The Albanian Alps, also known as the Accursed Mountains, offer a captivating and rugged landscape that any nature lover or adventurer would find irresistible. If you are looking to do some Albanian Alps hiking, look no further as this post will outline the best 3-5 day itinerary, so you can spend less time researching and more time outside.
Located in the northern region of Albania, this mountain range boasts stunning peaks, deep valleys and dramatic cliffs that create a breathtaking panorama. Hiking through the Albanian Alps provides an opportunity to explore remote and untouched wilderness, where pristine rivers and shimmering lakes are hidden among lush forests.
This is the best hiking area in Albania. In this article I’ll go into detail the best way to spend your days hiking in the Albanian Alps, provide other day hike recommendations, and fill you in on any tips you may need to know before visiting to ensure the best time possible.
For full transparency, I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. As always, I would never recommend a product or service that I didn't truely believe in. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling and coffee ☕️. I thank you in advance.
Most people spend 3 days in the Albania Alps trekking the Valbona pass on the second day, with Valbona and Theth National Parks as the bookends to their 3 day adventure. I personally spent 6 days on an Albanian Alps hiking adventure. If you only have 3 days, follow day 1, day 3 and day 4.
If you have the gift of time, I recommend spending more than 3 days in the Albania Alps, there are plenty of other hikes and things to do in Theth and Valbona National Park that you won’t be able to experience unless you spend more time in Valbone and in Thethi.
Here’s what my itinerary looked like. Fore more details about a specific activity/event click on the blue links below.
- Shkoder to Valbona via Lake Komani Ferry
- 2 Nights Accommodation in Valbona
- Hike Valbona National Park
- Trek Valbona to Theth
- 3 Nights Accommodation in Theth
Day 4 & 5:
- Theth Village, Theth Church & Theth Waterfall
- Trek to Blue Eye Waterfall
- Transfer from Theth back to Shkoder to pick up your luggage.
Albanian Alps Hiking Vlogs
Would you rather see for yourself what an adventure through the Albanian Alps looks like? We filmed several vlogs as we hiked, trekked and traveled our way through the Albanian Alps.
Check them out after you read this post and please subscribe or give us a thumbs up. It doesn’t cost you anything and really helps us be able to continue creating free content for you to enjoy 🙂.
Day 1: Shkoder to Valbona via the Lake Komani Ferry
The first day of your Albanian Alps adventure will start in the town of Shkodër. This is the gateway town to the Albanian Alps. From here you can either make your way to Valbona Valley National Park via the Lake Komani Ferry or arrange transportation to Theth.
In my opinion, traveling from Shkoder to Valbona is the best direction versus the other way around. Getting from Shkoder to Valbona is an all days adventure. Plus accommodations in Valbona are more spread out than in Theth.
It takes 3 modes of transportation to travel from Shkoder to Valbona. 2 minivans and 1 ferry. You can book tickets for transportation as a package at most hotels in Shkoder or you can book tickets separately yourself.
- Mini-van from Shkoder to Komani Lake (1.5 – 2 hours)
- Lake Koman ferry to Fierza (2.5 hours)
- Mini-van transfer to Valbona (1 hour)
Minivan tickets for transfer from Shkoder to Koman costs 800 Lek (7€) and pickup time is at 6:45am. Joe and I arrived at 6:30 and pickup was closer to 7am. The minivan to Koman takes about 2 hours. The route offers panoramic views of the majestic mountains and lush forests.
Next, hop on the Lake Komani Ferry which takes about 2.5 – 3 hours to travel from Koman to Fierze. The Lake Koman Ferry was extremely crowded. I had purchased transportation tickets as a package with my accommodation.
To avoid the crowds I would purchase tickets individually by yourself. Check out the article below for more details on how to book travel from Shkoder to Valbona by yourself.
Once docked, it’s an hour minivan transfer to your accommodation in Valbona. You’ll get to Valbona around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Spend the evening eating a hearty meal, watching sunset, and prepping for a day of hiking in Valbona Valley National Park.
Book 2 nights accommodation in Valbona. We stayed at the Guesthouse Skender Selimaj. Price was extremely affordable and location was great, walking distance to the Rosi Peak Trailhead. It was however a little dirty which is a reflection of the price. Here are a few other accommodations to check out in Valbonë.
Day 2: Hiking Valbona National Park
Day 2 of 6 hiking the Albanian Alps. Today you’ll get to explore Valbona Valley National Park. There are many different hikes to choose from geared towards various skill levels.
Joe and I hiked Rosi Peak which is a strenuous hike that ends at the border of Albania and Montenegro. There wasn’t a ton of information online but I completely underestimated this hike. I thought it was going to be a moderate hike but it ended up being pretty tough.
Majat e Rosi Hike in Albania
- Difficulty: Strenuous
- Duration: 1 Day
- Distance: 10km out and back
- Peak Elevation: 8,280 feet at the summit
- Elevation Gain: 2,391 feet
The hike was beautiful as it passed through fields of wildflowers, shaded forest and epic mountain views. Once at the summit, you are greeted with stunning views of the mountains in Montenegro.
I thought this hike would be a pleasant warm up for hiking to Theth tomorrow but it ended up being 2,500 feet higher than the Valbona Pass on the trek to Theth. Don’t let this deter you from attempting this hike.
The views can’t be fully expressed in a photo, you have to see the beauty for yourself. It’s one of the best day hikes in Valbona Valley National Park.
Other Hikes in Valbona Valley National Park:
- Jezerca Lakes and Peak
- Thatë Peak
- Kolata Peak
Day 3: Albania Alps Trekking from Valbona to Theth
Day three of hiking through the Albanian Alps. For most people, this is a highlight of the trip. The only way to reach Theth National Park from Valbona Valley National Park is on foot as there are no roads that connect the two parks.
Valbona to Theth Trek Stats
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: 1 Day
- Distance: 9.5km from Rrogam to Theth (15-16km from Valbona village, from trailhead to trailhead)
- Peak Elevation: 5,760 feet at Valbona Pass
Hiking Valbona Pass on the Valbona to Theth hike was the highlight of my summer spent traveling through the Balkans. The Theth Valbona hike is a A to B day trek that takes you through some of the most stunning natural landscapes in Albania.
Today, you will be trekking up and over Valbona Pass with your pack. This is why it is important to pack smart and pack light. Along the way there are cafes to take a break and order an iced frappe. It’s amazing. For more details and everything you need to know about the Valbona Theth Trek.
Once you make it to Theth, book accommodations for 3 nights. If I had to choose, I’d say that Theth is more beautiful than Valbona. You feel more surrounded by the mountains.
I stayed at Bujtina Kometa but it was a 40 minute walk outside of Theth which wasn’t super enjoyable after a long 2 days of Albanian Alps hiking. Very affordable, clean, great views and lovely hosts though! Here are a few other accommodations in Theth to check out.
Day 4 & 5: Exploring in & around Theth
Spend day 4 and day 5 exploring Theth and its surroundings. Theth is a tiny village in northern Albania completely surrounded by towering mountains.
With a population of 370 people, it can hardly be classified as a town. But once you visit this secluded village tucked away in the mountains, you’ll quickly see why travelers make the journey.
There are a lot of really rad things to do in Theth. That’s why you should spend 2 full days exploring Theth and one day trekking from Valbona to Theth. Grunas Waterfall and Thethi Church were personal highlights of mine.
Things to do in Theth
- Theth Church
- Theth Waterfall (Grunas Waterfall)
- Blue Eye
- Take a Dip in the River
- Experience a Local Homestay
- Peak of the Balkans
Day 6: Theth to Shkoder
To return to Shokder from Theth is more simplified than getting to Valbone. It’s one minivan ride to Shkoder which on the new road takes about 2 hours.
Minivans leave at 10 am in front of the only “grocery store” in Theth (mini market Jezerca) and cost 1200 Lek (12€) pp. You can pay in Lek or Euros. I booked our transportation from Theth the night before we left via whatsapp with Thethi Transportaion. They were very prompt on the response and spoke perfect English, here’s the #355 69 556 7089.
You can also book transportation back with your accommodation in Theth, there were several minivans, all the same price and seem to all work together in some sort of fashion. Transfer from Theth back to Shkoder to pick up your luggage.
Tips for Visiting Theth, Albania
Best Time to Go Hiking in the Albanian Alps
The best time to go Albanian Alps Hiking is during dry/hiking season which runs May to October. July and August are the peak months, which mean higher crowds and hotter days. For obvious reasons, it is not possible to hike in the Accursed Mountains during the winter months. Unless you’re an alpinist which is pretty bad ass.
My advice is to embark on this journey during the shoulder season May – June or September – October. There will be less crowds and the weather won’t be as brutal as peak season. I hiked the Albanian Alps mid June and had amazing weather. Be prepared to be annoyed by a ton of flies.
What to Pack for the Albanian Alps
If there is one thing I’ve learned about trekking, it’s to pack smart and to pack light. I unfortunately learned this the hard way when I trekked my first multi-day trek on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.
Here are a few key items you should bring with you when hiking in the Albanian Alps.
Luggage Storage for Albanian Alps Hiking
Where to store your luggage? For obvious reasons you won’t be trekking through the Albanian Alps with all of your luggage. We stored our roller bags at the Bed Station Hostel for 6 Euros a day per bag.
You can book luggage storage online here. The hostel is located in the middle of the pedestrian street which is central to most hotels in Shkoder.
Albanian Alps Accommodation
There are plenty of guesthouses in Valbona and Theth to choose from depending on your travel style and preferences. Most if not all the accommodations in Valbona and in Theth will require you to pay cash once you arrive at the property. Breakfast will also be included in the price of accommodation.
These are the best places to stay in Valbona and the best places to stay in Theth for all budgets.
- Villas Jezerca – $$ Comfortable, Clean and Peaceful.
- Vila Alexander B&B – $$ Location & Attention to Detail
- BUJTINA Valbonë – $$ Views & Central Location
- Villa Dini – $ Secluded in Nature
- Guesthouse Skender Selimaj – $ This is where I personally stayed, it was very affordable, delicious food and great location to the Rosi Trailhead hike.
- Molla Guest House – $$ Views, Food and Authenticity.
- Guesthouse Marashi – $$$ Great location close to Theth Church
- Bujtina Miqesia – $$ Views and Location
- Guest House Rrashkadoli – $ Albanian hospitality at its finest.
- Bujtina Kometa – $ This is where I stayed but it was a 40 minute walk to Theth which wasn’t super enjoyable after 2 tough days of hiking. Very affordable, clean, great views and lovely hosts though!
- No ATM’s in Theth.
- Bring Ample Cash.
- Pack Light if you are trekking to or from Valbona.
- Book accommodation in Theth, not outside of town.
- Book accommodations in advance if traveling during peak season – July & August.
- The Theth to Valbona Trek is so worth it!
How Much Does it Cost?
If you are traveling on a budget, then Trekking in the Albanian Alps is a great thing to do Albania. Below I’ll list the average cost of this excursion based on 5 nights – 2 night in Valbona and 3 nights in Theth.
- Getting to Valbona from Shkoder via the Komani Ferry – 2800 Lek.
- Theth to Shkodër – 1200 Lek
- Optional Ride to the trailhead – 30 €
- Total = 30-69 € PP (33-76 USD)
Accommodations in Valbona and Theth:
- Valbona Accommodations – average $40
- Theth Accommodations – average $60 per night
- Total = 243€ or $260
More than likely breakfast will be included in the price of your guesthouse. Most guesthouses will also offer dinner for 10-12 euros per person. Portions are plentiful and who can say no to a home cooked meal?!
- Dinner – 50 € Per Person
- Snacks, waters, victory beers – $30
- Luggage storage in Shkoder – 6 € Per Person
- Total = 34 € or 36 USD
Grand Total = $246 per person. This is splitting the average cost of a room, not including a ride to the trailhead and pricing dinners out at 10 Euro per person. Of course this can be more or less depending on what style of accommodation you book and how much you eat and drink.
There are no ATM’s in Valbona or Theth so I’d bring a little extra cash for miscellaneous expenses and emergencies.
The tranquility and serenity found in this remarkable natural treasure make it an ideal destination for outdoor activities such as trekking, mountaineering, and camping. Additionally, the warm hospitality of the local Albanians, their traditional way of life, and the opportunity to experience their unique heritage further enrich the journey through the Albanian Alps.
Albania Travel Tips
📍Plan your Trip:
🗺 How long to travel Albania? 3-6 Day Albanian Alps Hiking Itinerary
🛂 Visas: Up to 90 Days on arrival for most countries.
☔️ Best Time to Visit: Peak season = July & August. May, June, September & October = Less crowds & costs.
💰 Average Daily Budget: Expect to pay 50 USD’s a day for basic accommodations, sit down meals at a cafe and entrance fees.
⛺️ Albania accommodation Guides:
- Tirana's Coffee Culture
- Berat - a Town of a Thousand Windows
- Trekking Valbona to Theth N.P.
- Gjirokaster Castle
- The Albanian Riviera
- Shkoder - the Gateway to the Albanian Alps
- Theth National Park
- Lake Komani
- Valbona Valley National Park
- Peak of the Balkans for the experienced Trekker
🧳 What to Pack: What to Pack for Albania
Get on my Email list to see what I’m up to and all the best travel content!
More Hiking Around the World ↓
If you love hiking, trekking or camping, check out the articles below for inspiration for your next destination.
Hiking the Highest Peak in Poland via Slovakia