We entered Valbona Valley National Park in the Albanian Alps at about 11:00 am on the scenic road called Rruga Azem Hajdari. The road crosses the Valbona River in several places. The rushing water looked greenish aqua I think in part due to the large amount of limestone in the mountains.
At the first stone bridge, we saw a number of swimmers enjoying the rushing water downstream from the bridge. Upstream is a series of rapids. Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr. You can also view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!
Rapids upstream from the first stone bridge on Rruga Azem Hajdari
Downstream from the bridge we found some people enjoying a dip in the river.
The Albanian Alps (Prokletije in Albanian) is a mountain range on the Balkan Peninsula that runs from northern Albania to Kosovo and Montenegro. Its highest peak, Maja Jezercë, is in Albania, not far from Valbona. At 8,839 ft (2,694 m), Maja Jezercë is the 7th highest mountain in Albania.
Rruga Azem Hajdari winding through Valbona Valley in the Albanian Alps
The road passes several hotels and finally ends at the Hotel Burimi i Valbonës. This is the view that greeted us!
The view from the entrance to Hotel Burimi i Valbonës
The hotel and lodge includes a casual and welcoming restaurant. The food was good and fresh.
Hotel Burimi i Valbonës Restaurant
After settling in our rooms in the lodge, we enjoyed a lunch featuring a large fresh salad and pan-fried Trout from the Valbona River. Awesome!
Fresh salad at Hotel Burimi i Valbonës
Trout fresh from the Valbona River
Our room was on the fourth floor of this lodge at Hotel Burimi i Valbonës.
Snow in May!
There is a waterfall within hiking distance, but we arrived in the valley too late to hike to the falls and back to the hotel 8^(
Looks like a big tooth, doesn't it?
Further up the valley, we found some people camping with the SUVs. Very pretty location near an abandoned old school building.
A large section of the valley floor along the river is composed of this rocky area, devoid of plant life. I assume it is limestone, but I am not a geologist.
The Valbona River flows through the valley and is very clean at this point.
Pam and I on the banks of the Valbona River.
As the day ended, sheep started coming down the mountainside with their sheep dog.
A boy leading his work horse down the valley.
You can also view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!
Euro 20 Cent Face