4 must-see destinations in the Great Albanian Highlands

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In recent years mountain tourism has seen extraordinary growth in our country, turning the region of Malesia e Madhe into a sought-after hot spot by many, who are curious to experience the magnificence of the Albanian Alps.

Lëpusha and Vermosh are two villages found on the northernmost extremity of Albania and are part of a region known as Malesia e Madhe, which in English would be translated to something like ‘the land of Great Mountains’ or ‘the Great Highlands’.

This area offers a great variety of attractions and tourist activities that can make for a memorable weekend, although the fresh mountain air and beautiful nature of the alps are hard to bid farewell to.

The village of Lepusha is found 24 kilometers away from Tamara – around 35 minutes by car, – and is known for its breathtaking green landscapes and surrounding high peaks.

Malesi e Madhe. Albania

Characteristic of the village of Lepush are its delicious livestock products, generous hospitality and the stone houses (and guesthouses), typical of northern architecture. The village is also home to a river and a waterfall, which are both easily accessible on foot.

Generally, the village of Lepusha – the same as Tamara and Vermosh – are visited by mostly foreign tourists, who choose one of the hiking itineraries of the northwestern mountains of the Balkans.

The village of Vermosh, situated 1,100 meters above sea level isn’t too far from Lepusha, around 12.5 kilometers – or around 20 minutes by car and 95 kilometers from Shkoder. This village, which is situated in the northernmost tip of Albania, is also known for the same warm hospitality and proud stone houses.

The residents of this area also known for and identified by their numerous acts of resistance and rebellions against the different oppressors have given an insurmountable contribution by protecting the country’s borders, identity and eventual longed-for independence.

The Balcony of ‘Leqet e Hotit’

Leqet e Hotit, Vermosh. Albania.

While on the road to Vermosh and Lepusha, you have to visit the area known as Leqet e Hoti, which is known for its distinctive height and natural structure, which granted it the title “Balcony of the North”. The glass balcony is a must-visit site and worthy of pulling over while on your journey to the Albanian alps, in order to enjoy the panoramic view and take a snapshot while standing on around 750 meters above sea level. Looking down, you will be able to marvel at the crystal waters of the Cem river, surrounded by the lush forests.

Bridge of Tamara

Tamara Bridge, except from ‘Udhetaret’ show

Rising above the Cem river, the famous Tamara Bridge is thought to have been built in the 13th century, to honor the wife of Shkodra’s governor known as Pasha. The bridge was restored several times, but its authenticity was never compromised. The descent from the bridge to the Cem river is a must, and at least once in your life, it’s worth taking a dip in the icy crystal waters of Cem.

Canyons of Selca

Canion of Selca, excerpt from Udhetaret show

Another destination that is definitely worth paying a visit to is the Canyons of Selca. The village is known as the place of hidden beauties, maybe because of the breathtaking waterfall of Sllap, the awe-inspiring landscapes, or the many caves that are part of the largest canyon of Kelmend.

Cherry Tree House

Cherry Tree House, Vermosh. Udhetaret show

In Vermosh, a local has built a house on a cherry tree, which especially if visited during the cherry blossom, will make for a remarkable dining experience in the middle of an open field surrounded by lush green forests. This is a place, like you’ve never seen before, and it is especially unique because nature is only an arms-length away.

 

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