Albania is not only crystal clear waters, exquisite local foods, and ancient cities included in the Unesco Heritage. National parks offer pearls of unspoiled nature to be discovered.
Let’s immerse yourself in the unspoiled nature of Albania, discovering the most beautiful and important national parks of this country. Some of these natural wonders are part of the Unesco World Heritage Sites. In these beautiful places, you will discover nature, but also culture, history, and many adventures.
Here are the 10 of the most beautiful National Parks in Albania.
1. Butrint National Park
Let’s start with one of the most beautiful national parks in Albania that has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is characterized by ruins, and archaeological artifacts from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages. Indeed, several buildings can be found, albeit in ruins, including a beautiful Roman theater, an ancient baptistery, a large basilica, city walls, and two castles. In addition, you will be able to visit the ancient city of Butrint, surrounded by woods, streams, and lakes, which have enormous ecological relevance.
This system of canals, rivers, lagoons, and lakes makes this area particularly important for birds. Indeed, the wetland is internationally protected by the Ramsar Convention, a true paradise for birds and birdwatchers.
Butrint National Park includes:
- the Lake of Butrint.
- the Vivari Channel which connects the lake with the Ionian Sea.
2. Llogara National Park
A park boasting an amazing variety of landscapes, from the sunny coast of the Ionian Sea to the peaks of the Ceraunian Mountains. Llogara National Park is an incredible hiking destination in Albania. As you explore the park’s trails, you’ll see vertical cliffs, pristine forests, and beautiful alpine meadows. The park takes its name from the Llogara pass, which divides the mountains into a western and eastern range. This beautiful natural area offers breathtaking views of the coast, from which you can admire the white beaches of the Ionian coast and the ancient city of Dhermi. The pass is characterized by the various parking lots and restaurants that are located along the road. Another interesting feature of the Llogara National Park is Caesar’s Pass, a mountain pass used by Julius Caesar himself to chase his enemy in Pompeii.
3. The blue eye
In Albanian Syri i Kaltër means “the blue eye” and somehow it also seems to convey a feeling of something hypnotic. The Blue Eye is a karst spring, which is a natural phenomenon. The water gushes from a depth of over fifty meters, taking on an intense blue color for its mass, with green hues due to the presence of lush vegetation. The “Blue Eye” area is very suitable for relaxing or having a picnic, also thanks to an equipped area and the presence of some activities. So bathing in the mirror of frozen water (generally 10 degrees) is absolutely forbidden, as the signs positioned on the edge explain. Even if unfortunately few people respect this prohibition, in fact, it is normal to see people dip their feet or even dive.
Dajti National Park, also called Mount Dajti National Park, is located just east of Tirana, the capital of Albania. It is so close to the city that you can get there by cable car, the Dajti Ekspress, which takes approximately 15 minutes. While the cable car terminus is a tourist complex filled with restaurants, some interesting activities, and even a couple of hotels, the real treasure lies beyond. After enjoying the view of Tirana below, walk one of the paths that lead into the forest and hills admiring the incredible panoramic views.
5. Valbona Valley
Valbona Valley National Park is another sensational destination for hiking in the Albanian Alps. With its dramatic, arid peaks and wooded valleys, glacial springs, and waterfalls, it is a heavenly place for both humans and animals. The part of the park crossed by the Gashi River is part of the UNESCO World Heritage of Beech Forests. In addition to floral diversity, the Valbonë Valley is also home to many wild animals, such as brown bears, lynxes, chamois, gray wolves, wild goats, and countless bird species.
6. Theth National Park
One of the most famous and beautiful national parks in Albania is Theth National Park. It is located in the heart of the Albanian Alps, a true paradise for lovers of the outdoors. It is characterized by waterfalls, dense forests, jagged mountain peaks, rivers, and fascinating rock formations. Activities are varied and exciting, ranging from mountain biking to rock climbing, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. The National Park is one of Albania’s top destinations for seeing wild animals in the wild, such as golden eagles, wild goats, or the largest lynx population in Albania. In addition, there are also large mammals such as brown bears and gray wolves.
7. Lure National Park
Composed of the eastern slope of Mount Lura in northeastern Albania, the long and narrow Lurë National Park boasts a great variety of different heights. This results in several different ecosystems and great biodiversity. Its main landscapes are twelve glacial lakes (Grande Lake, Lake of Pini, Lake Nero, Lake of Fiori which in summer is covered with beautiful white water lilies) and dense forests, the latter consisting of European beeches, silver firs, and various pines.
8. Karaburun Sazan Marine Park
The only marine national park in Albania, Karaburun-Sazan Marine Park, protects an area of almost 2 kilometers in the sea. You will find this beautiful coastal park near Vlora, in the southwest of the country. It includes both the Karaburun Peninsula and Sazan Island, which is the largest island in Albania. The main features of this exceptional park are the underwater ruins of a variety of ships, dating back to the Greek and Roman times and the Second World War. In addition, you will also find abundant marine life including three species of sea turtles and dolphins. Snorkeling and scuba diving are obviously the most recommended activities to do in this park. Furthermore, on the peninsula, it is possible to meet chamois, roe deer, otters, and wild boars.
9. Fir of Hotove National Park, Dangelli
Fir Of Hotovë-Dangelli is the largest national park in Albania. The park takes its name from the hotova fir, a typical tree species that cover a large part of its surface. It is one of the most underrated natural destinations in the country, offering something for everyone to do in every season. Although fir dominates these forests, we can also find other trees such as maple, oak, and black juniper. There are also some wild animals such as wild boars, badgers, red foxes, gray wolves, and even brown bears. Popular activities include hiking, backpacking, and rafting in the Langarica Canyon.
10. Divjake- karavasta national park
Karavasta Lagoon is the largest lagoon in Albania and one of the largest wetlands in the Mediterranean. Located in western Albania, it is an important wetland and natural area that distinguishes the Divjakë-Karavasta National Park. Its salt flats, floodplains, estuaries, sand dunes and coastal meadows are home to a great variety of flora and fauna. It is an essential refuge for waterfowl such as pelicans and egrets.
Are you ready to immerse yourself in the green and explore the most beautiful natural parks in Albania?
Cover image: Photo by Drini Teta on Unsplash