Sport and Adventure
HIKING AND MOUNTAIN CLIMBING
There are many sites in Albania that offer opportunities for mountain climbing. The most important areas for climbing are: Jezerca, Mountain of Hekuri, Razma and many others in the Alps, Munella in Puka, Korab, Radomir and Lura in Dibra Region, Bizain Tirana, Cika mountain in the district of Vlora, Tomori mountain in Berat, Gjinari in Elbasan, Rungaja mountain in Vithkuq, Qafë Shtama park in Krujë, etc.
Mountainous regions are also attractive for outdoor camping. The territory of Albania offers great opportunities to exercise the activities of trekking and mountain climbing. An interesting trekking program is the one called “Trekking of Cika”, which goes through the valley of Dukat, Cika mountain range, Kurveleshi zone and ends at the Ionian coast. The trekking route is Dukat-Tërbaç-Vranisht-Kuç-Kudhës-Qeparo. Other areas suitable for trekking and mountain climbing are the Albanian Alps in points such as: Vermosh, Theth, Razëm, Bog, Valbona, etc. Tomori mountain, extending to the districts of Berat and Skrapar.
Other spots are Vithkuqi, Voskopoja, Drenova in Korça District, Guri i Kamjes in Pogradec, Drino valley in the area of Dropulli, Gjirokaster District, Borsh -Zhulat route that goes through Kurvelesh.
Walking is another way to enjoy nature and at the same time, exercise. In Albania, walking is also a very popular activity. The nature and the areas with narrow trails and paths, can make this activity a very pleasant one.
We should mention that due to the elevated and mountainous terrain, Albania offers suitable natural conditions for organizing winter sports. These sports are expected to grow, thanks to many investments projected in this area. In some areas of Albania, the snow cover is above 100 days, creating natural conditions for ski lovers. In Albania we have not yet developed authentic skiing centers, but we have a number of suitable natural platforms for ski lovers. An example is Bigelli Ski Resort near Dardhë, where there is also a portable elevator. The national ski championship races are held here. Other natural platforms are those of Peltecu in Voskopjë (Korçë) which go to 1.160m above sea level and those near mountainous town of Puka, Shistaveci in Kukës, Grabovë in Gramsh, Razma in Western Alps, etc.
MOUNTAIN BIKING & EXPLORATION OF CAVES
Mountain biking & exploration of caves A special activity in mountain areas are also mountain biking tours. The equipment for these sports should be taken with you, as they cannot be rented. Some of the tours are organized in the Albanian Alps, such as Theth, Bogë, Vermosh etc. Another bicycle tour is one which crosses the shores of Lake Shkodër. You can also find maps of the tours, developed through joint projects of professors and students of the universities of Shkodra and Podgorica.
As a result of the widespread limestone formations in the territory of Albania, there is a development of various forms of karst, which has helped in creation of many carstic caves which have attracted many visitors. In Shkodra alone there are 35 of these caves such as: the cave of Zhylë, Juban, Muriq, Pusi, beer circles, etc. A cave of special tourist interest is the cave of Pëllumbasi, which is also called the “Black Cave”, it is located southeast of Tirana. Another cave of interest for tourists is Pirrogoshi cave. It is the largest in Albania, located in Skrapar. Other caves are: Cave Neziri (Mat), cave of Lek Pete in Kurvelesh, the cave of Treni in Devoll, etc.
FISHING AND HORSE-RIDING
Fishing takes place on the coast, lakes and rivers. Fishing is a source of income for many inhabitants on the coast. Some of the ideal mountain areas ideal for fishing are: Valbona River valley, Thethi stream, where you can find the marble trout, and the upper valley of Vjosa, etc. Sport fishing with hooks can be done at the mouths of the rivers Vjosë, Seman, Mat, Drin, etc. Another enjoyable activity is also lagoon fishing, especially in the lagoon of Karavasta, Narta, Kune-Vain, etc.
Other activities like horse riding became more organized during the reign of King Zog. After World War II, for about forty years, horse-riding was practiced only by a particular segment of Albanian army in different contests. Horse riding is practiced mainly in districts that have high quality horse-breeding centers, such as in Shkodër, Durrës, Tiranë, Elbasan (Cërrik), Korçë, Divjakë, Berat, Vlorë, Fusha e Pelave at Lura, Shishtavec in Kukës, etc. The geographic range of this sport is very interesting, as the nature in each of the above spots is combined with certain natural, historical and traditional elements. For horse riding enthusiasts in the capital, there are centers that offer horse riding, such as Mullet, Pezë etj.
Water sports like rafting are held in attractive valleys which have numerous rivers and streams. They are particularly popular in the upper valleys of Osum (for rafting). The rafting route includes the wonderful canyons of Osumi. Another route is the one that crosses the bridge area of the Dashi, Lengaricës canyon in the river. Other regions where such sports are practiced include Devoll valley in the south, Valbona Shala Valleys in Albanian Alps, Tujanit scale, in the Tirana River, near the capital, at the mouth of Mat river and Patok lagoon (for canoeing), etc.
This aeronautica sport goes back to 1990. Albania’s landscape offers many opportunities for these kinds of sports, which is associated with the suitable topographic conditions and nature of Albania.
The best spot for practicing this sport is Llogora Vlora, where the wind direction is favorable. This is also the place where international meetings are held with the participation of foreign paratroopers especially those from Italy, France and others. Besides Llogara, other suitable locations for this sport are Morava, DAJTI and Taraboshi.
Professional diving opportunities have been developed only during the last decade. The rich underwater discoveries in Albanian seas provide a unique opportunity for divers to explore sea life and sunken ships. Underwater sports centers are located in North of Vlora (Adriatic Sea). Towards the south, from Vlora to Saranda, there are numerous sports centers, where you can practice this growing sport. During the last years, joint Albanian-American expeditions have discovered old drowned ships in the area. The most suitable places to practice this sport are Karaburun Peninsula, Sazan Island, the area north of Saranda, Vlora.
Underwater Diving Bay, Dhërmi, Jali, Lagji Cape, Cape Rodon etc. In particular, it is Vlora Bay that ‘hides’ many sunken ships of considerable antiquity. However, the most famous and popular is the Italian hospital ship “PO”, which sank in March 1941 and was shot by a British airplane “Swordfish”. Sunken objects reach a depth of 33 m and a length of 150 m. Another important discovery is in the north of Saranda bay, where a sunken ship was discovered dating back to century III or IV B.C. Large amphoras are also found there. It is thought that this relic discovered is among the best preserved of the Mediterranean. Besides sunken objects, it is also interesting to observe green and black algaes, corals, etc.
Sazan Island is rich in sea life, with various underwater rocks. This serve as a habitat for a wide variety of fish and living fauna. The eastern part of the island is a popular area for diving and offers the most interesting sceneries. Diving guides are also offered by different companies in this area.
Karaburun Peninsula is a large and intact area, perfect for diving and underwater exploration. A southern stream keeps the water clean and offers excellent visibility. This area is completely intact and has been turned into a diving destination. It has a magnificent beauty and offers great potentials.