As my second full day back in Albania continued, I ventured even further north to the town of Valbonë! Join me as I enjoy some amazing raki in the Albanian Alps and visit attractions in Valbona, Albania!
My adventure began with my boy Erjan from Travel Media EU in the Albanian Alps, in the Valbona, Albania area in the northern part of the country. Valbona is located in the heart of the Albanian Alps, close to the border with Montenegro. On the other side of the mountain is Theth, an alpine village I visited two months earlier. The hike between Theth and Valbonë takes about eight hours!
This area is popular for hiking and seeing the lake. The Valbonë River is gorgeous, and since it was becoming winter, it was more swollen than usual. Across a bridge, we saw some stone houses, which were built a few hundred years ago. One of them is used as a corn mill!
We hiked around the river. The water is super fresh and the air quality is incredible. From there, we hopped back in the car and drove to the lake. We were getting close to sunset. We hopped back out and set out on a 15-minute hike past huge stones. And lots of trees. The path there is marked by red markers on the stones.
The path was a little slippery from rain or snow, but overall, it was easy to navigate. It’s a beginners’ hike, so anyone can do it, even children. About 220 meters from the main road are the crystal blue waters of Xhemes’ Lake. It’s a small, natural lake framed by the mountains and is so beautiful! It’s surrounded by stones and is so peaceful!
Then, Erjan found a large mushroom. I’d never seen one that big! It smelled amazing. Valbonë is famous for relaxation and has lots of guesthouses. The town is similar to Theth, with massive peaks everywhere.
We stopped at a small local souvenir shop, which sells high-quality mountain tea, traditional handmade goods (scarves, socks, hats), and local honey. No one was at the stand, so I took a few things and left the money there.
Then, we headed to Guesthouse Kolgjoni! We had to cross the bedrock of the river to get there. If the river is flowing, you have to cross by boat. The guesthouse is made up of stone and wooden housing. There are two dining areas, a place where you can make a fire, and the Stone House Hotel. At the hotel, we met Kola and Bledar, who showed us the rooms. There are 11 rooms and 10 bathrooms in total.
I loved the stonework! The building was built in 1960 and was restored four years ago. The biggest room is at the top. There are four beds in that room and cabinets. There’s also an incredible view from the balcony.
Then, we went to see how they make some plum raki! It was good but very strong! I thought it would be weaker than grape raki! I saw where they ferment the plums for up to three weeks and then got to see the entire raki-making process! In the kitchen, they were making cheese, potatoes with cheese, a pie with noodles and cheese called pasticho, stuffed peppers with cream, cabbage salad, beef, yogurt, and more!
The dining room was warm and cozy. I couldn’t wait to eat some dairy! The pasticho was like a cheesy lasagna. I also loved the crunchy cabbage and cheesy potatoes. The beef was nice and fatty, and the creamy peppers were like peppers with sour cream. The crumbly cheese was also fantastic! Everything was farm-to-table and so good! Huge thanks to Erjan and my friends at Rental Car Albania for making this adventure possible!
If you liked coming with me to make raki in the Albanian Alps and visit attractions in Valbona, Albania, please give this video a thumbs up! Leave a comment below and please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!
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