Best walks, hikes and treks in Albania [View list of walks]
“Land of Albania! Let me bend mine eyes
On thee, thou rugged nurse of savage men!
The cross descends, thy minarets arise,
And the pale crescent sparkles in the glen,
Through many a cypress grove within each city’s ken.”
From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, George Gordon Byron
Albania, dominated by the horrible Enver Hoxha, was almost entirely isolated for much of the second half of the twentieth century, and it remained so up until the collapse of the Socialist Republic in 1991. Although the first democratic elections rapidly took place, the introduction of capitalism proved messy: tensions created by a series of failed Ponzi schemes (secretly funding money laundering and arms trafficking) erupted into a revolution in 1997, taking several thousand lives and necessitating the involvement of an Italian-led mission to restore law and order.
Sixteen years on, Albania is a UN member and stands on the brink of entry into the EU and the long, difficult road to European integration. Already tourism has discovered Albania, which is rapidly becoming accepted as a beautiful, and extraordinarily interesting, destination – isolation has bred individuality, and Albanian culture is strong and distinctive. However, many visitors don’t head far from Tirana, and those choosing to explore the more remote landscapes on the little-used hiking trails will find pleasingly few westerners on their travels.
Albania has a millennia-long reputation for remoteness and lawlessness, both before and after it was a Muslim Ottoman backwater. This is partly due to the rough, indeed gloriously mountainous, landscape, and partly to the inturned, invader-surviving mindset of the people.
Albania has things to fascinate most people. The variety of travel and tours you can make in Albania is as a result huge. We tell you about walking below, but have a look here for a selection of the Albania travel, tours, holidays and activities available.
Walking, hiking and trekking in Albania
Albania has some of the world’s best walks, hikes and treks, ranging from becoming-famous mountain hiking and trekking trails in the Albanian Alps and the Accursed Mountains, to history laden routes such as Byron’s Journey.
We intend that our walk pages contain detail and photos on walking, hiking or trekking routes, including books, best times and weather, how to get there, possible problems, walking, trekking and hiking firms, organisers and guides in Albania, accommodation in Albania and useful links. But this takes a lot of research, so if they are not “there” yet, please give us any suggestions you may have.