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Lumi i Shales: An Unbelievable Place in Albania You Need to Visit

  • Post last modified:February 29, 2024
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We're all about finding unique destinations, and our trip in the Balkans really surprised us when it came to some of the ones we stumbled up. Before our travels, we did a ton of research to find some of these spots, and today we're sharing a particularly special place in Albania that we found.


Located along a river is a tiny slice of paradise called Lumi i Shales. Here you can enjoy the crystal clear waters, while relaxing along the beach of this hidden treasure of the Albanian Alps.


In this guide we're going to share just how to get to Lumi i Shales, and everything you need to know in order to visit this stunning place in Albania. Let's dive right in!

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Where is This Amazing Place in Albania Called Lumi i Shales?

Lumi i Shales is a bay is situated along the Shala River in the middle of the Albanian Alps. Located in the center of the north of the country, visiting here is no quick stop, and requires a full day, (or even a night!).


The closest big citiy to Lumi i Shales is Shkoder, which is about 55 km south east, and a little under 2 hours away driving. If you'd like to visit from Tirana, it is 130 km away, and the drive is around 3 hours to the start of journey to get to this gem of a place in Albania.

where is Lumi I Shales, an amazing place in Albania

Lumi i Shales is in the middle of the Albanian Alps.


How to Get to Lumi i Shales

Like we said, getting to this epic place in Albania isn't as simple as it looks after just glimpsing at Google Maps.


We originally plugged the spot into Google Maps and were ready to set off on the journey to Lumi i Shales, until we learned from locals that this is not the case in the slightest bit. The only way to actually reach Lumi i Shales is by boat, which you can catch from the Komani Lake Pier.


ferry to Lumi I Shales, an amazing place in Albania
ferry to Lumi I Shales, an amazing place in Albania
ferry to Lumi I Shales, an amazing place in Albania

Renting a Car in Albania

Renting a car is a seamless experience in Albania, and personally our favorite way to get around. You can rent a car from Tirana or from Shkoder, depending on where you are coming from. We love using the site below as it gives us affordable rates.

Getting to the Komani Lake Pier

The two most popular ways to get to the pier are by renting a car and driving, or by getting a local tour guide to bring you.


We also read that there were mini buses that go to the Komani Lake Pier from Shkoder, and that you can get picked up from your hotel. If this is the route you'd like to go, we suggest inquiring at your hotel for the details.


Driving to Komani Lake Pier

While many roads in Albania are questionable, the drive to Komani Lake was actually quite easy. The roads are windy at times, but are well paved, and the views through the mountains are super beautiful.


driving to Romania Lake Pier, a beautiful place in Albania
driving to Romania Lake Pier, a beautiful place in Albania
drive to Komani Lake pier, a place in Albania

The views on the way to Komani Lake Pier are super beautiful.


You'll have to drive to the Komani Lake Tunnel, which is what leads to the Komani Lake Pier. You can simply plug in Komani Lake Tunnel into Google Maps, and it will lead you to the spot that you need to go.


DO NOT drive through the tunnel! There are very few parking spots at the end of the tunnel, and you could end up stuck in traffic for a long time. Save the stress and park before the start of the tunnel.

tunnel to Lumi I Shales, an amazing place in Albania

Make sure to park before you go through the tunnel.

Parking at Komani Lake Pier

As soon as you turn the curve before the Komani Lake Tunnel you'll see a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road. This is exactly where you'll need to leave your car. We were told it is a safe area and not to worry, but we also suggest you to not leave anything on site just in case. The parking is free, and there is no paid area for parking your car.


Taking a Tour to Lumi I Shales

If you don't want to go on your own to Lumi i Shales, and would rather do it the safe way, you can definitely do a tour. If you're based in Tirana, there are a few different options from day trips to trips that last a couple of days.


Here are a few of the best tours that we found: 

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A Boat Ride Through an Incredible Place in Albania

So you got to the pier. Now what? Well, first of all, it's important to note that there aren't boats that go to Lumi i Shales all day long, and not all the boats that go out of this pier go to Lumi  Shales. So it's important to make sure you are purchasing the right ticket, and getting on the right boat.

Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania

Getting Tickets for the Boat Ride to Lumi i Shales

We were told that the boats go at 9 am so we showed up a little before that. Along the road leading up to the pier there were a bunch of people trying to sell tickets, on the main road, and inside the tunnel. We would say it's better to wait until you get to the pier, as they may try to overcharge you on the side of the road.


We couldn't get on the 9 am boat, but there was a boat that left at 10 am which we were able to get tickets for. Our recommendation? Get there by 8:30 so you are guaranteed to be able to get a ticket.

Komani Lake Pier

The Rozafa Ferry is also the same place as the Komani Lake Pier.

There is actually a small hotel right on the pier called Rofaza Guesthouse. This is great if you want to stay the night before, so you will be guaranteed to get a spot at the time that you desire. We had to purchase our ferry tickets in cash, and they were 25 euros each.


The Boat Ride to Lumi i Shales

The ride to Lumi i Shales is on a long wooden motor boat. We originally thought the ride was going to be short, but the entire ride there actually took around an hour and a half! This truly is a hidden gem and special place in Albania, because it's really a journey to get there.

sailing to Lumi I Shales, an amazing place in Albania

The boat ride is extremely scenic and enjoyable, as you will be sailing through turquoise waters, giant green mountains, and striking rock formations. Parts of the boat ride actually felt like being in either Hawaii or Thailand. It really is incredible how diverse Albania is, and all of the stunning landscapes you can see.


Lumi i Shales boat ride, an incredible place in Albania
sailing to Lumi I Shales, an amazing place in Albania
sailing to Lumi I Shales, an amazing place in Albania
sailing to Lumi I Shales, an amazing place in Albania

The ride to Lumi I Shales is super scenic.


Arriving in Lumi i Shales

After a beautiful boat ride, you'll start to see the waters getting clearer and clearer. You're just around the corner from Lumi i Shales! Once you turn in you'll be greeted with a serious slice of paradise.

Sailing into Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania

You'll know you're almost there when the waters turn from deep turquoise to a clearer hue.

The boat will pull in, and you may have to step into the water, so we suggest wearing flip flops or water shoes for this part.


Once you are let off the boat, your guide or ferry team will let you know at what time the boat will be heading back, so make sure to meet in the designated place at the correct time. If you happen to be spending the night, make sure to make those arrangements with the boat beforehand.


Entering Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania
Entering Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania
Entering Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania


Now you'll be free to enjoy all that this stunning place in Albania has to offer!

Entering Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania

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Amenities at Lumi i Shales

Being so in the middle of nowhere, you really wouldn't expect Lumi i Shales to have a ton of amenities. However, to our surprise they were fully equipped with everything you need to enjoy the day!


Restaurants at Lumi i Shales

There are actually several restaurants located along the beach, with a great selection of local dishes, particularly freshly caught fish. Most dishes cost between 1,250-3,000 Lek, or 10-25 euros. You can also find a variety of drinks from coffee and tea to alcoholic beverages, and all of the restaurants have outdoor seating with great views around them.


Some of the restaurants are part of the hotels, and are located along the sides of the beach, while there are also a few places to eat and drink right on the beach itself.


bars at Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania
bars at Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania
bars at Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania

Other than the hotel restaurants, there are outdoor bars and restaurants along the beach.


Bathrooms & Showers

There are no public bathrooms on the beach. However, all of the restaurants and hotels have bathrooms, and they were all very nice about allowing people to use their restrooms whether they were customers or not. There aren't any bathrooms on the boat, so definitely make sure you use the bathroom before heading to or back from Lumi i Shales.


You'll only be able to access a shower if you happen to have a hotel room there. However, the water at Lumi i Shales is fresh, and the beach is made of pebbles, not sand, so you won't really need to wash off if you're just staying for a few hours.

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Chairs & Umbrellas

There were quite a few chairs and umbrellas along Lumi i Shales, and they were all free of charge to use (at least there was no one around charging, so we can only assume they are included).


umbrellas at Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania
umbrellas at Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania
umbrellas at Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania

There are lounge chairs and umbrellas along Lumi I Shales.


Other than the umbrellas provided, there isn't much shade other than the restaurants, so that it something to keep in mind. We suggest grabbing a chair as soon as you get there, as people tend to snatch them up pretty quickly.

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Things to Do in Lumi i Shales

Now that you know how to get to Lumi i Shales, and the different amenities you can find at this beautiful place in Albania, here are the best things to do while you are there.


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 Lumi i Shales Pin, an incredible place in Albania
 Lumi i Shales Pin Lumi i Shales Pin, an incredible place in Albania
 Lumi i Shales Pin, an incredible place in Albania

Go For a Swim

The best part of visiting Lumi i Shales is simply enjoying the crystal clear waters and soaking up the sun. The water is actually very cold, which makes it super refreshing if you are visiting on a hot summer day.

 Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania

The waters of Lumi i Shales are super refreshing.

Rent a Kayak

If you'd rather have a little bit more activity while visiting, you can in fact rent a kayak while at Lumi i Shales. They are located right at the entrance where the boats come in, so you can't miss them.


kayaking at  Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania
 Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania

Kayaking is a great way to explore the crystal clear waters of Lumi i Shales.


Getting Around Lumi I Shales

Lumi i Shales can only be explored on foot. It takes only 5-10 minutes to walk across the whole beach, and if it is drier then you might be able to even walk through the canyon a bit. If not, you can simply swim around the area a bit, but won't be able to go far unless you have your own boat or kayak for example.


bridge at  Lumi I Shales, an incredible place in Albania