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One of the most popular hiking destinations in Theth National Park is the Blue Eye of Theth.
This photogenic swimming hole is buried in the forests of Albania’s Accursed Mountains and is the perfect reward after a long hike from Theth. Besides the trek to Valbona Peak, the Blue Eye hike is highlight of Theth and a must for every Northern Albania itinerary.
If you’re ready to see it for yourself, this guide will get you there in five easy steps.
Before you begin, though, here’s some quick info about the hike to the Blue Eye of Theth that you need to know before you go:
Distance: 12.7 miles from Theth to the Blue Eye and back (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.
(By the way, the Theth Blue Eye isn’t the only Blue Eye in Albania. There’s another more well-known one called the Syri i Kaltër Blue Eye near Muzine but this guide will lead you to the Blue Eye of Theth in the Northern part of the country.)
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The Blue Eye of Theth in all its glory – follow this guide to get there!
Blue Eye Albania Itinerary
Here’s what you can expect and use as a rough timeline for your own hike from Theth to the Blue Eye.
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 our guesthouse in Theth
- 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 our guesthouse
How to Hike to the Blue Eye of Theth (in 5 Easy Steps)
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 five simple steps will get you there!
Looking back at Theth on our hike to the Blue Eye – start your trek early because everything is more beautiful in the golden morning light
Step 1. Which Side of the River Should You Start Your Theth Blue Eye Hike 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 in Theth so we hiked to the Blue Eye on the left side.
We came back on the other side and since I tried both route I can definitely say I strongly prefer hiking to the Blue Eye of Theth on the left side of the river for a few reasons.
First, you’ll be on 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 Theth 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!
Theth River – you’ll follow alongside this at the start of your trek before crossing it at the town of Nderlysaj
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 from Theth to reach the bridge. Here, we crossed and found ourselves in the tiny town of Nderlysaj.
Looking down at the river as we hiked to the Blue Eye in Albania’s Accursed Mountains (the bridge in this photo is obscured by the bend in the river)
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.
We went the path way instead of the road way and were a bit confused for awhile before popping back out onto the gravel road again. This pic is looking back at the way we had just come from
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 of Theth – you made it!
Looking back at the valley after starting our climb up into the Albanian Mountains – to say the views on the Theth to Blue Eye hike were fab would be an understatement!
Step 5. Go for a Swim!
Or not, because the water is freezing.
One of the perks about leaving Theth at 7:45 in the morning is that we were the first hikers to arrive at the Blue Eye.
While we sat down at the Blue Eye restaurant 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 and swim in the Blue Eye of Theth, it’s still a great photo opportunity.
A little cafe has tables and platforms alongside the Blue Eye and up in the trees, so it’s a great place to grab a cold drink or a snack and enjoy the view.
Step 6. Return the Way You Came
Here’s where we made our big mistake on our hike from the Blue Eye back to Theth.
Once we got back to the town of Nderlysaj, we decided to walk down the road instead of crossing the bridge over the river and going back on the trail that we came out on.
We quickly found out that 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 (and even if it is), 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 just like I did!
Ok, one perk of hiking back on the road side instead of the trail side is that you’ll get this insanely beautiful view. Otherwise, don’t do it!
What to Pack for Your Blye Eye Hike
12 miles is no joke and you should always head into the mountains prepared. I recommend packing a small day pack with:
- A large water bottle
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Layers like a light jacket or sweatshirt
- Sturdy hiking boots
- A packed lunch
- Cash for more snacks at the Blye Eye restaurant
This is the hiking gear I can’t live without:
|TimberlanD Women's White LeDge MiD Ankle Boot,Dark Brown,7.5 M US||Prime||Buy Now|
|Vibrant All in ONE Travel Mug - Tea Infuser Bottle with 2 Piece Steeper Strainer MESH Filter - Insulated HOT Coffee Thermos - Cold Fruit Infused Water Leak Proof Double Wall Stainless Steel 16.9 oz||Prime||Buy Now|
|Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 100+, 3 fl. oz||Prime||Buy Now|
|Osprey Packs Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack, Jasper Red, Small/Medium||Prime||Buy Now|
Use These Steps to Hike to the Blue Eye of Theth
The hike to Albania’s 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 of Theth as well. I definitely think it’s worth the walk!
Ready to go?
Then, join our new Sustainable Hiking Collective on Facebook to connect with the international hiking community, discover new destinations, join virtual trail cleanups, and take part in monthly sustainability challenges.
This article is part of the Alluring Albania series. Read the rest below:
The, explore the complete Albania series for more tips on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in the country.
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