Albanian Alps - Albania

A Fairy Tale Journey in the Dazzling Nature of the Albanian Alps

The Albanian Alps, the main region in the north of the country for mountain tourism, are where sharp mountain peaks, alpine pastures, dense forests, lakes, and rushing rivers reign in true peace with nature. As part of the Albanian Alps National Park, this park encompasses the natural ecosystems of the Valbona Valley, Theth National Park, Gashi River, Kelmend’s Namuna Mountains, creating a majestic spectacle of nature that connects a small number of farms and houses through mountain passes in the valleys with the rest of the country during the summer months.

The Albanian Alps are the most mountainous and interesting region of our country, recently becoming one of the most attractive destinations for tourists worldwide.

Albania is one of the few European countries with Alps. Most of the country’s highest peaks are located here, with Jezerca (2,694m) being the second-highest peak after Korab (2,751m) in the northeast of the country.

Like a fairy tale journey on horseback through the Albanian Alps, you’ll encounter the Valbona River Valley, one of the most beautiful natural areas in Albania. This park is located about 22 km from the city of Bajram Curri. The Valbona River creates enchanting canyons and picturesque villages along its course.

The first village with alpine-style houses is Dragobia. At the foot of the mountain, where the Cerem stream flows into the Valbona River, you’ll find the famous Dragobia Cave, where the national hero Bajram Curri was surrounded and killed, after whom the northern city was named.

The Valbona River Valley is located 25 km from Bajram Curri. It is home to traditional houses with picturesque views, in harmony with the natural wonders of the valley. Valbona has a traditional and comfortable hotel, but you can also stay in a village house, where the hospitality of the locals is impressive. This area is also known for its regional cuisine specialties, such as mazja, flija (a multi-layered dish, pancakes cooked on an open hearth and steamed, often served with local honey), and pitja. As you pass Selimaj, the road winds through the valley with stunning views and colorful panoramas of spring life, the winter season when snow covers the sharp peaks nearby, or even the early autumn.

The last village before reaching the source of the Valbona River is Rrogam.

Rrogam is a remote village surrounded by mesmerizing natural landscapes. The entire valley sparkles with beautiful colors and rare beauties. On one side, you see the crystal-clear waters of Valbona, while on the other, you witness the sharp, green face of the mountain. Up to the top, you can enjoy the contrast between the pure white snow and the tree peaks against the blue sky background. The flora of the national park includes a variety of plants and trees, among which the Hormoq tree is the most widespread. The rest consists of beech, walnut, chestnut, and wild apple trees, along with many types of berries, blueberries, and wild strawberries.

The park is also home to various animals, such as bears, wolves, wildcats, and even herds of wild goats climbing on cliffs. The wild trout, a rare fish with a unique flavor, is found in the crystal-clear waters of Valbona. The valley, the park, and the surrounding area are known for heavy snowfalls, reaching up to 100 cm, starting in early November and lasting almost until May.

In the Rrogam National Park, many outdoor activities are available, such as skiing, mountaineering, climbing, fishing, excursions, hiking along valleys and streams, and canoeing in certain parts of the river.

Another point of interest in the Western Alps is Vermoshi, located at the northernmost tip of the Alps, 95 km from Shkodra, in the Kelmend region. The first thing that catches your eye during the journey is the Rrapsh Pass, where you can see the crystal-clear waters of the Cem River, creating a wonderful contrast with the surrounding landscape.

During the summer, the river banks are perfect for sunbathing, and many visitors stop to soak up the sun or have fun. Vermoshi is located on an alpine plateau 1100 m above sea level, surrounded by high mountain slopes. There, you can enjoy hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, and trout fishing.

An alpine trip in Albania would not be complete without a stop in the Western Albanian Alps. There, you will enjoy the unique opportunity to walk, relax, sleep, and eat among the wonders of nature. This trip gives you the rare chance to experience the heart of the Albanian Alps, Theth Valley. The journey starts from the cultural capital of Shkodra and then meanders 41 km away from the village of Razëm.

Located on a hill with blackberry bushes at the foot of Veleçik, Razma stands among lush pine and fir forests. The numerous alpine pastures and meadows are mesmerizing, captivating every visitor with the beauties of the Balkans. Even in the midst of winter, when the snow reaches its highest level, adventure tourists visit Razma. Now, there are several hotels where visitors can rest. Common activities during excursions include mountain climbing, skiing, and, weather permitting, camping. The road turns from Razma towards the village of Dedaj, and further to Boga, a village surrounded by the Alps, described by Edith Durham in her book, “High Albania.”

Here, wealthy Shkodran families built their homes and villas for rest and escape from the city before World War II. Boga is the perfect place for mountain climbing, skiing, and cave exploration. Among the most visited caves are the Miller’s Cave, Ice Cream Cave, and Cave of the Lagoon People. The Puci Cave is one of the most beautiful, located 1087 m above sea level, with a depth of 5 km. This cave is rich in stalactites, stalagmites.

After Boga, one of the most famous tourist spots in the entire area, is the village of Theth.

Theth is 70 km away from Shkodra. You must pass the Tërthore Pass at an altitude of 2000 m before descending into the Theth Valley, passing the stream of the same name. During the journey, always carry a camera, as beautiful mountain roads and panoramas unfold before you, with water flowing beneath steep hills

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