This was the part of our Balkan trip we were most looking forward to. For me it was the first time doing a hike with a proper backpack instead of a day pack and using my legs as a way of transport towards our next destination. This Valbona to Theth day hike is part of our full Albanian Itinerary – read about the perfect Albanian trip here.
After our night in Shköder, a car brought us at 6am to Koman. Afterwards, a very scenic boat ride and a taxi trip of around an hour afterwards, 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 travelers who are there to do the hike. Transport to the trail head and a lunch package can be arranged with the hotel.
8 am the next morning, after breakfast, a minivan brought us to the trail head. We decided to choose the more expensive transfer, that 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 trail head, 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 descend, where you generally have to be more careful to hold your grip. After around 1,5 hours, we arrived at another hut. Here you could eat traditional pie, build of different layers of pancake. I can definitely recommend trying it!
After this stop, you arrive at a forest area, where descending is relatively easy.
Afterwards, the joy was over. As a very steep and rocky descend showed up in front of us. Something I really dislike. But at 4pm, when we arrived in 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 definitely a recommendation when visiting Albania.