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Osum Canyon: The Grand Canyon of Albania

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Have you ever heard of Osum Canyon? Well, it is actually known as the Grand Canyon of Albania, and it surely doesn't disappoint! Albania never ceases to amaze us when it comes to stunning nature.

While many tourists flock to the Albanian Riviera, there is actually so much more that the country has waiting for you! (Don't get us wrong- the beaches of Albania are also incredible). One of our most special experiences and underrated spots in the country was at Osum Canyon (Kanionet e Osumit), a 13 km long milky turquoise river running through a large rocky gorge.

We saw a few beautiful pictures on Instagram inspiring us to visit here. However, when we tried finding information, it wasn't so easy. There was no tourist office nearby, nor information in English online! That's why we're here to make sure you are well informed about what to expect. Here is everything you need to know about visiting Osum Canyon in Albania.

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Where is Osum Canyon?

Osum Canyon is located in Southern Albania in the Skrapar region. We visited here on a day between our stays in Girokaster and Berat. It is about 2 hours south of Berat, and 2 hours north east of Girokaster.

where is Osum canyon

Osum Canyon is in the south central area of Albania.

How to Get to Osum Canyon

Getting to Osum Canyon was actually much trickier than we had anticipated, which is one of the main reasons we actually decided to write a full article on visiting.

Visiting Osum Canyon from Berat

The way that we visited Osum Canyon was by rental car, which you can easily get one in Tirana. If this is the way that you'd like to go, then you can check for local rentals down below:

The easiest way to visit Osum Canyon is coming from Berat, as you can drive on an asphalt road all the way to the canyon without any issues. Coming from Girokaster was another story, which we'll get into in just a moment.

waterfall near Osum Canyon

There is a beautiful waterfall halfway from Berat to Osumi Canyon.

If you don't have a car, there are actually plenty of tour guides that do full day trips to Osum Canyon, stopping at a beautiful waterfall on the way (it's the half way point).

Tours include life jackets to float along the canyon's river, and a guide taking you to both spots. They leave in the morning from Berat, and come back in the late afternoon, costing an average of  50-100  euros.

Osumit Canyon tour
Osumit Canyon Tour
Osumit Canyon times

Tours will give you life jackets and bring you through the canyon.

Want to take a tour from Berat to Osum Canyon? Here are a few that you can choose from:

Visiting Osum Canyon from Girokaster

If it's one thing we learned in Albania, it's to never trust Google Maps. The country is full of gorgeous nature, but there are SO many spots that just don't have the infrastructure for proper tourism.

The roads in Albania are really hit or miss, and many times we would drive an hour down a road just to find ourselves in piles of rocks, forcing us to turn around. This is of course exactly what happened to us going from Google Maps' suggested road from Girokaster to Osum Canyon.

wrong route to Osum Canyon

Make sure not to take the suggested road highlighted in red.

The Correct Route to Osum Canyon From Girokaster

The point that changes is when you get to the Vlore river. Instead of heading up the river and crossing over straight to Osum Canyon, you'll have to drive south on the road that runs along the river (SH75).

You'll then turn left on the road that comes right before the town of Kosine. We could't find a name, but don't worry, as we will highlight the exact route in the photo below.

route to Osum Canyon

This is the correct road you'll need to take to get to Osumit Canyon from Girokaster.

The road starts to get pretty horrific, but it will just be super difficult for the first 10-15 minutes (we had a sedan). The drive is along a rocky road around a winding mountain range.

We aren't going to lie. It isn't a fun drive, and it was like that for a good 45 minutes until the road became paved (pretty much where the canyon starts).

the road to Osum Canyon

The road to Osum Canyon is pretty horrible, so make sure you drive carefully if you don't have a 4x4.

On the bright side, the views are simply stunning, and there is even a beautiful lake you'll find along the way! We didn't stop as it was starting to get dark out, but it definitely looked like it would've been a great way to break up the trip.

Driving to Osum Canyon in Albania
Driving to Osum Canyon in Albania
Driving to Osum Canyon in Albania

The views driving to Osum Canyon from the south are simply stunning.

Opening Hours of Osum Canyon

When we checked Google Maps the hours were posted as the canyon closing at 8:00 pm. As many canyons do in fact have an official entrance, this wouldn't come as a huge surprise. However, the canyon is completely open for people to visit 24/7, so you can really get there whatever time you want.

Osum Canyon opening hours

The canyon is open to explore all day long.

Price of Osum Canyon

As there is no official entrance to the canyon, it is actually completely free to visit! The only thing that would potentially cost you money is if you decided to take a tour while there (ex: rafting).

Osumit Canyon Price
Osumit Canyon Price
Osumit Canyon Price

Osum canyon is completely free of charge to visit.

Amenities at Osum Canyon

Inside Osum Canyon itself you won't find amenties. However, at the start of the canyon there is a restaurant where you can get food & drinks, as well as use the restroom. There are also plenty of restaurants along the road overlooking the canyon (the unaccessible part), so you can have a nice meal with views of Osum Canyon below.

We ate at a small family-owned restaurant that is also a hotel, called Guesthouse Bracaj, and it was super tasty and cheap, with great service. If you are driving, this is also a great place that you can spend a night before visiting Osum Canyon the following day.

restaurant Osum Canyon

There is a great restaurant nearby that overlooks Osumit Canyon.

Things to Do at Osum Canyon in Albania

When we first looked up Osum Canyon we had no idea to what to expect, where to go, or what to do. Here are the things you can do in and around Osum Canyon in Albania.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

Osumit Canyon in Albania Pin
Osumit Canyon in Albania Pin
Osum Canyon in Albania Pin

Go for a Swim

The number one thing to do at Osum Canyon is to enjoy swimming through it. At the entrance where the parking lot is you can simply swim in that area, or go further into the canyon. 

Due to having a lot of expensive equipment on us, we decided to climb along the rocks on the side of the canyon first, and then scale down the side to get to the beachy area.

Osum Canyon in Albania

In order to not have to swim through the canyon, you can scale down the rocks. Just be careful!

Make sure to be careful when climbing down. If you don't have anything you're worried about getting wet, we suggest simply swimming through the canyon. We put our stuff on the side and then continued for several hundred meters though, exploring the interior of the canyon, and splashing around in the cool waters.

swimming at Osum Canyon
swimming at Osum Canyon

Swimming is a must at Osum Canyon.

Visit the Waterfall

If you swim further into the canyon you will actually come across a waterfall on your right side! Unfortunately, when we visited it was very dry, so only a bit of water was trickling down. We saw pictures of it at a different time though, and it really was super beautiful.

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Make Yourself a Mud Mask

Take advantage of Mother nature's beauty hacks. All along the canyon you can find yourself a thick clay-like mud. This is great for your skin! Simply cover your face and body and let the mud dry up on the sun. Once it dries you can wash off and you'll have silky smooth skin.

mud mask, Osum Canyon

You can take the thick mud and make a natural mask. It's great for your skin!

Get a Natural Massage

Along the rapids there are plenty of areas that will have small falls created. These are great places to stop while letting the water rush along your back, giving you a natural massage! Simply sit under the gushing water and you'll feel a nice massage on your shoulders and back.

Osum Canyon falls

The small falls are perfect for a back massage.

Check Out One of the Viewpoints

While the main area of the canyon is best enjoyed for swimming, the beauty of the canyon can actually be enjoyed for over a dozen kilometers! Right along the highway there are a few spots to admire the canyon from high above. 

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Above you can see the spot that we stopped at, and below you can see the exact location where we went. There is a small trail, and it just takes a few minutes to get down to the viewpoint area.

Viewpoint over Osumit Canyon
viewpoint over Osumit Canyon
Viewpoint of Osumit Canyon

There are some beautiful views that you can appreciate above the canyon.

Go Rafting

Looking for a bit of adventure? You can also go rafting at the canyon! This isn't the same area as the main swimming area of Osum Canyon though. Excursions can be arranged by booking in advance online, or by having your hotel contact a local company for you a day or two before.

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Want to take a tour rafting at Osum Canyon? Here are a few different options that you can choose from:

Where to Stay Near Osum Canyon

There are quite a few places that you can stay right outside Osum Canyon, which is what we did.

Want to find accommodation nearby? Just check the map below for options:

Berat is a great option if you're looking to do a day trip, and visit through an excursion.

Looking to come from Berat? Here are places to stay over there:

Girokaster is definitely the furthest options, but if you are doing a road trip like we were, this can definitely still be an option.

Making the trip from Girokaster? Refer to the map below for places to stay there:

How Long Do You Need at Osum Canyon?

Osum Canyon is quite large, but the accessible parts are perfect to enjoy for a few hours. We would suggest blocking out half a day to really enjoy the canyon to its fullest, and explore throughout the area.

If you are visiting from Berat, this is almost a full day tour, combined with a waterfall that is halfway between Osum Canyon and Berat. We essentially did the exact same, but just did it on our own.

Osum Canyon

You can spend a couple hours up to a full day exploring Osum Canyon.

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You can also bring a 8% Discount for Easter event (Code: LMEaster)" https:="""" class="" style="outline: none;" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">waterproof case for your phone, or a dry bag to bring with you while exploring the canyon. This is a great way to ensure that your things don't get wet, especially any electronics!

what to bring to Osum Canyon
what to bring to Osum Canyon
what to bring to Osumit Canyon

Don't forget a swimsuit and a waterproof camera.

It is also important to note that most of the canyon is walkable, with the water being waste-deep. There are super rocky areas, as well as others that are full of thick mud that you can easily sink in a bit. We highly suggest bringing water shoes, so that you don't hurt yourself with the rocks.

What to bring to Osum Canyon

There are a lot of rocky areas, so make sure to bring water shoes.

Bringing plenty of water is also advisable, as you won't find any amenities inside the canyon itself. Finally, have a towel to dry off, or if you want to relax in one of the small beach-like areas within the canyon.

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Packing for a Trip to Osum Canyon

Now that you know almost everything you need to know for visiting Osum Canyon in Albania, here are the things that you should bring with you when visiting:

  • Travel toiletries (our favorites are from Sheer Alternatives because they're all natural and 100ml)
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Osum Canyon is the perfect day trip from Berat, and a great natural spot to check out while road tripping through Albania.

Want to see other cool spots throughout the country? We experienced everything from the canyons and mountains to the beaches and natural springs. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter in order to get updated on our most recent articles!

Ready to start planning your trip? Well, with Scratch Your Mapa Travel Planning we're ready to create you the most epic itinerary, and save you money along the way. Want to know a bit more about how it works? We have 3 different Travel Planning Packages and can also create a customized one especially for your needs.

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