Visit Theth National Park & The Accursed Mountains Albania!

There are many places to visit in Albania, especially if you enjoy the outdoors. And Theth National Park (Parku Kombetar in Albanian) is just one of them.

Llogara National Park, Butrint National Park, and many more fill this small country. But, Theth National Park may be the best Albania national park.

So, I’ll detail what makes Theth National Park great, what to see, and also how to get there on your next European trip.

Let’s get into it.

Table of Contents

An overview of Theth National Park

Theth National Park is located in the northern part of Albania in the Balkans, right on the border of Kosovo and Montenegro. 

The main town — Theth, Albania (Thethi in Albanian) — is a small town full of homestays and other hotels for visitors. You can even find the occasional Airbnb.

The national park covers an area of just over 10 square miles and is packed with mountains and other outdoor beauty. The surrounding mountains are a part of the Accursed Mountains, which are a part of the Albanian Alps.

Theth National Park has beauty around every corner

Probably the most famous of the Albanian mountains, around 5,000 to 10,000 people visit the area each year.

Most visit Theth come to hike the many trails that wind their way through the area. However, the most famous is the Valbona Pass Hike (more on this in a bit).

But, you may be wondering about the name of the mountains in the area. 

It’s an interesting (if not scary) sounding name, right?

Why are they called Accursed Mountains?

Many strange tales have come out of the area surrounding the mountains. But, the most famous involves a woman and her two sons. This story also has different versions.

In either version, the mother curses and the mountains and blames them for harming her sons. And thus the legend was born.

The Accursed Mountains are staggering and beautiful at the same time

However, many say the name comes from the geological features of the mountains. The mountains themselves are staggering, and are seen as insurmountable and wild.

Thus, they were given the name The Accursed Mountains.

Either story you follow, it’s a place you need to visit now before it becomes more famous.

Top things to do in Theth National Park

So, now that we’ve had a quick overview of Theth National Park, let’s get to the best things to do on your visit.

Valbona Peak and the Valbona Mountains

This is why everyone comes to Theth National Park, and there’s reason for it — the famed Valbona-Theth hike. You can start the hike in Valbona or Theth, and many opt for starting in Theth. Although, it doesn’t matter which side you start.

The hike itself is around nine miles with around 2,500 to 3,000 feet of elevation gain. It takes most people around seven to eight hours to finish, but you can take your time to soak in the views.

Valbona Peak offers great panoramic views

And there are a lot of them.

Panoramic views stretch out. Trees and grass line the Valbona Valley’s floor with huge stone mountains erupting out of it on either side to form a staggering mountain range.

If you’ve seen The Sound of Music, you can picture what it looks like.

You don’t have to do the hike from Theth to Valbona to see this, though! I hiked from Theth to Valbona Peak, then turned around and came back down.

And the views were more than worth it.

If you’re coming to Theth, you have to visit Valbona Peak.

Blue Eye of Theth

The Blue Eye of Theth is something you see in pictures and think, “It can’t possible look like that in real life.”

But, this is one of those attractions that matches the pictures perfectly.

The Blue Eye of Theth is a body of (extremely) cold water that is a beautiful aqua blue. Visitors come here to cool off and relax next to the water.

The Blue Eye of Theth is gorgeous, but freezing.

There is a small restaurant nearby (and vendors along the way) that sell drinks and snacks, so you don’t need to bring much with you.

You can get to the Blue Eye with a tour, which usually involves a van driving you to the entrance point.

Or, you can hike from Theth to the Blue Eye, which I strongly recommend. The trails are very clear and easy to follow. 

And the views you get along the way make the sweaty hike (and following swim) worth it.

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Lock-in Tower of Theth

The Lock-In Tower of Theth (Tower of Nikoll Koçeku) is a valuable historic and architectural monument in Albania.

It’s been around for hundreds of years, and once served as a holding area for prisoners of the Kanun.

The Lock-In Tower of Theth used to hold prisoners

If you’re unfamiliar with the Kanun, it’s the traditional oral Albanian laws that were followed in the 15th century.

Today, however, it merely serves as a landmark for visitors and Albanians alike.

Great for a short visit, you can pair this with one of the many hikes you’ll be doing!

Grunas Waterfall

The Grunas Waterfall is another great option for a hike. The park protects the waterfall, so the area remains clear of trash and remains as beautiful as ever!

It takes about an hour to hike to the waterfall from Theth, but the cool waters are an excellent reward for the end.

The Grunas Waterfall is perfect for a relaxing day spent cooling off

Plus, you’re sure to be joined by other hikers. 

So, bring along some snacks and drinks and enjoy a nice picnic next to this beautiful waterfall.

Wander the hiking trails

This one is a little broad, but you could spend an entire day wandering the hiking trails that run through park.

And you’d still have some left over.

There are plenty of hiking trails in Theth National Park

The outdoors is what draws everyone to this area, and the trails are perfect for spending your short trip enjoying the nature of the area. 

You may even get lucky and see one of the endangered Golden Eagles.

There are many resources for finding routes (if you don’t want to wander aimlessly), but I used Wikiloc and found a lot of good routes to use!

Can you drive to Theth, Albania?

Yes, and it’s very easy! Theth National Park is easily accessed from Shkoder or Theth.

If you’re coming from Tirana, you’ll head north to Theth first, before continuing northwest toward Theth.

If you’re traveling from Tirana, the trip will take you around 3 ½ hours to complete.

From Shkoder, it takes around 2 hours.

In the past, the road to Theth wasn’t paved, which made taking a bigger vehicle a requirement. However, this road has now been paved and you can take any vehicle!

So, what are you waiting for? Get to Theth National Park!

Theth National Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Albania. It was also the highlight of my trip to Albania.

And I’m sure it will be the highlight of yours once you visit. But, there are many beautiful places to visit in Albania, so you shouldn’t stop only in Theth.

Be sure to check out Ksamil in the south as well for top-notch beaches.

So, don’t waste any more time. Start looking at those flights!