Here Is Where To Go Hiking In Albania

Here Is Where To Go Hiking In Albania

Located in southern Europe, in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula, Albania is a reasonably small country that boasts some of the most spectacular peaks in Europe.

Land of mountains and tranquil valleys, charming forgotten villages, and unique coasts, Albania is a friendly destination, extremely convenient when it comes to reducing holiday costs, and home to a unique and varied cuisine with both Balkan and Italian traits… and if it was not yet clear, it is nothing but the perfect place for an outdoor adventure.

Hikers on Valbona-Theth trail in Albania

As it should be expected, the best way to really experience the country is on foot, venturing in the impressive paths and hiking trails, as well as in its national parks and alpine landscapes.

The country, located in the heart of the Balkan Trail, is an exhilarating destination for hikers, featuring hard, moderate, and easy trails, some of them suitable for first-timers and children.

Always keep in mind to pack the right equipment, enough liquids to keep you hydrated, energetic bars or snacks, a few extra layers, even in summer, and wear comfortable shoes apt for hiking. Remember also that for certain trails, especially the most difficult ones, a walking or hiking stick might make all the difference between an exhausting adventure or a fun, enjoyable one.

Do not face these trails lightly. Avoid flip-flops and heavy backpacks. Do not forget to apply generous sunscreen and use a hat, even in spring. These common mistakes can turn a magical experience into a nightmare.

Also, pack your photo camera, because the views promise to be more than rewarding!

If you’re traveling to Albania soon and walking is one of those pleasant things you enjoy, then keep this guide handy to have a valuable guide to the best hiking trails, paths, and loops that you can enjoy in Albania, read on and decide which of these paths to walk!

Valbona-Theth Buni Shqipes

Hiking In The Balkans - Beautiful landscape of Accursed Mountains viewed from Valbona-Theth
Accursed Mountains
  • Length: 28.3 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation gain: 2,179 m
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Location: Tropojë, Kukës, Albania.

Suitable for: Backpacking, hiking, landscape views, river views

One of Albania’s most spectacular hiking trails, often recommended as a magnificent path for those with some hiking experience, is the Valbona to Theth trail (also known as Valbonë to Theth).

Since it is a very famous trail, it can be packed in summer. It is not recommended to take this trail from winter until June when all the snow has finally melted.

The path takes walkers through the Accursed Mountains, offering you the chance to admire one of the most inspiring scenarios in the Albanian Alps.

A curious fact is that the hike is also known as Peaks of the Balkans simply because it also crosses into two different countries: Kosovo and Montenegro.

The portion Valbonë -Theth (both areas are National Parks) follows an old mule track and is about 20 km. To complete the hike within a day, consider leaving early since it can take up to 8 or 9 hours to complete it if you are also stopping to check the views and take photos.

Valbonë-Theth to Buni Shqipes has a total length of 28.3 km and is considered a reasonably difficult trail, primarily used for backpacking and hiking.

Maja Rosit (Valbonë)

  • Length: 16.7 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation gain: 1,243 m
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Location: Valbonë (Valbona Valley National Park), Albania

Suitable for: Hiking, natural landscapes, bird watching, wild flora, forests views

It is lightly trafficked, and even when considered a reasonably challenging trail, it is certainly less tiring than the previous one. This route is just under 17 kilometers long, and it is located near Tropojë, Kukës, inside the Valbona National Park.

Travelers love to venture on this trail to observe the beautiful flowers and the impressive nature, mainly because it offers unique opportunities for bird watching. The best period to face this hiking challenge is between July and September.

The Blue Eye Of Theth

  • Length: 11.2 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation: 392 m
  • Route type: Point to point
  • Location: Kapre, Shkodër, Albania

Good for: Hiking, nature views, Alpine landscapes

Another famous trail in Albania for experienced hikers and trekkers is the fabulous Blue Eye, a fantastic experience in the heart of the Albanian Alps, boasting incredible mountainous landscapes and the well-known Blue Eye of Kapre.

Kapre has gained the title of one of the most picturesque villages in the Alps, but that is not the only beauty you will encounter during the adventure. The Blue Eye is a beautiful collection of waterfalls falling into a natural pool that was formed thanks to the erosion of the cliff caused by a river.

Although this might undoubtedly represent the best part of the adventure, you will also need to pass the spectacular Grunas Canyon (Theth), another tremendous token part of this trail, to get to the Blue Eye.

Remember: when looking for information about the Blue Eye, keep in mind that there are two different blue eyes in Albania. The one mentioned here and a second one in the south of the country, near the town of Saranda.

Grunas Canyon - Hiking Albania
Grunas Waterfall is a picturesque site inside the National Park of Thethi, Albania

A word on Grunas Canyon: A unique natural place to discover when visiting Albania, the canyon is located on the southern part of Theth National Park, and visiting with a guide is highly recommended.

Grunas is a two km-long ravine with a depth of about 60 meters. To reach the gorge, you will need to follow a beautiful path next to the crystalline waters of River Theth, a popular place in Albania for fans of canoeing.

Maja Thanasit (Llogara)

  • Length: 7.4 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation: 350 m
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Location: Vlorë, Albania

Suitable for: Hiking, natural landscapes, scramble, mountaineering.

Lightly trafficked and quite accessible for all types of hikers, with at least some experience, this is a relatively short trail perfect for nature trips and to discover unique landscapes, including the Albanian coast and the sea.

The area is rugged and rocky and lacks shade for most of the path; therefore, it is good to pack enough drinks and even a hat. On the way, you are bound to encounter thousands of birds, bees, and butterflies, especially during late spring.

Rocky with little shade, so pack water. So many bees and butterflies. You’ll feel like a butterfly queen.

Kryezi Waterfalls Trail

  • Length: 2.4 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 84 m
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Location: Vlorë, Albania

Suitable for: Family-friendly hiking, natural landscapes, walking, waterfall, and river views

Perfect for a family adventure, since it’s pretty easy and not too long, this 2.4-kilometer trail is not very crowded and offers excellent outdoor opportunities.

A great out and back trail in the area of Fushë Arrëz, Shkodër, it will have surprises such as a gorgeous waterfall where it is even possible to swim when the temperatures are high.

The short walk features unique landscape views, and since its altitude gain is not high, it can be walked from the end of April until almost the end of September.

Mount Gjallica Trail

  • Length: 31 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Very Hard
  • Elevation gain: 2,386 m
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Location: Kukës, Albania

Suitable for: Backpacking, hiking, running, natural landscapes, wild flora, waterfalls, forest, and river views, walking, off-trail experiences

Not very crowded and quite challenging, Mount Gjallica is a trail a bit more than 30 kilometers long. It is a gorgeous out and back circuit, featuring a beautiful waterfall on the way and a few creek crossings. This trail has steep climbs as you approach the summit.

The trail is located not far from the area of Kukës, and it features pretty difficult portions, with parts of the trail disappearing in some points to reappear a few hundred meters afterward.

All these features make it a hiking path good only for very experienced adventurers; for the same reason, it is a trail that better serves groups than solo hikers. The track is at its best from May to November.

Freskia Marshez Loop

  • Length: 7.4 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation gain: 395 m
  • Route type: Loop trail
  • Location: Fushë Arrëz, Shkodër, Albania

Suitable for: Hiking, walking, forest views, scramble, unique landscapes, and wildlife

The Freskia Marshez Loop is a popular loop trail situated near Fushë Arrëz, in Shkodër. It can be considered a reasonably challenging trail and offers beautiful views of Fushë Arrëz village.

A perfect destination to observe wildlife, the route is popular for walking, trekking, hiking, and exciting exploration trips. The best time of the year to uptake this adventure is between April and October.

Theth, Qereç and Curraj i Eperm

  • Length: 20 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation gain: 1550 m
  • Route type: Point to point
  • Location: Tropojë, Kukës, Albania

Suitable for: Hiking, walking, off-roading

Relatively tricky and challenging, this point-to-point hiking path is 20 kilometers long and is primarily used for walks and hiking. The trail is rich with sights, passes, and adventurous points.

The trail is rated as difficult, and it is better during the hotter months of summer, between June and September.

 

Albania Travel Blog_Where To Hike In Albania

 

Freskia Marshez Loop

  • Length: 7.4 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation gain: 395 m
  • Route type: Loop trail
  • Location: Fushë Arrëz, Shkodër, Albania

Suitable for: Hiking, natural landscapes, forests, wildlife views, scrambling.

Another Albanian loop trail worth experiencing for trained hikers is the Freskia Marchez Loop, located near the village of Fushë Arrëz in Shkodër.

The walking path offers fantastic opportunities to observe both the local fauna and flora, but it is not an easy path and can take more time than a 7-km long trail could take.

An ideal trail for trekking and hiking, the path is at its best from April to October for those who enjoy walking and observing the local nature.

Mount Korab

  • Length: 16.3 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Elevation gain: 1,666 m
  • Route type: Point to point
  • Location: Dibër, Albania

Good for: Hiking, walking, landscapes

Mount Korab is over 2700 meters high and is part of the Radika Mountains, in the border between Albania and North Macedonia, in the gorgeous area of Dibër. The trail features two different ways; the one that is shorter but steeper is the one you will find on the right.

It is an interesting point-to-point trail, features a mainly meadow terrain with some rocky areas, a river, and two small lakes right at the beginning.

The trail is suitable for all skill levels and is primarily used for hiking.

Mount Gamtit

  • Length: 13,2 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Easy to medium
  • Elevation gain: 960 m
  • Route type: Loop trail
  • Location: Krujë, Durrës, Albania

Suitable for: Hiking, lake and wildlife views, rocky and rugged landscapes

A beautiful and child-friendly loop trail a bit more than 13 kilometers long, the Mount Gamtit trail is a good path for those who are just beginning their hiking adventures but are eager to walk for a bit more than just ten kilometers.

It features a gorgeous lake where to rest and take great pictures, and it is an exciting path to explore the local nature, admire the abundant flowers, herbs, bushes, and inspiring mountainous landscape.

Liqeni i Tiranes

A perfect Albanian hiking trail for the whole family!

  • Length: 5.6 kilometers
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 82 m
  • Route type: Loop trail
  • Location: Tirana, Durrës, Albania

Suitable for: Hiking, walking, running, bird watching, outdoor family adventures

Liqeni i Tiranes is the perfect family-friendly hiking trail for small kids who enjoy exploring natural landscapes and unforgettable adventures. Along the 5.6-kilometer trail, kids and adults alike will be able to enjoy the fantastic views of a Lake but also walk, run, hike, and even rest surrounded by the spectacular landscape. This path also offers excellent opportunities for bird watching.

Since the trail is not far from Tirana and it is pretty short and easy, it can be an excellent day trip idea during your time exploring the capital of the country.

Hiking In Albania With A Guide

Hiking Albania - Mountains on the north Albania

If this is going to be your first adventure, or if you think you’ve gained enough experience to go from a moderate to a complex kind of adventure and feel ready to face a more challenging trail, it can be an excellent idea to start by contacting a local and official guide who can provide experience and priceless advice when it comes to facing an unknown network of trails in an unfamiliar country.

You can check the following local companies to gather information, ask for suggestions and even join a hiking adventure with a group. It can be safer, more fun, and you can make new friends on the road too.

Outdoor Albania (the company is in Tirana and organizes active trips that, apart from hiking, also include mountain biking, kayaking, and rafting).
Peaks of the Balkans (offers excursions and guided hiking in the Accursed Mountains).
Our Own Expeditions (organizes excursions and expeditions in the southern area of Albania).
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  1. Great blog. I would like to suggest adding a paragraph that in the summer this is a good trek one can do without a guide but the pass is not always accessible as you describe too. In spring for example (may and sometimes June) it’s really important to check whether one can pass the pass and whether there is snow. If the latter is the case do not attempt without a guide and proper equipment, nor attempt the “summer route”. There is a winter route which is not without risks and safer than the summer route. Yesterday a Swiss tourist died, slipped and fell down the abyss. Not the first to get into trouble or pass away. We just did the winter route with a guide and we’re glad we bumped into others and therefore had 3 guides to help us to the top. I think it’s important we inform fellow travelers well.

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