Another interesting spot of the Western Alps is Vermoshi, located in the northern-most mountains of Albania, 95 km from Shkodra in the region of Kelmend (from the Roman word “Clemens,” meaning gentle, simple, and good). The first thing that catches your eye along the journey is Qafa e Rrapshit, where you can see the crystal-clear waters of the Cemi River creating a beautiful contrast with the surrounding landscape. During summer, the ponds of the river are perfect for sunbathing and many visitors stop to lounge in the sun and enjoy themselves. Vermoshi stands in an alpine field 1,100 m above sea level surrounded by high slopes. You can entertain yourself by trekking, mountain climbing, skiing, or fishing for mountain trout. The locals pride themselves that their cuisine is only truly enjoyable for visitors when accompanied by their own dairy products, so be sure to indulge.
Located 70 km from Shkodra, you must pass Qafa e Tërthores at 2,000 m before descending to Gropa e Thethit by crossing a stream bearing the same name. It is a journey you’ll want to have your camera ready for, full of extended mountain views, with water cascading down craggy hillsides and trees reaching for sunlight on rocky slopes. The area is rich in sights such as the waterfall of Grunas, 30 m high, the amazing cold-water sources of Okol, and the caves of Birrat me Rrathë (Round Holes) and Mount Arapi. In the park people often amuse themselves by hiking, mountain climbing, skiing (especially on the eastern slope), fishing, even mountain biking and spelunking. Almost 90% of the park area is covered by beech trees, providing shade for many different types of flowers such as the Wulfenia baldacci, discovered by the Italian botanist Baldacci.
Valley of Valbona
The Valbona River valley lies in the eastern part of the Albanian Alps. A national park of 8,000 hectares, it is one of the most beautiful natural areas in Albania. The park lies about 22 km from the alpine city of Bajram Curri. Before entering the valley you will find the spring (vrellen) of Shoshan, located only 3 km away from Bajram Curri. This spring rushes through limestone fissures on its way to the Valbona River creating an attractive canyon, 2-3 m wide and 50 m deep. After entering the valley, you will pass several picturesque villages. The first, with alpine style houses, is called Dragobia, and it is where the valley narrows. Past Dragobia, at the foot of the mountain where the Cerremi stream joins the Valbona River, is the famous cave where the national hero Bajram Curri was besieged and killed. It was after this event that the city took his name. Valbona is located 25 km away from the city of Bajram Curri and is the most important inhabited center of the valley. It is full of traditional houses that create a picturesque view in symmetry with the natural wonders of the valley, which widens again at this point.