On July 2023 I took the Brindisi to Vlora ferry on my way to Ksamil and honestly, I have many fears and doubts.
As you may know, Albania is still an off-the-beaten-path destination and it is usually hard to find information online or even personal experiences from other travelers. Luckily, the ferry ride turned out perfect and it was a great way to travel from Italy to Albania without wasting any sightseeing time since I sailed during the night.
In this guide, I will share my personal experience taking the ferry from Brindisi to Albania among my best tips and tricks to survive the journey. As always, you can read the full article or use our table of content to jump to your favorite part:
How long is the ferry from Brindisi to Vlora?
The ferry crossing from Brindisi to Vlora takes 7 hours. During the summer season, the MV Prince ferry by A-Ship Management also offers a shorter ferry ride that only takes 6 hours.
One downside of the MV Prince is that, during the summer, they only have departures at 12:00 noon. So, while it is true that you save 1 hour in travel time, you also have to travel during the day. In my opinion, it is best to take the 7-hour night ferry by European Ferries, which departs around 23:00. This way, you can make the most out of your last day in Brindisi.
Travel times and departures often change between the seasons so I recommend you to always check what you read online with Ferryhopper (a world-popular travel agency focused on ferries) so you can get the exact timetable for your specific dates:
How much is the ferry from Brindisi to Vlora and where to buy it?
The ferry from Brindisi to Vlora that connects Italy with Albania typically starts at €50 for an economy ticket and can go up to €200 (€100 per person) for a private cabin with a private bathroom. However, keep in mind that fares can increase or decrease depending on the season you are traveling.
If you are traveling in the night route I highly recommend you book a cabin, especially if you are traveling as a group. For example, a regular ticket in October costs €45 but if you are traveling in a group and book a 4-bed cabin the total cost of it is €200, which ends up being €50 per person.
There are currently two companies doing the Brindisi – Vlora route: European Ferries and A-Ship Management. Neither of them allows you to book directly through their site so you have to use an online travel agency, the ones that I trust the most are Ferryhopper and Direct Ferries.
My experience taking the ferry & things to consider
I took the Brindisi to Vlora route in July 2023 with European Ferries, taking the Ionian Star ship.I booked my tickets 3 months in advance through Ferryhopper and since I was traveling with my partner, we decided to book a whole cabin for €200 total (€100 per person).
This was actually the cheapest transportation I took on my European trip considering that I didn’t have to pay for my luggage and I save one night’s worth of accommodation.
Something that is worth considering when you are arriving to the port is that you need to do a physical check-in first and the check-in office is several steps away from the migration zone. I wasn’t aware of this so my taxi driver left me at the migration point which made me go back and forth with my luggage.
Just in case it helps, I made a map of where you actually need to go:
Luckily, migrations took less than 15 minutes so we were able to quickly board the ferry. Once we got on board, there was a check-in point for the ones staying with cabins where we had to leave an ID in exchange for our room keys (make sure you have your driver’s license or local ID on hand so you don’t need to leave your passport!).
I wasn’t sure what to expect about the private cabin as I couldn’t find a single picture online but honestly, it ended up being way better than I expected. My boyfriend even jokes that it was the best sleep he had in the whole trip!
Besides the bed, the room also included a sofa, a mini fridge, and a private bathroom. The private bathroom wasn’t fancy at all but it was perfect for a quick shower if you spent the whole day on the beach before taking the ferry.
Before going to bed I took a little walk around the ferry to explore it. In general, you can tell that this is an off-the-beaten-path route so there aren’t many passengers taking it, which is great if you ask me!
We ate before arriving at the port but if you want to eat on board, the ferry has a restaurant that looked great and had reasonable prices. You could have pasta for €7, a salad for €4 or a beer for €3.50.
Besides the restaurant there is also a bar on the ferry that I really recommend you to go if you booked a standard seat, there are plenty of sofas in the bar area so for the small price of a Coke (€2.5) you could use to sleep through the night.
The ferry departed an hour later than expected but since it was a night journey and I had my own room to rest it wasn’t a problem at all. However, you should keep in mind that these delays can happen so you plan according to your transportation once you reach Albania, in our case this made us arrive one hour later and miss the Vlora to Ksamil bus.
After a great night of sleep, the crew of the boat knocked on our doors to let us know that we were arriving at the port. We quickly packed our things and in less than 30 minutes we were off the ferry. Migrations was just like any other small airport migration and took a few minutes.
If you are trying to get from Italy to Albania the Brindisi to Vlora ferry is your best choice, especially if you are trying to reach the beaches on Albanian Riviera such as Himare, Saranda or Ksamil that are 4 hours away from Tirana Airport, the only airport operating in Albania.
Coming from Puglia, there are currently two flights operated by Wizz, one from Bari and the other one from Brindisi. Both of them cost an average of €70 with baggage included and departs on the middle of the day. Taking the ferry from Brindisi to Vlora can cost you around the same depending on which ticket fare you choose but it saves you money on accommodation and also makes you save time by traveling while you sleep.
The ferry is clean, has good food choices and the cabins are really comfortable. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about my experience so I am really confident on recommending it.