In the north of Albania lies a range of majestic lofty mountains known as the Albanian Alps. Remote, wild and utterly breathtaking, this is a hiking destination that is little considered yet highly rewarding.
Valbona is located 25km away from the city of Bajram Curri and is the most important inhabited center of the valley.It is full of traditional houses that create a picturesque view in symmetry with the natural wonders of the valley, which widens again at this point. In Valbona, there is a comfortable and traditional hotel, or you may have the opportunity to stay at a village home, as the inhabitants’ generosity and hospitality are well known.
The area is also known for its characteristic regional cooking, with specialties such as mazja, flija (a many layered pancake-like dish cooked outdoors over open coals and steamed, often served with local honey), and pitja. Beyond Selimaj, the road continues through the valley with breathtaking vistas with rich colors of both spring life and of the snow that covers the nearby craggy peaks.
Another interesting spot of the Western Alps is Vermosh, located in the northern-most mountains of Albania, 95 km from Shkodra in the region of Kelmend (from the Roman word “Clemens,” meaning gentle, simple, and good). The first thing that catches your eye along the journey is Qafa e Rrapshit, where you can see the crystal-clear waters of the Cemi River creating a beautiful contrast with the surrounding landscape.
During summer, the ponds of the river are perfect for sunbathing and many visitors stop to lounge in the sun and enjoy themselves. Vermosh stands in an alpine field 1,100 m above sea level surrounded by high slopes. You can entertain yourself by trekking, mountain climbing, skiing, or fishing for mountain trout. The locals pride themselves that their cuisine is only truly enjoyable for visitors when accompanied by their own dairy products, so be sure to indulge. A real journey among the people of this region will give you not only the chance to experience a world located between traditional village life and contemporary society, but will also let you enjoy the hospitality renowned by almost every visitor who has been fortunate enough to visit.
Located in the Albanian Alps – also called the Accursed Mountains (Bjeshkët e Namuna), Thethi National Park covers an area of 2,630 hectares. Thethi National Park is situated 70 km away from Shkodra and features several mountain peaks over 2500 meters height. Through the Thethi National Park runs the Theth River with a plentiful supply of mountain trout. The Grunas waterfall is particularly worth visiting. The mountain slopes are very steep due to changes in temperature and snow precipitation that are present in most part of the year, which helped in the formation of various jags. Theth Valley was formed by glacial movements with its specially impressive and breathtaking northern part. Those hostile climatic conditions throughout the years created the steep mountains and the distinct gorgeous views, but also challenging hiking routes. Also, there are many oak trees and a variety of animals in the park. The most astonishing parts of the Theth National Park are the rugged peak of Radoines (2570m), Arapit (2217m), Paplukës (2569m), Alisë (2471m) and others.
Thethi is a tourist – climbing, hiking and alpinist region and the most important tourist center of the northern Albania. Within the territory of Theth National Park and its surroundings there are about 170 caves and semi caves, of which 10 caves are of international category. The most beautiful and most important caves of the Theth National Park are the cave of Rratheve and Harapi Cave. There are simple accommodation facilities in the Theth National Park which provide tourist services to visitors – excellent organic homemade food and decent accommodation in their houses, in the gorgeous and remote areas of the Theth National Park.