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If you’re visiting Theth, you’re surely going to do some hikes. One of the most popular destinations from this small mountain town is the Blue Eye.
One of the things that I love about Theth is there are no tours, guides, agencies, or anything else. You’re on your own to hike to the Blue Eye, but don’t worry. These directions have you covered!
Before you begin, here’s some quick info about the hike.
Distance: 12.7 miles (but we got lost for a bit so you can probably cut one or two off that)
Time: 7 hours (but again, we did get lost for about one of those…)
Difficulty: Moderate. The last 45 minutes of the hike to the Blue Eye are mostly uphill.
Here’s what you can expect and use as a rough timeline for your own hike to the Blue Eye from Theth. I’m a pretty average hiker so you can decide for yourself if you think your pace will be faster, slower or just the same as this one.
7:45 am – leave the guesthouse
9:15 am – arrive at the bridge/town of Nderlysaj
10:30 am – arrive at the Blue Eye
11:30 am – leave the Blue Eye
2:45 pm – return to the guesthouse
How to Hike to the Blue Eye of Theth
First things first: if you’re starting from Theth, the other blog posts with directions on how to hike to the Blue Eye won’t be any help if they start with driving to the town of Nderlysaj. From here, they start the hike on the opposite side that you will arrive in, and the directions will just leave you confused (like they did to me).
SO if you’re driving to the town of Nderlysaj, this post isn’t for you. But, if you start your hike to the Blue Eye in the town of Theth, these steps will get you there!
Step 1. Which Side of the River Should You Start On?
There are two ways to hike to the Blue Eye in Theth. You can start on the left side of the river (the side that the entire town of Theth is on) or follow the road on the right side of the river.
We stayed in town at Guesthouse Pashko, so we hiked to the Blue Eye on the left side. We did come back on the other side but I strongly prefer the left side of the river for a few reasons.
First, it’s a trail instead of a road, so it has more shade, there are no cars, and it’s more of a hike than just a walk down a road. Second, the town of Theth is spread out really far along the river, but there’s only one bridge (located by the tourism office). If you’re not staying by this bridge, you will have to walk up to a mile out of your way just to cross over to the town side when you return , and then retrace your steps all the way back to your guesthouse… not ideal!
Step 2. Finding the Bridge
So, you started your walk on the left side (Theth side) of the river, which means eventually you’ll need to cross it. Simply follow the trail and the red and white trail markers and don’t second-guess yourself. At one point you’ll come to a field with a few different options, but a rock is clearly labeled with the town name of Nderlysaj and an arrow pointing you the right way.
I am an average hiker in every way, and it took us 1.5 hours of walking to reach the bridge. Here, we crossed and found ourselves in the tiny town of Nderlysaj.
Step 3. Walking Through the Town of Nderlysaj
Once you cross the bridge, the town of Nderlysaj will be on your left. The easiest way to get through it is to begin following the gravel road to the left (basically, continuing along the water) instead of continuing straight into the town.
If you go through the town, the road will end and you will begin walking on paths, through fields, over gates, and past houses before you eventually pop out on the gravel road again. It’s a little more interesting but also much easier to get lost.
Step 4. Up Into the Mountains
The gravel road will quickly lead you away towards the mountains behind the town. Here it’ll turn into a trail and soon start to go uphill. This is the most difficult part of the hike in my opinion, but the view of the mountains is really beautiful.
There were two times that the trail seemed to split and I was kind of confused, but if you just keep to the right both times you’ll be fine. After about 45 minutes to an hour you’ll come to the third and final trail split, with a well marked sign announcing a guesthouse and restaurant and pointing you down to the Blue Eye. You really can’t miss it.
Step 5. Go for a Swim!
Or not, because the water is freezing.
One of the perks about leaving Theth at 7:45 is that we were the first hikers to arrive at the Blue Eye. While we sat down at the cafe for a snack, a few more families and groups began to come in as well, but we had it all to ourselves for a bit. Even if you’re not brave enough to jump in, it’s still a great photo opportunity.
Step 6. Return the Way You Came
Here’s where we made a mistake. Once we got back to the town of Nderlysaj, we decided to walk down the road instead of cross the bridge over the river and go back on the trail that we came out on. The road has almost zero shade when the sun is overhead and the heat was brutal.
Luckily, there were springs on the side to refill our bottles (this water is clean and drinkable), but besides that it wasn’t really an enjoyable walk. Plus, the road split and we decided to go down instead of up (the wrong choice) and ended up going about 20 minutes out of the way before we realized our mistake and had to double back.
I also felt like the road has more uphill on the way back than the trail, but I also just could have been tired and grumpy. If your guesthouse isn’t near the one bridge in Theth, definitely make sure you cross back across the bridge in Nderlysaj and hike back on the Theth side of the river or you will regret it.
Use These Steps to Hike to The Blue Eye in Theth
The hike to the Blue Eye in Theth is one of the most popular routes for a reason. It’s just tough enough to feel rewarding, but the 12 miles won’t leave you totally exhausted. Plus, the destination itself is pretty beautiful.
If you’re planning to hike from Theth to Valbona or Valbona to Theth, consider sticking an extra day into your itinerary to hike to the Blue Eye as well. I definitely think it’s worth the walk!
This is part two in a six-part Albania Series. Read the rest below!
How to Hike to the Blue Eye of Theth [Part 2 – you are here]
How to Hike from Theth to Valbona Peak (and Back Again) [Part 3 – read me next!]
Shkoder, Albania Travel Guide [Part 4]