You are in for a step-by-step guide on how to organize an exciting Albanian Alps Hiking Route: Valbona to Theth. If you’re reading this article, then you already know what you’re looking for. There are no random people here :). And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then I envy you. Now, there will be a lot of text. Brew some tea, and let’s begin.

Cursed Mountains Albanian Alps theth
Something incredible awaits you ahead!

Albanian Alps Hiking Route: General Information

Let’s start from the very beginning. This part of the country is the most remote for humans. Today, there are certainly roads here. But simply driving here and back by car won’t work. This part of Albania in the Alps is also known as the Prokletije mountains or Cursed Mountains.

Cursed mountains:

Legend has it that they received such a name because the mountain peaks resemble the fangs of wild animals, and they are so inaccessible (they were even more so in the past) that people often perished here.
Albanian Alps Hiking Route autumn
These mountains are said to be Cursed.

Some general points about the route through the Albanian Alps:

  • This is a circular route that includes not only a minibus transfer but also a ferry crossing and hiking.
  • You will need trekking poles and trekking shoes here. At least it is highly recommended.
  • It is also advisable to have a raincoat in case of rain.
  • A car is absolutely unnecessary here. Usually, tourists either leave it in Tirana or in Shkoder for several days while they are on the route.

  • In the Valbona Valley and in Theth, several hotels have already been built, but we recommend staying overnight in guesthouses. This is the place where you can bring small gifts to the hosts, and their reaction will be priceless. And what to take with you to Albania, read by following the link. There you will find the answer to your question.

Knowledge moment:

Theth village is often called Thethi. In the original, the name is written as Theth, and pronounced as Thethi.

To understand, between Valbona and Theth, there is a 10 km long trail through the Alps, which locals and shepherds have used for centuries to drive cattle. But there is no paved road. By car, it takes 260 km or 8 hours to get from Valbona to Theth.

How much time is needed for the route through the Albanian Alps?

An interesting question, but not difficult. Below, I’ll give you all the timing options for this route. The important condition is that all options will be indicated with the assumption that you start and finish the route in Shkoder.

How to get to Shkoder:

Getting from Tirana to Shkoder is easier than easy. There are over 12 daily bus routes every hour. The journey takes 2 hours. Read more about this in the overview article about Shkoder. As for the car, there’s no point in talking about it – an hour and a half on the road from Tirana, and you’re there.

So, below, choose the route option that suits you in terms of time. The second option is better, of course.

  • Option 1:
    • 3 days.
      • On the first day, you will reach Valbona and take a short walk in the valley.
      • On the second day, there’s a hike through the pass to Theth village.
      • On the third day: return to Shkoder. Around 2 p.m., you will be in Shkoder.
  • Option 2:
    • 4 days.
      • Everything is the same, but you need to spend one more day in Theth. There are two cool sights there that you simply must see.
Albanian Alps Hiking Route map
Detailed map of the route: if you look closely, you’ll find all the stages of your journey through the Cursed mountains.

Part 1: From Shkoder, a minibus transfer to the ferry on Lake Koman.

First option: From Shkodra to the ferry crossing, you can get there by your own (or rented) car and leave it in the parking lot for 5 euros per day. However, this option is only possible if you plan to return to the same place, for example, if you take the ferry just for a trip around the lake or to Shala River Resort.

  • The ferry departs from the pier once a day at 9:00. If you’re late, there’s no other way, and the entire route falls through.
  • The departure point is called: Komani Lake Ferry (42.108850, 19.826242)
  • Distance from Shkodra to the ferry: only 50 km.
  • The road is terrible, gravel and mountain serpentine. Travel time is 2 hours

If you’re driving and don’t plan to take your car on the ferry, please don’t enter the tunnel just before the ferry crossing, as you exit the tunnel directly onto the ferry promenade. There is no parking there. All parking lots are before the tunnel.

Second option: Everyone who wants to complete the route in a loop chooses a transfer from Tirana or Shkodra directly to the ferry. The company that organizes the transfer is called Berisha. They also organize a transfer from the ferry to the Valbona Valley. You can buy the entire “package” at once.

  • Official website with transfer information:
  • Ticket price for this leg of the journey (to the ferry): 12 euros from Tirana or 8 euros from Shkodra.
  • Departure from Tirana at 5:30 am, from Shkodra at 6:45 am.


In the minibus you’ll be riding in, sit on the left side, the views will be awesome, just turn your head.
how to get from shkoder to valbona
This minibus will take you to the ferry.

Important to know:

Previously, the carrier used to pick up all passengers from their hotels. However, now they only pick up passengers from the bus station. In the low season, if there are few tourists, they may resume picking up from hotels. Please check when making a reservation!
jetty Komani albania
Here’s the tunnel itself and the Komani jetty. There’s simply no place to turn around.

Part 2 of the Journey: Ferry across Lake Koman

This is a breathtaking part of the journey. Prepare your cameras; you’ll have a million pictures to take.

sailing on Lake Komani
Views from the ferry of the Komani Canyon and the lake are breathtaking!
  • To learn more about Lake Koman, read the article through the link. Here, we will focus on ferries and the journey across the lake.

Now, here’s some crucial information:

  • The entire route on the ferry is about 50 km.
  • The ferry journey takes between 2 and a half to 3 hours, depending on the ferry.
  • The name of the stop where you will disembark is Fierza (42.264320, 20.004280).

Important to know:

Two different ferries operate on this route. One transports both passengers and vehicles and is called the Berisha Ferry. This ferry goes non-stop directly to the Fierza jetty. The second ferry is for passengers only, carrying people and their cargo but no vehicles. It is called the Dragobia, and for simplicity, I’ll refer to it as Icarus. Why Icarus, you’ll find out below 🙂

Both ferries depart from the Komani port at 9 am simultaneously. However, the Ikarus makes stops in each village, providing the only connection to civilization, to pick up people and their cargoes. Therefore, the Ikarus takes 3 hours to complete the journey. On the other hand, the Berisha Ferry completes this route half an hour faster, as it does not make any stops.

Useful to know:

Usually, tourists are accommodated on the fast ferry, while locals take Icarus, but not always.

The cost of a one-way trip on the ferry is as follows:

  • Passenger: 10 euros
  • Car: 8 euros per square meter of space occupied on the ferry (for a standard car, it will be around 38-40 euros; for a camper, calculate accordingly)
  • Bicycle: 12 euros
  • Motorcycle: 21 euros.

It is recommended to purchase tickets online on the Berisha ferry website, as it may be slightly cheaper than purchasing them in cash offline. With a 3-hour journey on the lake, you’ll have the opportunity to capture many scenic photos.

Part 3 of the Journey: Valbona Valley

At the Fierza pier, for those heading to Valbona Valley and have pre-ordered the transfer on the same carrier’s website mentioned before, a minibus will be waiting for you. Take your seats, show either the paid ticket or pay 8 euros on the spot.

Fierza jetty on lake coman
Docking at Fierza Pier. A white minibus awaits us

Important to know:

If you pay for each segment of the transfer and ferry separately in cash, the entire journey from Shkodra to Valbona Valley will cost you 26 euros. However, if you book and pay for the entire route to Valbone in advance, there is a discount of 1.2 euros. In total, it will be 24.8 euros per person (without a car).
  • Distance to Valbona Valley: 40 km.
  • The road quality here is excellent – asphalt.
  • Travel time: 1 hour.

And now, a bit about Valbona. Valbona is not a settlement; it’s an entire valley in the Cursed Mountains. The valley stretches for about 6 km. At the very end, the road simply ends; there is no further access. To give you an idea of the infrastructure in Valbona, over the 6 km, you will find:

  • 3-4 hotels
  • 10-15 guesthouses
  • 3 restaurants
  • There is a minimarket (a kiosk of 2×2 square meters) during high season.
route through the Albanian Alps Valbona
Here’s how Valbona Valley look like. In spring, the valley gets flooded with meltwater from the mountains.

Approximately from 1 pm to 2 pm, you will arrive in Valbona Valley; it will take another half an hour to find your guesthouse and check in. After that, just wander around the valley and wait for your dinner, as tomorrow is the most challenging part of the journey.

Where to stay in Valbona Valley?

There are not many options for tourists, but you need a place to stay. Most tourists choose guesthouses. These are homes of local residents who rent out a room or a separate house on their property. You will have a chance to stay with an Albanian family, and it’s an incredible experience.

  • In the Valbona Valley, as well as in Theth, breakfast is included in the guesthouses’ rates.
  • While there are restaurants in the area, we recommend ordering dinner at your guesthouse for an additional fee.
  • Typically, it consists of what the hosts themselves eat – a variety of meats, salads or vegetables, cheese, and wine. The cost of dinner is around 10-15 euros per person. Here’s an example of the dinner we were served in the Valbona Valley.
Dinner in the Cursed Mountains from the locals of Valbona
Our dinner


Try to choose accommodation in Valbona Valley closer to the start of the hiking trail. Remember that there are options that are 5 km away from the route’s starting point. In that case, the next day, you’ll have to walk not 10 km but 15 km, and then still reach the guesthouse in Theth.

Below, I’ll recommend an excellent option with a super hospitable family.

  • Hyrmet Demushi Guest House is an excellent accommodation option. In a separate house, there are four rooms available for tourists. Each room has its own private shower and toilet.
    • Here are the coordinates since there are no addresses: 42.420224, 19.871856. The driver who takes you to Valbona Valley should be familiar with it; feel free to ask him for clarification as the road to the guesthouse may not be very obvious.
    • Additionally, the guesthouse offers incredibly beautiful views of the mountains.

A couple more excellent options, but these are located in the center of the valley, where all the hotels and restaurants are situated:

route through the Albanian alps cursed mountains
Wouldn’t you like to stay in such a chalet?

Part 4 of the Journey: Mountain Hiking across the Pass in the Cursed Mountains

This is the part of the route that everyone has been looking forward to. A couple of photos below will give you an idea of this beautiful place, but I’ll focus on the technical aspects of the trail and give you a few tips.

the route through the Albanian Alps, the Valbona Valley
Starting the hiking in Valbona Valley. Ascending higher and higher.
  • This is a hiking trail across a mountain pass between Valbona Valley and the village of Theth.
  • The length of the hike is 10 km.
  • Time required: 5 – 8 hours depending on your fitness level.
  • Having offline maps app on your phone is a must.

Important to know:

This applies not only to the Cursed Mountains but to the entire Albania. Forget about Google Maps – it’s the worst option. I recommend using or Organic Maps. Both are free and available for Android and iOS. There you’ll find all the detailed routes. Though there are signs on the trail, it’s easy to take the wrong turn.
  • Starting coordinates: 42.42608, 19.870496.
  • Finishing coordinates: 42.401312, 19.770246.
  • Usually, guesthouses serve breakfast either at 8 or 9 am. Tourists head out on the trail right after breakfast.
Pass through the cursed mountains
And here’s the actual pass and my wife.

Now, the most important thing! You can complete this circular route in reverse: Shkodër – Theth – Valbona – ferry – Shkodër. However:

  • Valbona Valley is situated at an altitude of 1100 meters above sea level.
  • The highest point of the pass is at 1950 meters.
  • Theth is located at an altitude of 800 meters.


The total ascent will be around 850 meters, and the descent is almost 1200 meters. But if you hike in the opposite direction from Theth, the ascent will be 1200 meters, and the descent only 800 meters. Trust me, the slope is very steep from Theth, and it will be challenging. It’s much easier to plan the route from Valbona to Theth.
albanian alps route
After the pass, there’s a tavern with tea, beer, and this view.

Part 5 of the Journey: Theth Village and Transfer to Shkodër

A bit about Theth:

  • This town is a bit larger than Valbona.
  • There are about 100-150 houses, and almost every house rents rooms for tourists.
  • There are around 20 mountain chalet-style hotels.
  • There’s one minimarket! Its working hours are quite strange, but it exists. Аnd we do not recommend paying by card at this store.
  • Also, there are several restaurants. However, I remind you that dinner is served at any guesthouse you’ll be staying in. Breakfast is always included in the price, and dinner is available for an additional fee.


Choose accommodation closer to the trail. Why walk extra kilometers when you’ll already be tired after the hike.

What to see in Theth?

Theth is the village where you can stay for an additional day. There’s another 20 km route in the Cursed Mountains, but unlike yesterday’s pass, this one involves minimal ascent and descent. You can simply walk and enjoy the views.

Theth has two must-visit natural attractions. Both of them get a perfect score of 10 out of 10 in my personal rating.

  • Grunas Waterfall:
    • Height: 28 meters
    • Coordinates: 42.376442, 19.796705
    • The last 500 meters involve an ascent of 170 meters.
    • The waterfall is free to visit and accessible 24/7.
    • You can even swim here if you don’t mind icy water.
    • In late spring and early summer, there’s much more water in the waterfall.
Grunas Waterfall theth
Look at the center; see a small waterfall? You can go there!
Grunas Waterfall in theth
And here’s Grunas up close. You can swim here too.


It’s best to visit Grunas Waterfall at the very end after the Blue Eye. As the waterfall is located between high cliffs, the sun reaches here only in the afternoon. It’s in the shade until lunchtime.

Read more about other waterfalls in Albania and how to get to them in the linked article.

  • Spring Blue Eye 2:
    • Albania has another Blue Eye, which is more famous and popular.
    • But I prefer the Blue Eye in Theth.
    • Coordinates: 42.364337, 19.745962
    • Open 24/7 and completely free.
    • If you happen to arrive in Theth from Shkodra by car, the parking fee is 300 lek (3 euros).
    • There’s one guesthouse and cafe right on the cliff above the source.
    • And the road to the Blue Eye is very picturesque.
    • You can swim here, and you should.
albania prokletjie mountains
The road to the Blue Eye in Theth
another blue eye in albania
And here’s the Blue Eye 2 itself – you can swim here.

These two attractions, in case of hiking, will take your entire day. Have dinner at your guesthouse and rest. Tomorrow, you can head to Shkodër.

Transfer from Theth to Shkodër

Important to know that there is no public transportation on this route. There simply are no regular bus services.


This applies not only to transfers but to everything in the mountains. Whenever you have any questions, turn to the locals. Specifically, ask the owner of your guesthouse where you are staying. No one knows the current and relevant information better than them. They will also organize the transfer from Theth to Shkodër for you in any guesthouse. The owner knows everyone going to Shkodër and will get in touch with them to arrange your pick-up.
  • In addition to local residents who may commute daily between Theth and Shkodra, the transfer is organized by the same company, Berisha, with whom you took the ferry.
  • The price of the transfer per person to Shkodër is 12 euros.
  • The minibus departs once a day, usually between 11 and 13 o’clock (Berisha departs at 11am)
  • It will pick you up right at the guesthouse.
  • Travel time is almost 3 hours.
from theth to shkoder
You’ll ride on such a Mercedes, going at a breeze, 20 km/h 🙂

Travel tips

Well, now you know all about this incredible route through the Albanian Alps. If you have the opportunity to spare 4 days for this mini-adventure, I envy you. Let’s summarize some general points and tips for tourists.

  • It’s preferable to have hiking shoes and trekking poles.
  • You don’t need to carry food for 4 days. At most, pack some snacks for the hike across the pass. Everywhere you go, you’ll be fed.
  • The most beautiful time here in the mountains is during the golden autumn. Most of the photos in this article were taken at the end of October – early November. The main thing is to be lucky with the weather and have sunny days; then your photos will be spectacular.
  • As soon as it starts snowing, usually towards the end of November, the route becomes impassable.

In conclusion: the route through the Albanian Alps in the Cursed Mountains will be the icing on the cake of your Albanian adventure. It’s pure bliss and excitement. Yes, it can be challenging in places, and there might be rain, but this place is a must for all mountain and trekking enthusiasts.

Wishing you fantastic weather and unforgettable experiences!

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Albania

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  • Tours, excursions and activities:
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  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • Internet and Calls:
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  • Taxi and airport transfer: Intui.Travel