8 Things to do in Permet, Albania – Full Travel Guide
Last Updated on January 25, 2022
Permet is still relatively an undiscovered gem, but this location won’t stay secret for long. Permet is home to some of the most beautiful natural scenes, interesting history and great food. It’s known as the city of roses as it is dubbed the cleanest and greenest city of Albania. There’s so many great things to do in Permet and around the area.
Permet is home to only 10,000 residents. It’s relatively small but don’t worry, Permet still packs a punch and is well worth the trip whether you’re thinking of a day trip or the weekend.
My partner and I stayed in Permet for only 1 night, but we could have easily stayed for 2 or 3 if we wanted to take our trip a little slower.
History of Permet
In the 14th century, Permet was taken over by Ottoman rule and you can see a reminiscence of this today with the old Ottoman bridges which we will talk more about below.
Fast forward to the communism era, Permet was nicknamed ‘The Hero City’. The name comes from stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. Locals believe that the city was named in the Middle Ages after a hero who was called Premt.
According to local stories, Premt was the ruler of the fortress which was situated upon the famous big rock in the centre of the city. When Permet was invaded he threw himself off the Big Rock because he would rather die than suffer a hard death by the enemies. Pretty brutal!
Permet and the surrounding have been well preserved over the years. There have been efforts for Shell to start digging in some of the natural springs, but locals have protested and driven efforts away.
The area is a gem for natural resources, but the Albanians understand the damage that could be done and always try to push back on these efforts.
How to get to Permet
Permet is not normally a route that many travelling naturally go through unless you’re travelling from Korce to Saranda and you’re taking the southern route.
Korce to Permet
The road from Korça is incredibly beautiful though. The road is not in the best condition and what I mean by that is that there are tons of potholes and it’s obviously not kept up on maintenance. However, before we travelled through this route, I was told that it was a super bad road and you’re better to go from the other side.
We tried the road out anyway and although it was long it was well worth the drive, I highly recommend it. The views are stunning, and you get to kind of drive through the edge of the Fir of Hotova National Park which is just incredible.
I remember there was a sharp turn when you went through the town of Leskovik, and I was just amazed at the landscape. During the road you’re basically travelling on the edge of Greece too, so the landscape is mountainous and just well seeing. Take your time if you’re coming from Korce to Permet and enjoy the view.
The total drive from Korce is around 3 hours on google maps but we ended up taking around 4 or 5 hours. We did stop a lot for photos though and to take in some of the views.
Saranda to Permet
The drive takes around 2 hours and is a popular day-trip destination for visitors and expats in Saranda. The road is smooth and in good condition for your way there.
When is the best time to visit Permet?
The best time to visit Permet in my opinion is Spring. Since the city is called the city of roses you can expect Permet to be lit up in blossoms as well as a lot fewer people at the hot springs.
The most popular time to visit is summer since that’s the tourist season of Albania. The hot pools can get packed with people and since they are not warm, it makes the water feel even colder.
Anytime the weather is a little chilly, that’s a great time to go to Permet and check out the nearby springs. Locals visit all year round because of the healing properties of the springs but tourists flock here when it’s summer.
8 Best Things to do in Permet
Although the local area is famously known by tourists for its hot springs there are plenty of other things to do here which is why I would recommend more than a day here. Let’s get into the best things to do in the pretty city of Permet!
1. Walk to the top of The big rock
Within the centre of the city, you will notice a giant rock which you can walk to the top of! I highly recommend doing this as you get a stunning view of the city and the Vjosa river. Even though you might be thinking it’s just a rock, trust me the short walk up is worth it! At the top, there are also remains of some ruins that date back to the 4th century!
When we visited back in spring the entire top was covered in these beautiful wildflowers, so we managed to get some beautiful pictures of the city from there.
2. Experience the food
Permet is known for making great brandy, raki and fruit preserves which includes one called gliko. Due to its positioning, the products from Permet are delicious. I highly recommend checking out one of the great restaurants here.
Permet is part of the slow food movement. Slow food is a global organisation that was founded in 1989. Their mission is to prevent the disappearance of local food and traditions throughout the world and preserve those dishes for lifetimes to come.
The slow food movement is active in over 160 countries and Albania has some incredible gastronomy experiences because of this organisation. Because of Permet’s positioning, the food here is next level! So fresh, delicious and full of flavour.
Where to eat in Permet
There are two notable restaurants that I recommend you try when going to Permet.
The first one I recommend is Familjari. We had an array of dishes like Fergese, grilled meat and more. The food was extremely good, all while being super affordable.
The next restaurant I recommend is Trifilia, where they again have great food at low prices. This is the most popular restaurant in the city, and it has a lovely balcony rooftop. The staff are super friendly and helpful too!
3. Soak in the Benje hot pools
This is one of the main reasons why people know Permet is because of these hot pools. Now let me clarify, the pools are not hot, don’t expect a steaming hot pool, they are definitely lukewarm but it’s still worth it.
There is one big pool that has been artificially made and then they are several more, the further down the valley you walk. Although the big one is the main attraction, I recommend checking out the smaller ones too!
The hot pools can get busy in the summer. We visited in spring and there was still a fair amount of people visiting. The further you walk, the less people there are because a lot of tourists just visit the main pool and that’s it. But keep walking and you may find a spot to yourself!
When we visited, we saw a couple of camper vans parked here which is such a great idea. If you are travelling in a van or campervan there are some great spots to park up and camp for the night right by the main pool
4. Lengarica Canyon
If you keep walking past the hot pools around 200 metres, you will be in Lengarcia Canyon which is stunning. You can do a guided tour if you wish to go deep into the canyon.
5. Grab some local produce
You will notice near the pools are local markets which have a bunch of local products and souvenirs. If you want a great souvenir, try one of the many local preserves or honey, it’s delicious.
In the summertime, there will be vendors selling byrek and meat so you should have to worry about bringing food to the hot pools.
6. Katiut Bridge
This bridge was built by the Ottomans in the 19th century and is a real highlight when visiting the Benje hot pools. With many of the historic monuments, Ali pasha commissioned the Bridge, so it is also known as Ali Pasha Ottoman Bridge.
Make sure you walk to the top, but I do have to warn you, be careful as the stones in the summer can be extremely slippery and you do not want to fall off. If you visit the big hot pool, you will have no choice but to walk over it unless you wade through the river below.
7. Visit the many broken bridges.
If you are going to and from Permet, look out for some interesting bridges along the way. We came across an array of broken, old bridges which made for fantastic photo opportunities. Be careful as many of them look like they are hanging on by a thread. But do be sure to look out for them during your travels!
We probably stopped 4 or 5 times because there were so many photo opportunities along the way.
8. 4×4 to Çorovoda
So, this is something to do if you have a 4×4 and if you’re looking to do something off the beaten track in Albania when you either leave or get to Permet.
Çorovoda is a small mountain town right next to the Osumi Canyon which is a popular destination for tourists. It’s a colourful town and very beautiful, but the drive there if you choose the 4×4 route is INSANE.
Expect to see a side of Albania that 90% of tourists in Albania don’t get to see. You weave through small villages, mountains and get some of the most stunning views I have come across whilst living in Albania for 5 years.
If you have a drone or camera you will want to stop multiple times to soak in the landscapes. The road is definitely only fit for a 4×4. Especially if you visit in winter in which it may be difficult or not able to pass through here at all. We visited in autumn time and the road was fairly good, only a couple of mud puddles.
For someone who has an existential crisis every time she’s in a car on the edge of a cliff, it was terrifying at times but if you’re an avid 4x4er then I’m sure you will be in heaven.
Where to stay in Permet
There’s a variety of different accommodation options In and around Permet. From luxury villas to traditional houses and guest houses which are extremely popular in Albania.
With nearly every stay in Albania, you can expect breakfast which is usually a selection of fresh ingredients like cheese, salad, Petulla (which is a fried doughnut) and juice, coffee or tea. I have found from staying in hundreds of places here that breakfast is always usually of exceptional quality.
If you’re looking for a traditional experience, then staying in this guest house is a great pick. You get the most beautiful view over the valley and landscape when you arrive.
This accommodation is not within Permet, but 6km from the city centre. It’s nearer the Benje pools than the city of Permet so if you’re looking to stay in nature then it’s perfect.
The owners will tell you all about the history of this magical ancient building over some Rakia and homemade wine.
The road leading there can be a little difficult to find so keep that in mind, but when you get here the trip is worth it. It’s recommended, if you can, to arrive here during the daytime.
This accommodation option has fantastic reviews and provides an excursion that I haven’t seen elsewhere in Permet- horseback riding! If you want to see the springs and local area via horseback, then you’re going to love this place.
The guest house is cosy, clean and equipped rooms with a great buffet breakfast which is included. The guest house is right in the centre of Permet so it’s close to all the restaurants and sightseeing in this city.
The rooms are clean and up to date so you can enjoy an excellent quality room at a very affordable price.
This beautiful house was built in the 19th century and I’m sure you will feel like part of the family as soon as you arrive. The house still has an original mosaic from 1908 within the front terrace.
The breakfast is one of the best in Permet, with all fresh ingredients homemade by the family. The courtyard is a beautiful place to relax with a glass of homemade wine.
Mosaic House is situated right in Permet city so it’s easily accessible to the other restaurants and sights nearby.
If you’re planning on visiting Permet then I hope that travel guide to the city and nearby hot pools were helpful for you. If you do have any further questions, then feel free to leave them in the comments below. And if you ended up visiting then tell me how you liked it!
Make sure you grab my guide to travelling Albania here if you want a full guide to the country with all my personal recommendations and secret spots to visit during your trip to Albania.
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