The Albania adventure continues! From the jazz protest festival in Valbonë, we depart the next morning for a classic hike across a high mountain pass in the Accursed Mountains to the neighboring village of Theth.
Type of Hike: Mountain Trail
Time: 8 hours
Distance: 12 kilometers
Number of Wrong Turns: 1
Head through through town and you should start seeing trail signs heading up into the hills. To be honest, I was just a follower on this one.
I also burned out my camera batteries at the concert the night before, so I had to capture all these epic views with a GoPro.
On the Trail
The beginning portion takes you a few kilometers from the village of Valbonë across the floor of the river valley to the even smaller village of Rragam. From here the trail climbs upwards (still quite easy hiking) until you reach a mountain valley that looks like a dead end.
It was here that we saw our forward scouts, about an hour ahead, waving to us from the center of the cliff wall. There’s actually a trail here, almost cleverly hidden, and used to be the main form of transport between villages. It’s set up for cargo laden donkeys, and I find out very quickly that I am far less sure footed than a donkey.
At the saddle, the wind threatened to almost knock us over, so we hustled down into the next valley. Compared to the Lord of the Rings cliff walk, this is easy meandering through a gorgeous forest, followed by sunny meadows, and eventually roads leading into the tiny hamlet of Theth.
Where to Sleep
There’s numerous guest houses in the village, but it’s better to set one up in advance with your lodger back in Valbone. Bring plenty of cash! There are no ATMs in either village and nobody accepts credit cards.
I’m sold on the entire region. The hiking is epic and the guesthouses are amazing. The next hike on my agenda would be to head from here to the Peak of the Balkans, a 120 mile expedition which takes you on a route through Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo.