8 Things to do in Theth, Albania
Theth is not to be missed on any trip to the Albanian Alps. You may have seen photos of this small village with the stone church and the alps in the background. It’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Albania, and in the Balkans.
I highly recommend staying at least 2 nights to get the most out of the area. There’s a lot of beautiful things to do in Theth. If you are wondering the best way to get to Theth make sure you read this detailed guide on how to get from Shkoder to Theth (4 different ways).
1. Visit the church
The famous church of Theth is a must-visit and inevitability you will see it as Theth is very small! Theth church has possibly the most beautiful backdrop a church has ever had. The church was built in 1892. In 1917 the church was used as a school for the children in Theth to learn reading and writing.
2. Buy a local souvenir
Upon my exploration of Theth, we came upon a woman shepherd who was multitasking and not only looking after her heard but also knitting pupa, which is a sort of sock but is thicker, more like a fabric slipper. It was the perfect souvenir to take home from Theth, and, I was highly underprepared and didn’t bring anything warm. We visited in October!
3. Visit the blood feud tower (lock-in)
If you haven’t heard about the infamous Albanian blood feuds, then you’re missing out on a key part of northern Albania’s history. Blood feuds started as far back as the 15th century when the law of kanun came into play for the tribes in northern Albania and some other countries within the Balkans. The kanun states that when blood is taken the only way to solve is to take that of who stole the blood. Meaning if you murdered someone, the family of who has been murdered has the right to kill you and any of your (male) family members. It’s basically a revenge law.
This tower is where men would hide, it was a sort of safe house where you couldn’t be touched. Believe it or not, although this law is old, over 300 families in Albania still live in fear in 2019 and don’t leave their homes because of blood feuds and the fear of being killed.
4. Blue eye hike
Distance: 12 miles (19.3km)
Hours: 6- 7 hours
Difficulty level: Medium
One of the best things to do in Theth is to visit the blue eye (Syri i Kalter). Don’t get it mixed up with the one in the south of Albania, they are different! Visiting the Blue Eye is a great thing to do for the day. The hike takes around 3 hours and is medium difficulty. The hardest bit is the last hour, other than that the path is flat most of the way. There is an option to get a ride for most of the way and then you will need to walk for around 45 minutes to 1 hour. I walked there and got a ride back with some friends which I am so happy I did because after 3 hours (and preparing for the big hike the next day) it was a great option for an amateur like me!
There is a couple of restaurants/cafes at the start of the entrance of the blue eye (around the 2-hour walking mark). Don’t be fooled like I was and think that you are nearly there when you still have another 1 hour to go with nearly all of it uphill.
The blue eye is worth the slog and is one of the most beautiful natural sites in Albania. When you get to the site there is even a restaurant there which has some beautiful views of the blue eye from above.
5. Theth waterfall
Hours: 45 minutes from Theth church
Difficulty level: Easy/Medium
This is a great thing to do for a couple of hours. The Theth waterfall is not too far from the centre of Theth and it’s a beautiful walk. The uphill stage of the walk only lasts around 15 minutes so it’s not too bad and totally worth it when you reach the bottom of the waterfall.
6. Theth to Valbona hike
Distance: about 10.5 miles or 17 km
Hours: 6- 8 hours
Difficulty level: Medium
The most popular hike within Albania and often referred to as ‘the hike’ by other backpackers, the Theth to Valbona hike (or Valbone to Theth, whichever way you want to do it), is not to be missed ad truly is one of the best things to do in Albania. I am not a hiker at all, but I do enjoy walking and I found this hike to be medium difficulty.
The last hour was the hardest (coming from Theth) as it’s all uphill and it can be steep in some places with it feeling like it may never end. Or this could simply be me complaining a little too much.
The distance may vary a lot depending on where you stay. You could easily add another hour onto the walking time depending on where your hotel is, which is why you will hear this hike with so many different times. We stayed near the church of Theth and left our hotel at around 8.20, and arrived at our Valbona hotel at 4.45 pm so it took us just over 8 hours to complete. We stayed at one of the first hotels in Valbona which I am thankful for too. Depending on where you stay, it may also add another hour walk on the road to your guest house! Stay at … if you’re looking for good accommodation near the end/ start of the Valbona track.
There are a few cafes along the walk where you can buy drinks and fill up your water bottle. Make sure you bring some food with you. Often the guesthouses will offer to pack you a lunch for the hike so ask you guesthouse about this!
If you have luggage you can hire a mule to take it over the track for you. Otherwise, a better idea is to leave anything you don’t need an accommodation supplier in Shkoder. Only pack the essentials!
7. Eat at Guesthouse Shpella
The best place we ate at what this Guesthouse Sphella. It’s great food, very affordable, a super friendly family who run it. We got a big grill platter each which was only €7. Soup is only €2! After a trip to the blue eye or the waterfall make sure you stop here to fill up on yummy food.
8. Stay at Bujtina Polia
This is where we stayed for 2 nights and I highly recommend it. We had a little cabin which was nice and cosy. It’s located right next to the Theth church and about a 20-minute walk to the centre of Theth (where the mini market is). The family were friendly, and the food was good. Breakfast was a buffet and was filled with all the right things to prepare for the days hiking.
We also had lunch there (500lek pp) which was a range of dishes like meat, cheese, salad, soup, bread and water.
They also have family dinners which were €10 per person. There was a lot of food and a typical Albanian style of lots of different dishes, so you get a bit of everything.
When visiting Theth, don’t do what I did and forget just about everything you need to hike with. There were lots of people with professional hiking gear, walking poles etc but, you don’t need anything fancy.
Still here’s a list of what I recommend you bring with you to Theth:
I hope this guide has given you a good insight into the best things to do in Theth and the surrounding area. If you have any questions about Theth or any of the places I have mentioned, then please leave them below and I will do my best to answer them for you.
Other articles you will love:
- Theth Valbona Hike: 27 Things You Need to Know!
- How to get from Shkoder to Theth, Albania (Thethi)
- The Best Places to visit in Albania
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