If your’re into hiking, you can’t go past the best day hike in Europe from Theth to Valbona! Before leaving we struggled to find relevant information regarding elevation, distance and experience which seemed to change by the hour. Here is our honest and non sponsored opinion on how to get from Shkoder – Theth – Valbona and back to Shkoder in a minimum of 2 night / 3 days.
Distance: 9.5km (5.9miles) Starting Point 17.5km (10.87miles) Valbone Village to Theth Village
Time: 6-8 hours
Maximum elevation: 1,815 meters (5954 ft)
Minimum elevation: 800 meters (2624 ft)
Difficulty: Medium (moderate level of fitness required)
Water: River Streams or cafes (every 2 hours)
Accommodation: Guesthouses & Camping available in Theth and Valbona.
SHKODER TO THETH
Shkoder is a great hub to plan and start your journey to the Albanian Alps. We highly recommend staying at Shkodra Backpackers Hostel – Mi Casa es Tu Casa we have stayed here 3 times, not only are they great hosts but they will organize everything and I mean everything for you. The Hostel is able to organize a 4-wheel-drive taxi to Theth for 10€ per person, accommodation in both Theth, Valbona and transport back to Shkodrer. (more information below) Other accommodations will also be able to organize this for you.
HIKE TO THE BLUE EYE, THETH
This is an optional extra day which of course we recommend. Theth Valley has more to offer than just the hike so we wanted to inform you before leaving so you can plan an extra day in advance. The hike to the Blue eye will take around 6-8 Hours, taking into consideration the amazing landscapes you will witness along the way.
From Theth village we recommend walking to the Blue Eye (along the main road) where you will also witness Grunas Canyon. On the way back to Theth Village there is Grunas Waterfall on the opposite side of the valley. This makes it a perfect loop hike including endless views into Theth valley before relaxing and experiencing a mouth watering dinner at the guesthouse organised back in Shkoder.
HIKING THETH TO VALBONA
A guesthouse in both Theth and Valbone will cost you anywhere between 20€ – 30€ per night which will provide you with great food (dinner and breakfast) and a comfortable ensuite room. We recommend engaging with the locals so sit down ask questions and listen – these people have so many incredible stories which will just add to the overall value of the trip!
If you’re hesitate about the hike regarding trail markers, paths and sign we can’t emphasis enough that this trail is extremely well marked. It may help to download Maps.me to assist you and make sure you’re heading in the right direction but once again its well marked and you’ll meet fellow hikers along the way.
We started the hike around 7:30am to escape the heat, but mainly to ensure us we had enough time. Hiking this trail in late October was extremely beautiful due to the fall colors, but daylight was limited and with so many epic views and a 6-8 hour hike ahead of us we wanted to make sure we arrived in Valbona in time.
The views from the top of the pass are staggering and truly worth the grind. Handy tip: drop your bag somewhere along the ridge and walk the extra distance uphill to witness the amazing views into Theth & Valbona Valley.
The final stage of the descend into Valbona involves a steep downhill followed by a dry riverbed for several kilometers on uneven stones. The steep downhill is only a short 20-30minutes period but proceed with caution as your legs will be fatigued due to the ascent. From the end of the marked trail you will have another 5-6kms before reaching the main village of Valbona. There are guesthouses scattered along the main road if you didn’t organize accommodation prior to arriving.
HIKING THE ALBANIAN ALPS
Another extra optional day that we’ll be honest isn’t for everyone. We stated before that hiking the trail from Theth to Valbone was well marked but hiking outside this in the Albanian Alps is tough with poorly marked trails and very steep inclines, but my god is it worth it. We literally had the “perfect” day for it, there are so many walking trails in Alps we suggest you do your research on a trail that suits your ability.
KOMANI LAKE FERRY
This is no “normal” travel day. A 3 hour long ferry ride where you will witness the beautiful surroundings of Komani Lake. For only €15 per person which includes the Ferry journey itself and the 2 Taxi rides from Valbone to Fierza & Koman to Shkoder whic our hostel organized back in Shkoder. If you didn’t organize this prior to departing the guesthouse in Valbone will be able to help. (We suggest organizing it in advance)
Watch this short film about “Komani Lake” and witness the stunning surrounds.
Hiking from Valbone to Theth or Theth to Valbone (done either way) is one of the best day hikes, we would say it’s the best day hike we’ve ever done in Europe. We highly encourage this trip to anyone not only because of the hike and stunning scenery, but the overall experience.