Kingdom of the North

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

My husband and I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with our nephew visiting from Michigan and took the day to drive to the northern tip of Albania in the Albanian Accursed Alps. We have taken this trip at various times during the year and we are always amazed how the change of season enhances the landscape in various beautiful ways. The day was a clear bright blue sky day and although chilly the Alps did not disappoint.

Standing near at the large cross in the hillside looking out over the town of Hot is a stunning view of Lake Shkodra, the mountains in Montenegro and the Malesi e Madhe countryside.

As you ride further north you will pass a small valley town in a bowl, Stare, flat valley town Rrapshë and then the opening to the canyon with a lookout point over looking the river, Montenegro crossing and S curve highway down in to the canyon. The views are quite stunning.

As we made our way down into the valley the waterfalls that looked like frozen lines on the face of the mountain were alive and roaring. I am a huge sucker for the natural beauty of a waterfall however big or small.

We made a few short stops to take a few photos and then a longer stop in Tamarë. We often make a stop here, this village has newly constructed buildings with stone exteriors in the likes of a town square. It is made up of many bar restaurants, information site, a few small shops and still growing with what looks like a small hotel. We always visit the Producte Natyrale shop, they sale various organic blueberry, grape, juniper, cornel, pomegranate and plum raki, liquor, juice, jams, and tea; we usually pick up a kilogram of dried blueberries for tea for my mother-in-law but we also walked away with four bottles bitter (juniper) raki (good medicinal remedy), pomegranate syrup, thana (cornel) raki, and rose raki . The town also has a hydro station for power nearby and the town is bordered by the river and a few waterfalls. When we visited in March we discovered a few trails near this town so it could be a great place to stay for a night or two and discover more of this idealistic valley town.

The landscape as you leave and head north towards Vermosh has various elevations and the road follows along side a river and through a few small towns. In the spring the town of Selcë has lovely blooming plum trees that are very picturesque.

There are also several waterfalls that seem to cry from the clouds down the surface of the mountain. And one valley town of Ostrici has a backdrop of a large waterfall that traces high into the peaks. We know of some trails that go up to the two buildings overlooking the town, and have added to our summer to do list.

We made a small stop at Restaurant Bar Luka Mkushit for a few small plates and coffee, the food and service were great as well. And then we pushed on to Lëpushë, they had fresh snow on the road entrance to the town and we were in a car with out snow chains so we didn't chance leaving the main motor way. But we did stop to breathe in the ever stunning views.

Taken in March

Taken in June

Taken in December

Vermosh was our last stop on the tour and the valley is home to several cabins, camp sites, hotels, hostels and a few bar restaurants. This valley town surrounded by the Albanian Alps is the northern tip of Albania and borders Montenegro. It also has two rivers that cross and intersect with a large blue waterfall.

As we made our way back to Bajze we did make a few photo stops as the lighting had changed and brought a new perspective.

And as we rounded the corner to the spot of our first photo stops the sun was setting over the mountains in Montenegro.

In 2020, we plan to spend a week or so between Lepushe and Vermosh to hike the many trails in the area. Leave a comment below if you would like to know when and tag along!

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