6 Reasons why should should visit Magical Theth!
Theth is a magical mountain village in the North of Albania. It is a natural paradise on earth. You can climb, hike or just simply look up at the Accursed Mountains of Albania. Here are the 6 ultimate reasons why this should be on your holiday short-list.
1. The Isolated Beauty of Theth
Theth is an isolated, mountain village located in Albania’s Accursed Mountains. You can only reach the village driving over a 25 km unmade road. Furhtermore, in times of snow the village becomes inaccessible, since the road cannot be crossed. The remoteness of the hamlet does make it a hidden treasure. There is no mass tourism here; you can stay with a local family in a guesthouse and experience a truly authentic stay.
A British writer and traveler called Edith Durham visited the mountain village in 1908 and wrote: “Life at Thethi was of absorbing interest. I forgot all about the rest of the world, and … there seemed no reason why I should ever return.”
Theth is worth a visit because of the stunning landscapes and sights it has to offer. The hamlet is located at the heart of the Theth National Park. The village has a very picturesque feeling. The authentic houses are built of local grey stone and roofed with wooden tiles. Furthermore, the mountainous park offers natural beauty like the Grunas Waterfalls, the Grunas Canyon and the Blue Eye. When you visit the mountain village you will soon realize it is a magical place. Just imagine swimming in the fresh blue water of the river and looking up to the Accursed Mountains.
2. Theth is the Perfect Place for Hiking
Theth is on a popular hiking route through Albania’s Accursed Mountains. Hikers usually plan a three day journey that starts from the city Shkodra. In Shkodra can take a minibus that will drive you to Lake Koman (2 hours). You will be dropped off at Lake Koman after the bus journey. From Lake Koman you can take a ferry journey crossing the lake to Fierze.
Lake Koman Ferry
The Lonely Planet highly recommends the Lake Koman Ferry. Furthermore, the Bradt Guide calls it one of the best boat rides in Europe. So what makes the Lake Koman Ferry so incredibly special? Two dams were placed one in Fierze and one in Koman, this way the artificial lake was created. The Lake Koman Ferry was simply a way of transportation for the locals. The Lake Koman ferry was meant to be for local people. The ferry became popular amongst tourists by accident. That is why; the journey over the lake does not feel like a tourist trip, but rather like a great adventure. And the panoramic views are simply unforgettable.
Hiking in Valbona
After the Lake Koman Ferry journey, you can take another minibus (1 hour) to mountain town Valbona. You will spend the night in Valbona. In the morning, you will take a popular hiking trail that leads from Valbona to Theth. The hike takes between five and six hours. The hike starts by ascending of 700 meters towards the Valbona Pass. There are marks along the trail. You can stop along the trail for food and drinks. After the Valbona Pass, you will descent towards Theth. It is possible to hire a mule in Valbona to carry your bags for you. Furthermore, you can hire a local guide if you are an unexperienced hiker.
Arrival in Theth
After your hike, you will stay a night in Theth. I recommend that you spend an additional day in Theth to explore its beauties. After your stay in Theth you will take a minibus that drives you back to Shkodra in 3-4 hours.
3. The Blue Eye of Theth
The Blue Eye of Theth is a bright blue pool filled with fresh, cold mountain water. The main tourist attraction in Albania’s Theth is the Blue Eye. The erosion of the water in the rock created the natural pool. The snow from the Albanian Alps melts and forms the Black River. The water from the Black river then flows into the Blue Eye.
To get to the Blue eye, you can take a car to the village Nderlysa. You cannot reach the Blue Eye by car. Therefore, you must hike the trail for about 40 minutes. After the hike, you will see the emerald green pool. The pool is located in a jungle-like environment. A gushing waterfall fills the blue pool. In the summer it is an excellent spot for swimming. Furthermore, the wooden terrace on the rock offers a great place for rest and relaxation. It is a dream to visit. You can relax and calm down.
4. The Isolation Tower
Blood feud or revenge killing was widespread in Albania. The Albanian society followed a primitive constitution called the ‘Kanun of Lek’. The Kanun described the legal code with regards to revenge killing. For instance, if a man was seriously insulted, his family had the right to kill the offender. However, after the revenge killing, the victim’s family had the right to kill for revenge.
The Isolation tower is also called a lock-in tower. Basically, the men in line to be killed in a blood feud could lock himself in the tower. The tower is a sort of safe haven to protect him for the blood feud. The men who locked themselves into the tower would pull the ladder up behind them. You can climb the steps inside the tower and image what it was like to live in the tower for months. The men would stay in the tower until their family reconciled.
5. The Grunas Canyon and Waterfall
The Grunas Canyon is around 2 km long and 60 meters deep. Above the cliffs is the Gerla Bridge, which is more than 30 meters above the river. Visitors can stand on the wooden bridge and look down into the canyon.
The Grunas Waterfall is also impressive. Water falls down from more than 30 meters. The water is crystal clear and ice cold.
6. The Queen of the Highland People
Edith Durham is a famous British writer and traveller who visited Albania in 1908. Edith was from a middle-class family in North London. Since she was the last child living at home, she had to care for the ailing mother. Due to the monotonous life she had a nervous breakdown. Funnily enough, her doctor recommended that she should travel. She visited initially visited Montenegro and became fascinated with the Balkans. Edith Durham started writing books about the Balkan region.
In 1908, she travelled through the Albanian Highlands. She described her travels in a book called ‘High Albania’. The northern Albanian’s called Edith Durham the Queen of the Highland People. Furthermore, it was rumoured that she was the sister of the Kind of England.
About Theth she wrote: “I think no place where human beings live has given me such an impression of majestic isolation from all the world.”