Things to do in Theth, Albania 2022
Last Updated on February 16, 2022
Anyone who plans on visiting the Balkans or dreams of backpacking across Europe must visit Theth. A remote retreat in the heart of the Albanian Alps might be the next destination you’re looking for.
If you’re clueless about what Theth is and what you can do in a remote village in Albania, then this article is for you.
Theth is a small village, situated inside Shkoder County in Albania. The small village of Theth is more than 2700 ft. above sea level. Although it became a Protected Historic Center in 2015, it is predominantly still remote, disconnected from the hustle and bustle of a city.
Any traveller who visits Albania must include Theth in their itinerary as its small village charm is bound to capture your heart. Since the remote village of Theth is situated within the Albanian mountainous terrain, the pathway from the main city of Shkoder to Theth stretches a long way but is worth it.
When is the best time to visit Theth?
Timing changes the course of any trip – whether it is a backpacking trip across Europe or a beach-y getaway in the Maldives.
The same is the case with Theth. If you visit Theth at the right time, it won’t just add more to your wanderlust experience, but be better for you generally.
Although Theth’s weather is favourable throughout the year, visiting it in late spring, summer or early autumn would be in your best interest. Why? Because, in case you forgot, Theth is a remote village in the mountainous region of Albania, and you don’t want your travel plans to get inundated by the snow.
The optimal time to visit Theth is during July and August as the temperature is ideal. The summer season is perfect for exploring Theth without the bounds of harsh weather conditions.
The colder seasons are generally rainy and there won’t be a lot to do as you would be stuck inside due to the snow or rain. Moving on to March and April, these months are very humid, and strolling or visiting places in Theth might not be easy for some.
The afternoons are relatively chilly and preferable for exploring Theth during this time. The temperature falls even more during the night and it feels like a breeze, literally.
The early autumn season is also perfect for visiting Theth, during September and October.
How many days to spend in Theth
Given how beautiful Theth is, and the distance and effort required to reach Theth, you would definitely want to spend at least 3-4 nights in Theth.
If you reach Theth by hiking all the way from Valbona, but don’t have the time to spend a week or so in Theth, 3 nights would be ample for seeing the beauty of Theth and exploring it.
Although you would be on a time crunch, with anything less than three days, you would be doing a disservice by not allowing yourself to witness the beauty of the Albanian Alps.
With three to four days at hand, there’s a lot to do in Theth, a lot to see, eat and enjoy. Apart from Theth, there is a lot to explore in its neighbouring areas, so three days would be ample for that. Some of the places that you can visit or spend time at are Shkoder and Valbona.
Before you plan an itinerary, we recommend going through the list of all the things you could do in Theth, all the places you can stay at, and the food you must devour while in the Albanian Alps.
How to get from Shkoder to Theth
The distance from the city of Shkoder, located in Northern Albania, also the head of Shkoder County, stretches about 42 km. This beautiful village in the remote mountains of Albania can be reached in four ways – by a van, a 4×4, taxi or tour service, or by hiking from Valbona.
Beware before you plan a trip to Theth, since it is in a remote location, you won’t be able to avail services commonly present in a metropolitan or relatively developed city. There are no ATMs specifically, so plan out your expenses and take enough cash with you.
Getting to Theth by a Van
If you want to travel to Theth by van, this journey would begin at Shkoder. Another beautiful and mesmerizing spot in Albania, and you should definitely stay here for a few nights.
For the actual van journey, the cost would be €10 per person, and the van leaves at 7 am, so you better be up early if you don’t want to miss this 3-hour drive. Yes, the 42 km distance can be covered within 3 hours, though the road is jagged and not properly carpeted – this is what you should expect in a mountainous terrain anyway!
We recommend keeping a few anti-nauseating tablets on hand if you get motion sickness easily from car rides.
Nonetheless, the first hour of your van journey would be on a tarmac road, and the remaining two on a gravel road.
To book for this van journey, you can refer to the place where you’re staying and ask them to arrange one for you. In case that’s not possible, you can refer to this number (belongs to the shuttle service) +355682473011.
Booking for the journey needs to be placed in advance, preferably at least a night before, so that a car can pick you up from where you’re staying and take you to the shuttle service outside the city of Shkoder from where your journey to Theth will begin.
Reaching Theth by a 4×4
In case you don’t plan on using the shuttle service to reach Theth, there are three other options. One of them is by using a 4×4. A normal car won’t suffice, given the condition of the road from Shkoder to Theth.
The roads are not carpeted properly, either they would be too steep or too slippery. They might even be muddy if you visit during the rainy season.
Before hopping on to a 4×4, make sure the road is open and not under construction as they are trying to revamp so that a normal car can be driven on that road.
Although there are not a lot of picturesque spots along the way, the ride is seamlessly beautiful.
Reaching Theth by taxi or tour service
If the 4×4 doesn’t intrigue you, there is another option: rent a private taxi. The price range for a private taxi is between €50 to €100 per person. There is a very common tour service that offers private taxi rides from Shkoder to Theth.
Alternatively, there is a tour that involves sightseeing of the church in Theth, the blood tower, the Waterfall of Grunasi, and the canyon. An extra feature is visiting the blue eye, which costs extra, but is definitely worth every penny. The price of the tour is about €70 per person and can be booked here.
Hiking from Valbona to Theth
The fourth and perhaps the most exciting and challenging way of reaching Theth is a hike from Valbona – and we highly recommend it.
It isn’t even a treacherous pathway, and that’s coming from someone who is not a hiker, so you can definitely try that. It is obviously going to take much longer than the alternative ways of reaching Theth – around 6-8 hours. That too depends on how physically fit you are and how many times you stop along the way.
We hiked for 8 hours as we didn’t just want to walk all the way, but take pictures and mesmerize in the beauty of the mountainous region of Albania.
To make our hike easier, we started at 8 am in the morning so that even if we want to stop by at the cafes along the way or grab a snack, we can without risking hiking in Valbona at night. We also recommend downloading the maps.me app so that you have a clear-cut map of the route you are supposed to follow.
You can also ask your accommodation supplier in Shkoder to send your luggage from Shkoder to Theth so that you don’t have to carry it all the way.
After reaching Theth and the place you want to stay at, be sure to book a shuttle service to provide transport for the next day. As you should take a look around Theth and spend a couple of nights, because there’s a lot in store for you, as we shall uncover ahead.
Things to do in Theth
Whenever I recommend Albania to our followers as their next travel destination, the Albanian Alps are always on the list, and if you do plan on visiting the Albanian Alps, Theth is a must to visit.
Normally when one might look up Theth on the internet, a picture of a stone-built church with the backdrop of barren mountains and grassy hills would appear. While that church is a beautiful spot to visit, that’s not all that Theth is known for. And you’re about to find out more about what to do in a remote Albanian village.
1. Visit the Church
Starting off with the most obvious: the church. The small grey-stone church that always shows up in pictures of Theth holds historical significance. It was built in 1892. Since the early inhabitants of Theth were Roman Catholics, the first building they built was this church.
Shtjefan Gjecovi, one of Albania’s most renowned and respected priests, transformed the church in 1917 into a school so that children of Theth were taught how to read and write in Albanian. During the communist regime in Albania, the church was damaged, just like other religious sites in Albania, and turned into a health and maternity centre.
Despite the hardships it faced, the church proudly stands today and is regularly used by the locals.
2. Grab some local souvenirs
The entire of Albania is enriched with cultural and historical relics, whether it is a small city in the South, Korca, or in the Albanian Alps, you would find souvenirs in every marketplace in Albania.
Particularly in Theth, we crossed paths with a woman shepherd who was knitting pupa, a type of sock that is thicker and can be used as a fabric slipper. The pupa seemed like the perfect souvenir to take home. Its warmth made it the perfect relic of the amazing time spent in Theth.
3. The Blood Feud Tower
One of the key aspects of Albania’s history is around the blood feuds, basically avenging the death of a family member by killing the murderer or the male members of their family.
Blood feuds in Albania began in the 15th century when the Kanun law was established in Northern Albania and some other countries in the Balkans. The Kanun law ascertains that when someone is murdered, the only way to avenge their death is by taking the blood of the murderer.
The Tower is where murderers or family members of those who killed an individual would hide to prevent being used to settle the vengeance of someone’s murder.
Despite the law being old, more than 300 families in Albania live in fear and don’t leave their houses because of blood feuds.
4. Blue Eye Hike
If you’re in Theth, one of the best adventures you can go on is hiking at the Blue Eye. Also known as Syri i Kalter, the Blue Eye is a natural site in Albania – but should not be confused with the one in the south of Albania.
The Blue Eye is a waterfall resting in a valley located in the Albanian Alps. The name “blue eye” comes from the crystal clear blue water that flows from the mountains and into the lake. After the hike from Valbona to Theth, the Blue Eye hike is the most famous. Those planning to visit the Albanian Alps should definitely check out the Blue Eye.
Since the hike isn’t that long, stretching about 19.3km, it may take 6-7 hours. Make sure you bring adequate equipment like hiking shoes, swimwear if you plan on diving into the Blue Eye after the hike, and again, we would recommend using the maps.me app to guide you along the way.
There are also a lot of options for food near the Blue Eye, some cafes and restaurants are located at the entrance. We would recommend not spending a lot of time here as there would still be an hour’s worth of hike beyond this point.
But don’t worry, the 6-hour hike is worth every view from the Blue Eye.
5. Theth Waterfall
Just 45 minutes away from Theth Church is the Theth Waterfall. It isn’t too far from the centre of Theth and to reach the waterfall, you have to take a 15-minute walk. The pathway is a bit elevated, but the view is breathtakingly beautiful and worth it.
6. Theth to Valbona Hike
Remember the hike from Valbona to Theth, well, it is actually the most popular hike in the entire of Albania. It is in fact a very popular hike among backpackers who visit Albania and is definitely not to be missed if you plan on visiting Albania.
The distance between Theth and Valbona is around 17km, and takes about 6-8 hours to cover. Even if you’re not a hiker, you would love this hike, or at least wouldn’t find it that difficult to cover as the track is surrounded by the beauty of Albania.
Since the pathway is elevated, the last hour of the hike, coming from Theth, might seem difficult because it is steep at some points. Even the distance may differ depending on where you started the hike from, or what time you started the hike.
We stayed near the church of Theth, and left the hotel a little after 8 am, arriving at our accommodation in Valbona at 4:45 pm, making the total hike of about 8 hours. It is better to book a hotel in the start of Valbona so that you don’t have to walk for an extra hour to find your hotel.
To fuel up during the hike, there are plenty of options along the way like a bunch of cafes to get a drink or even grab some snacks. There are also some guesthouses along the way where you can grab a quick lunch – make sure to ask for one as they are often willing to pack one for the hikers!
Where to eat in Theth
Eat at Guesthouse Shpella
One of the best places where we ate in Theth was the Guesthouse Shpella. It doesn’t just offer great quality food, but is affordable and is run by a very friendly family. The guesthouse has indoor and outdoor seating, and also offers currency exchange in case you forgot to bring local currency.
In terms of the menu items, traditional Albanian cuisine is offered, made with hand-picked ingredients from their garden, from freshly baked bread, honey, vegetables, and fruits, there is everything on the plate.
Apart from the amazing food, the Shpella Guesthouse has a breathtaking view of the mountains.
What we recommend: Big grill platter priced at €7 and a soup for €2
Another family-run guesthouse is the Bujtina Berishta, located in the heart of Theth. This guesthouse offers stunning views of the surrounding mountainous terrain and has an outdoor dining area.
Although it is a hotel, but you can dine it for some amazing Albanian cuisine, either inside or in the garden just outside the main area.
The third-place that we highly recommend you eat at is the Bar Jezerka. From the service, ambience to the food quality, everything is commendable and well-priced.
Bar Jezerka has a pub and a restaurant that offers Albanian cuisine like Rakia and Kama, as well as salads, soup, and fish. The restaurant serves dinner and breakfast only, and also has a takeaway option.
Where to stay in Theth?
Bujtina Polia is a modern-looking hotel in Theth with properly furnished rooms and a beautiful backdrop of the Albanian Alps. The hotel has a commendable 24-hour service, bar, terrace, and garden. Other perks like private parking and WiFi are also available.
Every room comes with its own sets of features like a private bathroom and necessary accessories.
The hotel offers a continental breakfast every day, and a space for relaxing after a long hike or fishing in Theth. The hotel also offers currency exchange on site.
We stayed here for two nights and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Theth. We booked a small cabin that was perfect for a getaway in the mountains.
The hotel is located a 2-minute walk from the Theth church and has a good vibe to it.
Even the food here is really good and the menu has a wide variety of dishes like salads, soup, meat, bread, and cheese.
The next place we recommend staying at is the Logu i Harushave. With its cabin-style rooms, the Logu i Harushave has a cozy and warm vibe to it.
The hotel offers all features that you might be looking for in fairly good accommodation like WiFi, a restaurant, a garden and a bar. The hotel also offers a continental breakfast every day.
Another guesthouse on our list is the Guesthouse Gjin Thana. This stone-built guesthouse has a modern interior and lush green gardens surrounding it. The guesthouse offers a restaurant, private parking, and a bar.
There are family rooms and guests can also host their own barbecue nights. Overall the service is really good as they have room service, and offer currency exchange on-site. The rooms are intricately designed and have everything you might need – a desk, bed linens and hairdryer.
Theth has amazing views of the Albanian Alps and some really cool natural sites that you can visit. Don’t overprepare for the trip by buying expensive hiking gear, just get some good quality walking shoes and you’re good to go.
Make sure you have enough cash for the entire stay in Theth as there won’t be any ATMs.
This mountainous retreat will make you feel relaxed and maybe you can learn a thing or two about Albania’s history and culture.
Other articles you will love: