71% of the country’s territory is occupied by mountains. It is one of the most mountainous countries in the world. In this article, I will tell you all about the mountains in Albania. The mistake of the majority of tourists is that they come to Albania for the sea. But how can one not visit the mountains there, where they cover almost the entire territory?
Read about the sea in Albania here. Spoiler alert: Albania is a unique country. Not only is it very small, and indeed a mountainous region, but it also has two seas.
Mountains in Albania: General Facts
Most tourists are greatly surprised upon visiting Albania by the sheer number of mountains here. If you love mountains, I suggest learning more about them even before your vacation. This way, you can plan the perfect independent route through the country, including the mountains of Albania.
Below are several facts about the mountains in Albania that may surprise you and help you form a general picture.
- Albania itself is a small country. Despite having not much land, 71% of Albania’s entire territory is covered by mountains.
- With this indicator, Albania is among the top three most mountainous countries in the world. While the mountains here may not be as high as, for example, those in Nepal, they are no less breathtaking.
- The highest point in Albania is Mount Korab, standing at an altitude of 2,764 meters. It is located on the border with North Macedonia.
- To be precise, the summit of Korab lies on the border line between the two countries, and each state considers it its own.
- The second-highest mountain in Albania is Mount Jezercë, rising to a height of 2,649 meters. This mountain is more interesting to tourists as it is situated in the most beautiful mountainous region of the country. But more on that later.
Tip:Albania has everything for active travelers: hiking trails, canyons, waterfalls, rafting, paragliding, and much more. Read on for more details, as well as extreme and not-so-extreme excursions in Albania.
- If you’ve read the article’s table of contents, you probably already know that Albania has two mountain systems that divide the country in half.
- Everything above Tirana on the north is the Albanian Alps.
- Everything below Tirana on the south is the Balkan Mountains.
- By the way, both of the country’s highest mountains that I mentioned earlier are part of the Albanian Alps.
Also, for those planning a mountain trip, I recommend reading about comprehensive medical insurance.
Balkan Mountains in Albania: What a Traveler Can Visit
On one hand, the Balkans and the Alps are similar, but on the other, they are completely different. You will realize this as you travel through Albania from the south to the north and witness the changing landscapes of the mountains.
The Balkans are greener with rounded peaks, while the Alps have rocky, sharp peaks. Below, I will list the places that a tourist can visit in the Balkan Mountains of Albania. You can decide for yourself what interests you, what is on your way, and what you can skip.
I’ll provide a link to a comprehensive article on the top 30+ attractions in Albania. It contains detailed descriptions, prices, transportation options, advice, personal recommendations, and plenty of other useful information.
- Llogara Pass, located at the junction of two seas. This very accessible location is situated on the Albanian coast. You can even reach it by bus. It is one of the main and most popular tourist roads in the country. Even if you don’t like mountains but are traveling from Tirana to the southern resorts of Albania, your path will likely lead through this pass.
- Ali Pasha Bridge in the mountains near the ancient city of Gjirokastër. A very impressive attraction, it is a well-preserved Byzantine bridge in the Balkan Mountains on the outskirts of the city.
- Reaching it is not too difficult, but in 90% of cases, tourists pass by without even knowing about this place.
- Nowadays, shepherds use Ali Pasha Bridge to guide their goats to pasture.
- Read all about Gjirokastër in a separate article.
- The city of Përmet, hot thermal springs, and the incredibly beautiful Langarica Canyon. Everything is described in detail in the link, and for starters, here’s a photo of the canyon.
- The most beautiful road in Albania is SH75. It’s hard to call it just a road, and not every tourist will cover its entire length. I strongly recommend driving at least a part of it. All about this stunningly beautiful road.
Albanian Alps: Where to Go for Hiking
Here, the options are not as abundant as in the Balkan Mountains. In fact, in Albania, there is only one “must-see” place in the Alps, but only a few can afford this route. And not because it is expensive, it’s not actually. And reaching it is not difficult. The challenge lies in the time required, which almost nobody has.
The vast majority of tourists come to Albania for 7 to 14 days. However, for the most epic route through the Albanian Alps, you need around 4 days. Not everyone is ready to allocate such a chunk of their vacation. But those who do are never disappointed.
Now, I am thrilled to introduce you to a place that, in my rating, receives a perfect score of 10 out of 10 for must-visit destinations. It is the Accursed Mountains in the Albanian Alps. Here’s a photo to whet your appetite.
There are many ways to visit this place:
- By car
- Without a car
- With mountain trekking or without
- Taking a ferry across the mountain lake or not
- Whether to visit the waterfall and the Blue Eye or not
- The choice is yours, depending on the time you have available.
- You can find detailed information about this place in the article: Valbona and Theth – an epic route through the Accursed Mountains of Albania.
Mountains in Albania: Travel Tips
The above article lists just a few of the many interesting places and routes for tourists. I’ve gathered the very best. Even these iconic spots would require a vacation of at least 2 weeks, which not everyone has. And there are two seas and cities with millennia-old architecture as well.
Here are some tips for planning your dream trip to Albania, including its mountains:
- Thoroughly study the Travel Map, which marks all the cool places from this guide. This way, you won’t miss a thing on your route.
- If you plan to do more than just lie on the beach and want to hike in the mountains, hiking poles and trekking shoes are a must.
- Also, always carry your swimsuits with you on the route. In the mountains, you’ll find many waterfalls, rivers, and springs where you can swim, and you’ll want to.
- Keep in mind that although the mountains in Albania are not very high, the air temperature here is 5-10 degrees Celsius lower than on the coast. In spring and autumn during the shoulder season, temperatures can drop close to zero. Warm clothes are essential.
In conclusion: The Albanian Ministry of Tourism reports that about 70% of tourists come to Albania for a beach vacation. But upon arriving, they are greatly surprised to find how mountainous the country is.
Albania is a perfect destination for a diverse and fulfilling vacation: it offers beaches and the sea, mountains and canyons, cities, and fortresses. With the right approach, you can create an incredible journey.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Albania
- Flights at the best prices with juicy discounts
- Car rental in Albania (cheaper – only by bus):
- Hotels and apartments throughout the country: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card in Albania
- Taxi and transfers: Intui.Travel