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National Parks In Albania

 

1. Shebenik-Jabblanicë National Park

A variety in elevation—from 300 to 2,200 meters above sea level—as well as in vegetation types, paired with a very remote location, makes Shebenik-Jabblanicë National Park a superb park for wildlife watching.

In eastern Albania’s remote mountains, near the border with Macedonia, you can still find many large mammals that struggle elsewhere. These include brown bears, Balkan lynx, gray wolves, and European otters. This park is a hiker’s paradise, featuring numerous hiking trails of various difficulties. It’s particularly scenic in the fall when colorful foliage dominates the slopes and fringes of glacial lakes.

 

2. Mount Dajti National Park

In central Albania lies one of Europe’s most accessible national parks. Dajti National Park, sometimes also called Dajti Mountain National Park, lies just east of Tirana, Albania’s capital. In fact, it is so close to the city that you can get there by cable car, the Dajti Ekspress. This scenic ride takes about 15 minutes and covers 1 kilometer, the longest cable card ride in the Balkans. While the terminus of the cable car is a tourist complex filled with restaurants, some (un)interesting activities, and even a couple of hotels, the real treasure lies beyond. After enjoying the view of Tirana below, hit one of the trails that lead into the forest and hills.

 

3. Divjakë-Karavasta National Park

The largest lagoon in Albania and one of the largest in the Mediterranean, the Karavasta Lagoon in western Albania is a vital wetland designated under the Ramsar Convention and the main feature of Divjakë-Karavasta National Park. Its salt marshes, floodplains, estuaries, sand dunes, and coastal meadows host many flora and fauna. It’s an essential refuge for waterbirds like pelicans and egrets, definitely a sight to behold.

 

4. Fir Of Hotovë-Dangelli National Park

The park is located in Gjirokastër County in the country’s southeastern corner. Fir Of Hotovë-Dangelli National Park is the largest national park in Albania. The park takes its name from the hotova fir, a typical tree species covering most of its surface area. It’s one of the most underrated natural destinations in the country, offering something to do for everyone in every season. Although the fir dominates these forests, you’ll also find other trees like maples, oaks, and black juniper here. While relatively accessible, it still encompasses some incredibly wild landscapes inhabited by wildlife such as wild boars, badgers, red foxes, grey wolves, and even brown bears. Popular activities include hiking, backpacking, and whitewater rafting in Langarica Canyon.

 

5. Butrint National Park

Situated less than 20 kilometers south of Saranda in southern Albania, Butrint National Park is arguably the star of the show in the Albania national parks system. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to one of the most significant archaeological sites in Albania—in the Balkans even, for that matter. The site contains ruins, structures, and artifacts from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages. Several buildings survive here, albeit usually in ruins, including a Roman amphitheater, an ancient baptistery, a large basilica, the city walls, and two separate castles. Additionally, the ancient city of Butrint lies in an environment of woodlands, waterways, and lakes of enormous ecological importance. Butrint National Park encompasses Lake Butrint and the Vivari Channel that connects the lake with the Ionian Sea. This system of channels, rivers, lagoons, and lakes makes this an important area for birds. In fact, the wetland is an internationally protected area under the Ramsar Convention, a real paradise for birds and birders alike.

6. Karaburun-Sazan Marine Park

The only marine national park in Albania, Karaburun-Sazan Marine Park, protects an area of almost 2 kilometers into the sea. You’ll find this beautiful coastline park near Vlore in the southwest of the country. It encompasses both the Karaburun Peninsula and Sazan Island, which is Albania’s largest island. This exceptional park’s main features are underwater ruins of a variety of ships dating from Greek and Roman times and World War II. There’s also abundant marine life here, including corrals, three sea turtle species, and dolphins. Snorkeling and scuba diving are obviously popular things to do here. On the peninsula, you may come across chamois, roe deer, otters, and wild boar.

 

7. Llogara National Park

A park boasting an outstanding variety of scenery, from the sun-soaked Ionian Sea coast to the peaks of the Ceraunian Mountains, Llogara National Park is an incredible hiking destination in Albania. While exploring the park’s trails, you’ll see vertical cliffs, pristine forests, and gorgeous alpine meadows which are a part of the park’s wide hectares. It’s a genuinely sensational getaway from the busy Albanian Riviera below. Named after the Llogara Pass, which splits the mountains into a western and eastern range, the park offers stunning coastal views. From the pass itself, you can look down onto the white beaches of the Ionian coast and the town of Dhermi. The pass has a parking lot and a few restaurants, Another exciting feature of Llogara National Park is Caesar’s Pass, a mountain pass used by Julius Caesar himself to pursue his enemy Pompeii.

 

8. Lurë National Park

Comprising the eastern slope of Lura Mountain in the Albanian northeast, the long and narrow Lurë National Park boasts a large variety in elevation. This results in several different ecosystems and rich biodiversity. Its premier landscapes are twelve glacial lakes and dense forests, the latter consisting of European beech, silver fir, and various pines. All lakes are named after their most characteristic feature. Good examples are the Big Lake, Lake of Pines, Black Lake, and Lake of Flowers, which are covered with the most beautiful of flowers -the white water lilies in summer.

 

9. Theth National Park

One of the most famous and beautiful national parks in Albania, Theth National Park, lies in the heart of the Albanian Alps, a veritable outdoor lover’s paradise. It lies in northern Albania, encompassing much of the wonderful Shala Valley, and also features waterfalls, dense woodlands, jagged mountain peaks, rivers, and fascinating rock formations. The park borders Valbona Valley National Park (see below) to the east. A couple of villages dot the lush Shala Valley, providing absolutely perfect bases to explore this natural wonderland. Activities are varied and exciting, ranging from mountain biking and rock climbing to mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife watching. Theth National Park is one of Albania’s premier destinations to see iconic animals in the wild. Stop by the park, which is home to golden eagles, wild goats, and the largest lynx population in Albania, for an unforgettable experience. Additionally, large mammals like brown bears and gray wolves also inhabit these mountains and forests, although they’re rarely seen.

 

10. Valbona Valley National Park 

Situated in the far north of Albania, bordering Montenegro to the north and Theth National Park to the west, Valbonë (or Valbona) Valley National Park is another sensational destination for Albanian Alps hiking trips. With its dramatic, barren summits and forested vales, glacial springs, and waterfalls, it’s a heavenly and special place for both humans and animals. The park’s Gashi River is part of the multi-unit UNESCO Primeval Beech Forests World Heritage Site, which encompasses sites all over Europe. In addition to floral diversity, Valbonë Valley is also home to lots of wildlife and offers ample information about the local ecosystem. This includes brown bears, lynx, chamois, grey wolves, wild goats, and countless bird species. Hiking is one of the most popular things to do here. Other activities on offer include nature photography, mountain biking, fishing, boating, and mountaineering. For families who love the outdoors, it’s the perfect place to bring kids for the afternoon.

 

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