ALBANIA'S WALKING ROUTES

Although walking in the Accursed Mountains may sound a little daunting it's just another name for the Albanian Alps so don't be put off, especially if you fancy following shepherd's paths around Mt. Jezerca (2,694m). Theth and Valbonë Valley National Parks, both in the Alps, are very much ‘on the map’ and marked walking trails can get busy in summer. Head south and wild camping with a guide is definitely an option in Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park, a couple of hours east of Tirana. Further south and the UNESCO-rated city of Berat is worth a visit. Make sure you check out the Çermenikë Mountains and Mount Tomorr if you're interested in tailor making a guided walk on the wild side.
1. Berat
2. Çermenika
3. Rosi Peak
4. Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park
5. Theth National Park
6. Valbonë Valley National Park
Berat

1. Berat

Set at the base of a prominent hill, either side of the River Osum, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Berat provides a cultural interlude for walkers in Albania with Ottoman architecture and narrow cobbled streets leading to Berat Castle perched on the slopes of Mt. Tomorr. Skrapar district, south of Berat, is great for walking in pine covered mountain foothills where wolves, bears and lynx are all known to reside.
Çermenika

2. Çermenika

The Çermenika central highlands to the east of Albania's capital city, Tirana, are easily accessible to walkers and feature the setting for a lesser told WWII tale which is well worth hearing on a stroll past the streams, gullies and ridges of the Gurakuq Valley. Çermenika casts a subtle approach to remembrance, one that can only be discovered in the company of a guide who knows their history.
Rosi Peak

3. Rosi Peak

An overnight stay in the village of Rragam, close to the Rragamit Waterfall, allows access to a well used shepherds’ trail which descends through the pine and beech covered slopes of Rosi Peak before opening up to panoramic views over the peaks and valleys of Mount Jezerca. Freshwater streams, spongy green meadows and wild orchids in June lead to optional hiking challenges at altitude.
Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park

4. Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park

Places like Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park were heavily militarised under Communism and the natural scenery natural scenery has remained relatively untouched. The only people you’re likely to meet on the trail will be woodcutters or shepherds who will no doubt ask: “Çfarë dreqin po bën këtu?” – “What the hell are you doing here?” – before inviting you to sit down to share a pot of coffee.
Theth National Park

5. Theth National Park

Theth National Park features gentle valley trails leading to Ottoman tower houses (kulla), Grunas Waterfall and Catholic churches within a region of the Albanian Alps steeped in rural folk culture. For more of a challenge, follow the well maintained mule track through oak, chestnut and beech forests as you ascend over the Valbonë Pass (1,950m) surrounded by alpine meadows and limestone peaks.
Valbonë Valley National Park

6. Valbonë Valley National Park

Found within the Tropojë district, known as Albania's epicentre for folk culture, Valbonë Valley has also become a home for hydroelectric power although walkers will still be able to take advantage of remote alpine trails leading past ice cold springs and cascading waterfalls. Valley views over towering Dinaric Alps add to trails through chestnut forests and along the, as yet, untouched River Valbonë.

Our top Albania walking Holiday

Albania walking holiday

Albania walking holiday

A wild and rugged landscape with historic folkore

From £1149 to £1199 8 days inc UK flights
Small group travel:
2019: 7 Jun, 21 Jun, 5 Jul, 19 Jul, 9 Aug, 23 Aug, 6 Sep
Helpdesk
Hello. If you'd like to chat about Albania walking or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

ALBANIA WALKING HOLIDAYS ADVICE

Where to walk in Albania

Where to walk in Albania

Louise Ungless, from our small group holiday specialists Exodus, shares her advice on walking in Albania:
“I'd recommend walking in Theth National Park which is predominantly an agricultural region where age old farming practices are still used to this day. It's a great setting to observe rural life as you trek. Theth also has some fascinating historic sites, such as a Roman Catholic church that was once used as a health centre during the Communist regime and a significant ‘lock-in’ tower or ‘kulla’ that once protected families involved in blood feuds.”
Olly Pemberton, from our small group holiday specialists Exodus, shares his advice on walking in Albania:
"The northern trekking routes are focused on seeing the Albanian Alps and going through little villages. Luggage is carried by horses and donkeys; the north is more of a wild experience than the south. Everybody that we met was saying ‘please come back to Albania!’ they were quite genuine about that. It’s a place that does stay with you and you feel like you want to go back and explore more of it. It’s easy to get to, but so different to the rest of Europe – you feel so removed from everything.”
Meet your walking guide

Meet your walking guide

Louise Ungless:

Our small group walking guide is Dorien, who was born and raised in the Albanian Alps and has been walking in the region since he was a child. He’s extremely passionate about his country and with Dorien as your guide, walkers become instantly immersed in the local culture as well as the welcoming spirit of Albania's mountain communities.”
Olly Pemberton:

“In the areas we go to, we actually have a farmer with us who takes taking us through the mountains. We have a local guide as well who translates, but what people love is having the local guy who is telling the stories because you’re really getting an experience of the culture firsthand. He’s telling you stories about life during the winter, during the summer, what it’s like living up in this area. He speaks Albanian, but the guide translates for you. Travellers love being taken through the area by a local guy who genuinely lives here.”
Wild walking advice

Wild walking advice

We also spoke to Ed Reeves, owner of Drive Albania, about tailoring a walk on the wild side: “Although point to point walking trails between guesthouses and hotels are somewhat lacking in Albania, wild camping is definitely an option with places like Mokër, to the west of Lake Ohrid, opening up some incredibly remote scenery where you can get lost for days on end – perfect for adventurous campers who fancy trekking with a local guide and pack mule.”

“You might well come across the monster Sharri dogs when walking in the mountains. These are used to guard the sheep and although they can look quite intimidating they're actually really good natured and very intelligent, and tend to ignore humans as they're not considered a threat. I'd recommend carrying a big stick, although walking with a guide alleviates any need to worry.”

“Some of the walking trails in the mountains will need a bit of scrambling to get you to the top, but you can get super high and the views are absolutely amazing. Lower down the slopes, over the alpine pastures, you might want to watch your step as meadows can be really spongy, like a thick, damp carpet, which can cause a few problems for those with dodgy knees.”

Tips from our travellers

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Albania walking holiday tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday – and the space inside your daypack.
My favourite moments were swimming in the Blue Eye and walking over the pass from Theth to Valbona.
– Eleanor Dunn
“Bring walking poles! The terrain was very rocky and steep in places and it really helps your balance and saves your knees.” – Rachel Dixon walking in the Albanian Alps

“As there were only the two of us plus Dori, our wonderful guide, we were able to tailor make the holiday to suit us – and even to make an alteration half way through. If you want more or less walking or a particular kind of sightseeing just ask – the flexibility of the holiday company makes that possible.” – Margaret Barnes on a tailor made walking holiday

“Bring walking poles! The terrain was very rocky and steep in places and it really helps your balance and saves your knees.” – Rachel Dixon walking in the Albanian Alps “My favourite moments were swimming in the Blue Eye and walking over the pass from Theth to Valbona.” – Eleanor Dunn walking in the Albanian Alps

“The beautiful wild flowers growing in the high level pastures, in among the rocky and tree-covered hills and mountains, were a great surprise. So peaceful with only the sounds of birds, goats and insects. It was also surprising that the rural areas were so underdeveloped (in western terms) but still it wasn't uncommon to see a teenage boy on a mule with an iPhone in his hand – there seems to be almost total mobile coverage in Albania. Our guide Dori knew the areas we went to really well – so we felt we were definitely experiencing real Albania not just tourist resorts. The food was very good and we felt safe everywhere. Everyone we met was very welcoming.” – Margaret Barnes, walking in rural Albania
The beautiful wild flowers growing in the high level pastures, in among the rocky and tree-covered hills and mountains, were a great surprise. So peaceful with only the sounds of birds, goats and insects.
- Margaret Barnes
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Bruno Rijsman] [Map intro: Pero Kvrzica] [Berat: Pero Kvrzica] [Çermenika : Alessandro Giangilio] [Çermenika : Planeti] [Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park : Spyenson] [Theth National Park : Jirka DI] [Valbonë Valley National Park: Tobias Klenze] [Where to walk in Albania 2: Peter Chovanec] [Meet your walking guide: Shkelzen Rexha Gjakove] [Meet your walking guide: NH53] [Meet your walking guide 2: NH53] [wild walking advice: Bruno Rijsman] [traveller tips intro: Bruno Rijsman] [traveller tips 1: SarahTz] [traveller tips 2: Bruno Rijsman]
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