national parks in albania, karaburun sazan marine park, butrint national park, llogara national park, shebenik jabllanica national park, prespa national park, divjake karavasta national park, theth national park, valbona valley national park, tomorr national park, dajti national park, lura national park, Fir of Hotovë-Dangelli National Park, qafshtama national park, hiking, rafting, hiking trails, mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing

National Parks in Albania and Why You Must Visit

August 10, 2021

In Albania, you can find 14 national parks and one marine park. Pretty impressive for one of the smallest countries in the world. A visit to these parks is a must for nature lovers and history enthusiasts. However, usually, everyone is fascinated by the beauty of each park. So, here is a list of national parks in Albania.

Karaburun-Sazan Marine Park
Karaburun Sazan Uncharted Beauty

The Karaburun- Sazan Marine Park is the only national marine park in Albania. It was enclosed for decades because it was a military area during the communist regime. This park is unique to Europe because it consists of untouched Mediterranean terrestrial and marine ecosystems, natural beaches with breathtaking views and unreal colors of the crystal clear sea, and some rusty military buildings on higher places.
Karaburun Peninsula itself is a Managed Nature Reserve, while Sazan Island is a military zone in Albania. The marine park features ruins of sunken Greek, Roman, and World War II ships. This park has rich underwater fauna and landscapes.
It is not possible to drive to this park. Therefore, there are boats/small ships from Vlora port or Orikum that can take you there.

Butrint National Park
Butrint National Park, albania, balkans

Butrint National park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the southern coastal city of Saranda. You will discover a beautiful combination of nature and history. Butrint used to be a Greek colony, a Roman town, and later on, it became part of the Byzantine Empire. For a short period, it was also ruled by the Venetians. Today is one of the most important archeological sites and national parks in Albania.

Llogara National Park

Along the Albanian Riviera, in the center of the Cerunian Mountains, you will find the Llogara National Park. This area of 10.1 km2 with dense forests was established in 1966 to protect several ecosystems and biodiversity of great national importance. The landscape ranges from alpine peaks covered with snow in winter to the sunny Ionian Sea Coast in summer. The highlight of the park is the Llogara Pass. It provides striking scenery, with tall mountains overlooking the Riviera and several islands in the sea. Visiting the Llogara National Park is perhaps one of the most incredible experiences in Albania.

Shebenik-Jabllanica National Park
shebenik-jabllanice national park, albania, balkan

Shebenik- Jabllanica National Park is located in eastern Albania’s mountains, near the border with North Macedonia, only 90 km away from Tirana. However, driving along the mountain roads will take some time but it is all worth it. This park is the ideal destination for hiking lovers due to numerous trails of different difficulty levels. Fall is probably the best time to visit the park and enjoy the amazing scenery with colorful foliage.

Prespa National Park
Prespa National Park

Prespa National Park is home to two ancient lakes that date back to 5 million years ago. It is a beautiful location, only a 20-minute drive away from the city of Korca. Along the lakeshore, you will find several sandy beaches. An interesting part of this park is the Maligrad Island in the Great Lake of Prespa. If you get on a boat to the island, there you will find the Church of St. Mary. It dates back to 1369, and its location is inside a cave. A great site to unwind and explore!

Divjake-Karavasta National Park
Divjakë-Karavasta National Park

The Divjakë-Karavasta National Park’s main attraction is the Karavasta Lagoon. It is the largest lagoon in Albania and one of the largest in the Mediterranean. Located in western Albania, the lagoon was designated under the Ramsar Convention. Its salt marshes, floodplains, estuaries, sand dunes, and coastal meadows host a vast variety of flora and fauna. It’s an essential refuge for waterbirds and pelicans are the most famous. This national park is situated on the Adriatic coast, therefore it is close to Tirana (1.5-hour drive) and Durrës (1-hour drive) as well.

Theth National Park
Theth National Park

In the heart of the Albanian Alps, you will find one of the most famous national parks in Albania, Theth National Park. This park features waterfalls, dense forests, mountain peaks, rivers, and magnificent rock formations. The park is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
There are a variety of exciting activities to take advantage of such as mountain biking and rock climbing, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife watching.

Valbona Valley National Park
valbona valley, albania

Bordering Theth National Park, in the far north of Albania, you will reach Valbona Valley National Park. Forests, glacial springs, waterfalls, and hiking trails await all nature lovers. The park’s Gashi River is part of the multi-unit UNESCO Primeval Beech Forests World Heritage Site. In addition, Valbona is known for its floral diversity and its wildlife. There are several ways to get to Valbona, however, it takes some effort due to its location deep into the Accursed Mountains. Your first option is to drive yourself or by bus. For the more sporty ones, the second option is to hike between Theth and Valbona Valley National Parks. It is an amazing 13-kilometer hiking trail, however, you have to be well prepared.

Tomorr National Park
Tomorr national park

Tomorr National Park is located near the city of Berat. The main attraction is Mount Tomorr, 2,417 meters above sea level. There are several legends surrounding the history of this mountain. Somehow they add to the beauty of the park. In addition, Tomorr National Park is also known for its diversity of flora and the presence of many endangered species.

Lura National Park

Lura National Park consists of twelve glacial lakes and dense forests. All lakes are named after their most characteristic feature such as Lake of Pines, Black Lake, and Lake of Flowers, which is covered with water lilies in the summer. The park is located in the northeast of Albania and it is not so easy to reach. The nearest city is Shkodra which is a 4.5-hour drive away.

Dajti National Park
dajti national park

Dajti National Park is the most accessible of all parks on this list located in the eastern part of Tirana. The best way to get there is by cable car, Dajti Express. This panoramic ride takes 15 minutes and is the longest in the Balkans. When you arrive at the top, you will find several restaurants and hotels. However, the most interesting part is the trails that will take you through the forest. A trip to Dajti National Park is the best way to enjoy the views of the capital from the top while being in touch with nature.

Qafshtama National Park
qafshtama national park

Qafshtama National Park is located around 25 km away from the city of Kruja. It offers breathtaking scenery of forests and lakes from an altitude of 1250 m. Lately, this national park has become a popular destination for hiking. The best time to visit is during Spring- when everything blooms- or during Fall- when you can enjoy a spectacle of colors.

Fir of Hotovë-Dangelli National Park
fir of Hotovë-Dangelli national park

Fir of Hotovë-Dangelli National Park is the largest national park in Albania and is located in the southeast region. The park’s name comes from the hotova fir, a typical tree species covering most of it. Popular activities that you can enjoy in this park are hiking and whitewater rafting along the Langarica Canyon. Visiting this park is a good choice because it is also close to several cities such as Gjirokastra, Përmet, Vlora, and Saranda.

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