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13 Best Hiking in Albania

13 Best Hiking in Albania

Albania is a paradise for hikers of all levels. Hiking in Albania is an entirely unique experience because you meet super friendly locals, enjoy traditional food, and get introduced to unknown cultures. The mountains in Albania consist of Dinaric Alp, Sar mountains, Pindus mountains, and Ceraunian mountains. The flora of Albania’s nature is rich thanks to the typical Mediterranean climate. From the Albanian Alps down to south Albania, the legends of mountains are exceptional.

Albania’s hiking trails are slightly different from the Western world. They are marked and maintained in the last years but you need to know that the Albanian Alps are pretty wild and harsh. It is highly recommended to hire a private guide while hiking in the Albanian Alps so that you embrace all the beauty of nature and do not miss a thing.

If you prefer to explore the mountains alone, ensure to prepare in advance. Consider assembling all the required equipment for safe and sound walking in Albania. Prior to departure search online about the trail, you plan to hike and download an offline map. Pack good hiking shoes as most of the trails are rocky. Take insulated water bottles and water purification tablets. Also, make a list of local contacts in case of emergency. And most important reduce plastic waste and protect the environment.

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  1. Theth – Valbone

This is perhaps the most famous route in the country. The trail is 16km long and reaches the highest altitude in Valbone ridge at 1800m asl (above sea level). It is open from June – the end of November (depending on the snowfalls). During the winter and spring, the trail is closed due to heavy snow and it becomes dangerous at some point. Even on the warm days of May, the trail has snow and it is not recommended to do it without a local guide. During winter you need to follow the winter trail, which is not well-marked and requires the knowledge of the locals. Along both valleys, the trail stretches through dense beech and pine tree. There are two bars open during summer, where you can enjoy a drink with a view. Level: Moderate

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2. Peak of Balkans

The 192km trail extends through Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro in the Dinaric Alps. A journey that takes you to some of the most rural villages in these three countries. The Accursed Mountains are wrapped with enormous legends about warriors, kanun, and “zana e maleve” (an Albanian mythological figure associated with mountains). Only in the last 15 years, has the region been accessible to tourists which boosts more the level of adventure. Level: Difficult. For more details about the trail, check out Peak of Balkans

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3. Korab mountain

Korab peak is the highest in Albania and North Macedonia standing at 2764m asl. It is located on the border between these two countries and you can reach it from both sides. Korab is the fourth highest peak in the Balkans. The trail in Albania starts from the village of Radomire, and first passes through a pine forest. Then it ascends on a green meadow. The last part is rocky all the way to the summit. It is well-marked in summer (May – November) and in winter is covered with lots of snow. Additionally, it is a great place for ski lovers to slide as the terrain is of easy steepness. Level: Moderate

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4. High Scardus Trail

A new trail is built and marked lately which extends along Sar Mountains in Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia. The total length is 495km passing between borders of three countries. Whether you can choose to walk the whole trail or divide it into different parts. The region is quite rich in endemic flora and fauna to mention Balkan Lynx, Sar shepherd’s dog, and endemic Macedonian pines. The trail is full of meadows with flowers and glacial lakes. Level: Difficult For more details about the trail, check out High Scardus Trail

Bovilla Lake

5. Gamti peak

This is a beautiful hike nearby the capital Tirana. The peak stands at 1256m asl and it offers amazing views above Lake Bovilla, Mali me Gropa, and Dajti mountain. The trail starts near the lake in the village of Ranze. At first, the route follows through dense bushes and continues up to the rocky part. It is not well marked but it is visible if you have some hiking experience. The views at the top are worth having a picnic. Level: Moderate

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6. Mali me gropa

The mountain with holes (that’s the real name) has a rare karstic formation making it a unique hiking experience in Albania. The hiking trail starts from the village of Shen Meri (St. Mary), only a 1-hour drive from Tirana. The first part stretches through an old dirt route, the trail has no signs so you will need to have an offline map or better a local guide. Taking several stops for photos and snacks at the top is worthwhile. Level: Easy

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7. Mali i Thate

The summit of “Dry Mountain” is approachable following the trail that starts in the village of Alarup in southeast Albania. The route is easy to stick to when having an offline map. It is located between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa, where at the top you can admire both of them. There are no trees or water sources on the way, so it is recommended to bring enough water with you. Bear in mind that due to its location, the weather is quite unpredictable and it changes often. Hence strong winds are common on cloudy days. The summit stands at 2288m asl and takes around 7-8 both ways. Level: Easy

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8. Tomorr mountain

Tomorr is the most well-known mountain in south Albania and the locals have been hiking around it for centuries. There are two peaks on this mountain, Cuka e Partizanit (2416m) and Baba Tomorri (2400m). Thetrail to “Cuka e Partizanit” starts at “Cezma e Tarikos” south of Berat. The hiking level is moderate and takes around 4-5 hours up to the summit. Baba Tomorri is part of the Bektashism religion and on the top is the shrine of Abbas Ali. This peak is reachable by driving a 4×4 car from Polican and Corovode. From 19-21 of August, there is a big pilgrimage celebration and it’s quite busy with locals.

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9. Gramos mountain

“Cuka e Pecit” peak in the Pindus mountain range between Albania and Greece, stands as the highest peak (2520m). It is situated in a remote habited area, covered by green pastures and the main source of four different rivers. The trail starts from the village of Starje in Erseke and lasts for 7 km to the summit. It is a visible track through easy steep hills which takes 3.5-4 hours one way. Level: Moderate

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10. Cika peak

In southwest Albania, around Llogara national park you can find many hiking trails. The highest are Qorra (2018) and Cika peak (2044m) on Ceraunian mountain. The trail starts in Llogara pass near Hotel Panorama and continues through a dense pine forest. To reach Qorra peak takes 4km one way and it is of an easy level during the summer period. The trail to Cika peak is 8.6km one way and is considered difficult. It is a rocky terrain and the weather can be quite unpredictable. It is an ultra-prominent track from Qorra to Cika peak, so consider taking a local guide with you. Level: Difficult

Vjosa National Park

11. Nemercka 

It is located in South Albania and shares the valleys of Vjosa river and Drinos river. The highest peak is “Maja e Papingut” (2485m), which you can reach from both sides. From Vjosa valley it’s quite difficult to climb and you must have great physical conditions and a local guide. For more information, check out: Nemercka from Vjosa valley On the other side of Drinos valley, the route to the summit starts from the village of Skore, near Polican. The trail is approximately 13km long in both ways. For little experienced hikers, it’s recommended to do it during summer or autumn. The trail is covered with snow during winter until late May and requires mountaineering equipment. This is one of the ultra-prominent mountains in Albania, which means that you will gain an elevation of over 1500m. Thus think of oversleeping at the village of the starting point, or camping overnight.

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12. Guri i Kamjes

This geological rock stands at 1461 meters above sea level and is created by land erosion and winds. The locals describe it as a large boat sailing in the sea. It is located in the southeast of Albania, between Pogradec and Korce. From Qafe Plloce, turn in the direction of the village of Prenisht. You will need an offroad car as it’s a gravel route. The hiking trail is 4.5 km long and it is easy. It is accessible all year long, even though during winters there is some snow. Please don’t hike up to the rock in order to sustain nature. Level: Easy. Check out this tour: Explore Southeast Albania

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13. Vajusha Peak

It is located in the very north of Albania, right on the border with Montenegro. You can hike to the summit (2050m asl) from the village of Lepushe in Albania. In Montenegro, it is known as Taljanka peak and starts from Grebaj. The trail on the Albanian side is an easy level. It takes around 5 hours to do the whole trail of 10km. The track stretches through a beech forest and mostly in meadows. The route is well marked and you can also find water sources on the way.

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Top 22 Best Beaches in Albania

Top 22 Best Beaches in Albania

Summer is behind the corner and you are thinking about the next vacation adventure. You are thinking to explore new destinations after a crazy lockdown without traveling. Where can you find the best beaches in Albania?

Albania is a small country with Mediterranean vibes, which has lots to offer. Its geography is blended between high mountains, large lakes, and long sea coasts. Albania has a 530 km coastline including the Adriatic Sea in the north, and the Ionian Sea in the south. If you are a family and you are looking for a peaceful beach to relax, then Golem and Lalzi bay are the destinations. If you are young and looking to party and explore, then head down south to the Ionian bays. In this article, I will list the best beaches based on my experience in the tourism industry.

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  1. Cape of Rodon

This beach is located in the Adriatic Sea, 50 km far from Tirana International Airport. It is a quiet place surrounded by a church, a castle, bunkers, and green nature.

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2. Kallm beach, Durres

Kallm beach is located in the north of Durres. You can reach there driving through a gravel road without signs. It has clear waters, covered with stones. This is the perfect destination if you are staying in Durres and want to explore a lesser populated area.

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3. Rana e Hedhun (Thrown Sand)

It is a rare formation of sand from Mount Renci, which creates beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea. Next to the beach are located many hotels and restaurants. In June is organized Unum Festival, 5 days of electronic music. You can reach there driving through Shengjin village in Lezha district.

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4. Plazhi i Gjeneralit

This is another hidden spot in the Adriatic Sea. You will need to drive through a bumpy and dirt road, which is totally worth the panoramic views.

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5. Grama bay 

It is a gem in the Karaburun peninsula. In ancient times, pirates used to stop and hide here. There are two ways to get here: an 8-hour long hike from Llogara National park or by boat leaving from the port of Vlora. If you choose to hike, make sure to get a guide who knows the area. It is worth camping overnight here and watching the stars.

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6. Palasa beach

Palasa is a luxury area with private villas. The beach is known by the locals as “Rruget e Bardha”, which means “white paths” because of the white little rocks. If you don’t want to rent an expensive villa, stay in the old village above the main road.

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7. Dhermi beach

Dhermi is the most famous beach in Albania. The old village is renovated recently and it is blended with stone houses and churches. The beach is a heaven with crystal blue waters and secret bays. It is highly recommended to young people who like to party hard.

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8. Gjipe bay

This charming bay has been explored last 15 years. The way to get there takes 30 minutes walk from the main road parking. The river passing by has created a canyon which can be easily explored by anyone. For the adventurous spirits, there are some rock climbing routes. It is a rural bay without hotels, only a small summer restaurant. Take your camping equipment for an overnight to enjoy it in depth.

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9. Aquarium bay

Aquarium bay is secretly hidden on the Ionian coast. When you are in Jal beach, continue walking or driving south along the coast. After 10 min on the gravel road, a small bay with splendid waters will appear. A great way to run away from the crowds.

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10. Livadhi beach

When driving south of Albanian Riviera, before Himare is located the bay of Livadh. The beach is filled with small rocks and relaxing for families. You can find many restaurants and hotels in the area. Take some time to discover nearby Himara castle, which offers great views of the whole bay.

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11. Filikur beach

Are you in Himara and want to get to a real privy beach? Then Filikur bay is the answer. You can reach there by boat from Himare, or even kayaking. You will hear that there is another way to hike from the mountain, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It is dangerous and requires the use of ropes and climbing skills. Take some food and drinks and enjoy the rest of the day in your own privacy.

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12. Llamani beach

Llaman is another enchanting bay 5 minutes far from Himara town.  It is very popular in the summer, where you can find many restaurants and bars. Make sure to get there in the morning as it gets very crowdy during the day.

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13. Porto Palermo beach

Porto Palermo is a place where you can find a lot of history, besides nice beach. In the middle is located a great medieval fortress. On the north of the bay is the submarine port built during the communist regime. In the south part of the bay is a beautiful small beach. If you love scuba diving and snorkeling, this is the perfect spot.

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14. Qeparo beach

Qeparo is a nice village with relaxing shores, more preferable by families. A couple of good restaurants which serve delicious seafood can be found around. Take a walk to the upper village to experience and meet friendly locals.

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15. Borsh beach

This village is very famous for its olive groves and olive oil. The shores are perfect for family time. South Outdoor is a festival with music and outdoor activities happening each year.

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16. Lukove beach

If you have chosen to drive the Albanian Riviera, take a stop at Lukove beach. The village is quite friendly and it has a unique tranquil atmosphere. 

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17. Krorez beach

Krorez is a lost paradise in the Ionian Sea. It is accessible only by boats living from port of Saranda. You can find many daily trips to this bay and nearby Kakome bay. 

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18. Pulebardha beach (Seagulls)

Driving from Sarande down south to Ksamil are located many small beaches. One of the most beautiful is Pulebardha beach. Blue waters and the sounds of waves are the treats of this bay.

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19. Kep Merli

Kep Merli is a private luxury beach. You will need to reserve in advance and be lucky to get access. Famous people like Dua Lipa take their vacations here.

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20. Ksamil beach

Ksamil Islands are the cream de la cream of the Albanian Riviera. They face Corfu Island, which is 4 km away. The beach has white sand and clear waters. It is a small area with lots of visitors in the summer. You can rest in the many of hotels nearby.

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21. Pema e thate (Dry Tree)

“Pema e thate” can be accessed from Ksamil village through a dirt bumpy road. It is within Corfu channel and has some restaurants and bar. Recommended for day trips from Ksamil or Sarande.

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22. Pogradec beach

If you think that you can find nice beaches only in Albanian sea, you are wrong! Get to Pogradec in the south east and discover the calm of the Lake Ohrid. This is the oldest lake in Europe, separated between Albania and North Macedonia. There are a couple of beaches like Pogradec city, Tushemisht and Lin village. You can go fishing “koran” or “belushka”, two rare fishes founded only in this lake. Highly recommended to families.