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Don't forget your swimsuit to jump into the Blue Eye!

A Guide to Theth: Albania’s Mountain Paradise

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Theth was our first stop in Albania, and definitely not a forgettable one! This tiny town tucked away in the Albanian Alps is a stunning and serene piece of nature that is yet to be overpopulated by mass tourism.

While Albania lacks in mass tourism, it definitely has a ton to offer. Currently, the Albanian Riviera is the number one of "off-the-beaten-path" items on travelers' radar. But the mountains also boast some stunning hidden gems that waiting to be explored.

In this guide we're going to share all you need to know for visiting Theth, Albania- from how to get there, to the best things to do in the area. Let's dive right in!

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Where is Theth, Albania?

Theth is located all the way in the north of Albania, in the Albanian Alps. The small town is one of the most popular areas in the country, and the biggest city nearby is Shkoder (just south of the Montenegro border).

where is Theth Albania

Theth is located all the way in the north of Albania in the mountains.

How to Get to Theth, Albania

Theth is most easily reached by renting a car, or taking a bus from Shkoder. You can either fly into Tirana, the capital of Albania, or Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. Then there are plenty of rental car companies, as well as buses that stop in Shkoder, where you can continue your journey.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Everywhere". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for your destination!

Search for a flight to Tirana or Podgorica:

We personally think renting a car is the way to go, whether you are visiting from Tirana, Podgorica, or Shkoder. We use the rental company GetRentaCar where you can find cars for affordable prices by renting from locals (it is available in both Montenegro and Albania).

Is the Road to Theth Paved?

We had a rental car when we were in Albania, and drove from Shkoder, which took a little over 2 hours. Luckily the road is pretty well paved to get to Theth, and is wide enough for both automobiles and camper vans.

Don't have a car and want to get to Shkoder from Montenegro? Below are transportation options:

Tours to Theth

Another option for visiting Theth is to take a tour, which you can do from either Shkoder or Tirana. There are day trips, as well as visits that are a couple of days. Here are a few of them that you can choose from:

road to Zabljak Montenegro

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Entry Requirements for Albania

Traveling in Europe can get a bit confusing, as there are different requirements for every country, within the EU, as well as within the Schengen Zone. That's why we're here to clarify a few things.

Visa Requirements for Albania

In many European countries, the "90/180" rule applies for people that are not European. This means that in a 180-day period, tourists can only stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in total.

Some countries are in the EU, but are not part of the Schengen Zone, and some are in the Schengen Zone but are not part of the EU. There are some that are in both, while some aren't in either. You can imagine that this can be super confusing when trying to calculate your traveling dates! 

The good news is though, that Albania is not part of the Schengen Zone. This means that you can freely travel here even if you've already expired your 90 days in the Schengen Zone (which is exactly what happened to us). Tourists are able to travel to Albania visa free for a total of 90 days within a 180-day period, despite whatever other European countries they have visited prior.

Covid Entry Requirements for Albania

While the entry requirements to enter and stay in Europe may get confusing, luckily when it comes to Covid, it is not! Albania is now open to all travelers, with or without a vaccination. There are also no longer any rules about wearing masks, nor will you find anyone really wearing them anymore.

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Local Adjustments for Theth, Albania

While traveling there are things that you may forget about, that could be different from where you are coming from. Here are a few "local adjustments" to keep in mind while traveling to Albania.

Language in Albania

The official language in Albania is Albanian. Unlike all of the languages in the Balkan countries north of Albania, the language has nothing to do with the Slavic ones. It is rather hard to learn, and we were really only able to pick up a few phrases here and there.

Most older people won't speak too much English throughout the country, but the young children really have a great level of English! In Theth we found a mix of people able to speak in English and those that we just simply communicated via hand signals or google translate.

Currency in Albania

The currency used in Albania is the Albanian Lek. Currently (March 2024) the exchange is 96.05 lek for every 1 USD or euro. Euros can actually be used pretty much everywhere, and we even found the exchange rate to be even better than using lek sometimes! This is quite rare to find, so we suggest bringing as many euros as you can before coming to Albania.

Another thing to note is that the majority of places in Theth only take cash. Even restaurants will claim that their "credit card machine is broken", or that they simply don't have one. Pretty much cash is key in Albania.

Outlets in Albania

Albania uses the same plug types as the rest of the European countries, which are types C & F. The standard voltage in Albania is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz.

Can You Drink the Water in Theth?

Depending on where you go in Albania will depend on the if the water is suitable for drinking or not. Being in the mountains, Theth actually has some of the best water in the country. You can even find free fresh fountains to fill your water bottle.

Tipping Culture in Albania

The tipping culture in Albania is very flexible. Most people tip in bars by simply rounding up, while in restaurants they'll leave 100-200 lek (between $1-2). We always left 10% to our servers that did a good job, as wages are pretty low in Albania. However, if you don't receive great service, you don't need to feel obligated to tip like such.

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Where to Stay in Theth, Albania

Theth is a relatively small area, but be wary of where you actually book. When we first looked for a place to stay, we found some places that were a mile or so away, yet took 20-25 minutes to drive to. 

Make sure you are in fact staying in the center of town. A good point of reference is the church, and places that are close to the river.

We stayed at Shpella Guesthouse, and found it to be the perfect spot to stay. Spacious, with a great restaurant, and family-run, you really can't go wrong by choosing this for your place to stay while in Theth.

Shpella Guesthouse, where to stay in Theth Albania

Shpella Guesthouse is a great family run hotel to stay in Theth.

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Things to Do in Theth, Albania

Theth is a beautiful area. We stayed for two days, and felt that we were able to see the majority of the highlights (with the exception of one major attraction that we'll mention later).

Here are the best things to do in Theth, Albania:

Hike to Theth Waterfall

One of the main highlights of Theth is Theth Waterfall. An easy 40 minutes from the center (we started near the church). You just walk down the river and follow the signs (don't go the way Google Maps has listed- we will put the correct location below).

It's not such a big area for swimming, but it really is beautiful to check out.

Theth waterfall

Theth waterfall is one of the highlights of things to do in Theth, Albania.

Another thing we loved is that the walk is easy and scenic. Also on the way there is a great little area to stop for a cold drink!

rest stop Theth waterfall
rest stop Theth waterfall

There is a great rest stop to get drinks and relax on the way to Theth waterfall.

Walk Along the Small Red Bridge

On your way to the waterfall you'll find that the trail has a small red bridge. You don't have to actually go over it, but we think it was a more fun way to add to the hike. Also, it does make a cute photo stop!

red bridge in Theth
red bridge in Theth

The red bridge is a great stop for a photo on the way to the waterfall.

Check Out Cascadas de Grunas

Looking for more waterfalls? Well you can also walk down another trail parallel to Theth Waterfall to find another set of falls. We actually didn't go as we heard it was a bit dry when we were there. However, if you earlier in the season then it's definitely worth a stop.

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Explore the Canyon Area

Right along the river is where you'll find many of the trails in Theth. If you are walking towards the waterfall you will find a fork in the trail right after the red bridge. You can go to the right to continue alongside the river, and you'll find a small canyon.

There actually also is an easier way to visit, and that's by following the road on the other side of the river. There is a small entrance where you can climb down and there is a bridge going over the canyon right there.

canyon in Theth

The canyon can be found nearby the waterfall, and right off the side of the road.

Visit the Main Church: Kisha e Thethit

When you look up Theth you'll probably see pictures of this adorable church. It is right in the center of town, and definitely one of the highlights of Theth, Albania. When we went we actually saw a summer camp playing games in the yard. The church doors were closed, but the outside was super nice to walk around.

Theth church, things to do in Theth Albania
Theth church, things to do in Theth, Albania
Theth church, things to do in Theth

The church is the center of the town, and one of the top things to do in Theth, Albania.

Stop at the Reconciliation Tower

This is another one of the historic symbols of the town of Theth, Albania. This tower is 4 centuries old, and is where offer 300 conflicts got reconciled. Men who were accused of a crime would stay in the tower for 15 days while the accusation was being resolved.

Now you can go in and learn about the history from 8 am to 8 pm. We didn't have the time to go in, but admired it from the outside.

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Hike to the Blue Eye

This was our absolute favorite of all the things to do in Theth, Albania.

The Blue eye has stunning crystal clear waters, with a small waterfall going into it. The popular hike takes about 45 minutes to an hour each way. We suggest parking at the lot near the restaurant Lulash Ze. Make sure to ask a local the right road, as Google Maps failed us quite a few times in the area.

The Blue Eye has the coldest (but most refreshing) water you'll ever experience. At just 2 degrees celcius, you'll understand why you see people jumping in and frantically swimming out! We went on a hot day and found it truly invigorating.

Blue eye. things to do in Theth, Albania
Blue eye. things to do in Theth, Albania
Blue eye, things to do in Theth, Albania

The Blue Eye is definitely one of the best things to do in Theth, Albania.

Amenities at the Blue Eye

The Blue Eye has a small bar looking over it, as well as (literally) ice cold drinks sold there, as well as on the way. The trail isn't too difficult, but make sure to bring plenty of water and good sneakers, as it can feel rather intense in the heat if you visit in the summer.

amenities at the Bleu Eye, things to do in Theth, Albania

There are (literally) ice cold drinks and snacks sold right at the Blue Eye.

There are also a few restaurants near the start of the trail, where you can grab a bite to eat before or after the hike. They sit right on the river, making it perfect to stop and take a dip as well. Make sure to bring cash, as they don't accept credit card.

flower fields at the blue, things to do in Theth, Albania

There is also a great photo spot right outside the Blue Eye.

Swim in the Blue Waters of Lumi i Zi

Many people know about the Blue Eye, and go straight there. However, the river where the hike starts has some of the clearest waters you'll ever witness! You'll find plenty of people hanging around the area, and swimming through the canyon that leads towards the Blue Eye. Make sure to save yourself some time to enjoy this spot as well!

waters at the blue eye. things to do in Theth. Albania
waters at the blue eye. things to do in Theth. Albania
waters at the blue eye. things to do in Theth. Albania

The waters at the beginning of the hike to the Blue Eye are equally with a visit.

Trek to Valbone

This is actually the number one thing to do in Theth, Albania, yet we didn't get to do it. The trek from Theth to Valbone National Park is a 2 day commitment, as it is an average of 8 hour each way.

Trekking through the Albanian alps is super rewarding, and gives you stunning views along the way. The most popular way to do this is if you are not traveling by car. In our case, it would mean hiking 8 hours each way, which we simply didn't have the time for.

This is something that we definitely suggest for travelers who want to visit both areas, and have the time to continue exploring the country (as you can't simply drive straight from one to the other). 

Want to set up an excursion to explore the best of Theth from Shkoder? Here are a few options if you don't want to do it on your own:

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How to Get Around Theth, Albania

While the road to Theth is quite smooth, the ones within and around the town certainly are not.

For most things to do in Theth we stayed parked in the downtown area, and simply hiked everywhere. The only exception for this was the Blue Eye, where we drove (VERY slowly) down the rocky road leading to the hiking path.

Other than that, Theth is an area for people to explore by foot. For this reason we definitely suggest a good pair of sneakers!

driving to Theth Albania
driving to Theth Albania
driving to Theth Albania

The road to Theth is super scenic.

Local Food & Drink in Theth

We absolutely loved the food in Albania, and actually found it to differ quite a bit from place to place. 

In Theth you can find a lot of great dishes like veal and other tasty local meats. Prices are very affordable, so make sure to ask the specialties of the house to dig in to the rich cuisine!

restaurants in Theth, Albania

There are some great local restaurants in Theth where you can enjoy the nature around you.

Is Albania Safe?

When you tell other Balkan people that you're visiting Albania, they have nothing but negative things to say about the people. Personally, I've also had some experiences with a few Albanians that came off a bit arrogant in the past.

However, this time we came and found that all of those stereotypes and preconceptions were completely false! The people of Albania are super warm, and the country is very safe.

Like anywhere, we still suggest to be cautious with your belongings, and don't leave things in your car within eyesight. However, solo travelers, women, and families can confidently go and explore this beautiful country without having to worry about safety.

Things to do in Theth, Albania
Things to do in Theth, Albania
Things to do in Theth, Albania

You can wander around Theth alone or at night and be perfectly safe.

Other Things to Know About Visiting Theth, Albania

Now you know almost everything you need to know about visiting Theth, Albania! But here are just a few other things to keep in mind.

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Weather in Theth, Albania

Theth is in the mountains, so it has a lot of snow in the winter, and is very hot in the summer. Nights are pleasantly cool, and the area experiences all four seasons throughout the year.

Theth river
mountains in Theth
Things to do in Theth, Albania

Theth is located in the mountains, so has cooler temperature year round.

The Best Time to Visit Theth, Albania

We visited Theth in the summer, and felt that it was a great time to explore the great nature that the area has to offer (such as the Blue Eye). We also imagine that the place would be simply stunning covered in a blanket of snow. In fall and spring you'd experience perfect weather for hiking, especially for the long trek to Valbone.

Essentially, there is really always a great reason to visit Theth year round! It just depends on what you're interested in.

things to do in Theth, Albania

Theth has something to offer year round, but if you want to swim, than the summer is the best time.

How to Pack for a Trip to Theth, Albania

Here is what you should bring with you when you visit Theth, Albania:

  • Travel toiletries (our favorites are from Sheer Alternatives because they're all natural and 100ml)
Blue Eye, things to do in Theth Albania

Don't forget your swimsuit to jump into the Blue Eye!

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Now you are all ready for the perfect getaway to Theth, Albania. We suggest going for 2 full days to see the highlights, and an extra day or so if you plan on adding the trek to Valbone to your itinerary.

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