated from the rest of the world, and only coming into contact with it through rare boat rides, maybe for goods they cannot produce themselves.
Komani Lake Ferry Ride Berisha
The ferry departs from Koman at 09.00 and from Fierza at 13.00. Reservations in advance.
Tickets cost € 5 per person per trip. Transport to Koman is normally another € 5 by minibus/van.
Website | Timetable
Discover Komani Lake
Tough decisions in Fierza
At the other end of the lake, there’s not much to see. There’s a place where you can buy some snacks or some water or maybe eat a pre-prepared meal. The latter didn’t seem too appealing to me, and there’s also not much time to eat till you have to go back on the Komani Lake ferry ride.
Is going back to the Komani Lake ferry ride the best idea?
For me, at the time, it was, because I wanted to stay longer in Shkoder. So I spent another 3 hours on the water, and got a few more sunburns, despite the place being less crowded and taking a nap inside for half of the return trip.
For Ana and Tim, who had done the same trip the day before me, it wasn’t enough. They left the hostel well prepared to continue the journey, and they hopped on one of the buses waiting in Fierza to Bajram Curri, then did the hike from Theth to Valbona in two parts. They spent one night on the way (and they returned with stories about amazingly delicious foods), and on the second day, after walking some more, they took a bus from Valbona and returned to Shkoder.
Bus from Fierza to Bajram Curri
Drivers are available at 13.00 when the ferry arrives. 1/2 hour trip.
Tickets cost 250 LEK (around € 2.00).
Bus from Valbona to Shkoder
Departures usually between 12.00 and 14.00, or as soon as the minibus is full. 2 1/2 hour trip.
Tickets cost 1000 – 1500 LEK (rounded to € 8.00 – 12.00), depending on the season.
Theth & Valbona after the Komani Lake ferry ride
What you should keep in mind
For the Komani Lake ferry ride:
- If it’s sunny, even if it isn’t hot, with all that water reflecting the rays around you, it’s wise to bring some sunscreen and to cover your head with a hat or a cap or some scarf.
- Take plenty of water with you. Maybe freeze the bottle, to have the contents colder for longer.
- Pack some snacks which don’t need to stay cool.
If you’re going for the hike:
- Wear proper and comfortable shoes.
- Pack light because you’ll be carrying everything on your back.
- Keep in mind that the evenings are cooler in the mountains.
- Don’t forget the first aid kit.
And relax, enjoy yourself!
More travel inspiration after your Komani Lake ferry ride
Tirana, Albania’s colorful and creative capital