Located in Southern Albania, near the town of Çorovoda, the Osum Canyon is perhaps Albania’s best-known canyon, popular with local and foreign visitors alike. The river Osum passes through the city of Berat, a World Heritage Site, and flows through the canyon. The canyon features many underground passages and unexplored caves that are perfect for rafting.
In the spring, once the snow has melted, the rising level of the river waters enable visitors to explore the whole length of the canyon from the river itself. The rapids in this canyon are Class II, so visitors do not need prior white-water experience to navigate them. At the end of the summer, when the water level is lower, it is impossible to navigate the full length of the canyon. However, you can still hike around the canyon and go for a swim in various pools and streams.
The borders of the canyon have an atypical ecosystem that ensure an evergreen flora throughout the year, with Mediterranean bushes like heath and briar flourishing along with other lush plants and a diverse fauna. Small caves dot the slopes of the canyon, their walls pockmarked by erosion. Experts think that in the past, the river flowed underground, but over time the rock above the river eroded away, giving the canyon its current shape.
The canyons are 26 km (16 miles) long and have an altitude of 450 m. They are thought to have been formed 2-3 million years ago by water erosion. The canyon includes six narrow sections ranging from 1.5 m wide in the riverbed, up to 35 m wide further up the sides of the canyon.
Locals have been particularly creative in naming the many rock formations that surround the canyon, including names such as the Cathedral, the Eye, and the Demon’s Door. There is a mystical power to the canyon that has also inspired many interesting legends around it.
The most beautiful and spectacular canyon of the valley of Osum is the Gradeci Canyon, which stands close to a cave. Gradeci is 4 km long, 40 m high, and only 1.5 m wide in several spots. Its slopes descend rapidly into the river.
The other canyons of Osum are located 3 km south from the town of Çorovoda. They total 15 km in length and are magnificent natural objects. It is in this area that visitors can go canoeing, rafting, and kayaking. The area also offers several small beaches, such as Varishta.