Escape from Tirana!
We love our Tirana so much, this vibrant town slowly becoming a city, we often forget that only 15 minutes away there is so much more to love and explore. Here is an ‘escape’ idea for just half a day.
I do this often with a friend. We escape the city and immerse ourselves in nature. I pull out my hiking boots & a backpack, get an apple and some water, put on some sunscreen, and off I go. It’s always best to take such trips in company.
Nature as welcoming and beautiful as it is, it’s also unforgiving, so always best to be in two or more. We get in the car and drive east towards Dajti Express, Tirana’s only cable car. There is plenty of parking at the start point and the return ticket is 800 lek (6.5euro).
Note: the cable car does not run on Tuesdays during winter months. Please confirm the schedule.
The ride up is quite pleasant, 15 minutes of nice views of Tirana, the coastline of Durres, and closeups of Dajti’s rock face.
There is a hiking trail for advanced hikers that goes straight up the rock face, underneath the gondola path… I have done this with some friends several years back, but definitely not planning on redoing it anytime soon.
As we reach the top our ears pop and the air quality improves dramatically. The temperatures up here are often a good 10 degrees less than Tirana so on a hot summer day this trip is a blessing but also year around it is wonderful as we get ourselves immersed into nature in such a short time.
We walk across the field and are faced with a close view of Mt. Dajti’s two peaks looking right at us. The red & white trail marks are visible at the far left of the abandoned 3 story building, a reminder of the communist era, once used as workers and students camp.
Many Tirana residents have had a few overnight trips to Dajti and stayed overnight at this building before 1990, now completely left forgotten and in ruin.
The trail is quite steep right off the bet and gets our lungs and circulation going and leaves us out of breath quite unexpectedly.
We follow the trail marks and find our pace walking towards the Cherri Pass or as locally knows “Qafa e Qershise”. This is a wooded area that adds to the freshness of the air and the scenery depending on what time of year it is.
The trail to the pass is approximately 50 minutes and at this point, one can choose whether to go left towards Tujani Peak or right to Dajti’s Peak. Recently some major antennas were taken off Tujani which makes the rest up there a lot nicer.
At the same time, the army has put some restrictions on the Dajti peak so most hikers tend to direct towards Tujani.
From the pass onwards, we walk on an unpaved road that was originally opened by the army, and its almost never driven.
After a good 90 minutes of walking uphill, we reach the peak which opens into a wonderful view of all the area north & northeast behind Mt. Dajti.
“Mali me Gropa” is right in front of us followed by Mt. Fagu in Shengjergj. “Rruga e Arberit” is being worked on, Brari Mountain on our left. It’s a wonderful opening stretching as far as the eye can see.
We realize yet again how so close to the big city lays another world, lays nature so vast and beautiful. A short rest and a snack while taking in the views are in order and slowly it’s time to head back.
Such a leisurely walk, is a form of meditation except we are in movement. Steady breath and steady step. The silence is priceless….
On the last stretch of our walk down, we discuss lunch options and yes, it sure would be great to stay up here a little while longer. We start heading back to the paved road, searching for a restaurant.
We pass by a few offering lamb and some more lamb and discovered one last one sitting beside a creek, turned into reservoir, where they cultivate trout. Nice change and something different up the mountain…
We enjoy our lunch & a glass of wine, our bodies happy with the move and fresh air and us feeling absolutely fulfilled with our choice for the day!!
Nature gives so much and we feel lucky we get to gift ourselves such precious times!
Everyone living in Tirana should experience this!