a spectacular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers

How to Plan an Epic Vacation to the Albanian Alps

If you are looking for a unique and adventurous destination in Europe, look no further than the Albanian Alps. The Albanian Alps are a hidden gem in Europe that will delight any traveler who loves nature, adventure, and culture. These majestic mountains, also called the Accursed Mountains, are home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich traditions in the Balkans. Whether you want to hike, bike, kayak, or just relax, you will find plenty of options to enjoy this amazing destination. In this article, I will give you all the essential information you need to plan your trip to the Albanian Alps, such as the best time to visit, how to get there, where to stay, what to do, and what to pack.

When is the best time to visit?

The best time to visit this region depends on what you want to see and do. Here are some factors to consider when planning your trip:

 

  • May to September: This is the ideal time to visit the Albanian Alps if you want to enjoy the warm and sunny weather, and admire the colorful wildflowers that cover the mountains. This is also the best time for hiking, biking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities, as the trails and roads are open and accessible. However, this is also the most popular and expensive time to travel, so you will have to deal with more tourists and higher rates. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can opt for less visited areas, such as Valbona or Theth, or go in late May or early September, when the season is less busy.

 

  • April or October: These are the shoulder months, when the weather is still mild and pleasant, but not as hot as in the summer. The wildflowers are not as abundant, but the autumn colors are also beautiful. These are good months to visit the Albanian Alps if you want to have a quieter and more peaceful experience, as there are fewer tourists and lower prices. However, you should also be ready for cooler weather and some snow on the higher peaks, especially in October. You should also check the availability of accommodation and transportation, as some services may be reduced or closed during these months.

 

  • November to March: These are the winter months, when the Albanian Alps are covered with snow and ice, and the weather is cold and unpredictable. These are not suitable months for visiting the Albanian Alps, unless you are a skilled climber with the right gear and guides. The roads and trails are often blocked by snow and ice, and the weather can be severe and changeable. Most of the accommodation and transportation services are closed during these months, and the villages are isolated and deserted. The only exception is the ski resort of Boga, which offers some winter sports opportunities, but it is still a remote and challenging destination.

How do I get to the Albanian alps?

The Albanian Alps are located in the north of Albania, near the border with Montenegro and Kosovo. The easiest way to get there is to fly to Tirana, the capital of Albania, and then take a bus or a car to Shkoder, the gateway to the Alps.

 

By bus: Taking a bus is the cheapest and most convenient way to get to the Albanian Alps. You can easily find buses from Tirana to Shkodër, the main city in the north of Albania, and then from Shkodër to Theth or Valbonë, the two main villages in the Alps. The total bus journey takes about 5 hours and costs around 15 euros per person. The buses are cheap and frequent, but not very comfortable or reliable. 

 

By car: Renting a car is another option to get to the Albanian Alps. You can rent a car in Tirana and drive yourself to the Alps, or you can hire a driver or a taxi to take you there. The drive from Tirana to Shkodër takes about 2 hours, and the drive from Shkodër to Theth or Valbonë takes about 3 hours. The roads are mostly in good condition, but some parts are narrow and winding, especially in the mountains. You can also enjoy the scenic views and stop whenever you want along the way. You can compare car rental prices and book your car online at Rentalcars.com, which is a popular and trustworthy website. However, renting a car is also more expensive and less eco-friendly than taking a bus. You can expect to pay around 40 euros per day for a car rental, plus gas and parking fees. You may also need an international driving license and a credit card to rent a car in Albania.

 

By boat: You can take a boat from Tirana to Koman, and then another boat from Koman to Fierzë, in the heart of the Albanian Alps. The boat journey from Tirana to Koman takes about 2 hours and costs around 15 euros. The boat journey from Koman to Fierzë takes about 3 hours and costs around 10 euros. The boat trip is one of the most beautiful and scenic ways to get to the Albanian Alps, as you will sail through a stunning lake surrounded by towering mountains. However, taking a boat is also the most time-consuming and complicated way to get to the Albanian Alps.

Where To Stay in the Albanian alps

The Albanian Alps are a stunning destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. However, to fully enjoy this region, you will need to find a comfortable and convenient place to stay. The two main villages that offer accommodation in the Albanian Alps are Valbona and Theth.

 

Both villages are located in scenic valleys, surrounded by majestic mountains and lush forests. They are also connected by a popular hiking trail that crosses the Valbona Pass, one of the highlights of the region. Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose from different types of accommodation in Valbona and Theth. You can find guesthouses and hotels that offer private rooms with ensuite bathrooms, as well as campsites and homestays that offer shared facilities and a more authentic experience.

 

Most of the accommodation options include breakfast and dinner in the price, which is usually around $10-$20 per night. The food is delicious and homemade, using local ingredients and recipes. The hosts are friendly and helpful, and they can also arrange transportation and activities for you.

 

Valbona Resort & Spa is a luxurious retreat nestled in the stunning Valbona Valley of Northern Albania. Surrounded by breathtaking mountain landscapes and lush greenery, this resort offers guests a serene and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The resort features elegant rooms and suites, each thoughtfully designed to provide comfort and relaxation. Guests can indulge in a range of spa treatments and wellness services at the on-site spa, including massages, facials, and body treatments, ensuring a rejuvenating experience. The resort also offers outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and birdwatching, allowing guests to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area. With its tranquil setting, luxurious accommodations, and array of amenities, Valbona Resort & Spa is the perfect destination for travelers seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating retreat in the Albanian mountains. Check prices and reviews here.

 

Valbona Resort & Spa

Hotel Legjenda is a unique and enchanting accommodation nestled in the picturesque countryside of Shkodër, Albania. Surrounded by lush greenery and breathtaking landscapes, this charming hotel offers guests a tranquil retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The hotel’s architecture and design are inspired by Albanian folklore and traditions, creating a whimsical and magical atmosphere for guests to enjoy. Accommodation options range from cozy rooms to spacious suites, each beautifully decorated and equipped with modern amenities. Guests can indulge in delicious Albanian cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant, which features locally sourced ingredients and traditional recipes. The hotel also offers a range of activities and experiences, including guided tours of the nearby attractions, hiking and biking trails, and cultural performances. With its warm hospitality, stunning surroundings, and unique ambiance, Hotel Legjenda promises an unforgettable stay for travelers seeking an authentic Albanian experience. Check rates and reviews here.

 

Hotel Legjenda

Natyral Razma Resort is a picturesque mountain retreat nestled in the stunning Razma Valley of Northern Albania. Surrounded by pristine nature and majestic peaks, this resort offers guests a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The resort features cozy cabins and cottages, providing comfortable accommodation options for couples, families, and groups. Guests can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area through a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The resort also offers wellness facilities such as a sauna and massage services, allowing guests to relax and rejuvenate amidst the tranquil surroundings. With its scenic location and rustic charm, Natyral Razma Resort is the perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking a peaceful retreat in the Albanian mountains. Check rates and reviews here.

 

Natyral Razma Resort

The Rose Garden Hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel located in the heart of Yangon, Myanmar. Nestled amidst lush gardens and tranquil surroundings, this elegant hotel offers guests a peaceful oasis in the bustling city. The Rose Garden Hotel features beautifully appointed rooms and suites, each tastefully decorated with modern amenities and stylish furnishings. Guests can indulge in a range of dining options at the hotel’s restaurants, serving a variety of international and local cuisines. The hotel also boasts a range of facilities including a rooftop swimming pool, fitness center, and spa, providing guests with ample opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation. With its attentive service, exquisite accommodations, and serene ambiance, the Rose Garden Hotel offers a memorable stay for travelers seeking luxury and comfort in Yangon. Check rates and reviews here.

 

Rose Garden Hotel

Guest House Adriatiku is the perfect budget option. This charming and cozy accommodation is located in the heart of the coastal town of Sarandë, Albania. Situated just a short walk from the beautiful Ionian Sea, this guest house offers guests a comfortable and convenient stay in one of Albania’s most popular tourist destinations. The guest house features clean and comfortable rooms, each equipped with essential amenities for a pleasant stay. Guests can enjoy stunning views of the sea and surrounding landscape from the guest house’s terrace, making it the perfect spot to relax and unwind. With its warm hospitality and central location, Guest House Adriatiku provides an ideal base for travelers looking to explore Sarandë’s attractions, including its beaches, historic sites, and vibrant nightlife. Check rates and reviews here.

 

Guest house Adriatiku

what to do in the Albanian alps?

The main attraction of the Albanian Alps is hiking. The region has some of the most spectacular and diverse trails in Europe, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks. You can hike through lush forests, alpine meadows, rocky peaks, and crystal-clear rivers and lakes. You can also visit ancient churches, stone towers, and traditional villages along the way. Some of the most popular hikes in the Albanian Alps are:

 

  • The Valbona Pass: This is the classic hike that connects Valbona and Theth, crossing the highest point of the Alps at 1815 meters. The hike takes about 6-8 hours and offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys. You can do it in either direction, but most people prefer to start from Valbona and end in Theth, as it is slightly easier and more scenic. You can also hire a horse or a donkey to carry your luggage or yourself if you get tired.
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  • The Blue Eye of Theth: This is a short and easy hike that takes you to one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the Alps: a turquoise pool of water that emerges from a deep underground spring. The hike takes about 2-3 hours round trip from Theth and passes by a waterfall and a canyon. The Blue Eye is a great place to cool off and take some amazing photos.
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  • The Peaks of the Balkans: This is a challenging and rewarding hike that takes you to the highest peak of the Alps, Maja Jezercë, at 2694 meters. The hike takes about 10-12 hours round trip from Valbona and requires a good level of fitness and experience. The hike is not well-marked, so you may want to hire a guide or join a group tour. The views from the top are breathtaking and worth the effort.
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Besides hiking, there are many other things to do in the Albanian Alps, such as:

 

  • Rafting: You can join a rafting tour on the Valbonë River, which is a thrilling and fun way to experience the nature and the rapids of the river. The tours are suitable for all levels of experience, and include equipment, guides, and transport. 
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  • Horseback riding: You can join a horseback riding tour in Theth or Valbonë, which is a relaxing and enjoyable way to explore the countryside and the villages. The tours are suitable for all levels of experience, and include horses, guides, and transport. 
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  • Cultural immersion: You can learn more about the culture and the history of the Albanian Alps by visiting the local museums, churches, and monuments.