“Waterfalls are exciting because they have power, they have rainbows, they have songs, and they have boldness and craziness!”
– Mehmet Murat ildan
Imagine a hike through an impressive valley, passing some crystal clear natural swimming pools before coming eye to eye with a wonderful waterfall tumbling into the bluest, or rather: greenest, water ever.
That is the hike from Theth to the blue eye. And it gets even better than that. When you are bold and crazy, just go for a swim in that beautiful, but oh so freezingly cold water! And why not spoil yourself with a lunch on a tree terrace (yeah, that’s right: a terrace in a tree, high above the blue eye) after your swim before heading back to Theth?
Scroll on for more photos and details of this hike and swim in the awesome Albanian mountains.
When you stay in the mountain village of Theth you will either have done the hike from Valbona to Theth or you have experienced an adventurous off-road trip by jeep from Shkodra. Both are experiences you will never forget, because they are special, adventurous and beautiful.
Theth is situated in a remote valley, surrounded by impressive mountains. There is no paved road towards or in the village so driving there with a “normal” car is definetely not a good idea. Coming by jeep is fantastic though, since jeep drivers often simply skip the bridge and just drive through the river itself to get into the village. Our driver did and that was pretty spectacular!
Let’s leave the cars and jeeps for what they are and let’s focus on the walk. Ask for the general direction to the blue eye (or use maps.me) and just follow the river. Make sure you walk with the river on your right side. That way you’ll follow a trail. The trail is far more varied and scenic than the road on the other side, where is used by 4×4 cars and jeeps. You will walk through a beautiful valley for more than an hour (nearly two actually) before you can cross the river over a broad bridge to enter the valley of the blue eye.
Keep following the road and soon you will come to a tiny little village called Nderlysaj where you can see a bar and a natural swimming pool on your left. You have to cross another river (or river bed in July/August) over a rather wobbly plank bridge to get to this bar. It’s a great place to take a break. The natural swimming pool here looks very inviting with its crystal clear blue water… but is very, very cold. I would advice you to just have a drink and a snack and to continue your hike after that.
From this point onwards the hike gets a little bit more serious and for people who do like walking, but are not keen on too long a walk, there is the option of taking a jeep from Theth till this point. From Nderlysaj the hike to the blue eye is less than an hour!
The walk gets even more beautiful now, probably because you know and feel that you are getting closer. Just before you reach the blue eye itself, you will find another natural swimming pool on your right with a sign that says: “hot water”. Well… everything is relative and although the water is far from hot, it certainly is much, much warmer than the water of the blue eye!
The blue eye
Reaching the blue eye is stunning, especially when you make sure to arrive before noon. The sun will make the water sparkle and its colour bluer than blue and greener than green and there are not that many tourists early in the day.
Despite the water being freezingly cold, many people go for a (short) swim. I did so too and according to my family I got some spontaneous applause from total strangers for doing so. My daughter thought it had something to do with me being a 40+ woman crazy and bold enough to dive into such cold water. Mmm…I take that as a compliment (I guess).
There is an improvised changing room, so no need to walk in your swimwear all the way.
The tree terrace
After your walk (and swim), climb up the long ladder to enjoy a well deserved lunch on one of the tree terraces with a view on the blue eye. The food is not the best you’ll get in Albania, but the view and location certainly are. A must-do according to me.
The view from the tree terrace
On the way back I suggest you take the opportunity to enjoy the unique and beautiful settings of the different natural swimming pools. The swim in the blue eye was definetely unique and beautiful, but also crazy and bold, which made me feel really, really good actually!
What bold and crazy thing have you recently done that has made you feel really good?