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Day trip to Koman Lake & Shala River: a hidden paradise

From the moment I found out about the Koman Lake, I knew I had to visit this place. I was looking at the stunning pictures and videos of this amazing place and it looked like a dreamy destination to me. When I was planning a trip to Albania, Koman Lake was on my list immediately. After two nights in Tirana, I finally arrived to Shkodër for a few nights before heading to the Albanian Alps.

I was looking for some information about the day trip to Koman Lake & Shala river and found the webpage of Ferry Berisha. They offer different tours and also they can pick you up in Shkodër or in Tirana. A day trip to Koman Lake was a must for me, but later I have decided that I will go for a Shala river tour. The price for this tour with transfer from Shkodër and back was 34€/person.

Pick up in Shkodër

We woke up early in the morning and had a coffee. I really don’t like the idea of getting up too early. But the depart time is at 6:45 a.m. and they advise you to be in the pick up place about 30 minutes before departure. Minivan was already parked there and after a few minutes of waiting, the guy from the Ferry Berisha company came. He had a list of passengers and he ticked us off when we got on the minivan. The journey to Koman Lake takes about 2 hours. We made a short stop to stretch and to enjoy in the views on the way. The road is in a pretty poor condition, so you can expect a slow and bumpy ride. During the journey, you will even meet some cows, goats or pigs on the road.

You can reach Lake Koman with your own car, but like I’ve mentioned – the road is in a poor condition. At least you will get a chance to see some amazing views. If you want to come by your car make sure to find a parking spot before your arrive at the harbor. Please note that you are not allowed to enter with your car in the Terminal (do not enter in the tunnel).

Arrival at Koman Lake

Arrive at Koman Lake, a reservoir surrounded by towering mountains. The lake itself is a breathtaking sight, and the boat ride you’ll take through it is equally amazing. There are ferry services that operate across the lake, offering a unique and picturesque journey. After arrival, you will do the “check-in” and they will tell you which boat you have to take. It is important to be at the terminal a few minutes prior the start time. Especially if you travel with your car.

The company that operates the Berisha ferry also has a Dragobia boat that is designated for passengers, bikes, and motorcycles only. Dragobia ship departs daily from Fierza at 6:00 am and returns the same day with departures from Koman at 9:00 am.

Koman – Fierza ferry

Ferry Berisha

Berisha Ferry is in function every day from 15 April to 5 November with the directly official line: Koman-Fierze and vice versa Fierze-Koman.

The ferry Berisha starts at 9:00 am and arrives in Fierze about 2,5 – 3 hours later. On the way back from Fierze it departs at 13:00 pm.

If you make online reservation, the price is 9€/person, if you pay in cash, the price is 10€ or 1000 LEK.

Price list breakdown:

  • Persons 9€ / 1000 LEK ( Cash price 10€ )
  • Bicycles 8.6 € / 1200 LEK ( Cash price 12€  )
  • Motorbikes 17.2 € / 2500 LEK ( Cash price 25€ )
  • Cars 7 €/m2 / 800 LEK/m2 ( Cash  price 8€  )

You can check the tours, timetables and prices on their official website.

Ferry Alpin

There is another company that operates the lake Koman ferry. Ferry Alpin departs from Fierze at 9:00 am and from Koman at 12:00 pm between Monday and Saturday. On Sunday it departs from Fierze at 10:00 am and from Koman at 13:00 pm.

This ferry is more upscale and it also has VIP area (you have to make a reservation in advance), business area, bar & restaurant and deck with tables and chairs.

The passenger ticket costs 1200 LEK, for bicycle 1500 LEK, motorcycle 3000 LEK, car 4000 LEK, larger car 5000 LEK.

You can find more informations here.

A day trip to Koman Lake

You can easily visit lake Koman, even if you don’t plan to continue your journey to Valbona. Lake Koman can be done as a day trip from Shkodër, Tirana or even on your way from Tirana to Shkodër. They can pick you up in Tirana and after the day trip, they can take you to Shkodër. There are many possibilities. Doing the day trip to Koman Lake is actually pretty easy. At first, it seemed like a bigger challenge to me, but it wasn’t at all.

After arriving at Koman Lake, we did the check-in process. Because we had booked the Shala river tour, we had to wait till 9:30 am. We had enough time to drink another coffee and I had a byrek for breakfast. When the ferries left, the boats came and we have boarded the boats.

Koman Lake is a reservoir located in northern Albania, specifically in the Drin River Valley. It’s formed by the Koman Hydroelectric Power Station, which is situated on the Drin River. The reservoir was created as part of a hydroelectric project that aimed to generate electricity and manage water resources in the region. The lake itself stretches for about 30 kilometers (19 miles). It’s surrounded by rugged mountains and steep cliffs, creating a stunning and dramatic landscape. The clear blue-green waters of the lake, contrasting against the rocky terrain, make it a picturesque destination and a favorite among travelers seeking natural beauty.

The journey itself is a highlight, as the boat winds its way through the narrow fjord-like passages, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and lush landscapes. This boat ride is often considered one of the most scenic in Albania. Keep your camera ready, as there will be plenty of photo opportunities along the way. The area around Koman Lake is also known for its remote villages, traditional lifestyle, and outdoor recreational opportunities.

koman lake

komani lake

Shala River

After a boat ride through the magical Albanian landscape, we have slowly arrived to Shala river – called Lumi i Shalës in Albanian language. As you step into the realm of Lumi i Shalës, you’ll be greeted by a symphony of lush green landscapes, glistening waters, and awe-inspiring mountain vistas. The river itself is a testament to Mother Nature’s artistry, snaking its way through the picturesque Shala Valley. The crystal-clear waters of Lumi i Shalës invite you to dip your toes and immerse yourself in its cool embrace.

Once you arrive at the Shala River, you can relax by its crystal-clear waters, take a dip if you’re up for it, and enjoy the serene surroundings. The river is known for its emerald-green waters and unspoiled beauty.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Lumi i Shalës is your playground. Embark on exhilarating hikes that will take you deep into the rugged terrain, revealing hidden waterfalls, lush forests, and breathtaking panoramas. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, kayaking and rafting down the pristine river are experiences that will leave you exhilarated and in awe of the raw power of nature.

Consider bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy by the river. You can also find local restaurants or cafes in the area that offer traditional Albanian cuisine.

river shala

My thoughts on visiting Koman Lake & Shala river

Visiting Lake Koman and the Shala River was an enchanting journey into the heart of Albania’s untouched natural beauty. From the moment I embarked on the boat, I was transported to a realm of awe-inspiring landscapes and tranquil serenity. As the boat meandered through the narrow passages, surrounded by towering cliffs and forests, I couldn’t help but feel a profound connection with nature. Walking along the banks of the Shala River, I felt a deep appreciation for the untouched beauty that still exists in the world. The pristine waters invited me to dip my toes in, and as I did, I felt a revitalizing energy flow through me. Nature’s tranquility enveloped me, and the worries of everyday life seemed to fade away. The simplicity of life here, the harmonious coexistence between nature and the local communities, left the mark on my heart. Lake Koman and the Shala River gifted me with more than just memories. They gifted me with a profound appreciation for the untouched corners of our world.

In my opinion, adding the day trip to Koman Lake and Shala river on your Albania itinerary is a must.

Some practical information

  • Don’t forget to bring your hat, sunglasses, a bottle of water and of course your camera or smartphone.
  • It can get a bit windy, so maybe take some warm clothes with you.
  • Transfer services from Tirana and Shkodër connect with the ferry schedule and they can get busy. It’s better to book your spot before the trip. Arrive early to secure your spot on the ferry if you come with your own car.
  • The minivan from Koman departs quickly after the ferry’s arrival, so don’t waste too much time after leaving the ferry.
  • Check the ferry schedules to see which one suits your need the most.

When you plan your trip to Albania, make sure that you include the Koman Lake. You won’t be disappointed, because this is one of the most stunning places in Albania. This day trip offers an unforgettable experience of Albania’s natural beauty and it will leave you with wonderful memories.

Like it? Save this post for your trip to Albania.

12 Comments

  • Lina

    August 19, 2023 at 9:17 AM

    This lake looks absolutely stunning! I heard so many great things about Albania, I want to go there so badly! As soon as I plan a trip, I will put Koman Lake on the itinerary 🙂

    Reply
  • Terri

    August 19, 2023 at 7:40 PM

    Your blog posts on Albania are inspiring me to add this country to my list of European countries to visit soon. The lake looks so peaceful.

    Reply
  • Paul Taylor

    February 17, 2024 at 10:59 AM

    Hi Jasmina, I have enjoyed reading your blog. Can you advise please? I have booked 2 nights at Guri i Lekes on Shala River. We have a car for our time in Albania but was thinking of leaving it in Shkroder and taking the mini-bus if the roads are very bad. Should I book the Shala River Tour and Mini-bus to get to the accomodation do you think? Does it matter if you want to get off on 1 day and take the boat back another day – should I just mention that in the booking notes? No-one has responded to my query on the ferry site yet and I am keen to look down the travel arrangements if possible. Also, should we just bring a backpack and leave our main luggage in Shkroder? I read that something you have to walk some of the lake as the water is too shallown.

    Many thanks,
    Paul

    Reply
    • Jasmina

      February 17, 2024 at 3:34 PM

      Hi Paul, I’m so glad that you like it! I can try to help you as much as I can. If I would have to decide, I would leave the car in Shkoder and take the minibus to Koman. The road is in a pretty bad condition – it’s possible to go with the car (especially if you have the SUV), but I’d rather not to go with the car. You would have to leave car in Koman and it was also pretty crowded there. But I’m not really sure about reaching the Shala River in your case. As far as I know some accommodations can help you with arranging the transfer, have you contacted them already? I’m not sure if you can get off on 1 day and take the boat back another day. But I think that you don’t need to book the Shala River tour to get there. There are many small boats going to the Shala River and I think that this will be okay for you. I’d check with the guesthouse.
      And yes, I would just take a backpack and leave the luggage in Shkoder. It would be more complicated with luggage. Sometimes the water is too shallow and in this case you have to walk if the boat can’t reach the final point.

      I hope that my answer is useful. In case of any further questions don’t hesitate to ask!

      Reply

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