One of the least-known corners of Europe, Albania has a fascinating and turbulent history and is home to dramatic mountain scenery. Hiking Albania is one of the best ways to explore the country and will take you to places that are relatively undiscovered, where time seems to have stood still.
Albania boasts an untouched and wildly beautiful landscape that lies below the gaze of the Albanian Alps, and its history and culture is equally as interesting. On our hiking tours in Albania, discover the ancient folklores and agricultural heritage as you walk through remote landscapes and visit historic towns such as Berat and Krujë.
Theth and Valbonë are fascinating places to explore on foot, enveloped by ancient forests and dramatic peaks. Theth National Park is drenched in history and the Albanian Alps create a magnificent backdrop for hiking. Throughout the valleys you’ll see rich flora and fauna, indigenous to the region while a trip to Theth’s Roman Catholic church gives you an insight into its communist past.
One of the most scenic areas for hiking Albania is the Tropojë District, which is filled with ancient folklore, alpine pastures and dense forests. A walk along the Valbonë River leads you along gin-clear waters to beautiful waterfalls where you can soak in nature and unwind among the tranquil atmosphere of Valbonë National Park.
White Circle: The ‘White Circle’ has been given its name owing to the peaks in the Albania Alps which tower over 2,000 metres. Trekking high up in this region presents you with some of the most inspiring views in the country, which stretch out to Jezerca and Maja e Herurave. You’ll also enjoy panoramic vistas over the pretty valley below. Choose to either walk the full distance of the ‘White Circle’ or just hike to the imposing ridge before descending back down into the valley.
Komani Lake: Hugged on all sides by stunning mountain scenery, Komani Lake enjoys a beautiful setting close to the Valbona Valley National Park in northern Albania. The artificial lake was created in 1980 with a tall dam on one side and the three hydroelectric plants that have been built here produce around 70% of the country’s electricity. The backdrop to Komani Lake is out of this world and makes a wonderful destination for walking tours in Albania. Take a boat trip across the water to enjoy the scenery from a different perspective as you sail beneath imposing cliffs and mountains.
Berat: Sloping down to the shores of the Osum River, the town of Berat is known for its white Ottoman houses, hilltop castle and Byzantine churches. The old town is extremely picturesque, and a walking tour guides you among the cobbled streets lined with beautiful architecture, and to the 18th-century Ethnographic Museum and the King Mosque. Standing on the side of Mount Tomorr, Berat Castle is one of the main sites to visit and here you’ll discover the Red Mosque, the Onufri National Museum and the Byzantine churches wrapped inside the castle walls. Walk to the summit of Mount Tomorr for immense views over the town and countryside.
Shkodër: The city of Shkodër lies in the north of Albania and is a popular stopping place for walkers heading to the Albanian Alps or Komani Lake. As well as wandering around the local cafes and shops, it’s worth spending some time visiting the historical sites. Just a 30-minute walk from the centre of the city is the 14th-century Rozafa Castle, which has become one of Albania’s main attractions. As you explore the old stone walls, winding staircases and archways, you’ll learn about the legendary tales that surround the castle.
Tirana: A true Balkan gem, Tirana is the colourful capital of Albania but coursing through the walls of its pastel-coloured buildings is a turbulent history. The city is renowned for its showy Ottoman architecture and there are several significant landmarks worth visiting where you can learn more about Tirana’s fascinating past. Head to Skanderbeg Square to see the equestrian statue or visit the National History Museum to discover Albania’s history, from prehistoric times through to its communist era and the subsequent revolt of the anti-communists in the late 20th century.
A fantastic week in Tuscany, the family who ran the Agriturismo were delightful and could not be more friendly, considerate and helpful. The accommodation is fairly basic,but clean and comfortable (as expected). We were worried prior to the trip about the weather, but it turned out to be sunny most of the week! The itinery was just amazing, varied and with some quite incredible walks; especially the last day hiking up Monte Sumbra – unforgetable! The walking group was a great cross section of people, and many laughs were had over the week…..all I can say is it is a ‘must do’ trip!
Walks well paced and enjoyable. Guide ensured excellent teamwork. However, due to unseasonal heavy rains the accommodation was unsatisfactory. Despite several requests the owner of the farmhouse refused to turn on any heating. This not only made our nights uncomfortably cold, but gave no opportunity for our wet clothing, bath towels, etc., to dry. In addition we were unable to sit outside and there was no communal area inside to gather. The swimming pool was not ready for our use. I contacted Candice who though sympathetic, was unable to resolve the situation.
We hiked with a fabulous, congenial and like-minded group. We all got on so well. Our comradery made the trip fun and stimulating. The Villa Casalta is an odd place. Exodus needs to do a site visit or just scrap this villa and look elsewhere.