Albanian Magic

This tour is perfect for people who visit the Albanian Alps for the first time and would like to combine scenic hikes for average fitness levels with most of the North’s highlights.

The itinerary covers Albania from the capital Tirana to much more relaxed Shkoder and two of the most remarkable valleys in the Dinaric Alps: Thethi and Valbona, both dominated by towering mountains and traditional alpine houses. On our way back we will also enjoy a scenic ferry ride across the Koman Lake.

The hikes on this tour are ideal for outdoor lovers with average fitness levels. The effective walking time per day is about 4 hours on average, with the exception of one longer transfer hike from Theth to Valbona across the Valbona pass.

Trip duration 8 days
Average daily walking time 3-7 hours
Difficulty 2 / 4
Comfort level standard

Crossing the river next to the Blue Eye Center of Theth with reconstructed catholic church during harvest time The top of Valbona Pass

“Albanian Magic” Highlights

  • staggering views over Thethi and Shala valleys from Zorzi peak (1663m)
  • the Blue Eye’s fascinating play of colours
  • experiencing traditional mountain lifestyle and hospitality first hand
  • on the edge of two magnificent valleys: the hike across the Valbona pass (1820m)
  • a tranquil bus-turned-into-ferry ride on breathtaking Lake Koman

After our rendezvous at the airport we continue straight away to Shkoder, the North’s dynamic hub to the mountains. Here we can go for a swim, visit several sites, like the Rozafa castle or the Marubi photo library and enjoy a traditional meal.

Leaving the city behind on the next day our transfer continues along Lake Shkoder in direction of Montenegro until we turn off the highway to enter Shkrel Valley, where to both sides mountains  above 2000m start rising up from the river canyon. To get to Shala Valley we cross the Buni i Thores pass at 1685m on a dramatic road and stop to walk to the top of Maja e Zorzit for the best panoramic views. From here we continue down to the bottom of the valley, nestled into which lie the traditional stone houses of Theth.

The next day we venture along the river to the famous “Blue Eye”, a karst spring, and the almost deserted Kapreja Valley. Our third day consist of a hike to the canyon and waterfall in Grunas, as well as the blood feud lock-in tower and the church in the center of the village.

The highlight of many who visit is the transfer hike from Theth to Valbona Valley, where at 1966m you are on par with the surrounding peaks and able to enjoy the marvelous sights of the Malet e Zhapores Range in front of and Radohimes Massif behind you.

In more dramatic and inaccessible Valbona Valley we ascend along a glacial valley perched between the Jezerca Massif and Mt Bjelic with Rosni as its highest peak. Especially in June the meadows host countless flowers which we can enjoy on our way to a summer pasture.

After our early morning start we board a modified bus transformed into a boat for a fabulous ferry ride over the artificial Lake Koman through a narrow flooded gorge that drives hydropower plants. Subsequently we drive to Tirana to visit the National History Museum or to get an overview by taking the cable car to Mt Dajti. Afterwards we disembark for a walking tour of the colorful city, the evening is reserved for dinner in the nightlife Blloku district.

  • meeting at Tirana airport and transfer to Shkodër (150km – 2h), Northern Albania’s oldest and most lively city with distinct Italian flair, an upbeat destination
  • check-in at hotel, afterwards we drive to nearby village Shiroke for a refreshing swim at the at the shores of Lake Shokdër
  • visit of Rozafa Castle with fabulous views over the surrounding area as far as to the Albanian Alps
  • walking tour of the Shokdër’s Old Town in the evening
  • dinner in a traditional Ottoman restaurant
  • overnight in a hotel in Shkodër


View over Shkoder AM-day-by-day-2 Fish from River Drin and the nearby Adriatic

  • transfer along Lake Shkoder to Koplik into the mountain framed valley of Shkrel and across the pass of Buni i Thores (1685m), total duration is about 2:15h (80km)
  • on the way we take a break  for degustation of local wine and cheese in Boga village
  • short but scenic hike to Maja e Zorzit (1663m), the perfect lookout mountain in the center of the valley with breathtaking views of the Jezerca and Radohimes Massifs, at the feet of which we can catch the first glimpse of Thethi
  • during the transfer to the  bottom of Shala Valley, we pass the center of Theth and drive further to the Southern end of the valley
  • arrival at our overnight accommodation in Nderlysa, a traditional family-run guest house


Unique mountain scenery: Thethi valley from Maja e Zorzit Climbing to the top of Maja e Zorzit View to Theth's center from Maja e Zorzit

Hike detailselevationprofile

Effective walking: 3.5 h
Distance: 6.5 km
Ascending: 500 m
Descending: 500 m

  •  from our guesthouse we hike through a canyon to the semi-deserted village of Kapre to visit the last remaining inhabitants and the corn mill
  • visit of the Syri i Kalter (“Blue Eye”, 612m), a beautiful karst spring fed by melting snow, surrounded by butterflies in summer
  • return to Nderlysa canyon to examine the bizarre glacial mill rock formations (509m)
  • in the afternoon we have the opportunity to a enjoy a refreshing splash into a basin called the ‘black well’, can walk through the village or to the conflux of the rivers, or take the opportunity to  experience authentic local farm work

The colourful "Blue Eye" karst spring Daniela and Denisa enjoy having many people around Deda and his mother milking their sheep (around 100)

Effective walking: 4 h
Distance: 12 km
Ascending: 325 m
Descending: 325 m

  • walk along the Thethi River on a well-worn historic bridle path that connects the Kiri valley, also known as Dukagjin, to Thethi village
  • on the way we can see the hydropower plant, pass the remains of the oldest bridge of Shala and 50m deep and only a few meter wide Grunas Canyon
  • we take a break  before we continue our hike to visit the waterfall (898m), at the base of which one often finds a rainbow
  • arriving in Theth we visit the blood feud tower (known as the Kula) to discuss the ancient unwritten law called Kanun, nearby located are the ethnographic museum, church and our guest house
  • possibility to embark on additional walks through the different neighborhoods of Theth

Postcard setting: traditional house, Theth Local woman knitting The Kulla, traditional blood feud lock-in tower

Effective walking: 3 h
Distance: 9 km
Ascending: 375 m
Descending: 100 m

  • initial hike through the village until we reach the upmost houses in Gjelaj
  • the trail to Rragam follows a ridge through beech forest which offers protection from the sun until we reach the tree line at about 1650m
  • lunch on top of Valbona pass (1815m) at a lookout rock or a shady protected spot nearby
  • descend to Rragam with amazing views of the mountains forming Valbona valley
  • break for some cold beverages at a small local ‘cafe’
  • short transfer to our guest house for the next two nights

Crossing from Theth to Valbona while luggage is transported on mules Qafa e Valbones, with Mount Poplluks (2569m) to the left in the background Awesome views of Valbona valley

Effective walking: 7 h
Distance: 12 km
Ascending: 1125 m
Descending: 725 m

  • easy hike to the secluded hamlet of Kukaj (1115m) from where we continue to a summer pasture (1650m) with the opportunity to meet the shepherds at Stanet e Plan
  • picnic on a meadow with an awe-inspiring panorama of plenty of peaks way above 2000m
  • return to our previous night’s accommodation
  • There is the option for an extension of the hike to Qafa e Roshit, a mountain pass at 2060m.

Yard of our guest house with chicken and goats Beautiful butterflies everywhere Walk from Qafa e Roshit to Valbona with wonderful panoramic views

Effective walking: 5 h
Distance: 10.5 km
Ascending: 700 m
Descending: 700 m

  • early morning departure for Bajram Curri and the ferry dock near Fierze (43km – 2h)
  • boarding of the ferry at 6:15am, the scenic trip on Lake Koman takes around 2.5h
  • transfer via Shkoder towards Tirana (150km – 4h)
  • opportunity to visit the National History Museum
  • guided walking tour of Tirana
  • dinner in the ‘Blloku’ district, previously a secluded area of the Albanian politburo members, now the upmarket and most trendy neighborhood of the capital

AM-day-by-day-19 The passenger ferry across Lake Koman Beautiful ferry ride across the tranquil Drin river's canyon

  • Transfer to Rinas Airport
  • Farewell coffee

Mosaic decorating the National History Museum, Tirana Et'hem Bey Mosque, Tirana Statue of national hero Skenderbeg, Tirana

Services included:

  • 2 nights accommodation in hotel
  • 5 nights accommodation in guesthouse
  • full board
  • all transports within Albania, including transfers from/to the airport
  • luggage tranfer by horse over Valbona pass
  • entrance fees for sights and museums
  • ferry trip

At your own:

  • insurance
  • airfare
  • tips and personal expenses for drinks and souvenirs

Tour price per person: 499€
Group size: 6-12 persons

Available dates: June to September

22.06 – 29.06.13
and on request

If the minimum number of participants isn’t reached one month before departure date, the tour can’t be realized.



Didn’t find what you were looking for? Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to tailor a tour that suits your needs, organise transport or accommodation, or simply give advice for your independent visit to Albania.