This was the part of our Balkan trip we were most looking forward to. For me, it was the first time doing a hike / trekking with a proper backpack instead of a day pack and using my legs as a way of transport towards our next destination. (In 2023, I can add that by now I’ve even done a proper hut-to-hut hike when hiking the Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites!). This Valbona to Theth day hike is a trek that was part of our full Albanian Itinerary – read about the perfect Albanian trip here.
After our night in Shköder, a car brought us at 6 am to Koman. Afterwards, a very scenic boat ride and a taxi trip of around an hour brought us to our accommodation in Valbona: Hotel Rilindja. There are only a couple of rooms and there is not much nearby, but you won’t miss this. The food is lovely and the hotel is mainly used by travellers who are there to do the hike. Transport to the trailhead and a lunch package can be arranged with the hotel.
8 am the next morning, after breakfast, a minivan brought us to the trailhead. We decided to choose the more expensive transfer, which brought us a bit closer to the beginning and therefore skip the 2 km walk in an uninspiring environment full of boulders. We started the hike with a cup of coffee at a little hut 5 minutes from the trailhead, to start the first climb.
After the first climb, we arrived at another small hut, where we bought a cold Coke to prepare for the next steep climb. This part was the hardest part of the track, as you will ascend quite quickly. After this steep way up, you will arrive at the mountain pass which took us about 3,5 hours, including breaks. The whole trail is marked with red/white marks, guiding you in the right direction. During some parts of the trail, you have to be careful to not slip, however, the majority of the ascent is alright.
From here on, we started with the descent, where you generally have to be more careful to hold your grip. After around 1,5 hours, we arrived at another hut. At this hut, you could eat traditional pie, built of different layers of pancake. I can recommend trying it!
After this stop, you arrive at a forest area, where descending is relatively easy.
After the forest, you will end up in an open field. I loved this view of the meadows! You will see the mountains in the background and for a moment I felt like being in a movie.
Afterwards, the joy was over. As a very steep and rocky descent showed up in front of us. Something I dislike. But at 4 pm, when we arrived at our guesthouse in Theth, we could finally say: “WE MADE IT!”. The pictures in this article do say it all, doing the Valbona to Theth day hike is a recommendation when visiting Albania.