Looking for things to do in Valbona? I’ve got you covered!
You may be considering hiking the popular Theth to Valbona hiking trail but wondering what to visit in Valbona when you get there.
Having spent a few incredible days hiking in Albania’s accursed mountains, between Theth and Valbona, I’m here to share with you all the amazing things there are to do in Valbona.
From exploring the scenic mountainside trails and visiting abandoned mills to sailing across a pristine lake, this region of Albania is a backpacker’s paradise.
If you’re looking for adventure, look no further! – Here are 21 awesome things that will make your trip to Valbona unforgettable.
🥾 For the ultimate adventure, I recommend this 4 day hiking and kayaking tour – Kayaking on the gorgeous Komani Lake is an experience you will never forget!
Valbona, Albania Essentials
🏨 Where to stay in Valbona: For an authentic Albanian Alps experience, stay in a traditional guesthouse
📌 Best Valbona tour: I recommend this 4 day hiking and kayaking tour
🚙 Best day trip from Valbona: Visit Theth Albania on this Jeep Day Tour
🚗 Rent a car: Public transport can be unreliable – consider renting a car
💸 Get insured for your trip to Albania with Ekta Travel insurance
Hi, I’m JJ!
I’m a travel blogger with a passion for unique travel destinations, discovering hidden gems, and adventurous solo travel.
Valbona is one of my favourite places in Albania. I loved hiking the Theth to Valbona trail and will always remember it as one of my best adventures in Albania.
I hope you enjoy my free guides and travel tips! If so, please consider supporting my work 💕
About Valbona Valley National Park
Valbona National Park, in the north of Albania, is a hidden gem for adventure travellers. It is close to the Montenegrin border and is home to a diverse ecosystem featuring glacial springs, unique rock formations, waterfalls, dense forests and beautiful rivers.
There are a lot of excellent Valbona Valley National Park hiking trails to conquer. The Peaks of the Balkans Trail runs through this pristine valley and offers excellent hiking opportunities for those looking to explore this remote region of Europe.
Valbona is perfect for those seeking an off-beat hiking destination and will offer stunning views, plenty of wildlife sightings and an unforgettable experience.
🥾 Fancy a challenge? Why not give the 10-day Peaks of the Balkans trail a go?
Why Visit Valbona?
The tiny village of Valbona is a beautiful off-the-beaten-path destination.
It’s slowly becoming more popular with tourists thanks to its stunning national park and the Peaks of the Balkans Trail, but it’s still unknown to most travellers and you won’t find it on most people’s European wishlists. But for those who do make it to this undiscovered corner of Europe, a tiny slice of paradise awaits!
Valbona is a great place to explore if you’re looking for adventure, as it’s located in the stunning Albanian Alps mountain range. It’s home to some great hiking trails, perfect for nature lovers.
It is also one of the few places in Europe that offers some truly unique experiences for visitors – from horse riding in the mountains to kayaking wild rivers and hunting for mushrooms in the forests.
21 Awesome Things To Do In Valbona Albania
1. Hike To Theth From Valbona
The number one thing to do in Valbona, and the reason why most people come here, is to complete the hike to Theth (or to do the Theth to Valbona hike – it can be done in reverse!)
This is a popular day hike through the Albanian Alps, taking you from Valbona to Theth, through the Valbona pass. It’s one of the most rewarding hikes in the region, with stunning views of snow-capped mountains and deep valleys.
The hike took me around 7 hours to complete, including lots of time spent stopping to take photos and was one of the best things I did during my time in the Balkans.
There are lots of great things to do in Theth too, such as visiting the Theth blue eye and church of Theth.
2. Ride The Lake Koman Ferry
This is one of the top things to do in Albania! The Lake Koman Ferry is an incredible experience and a must-do for anyone visiting Valbona.
This ferry ride takes you across the stunning Lake Koman, allowing you to take in the spectacular views of the alpine valleys and mountains. It’s one of the most spectacular landscapes I have ever seen.
The ferry ride is a 3-hour round trip, so make sure to pack some snacks and drinks for your journey!
3. Explore Valbona Village
Valbona village is a great place to explore if you’re looking for an authentic insight into life in the Albania Alps.
The village is very small but it has plenty of interesting things to see, such as traditional houses and working farms.
It’s also home to some incredible guesthouses and restaurants, where you can sample local home-cooked dishes.
4. Check Out The Valbonë River
The Valbona River (known as Lumi i Valbones) is one of the most beautiful rivers in Albania and it’s a great place to explore during your visit to Valbona.
You can take a relaxing stroll down by the river, admire the spectacular mountain views and spot some wildlife along the way. It’s a great spot for bird watchers too!
5. Visit The Old Mill In Valbona
The old mill in Valbona is a great place to visit while you’re in the village.
If you follow the river just north of the village you’ll find a small footbridge that spans the river, on the other side of the bridge is the old mill. The mill was built hundreds of years ago and was used to grind corn kernels into flour.
You can wander inside and see the mechanisms, which are really interesting. I believe that the old mill is sometimes still used to make cornbread – a staple food in the region!
6. Hike To Xhemes’ Lake
This is another of the best Albanian Alps hiking trails. It’s an easy hike that is suitable for beginners.
Xhemes’ Lake is located around 0.5km from the village of Valbona. The hike will take you past some beautiful pine forests, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. At the end of the hike, you’ll arrive at a small but picturesque lake which makes for great photos.
The waters are incredibly blue and super clear. It’s a great spot for a picnic.
7. Rrogam Waterfall
The Rrogam Waterfall is one of the most spectacular sights in the area and is one of the best things to do in Valbona.
The waterfall is approximately 25 meters high and cascades down a rocky cliff into a clear pool below. You can reach the Rrogam Waterfall by following a well-marked hiking trail that starts in the village of Rrogam, about 3km (~1.8 miles) from Valbona.
The trail takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete and you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The Rrogam Waterfall also holds cultural significance for the local community, as it is believed to have healing powers.
8. Peaks Of The Balkans
The Peaks of the Balkans is a 200-kilometre trekking route that links together three countries – Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo.
The route takes you through some stunning terrain, including lush meadows, wooded valleys, jagged peaks and crystal-clear rivers. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit remote villages that are untouched by time.
The Peaks of the Balkans trail is a great way to explore the region. It takes around 2 weeks to complete from start to finish and you can choose to hike the entire route or just sections of it. It ranges from 670m to 2300m in altitude and although it isn’t too difficult, it requires a good fitness level.
🥾 I recommend hiking the Peaks of the Balkans as part of a small group tour – that way you won’t get lost!
9. Stay At A Traditional Guesthouse
No list of things to do in Valbona, Albania, would be complete without a guesthouse stay.
Valbona is home to some great traditional guesthouses. These offer a unique experience and are a great way to get an authentic insight into life in the mountains.
You’ll be able to enjoy home-cooked meals prepared by your hosts and you may also have the opportunity to take part in activities with them, such as farming or collecting herbs.
🏫 I recommend this guesthouse – The views are amazing, you can have breakfast out on the terrace each morning and the owners are incredibly sweet and always happy to help.
10. Try Some Traditional Albanian Food
Albanian food in Valbona is delicious and it’s a great way to experience the local culture. Some staples of the region include Djathë – a very salty cheese – and cornbread, which is served with everything!
I recommend trying a home-cooked meal at one of the guesthouses.
11. Go For A Swim
Going for a swim is a great way to soak your muscles after all that hiking you will be doing!
The river is a good spot for a dip, but be warned mountain water is very cold so don’t stay in for too long! If you’re not brave enough to swim in the river, there are also some great swimming spots at Xhemes’ Lake and the Rrogam Waterfall.
12. Kukaj Village
Kukaj is a small traditional village located near the border with Montenegro. It is situated within Theth National Park and has stunning mountain scenery surrounding it.
Kukaj Village is known for its stone houses, which are built in a unique style that reflects the local architecture.
The village is located on the Valbona to Theth hiking trail, the villagers are super friendly and will invite you into their homes for snacks, so it’s a good place to stop for a while during the hike.
13. Valbona Camping
Valbona, Albania is an awesome place for wild camping. I personally didn’t camp here as I really wanted to experience the guesthouses instead, but I did camp in other parts of Albania.
Wild camping is pretty common and safe in Albania and I saw a few people pitching tents around the hiking trails in Valbona. If you do camp here just remember to be prepared. Plan your camping food list in advance and come with all the equipment you will need for camping.
I would have loved to have camped in the mountains in Albania and spent the night under the stars, surrounded by pine trees.
14. Relax In Nature
Valbona is beautiful and surrounded by natural beauty so one of the best things to do in Valbona is to just relax and enjoy it!
Take some time to sit back and observe the mountain vistas, go for a leisurely stroll along one of the hiking trails or just spend some time sitting on a rock and admiring the views.
Valbona is an amazing place and you’ll want to make sure that you get out in nature and really soak it up!
15. Horse Riding
If you fancy exploring Valbona in a different way then why not go horse riding?
Horse riding is a great way to explore the area and you’ll get to see some of the most stunning parts of Valbona. You can take a guided tour or just rent your own horse for the day – whichever works best for you!
16. Zla Kolata
Zla Kolata is a huge mountain on the border of Montenegro and Albania and is one of the highest of the Accursed Mountains.
The trail to reach it starts in Valbona. It’s quite a long hike – approximately 6 hours, so make sure you’re prepared and have plenty of food and water with you.
There’s an elevation gain of 1,607 m (5,282 ft) and it’s rated as a moderate difficulty, It’s well worth the climb though as the summit provides some truly spectacular views!
17. The Museum And Statue Of Bajram Curri
This is located about 30 mins from Valbona in the town of Bajram Curri.
Bajram Curri is the largest town in the Tropoja District of northern Albania, near the border with Kosovo.
There is also a statue of Bajram Curri (who the town is named after) outside the museum.
I’m a big fan of kayaking and try to do it whenever I get the opportunity. There are some excellent spots for kayaking in and around Valbona.
For an incredibly unique experience, I recommend kayaking on Komani Lake. The water is so still and reflective that it feels like you are floating through clouds!
🥾 For the ultimate adventure, I recommend this 4 day hiking and kayaking tour – Kayaking on the gorgeous Komani Lake is an experience you will never forget!
19. Explore Caves
There are a few caves dotted around the Valbona Valley National Park that are worth exploring. ‘The Cave of Dragobia’ is probably the most well-known.
It’s a relatively easy hike, around 2.6 km on uneven terrain. The trail is clearly marked and signposted.
The hike is pleasant and the cave is worth visiting for its unique beauty and history.
20. Go Mushroom Hunting
I saw some of the biggest mushrooms I’ve ever seen growing in Valbona! They were huge!
The ‘Journey to Valbona’ shop in Tropoja can organise mushroom foraging tours. I didn’t get time to do this but it honestly sounds kinda fun.
21. Hike To The Jezerca Lakes
The Jezerca Lake is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes that I’ve ever seen! This is the largest lake in the Albanian Alps and sits at 1,792m (~5879 ft) above sea level.
It’s actually easier to get to the lakes from Vusanje in Montenegro. But, if you want an off-trail adventure, then you definitely should try going from Valbona Valley National Park in Albania.
It’s a 10 km hike, but the views are breathtaking and totally worth it.
Best Tours To Valbona Valley
Albania Hiking Tours
There are lots of great options for hiking tours in the Valbona area.
Komani Lake Tours
Komani Lake is another must-see in the Albanian Alps. Here are my favourite tours to Komani.
Where To Stay In Valbona
The best place to stay in Valbona is in a traditional guesthouse. Here are some good options
Butjina Majag – This guesthouse has incredible views and the owners are so sweet and helpful
Guesthouse Bujtina Valbonë – Big clean and comfortable rooms
Hotel Margjeka Valbone – I didn’t stay here but I did pop in for dinner at their restaurant. The food was really good and the hotel looked nice and cosy too.
How To Get To Valbona Valley National Park
There are a few different options for getting to Valbona Village and Valbona Valley National Park, with or without a car.
Tirana To Valbona
To get from Tirana to Valbona, I recommend travelling from Tirana to Shkoder – via hitchhiking, bus or rental car – stopping for supplies in Shkoder and then following the instructions below to travel from Shkoder to Valbona.
You might want to consider staying in Shkoder for a night or two before you head to Valbona. Shkoder is a lovely city with lots of fun things to do.
Shkoder To Valbona
The best way to travel from Shkoder to Valbona is to take a furgon (shared taxi/minibus) to Koman, board the Komani ferry for the trip across the lake and then take another furgon to Valbona.
You can also hitchhike to and from the ferry.
Theth To Valbona
You can also reach Valbona by travelling to Theth and then hiking through the Valbona Pass to reach Valbona village.
The road from Shkoder to Theth is treacherous and I don’t recommend that you attempt to drive it yourself as it can be difficult for foreign tourists who aren’t used to Albania’s roads.
You can organise private transport from many places in Shkoder. I booked a transport and guesthouse package through my hostel in Shkoder.
FAQs: Things To Do In Valbona Albania
Should I visit Theth or Valbona?
You should visit both Theth and Valbona. The two are linked by a popular hiking trail through the Valbona Pass. The views are spectacular and you’ll get to experience both villages.
What time of year is best for hiking in Valbona?
The best time to visit Valbona for hiking is during the summer months. The weather is warm and the trails are open. While snowfall is common in winter, it’s not advisable to attempt hiking in Valbona during this season.
Can you drive to Valbona Albania?
Yes, you can drive to Valbona. To drive from Shkoder to Valbona you will need to first drive to Koman and take the ferry across Lake Komani to Fierze, you can then continue the drive to Valbona. However, the drive is difficult as the mountain terrain can be treacherous.
Where to sleep in Valbona?
There are a few guesthouses and hotels in Valbona, such as Guesthouse Bujtina Valbonë and Hotel Margjeka Valbone. They offer simple but comfortable accommodations with traditional Albanian hospitality and home-cooked meals. You can also camp in the valleys around Valbona.
Final Thoughts: Things To Do In Valbona Albania
I hope you enjoy your time in Valbona and make the most of all the amazing things to do here!
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll by the river or an epic mountaineering adventure – there’s something for everyone in this beautiful valley.
Valbona is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen – don’t miss it!
Whilst you are in the North of Albania be sure to also check out Shkoder, which is well worth a visit.
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