Albania´s only airport is near Tirana (there are rumours of a new airport being constructed near the coastal city of Vlora). It is served by a handful of airlines and for the consequent lack of competition prices are exorbitant. Fortunately a number of good alternatives exist.
I flew to Athens (actually I could have flown twice to Athens for the price of an air ticket to Tirana) and took a coach to Tirana. It seems that a number of coach companies operate regular services to Albania. I bought a ticket with OSE (Greek railways, www.ose.net) who operate a daily service to Tirana via Gjirokaster, Tepelene and Fier. Fares are about 60 Euro for a return ticket to Tirana. Busses leave at the Peloponnesos train station where the tickets are sold as well. Albania Interlines operates the bus and they sell the tickets in Tirana at Boulevard Zogu I, 54 (+355 235230) (do not expect English to be spoken). The journey takes about 10 hours to Gjirokaster and about 17 hours to Tirana. The bus generally leaves Athens in the evening.
In Athens, I noted that a number of companies sell bus tickets to other cities like Saranda, Vlora on the coast and the mountain city Korça.
Another option I used on my way back to Athens was a ferry. Daily ferries operate between the southern town Saranda and the island of Corfu (Kerkyra). A number of times a week the services are operated by hydrofoil, which shortens the journey to 20 minutes. The fare for the Hydrofoil-service is 15 euro (one way). It leaves Corfu town at about 9 AM and it departs from Saranda at 10.30 AM. Every day there is a (slow) boat as well, which leaves Saranda at 1.30 PM. Petrakis lines operate the services. Boat tickets can be bought in one of the numerous selling agencies around Corfu harbour. In Saranda the tickets are sold at the harbour entrance. From Corfu busses to Athens leave three times daily from the central bus station. The same shipping company operates a hydrofoil service from Corfu to Himara, on the Albanian Riviera (once a week). However public transport from Himara further on is poor. From Italy it is possible to reach Durres or Vlora by car ferry.
At the border, a visa must be bought. It requires a fee of US$10. The fee can be paid in euros, however the exact price depends on the currency conversion skills of the border guard. I had to pay 12 euros, which, of course, is too much when the two currencies equal parity.