It is safe to say that Albania has been the Mediterranean’s enigma for the majority of the 20th century. Up until 30 years ago, the desolate mountain peaks, olden crumbling strongholds and pristine beaches were merely a myth to most people. But, all that changed after the communist regime ended abruptly in 1991. Those who dared venture into Albania discovered not only rare landscapes, but a nation unlike any other, fascinating and kind-hearted people, known for their unparalleled hospitality.
While visiting Theth, a northern village in Albania, Edith Durham said: “I think no place where human beings live has given me such an impression of majestic isolation from all the world.” Very fitting, considering the dramatic peaks of the north which surround this village. These mountains spread across the borders of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, the perfect playground if hiking is your game, adding some impressive scenery to the mix.
Although the mountains reach the considerable height of 2694m, what they lack in size, they make up for with breathtaking desolate beauty. Deep woods, peaceful valleys, dark grey rock pinnacles and stone villages, long forgotten by time itself, where the old ways still hold true.
The guesthouses are from the 17th century, shepherds still continue to take their flocks to high mountain pastures, the old codes of conduct are still respected by the highlanders, and it feels like you’re in another era, free from the tediousness of modern life.
By: Hansi Brahimasi