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Blue Eye in Theth, Albania: Hiking Guide + How to Get There (2024)

Are you planning to hike to the Blue Eye in Theth? We’re sharing all you need to know in this step-by-step guide.

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No trip to Theth is complete without hiking to the Blue Eye. Located in northern Albania, the Blue Eye in Theth is a natural spring that is a magnificent turquoise color. It’s surrounded by lush landscapes and clear blue rivers making it one of the best hikes in the area.

The hike can be done in two ways. You can either start in Theth village and make the 6-7 hour round-trip hike through Theth valley. With this option, you can also add on a visit to the Grunas waterfall.

The second option is to drive to Nderlysaj village and start the hike from there. This only takes 1.5-2 hours round-trip.

When we visited Theth National Park in May, we opted to drive to Nderlysaj and start the hike from there in order to save time for other activities. Both options offer stunning scenery, so whatever option you choose depends on how much time you have in Theth and how much hiking you want to do.

In this guide, we cover all you need to know about hiking to the Blue Eye in Theth, including adding on the Grunas waterfall to your hike and how to best plan your day.

Hike Option #1: Theth Village to Blue Eye

Blue Eye Hike

While there are so many amazing things to do in Theth, hiking to the Blue Eye is one of our favorite activities. With endless panoramic views, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.

The first option is to hike from Theth village. You’ll need to plan on a minimum of 7 hours round-trip for this long hike, if not more. This is the best option if you do not have a car.

If you choose this option, we suggest leaving earlier in the morning (around 7-8am) in order to beat the crowds and avoid the heat of the day.

Hike info:

  • Starting point: Church of Theth
  • End Point: Blue Eye
  • Distance: ~18km (11 miles) round-trip
  • Time to hike to the Blue Eye: 3 hours one-way, 7 hours round-trip (this includes an extra hour for stops and time at the Blue Eye)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Map of Blue Eye Trail

We suggest using the offline maps app, Maps.Me, for the hike to the Blue Eye in Theth. It has the most up-to-date and accurate route, plus you can download the map for offline use before heading out on the trail.

Theth Village to Nderlysaj

Trail to Grunas waterfall on the way to the Blue Eye

Start the hike from your guesthouse or from the church in Theth village. From here, you’ll follow along the dirt path on the left side of the river.

You can also hike on the main road on the right side of the river; however, you’ll have to watch out for cars and it’s not as scenic as following the actual trail.

Follow the red and white markers that are clearly indicated along the trail. Finally, when you arrive at a field, follow the sign that points to the town of Nderlysaj. You’ll cross a bridge and make it to this small village with a couple of cafes and restaurants.

Bridge crossing into Nderlysaj village

If you need to fill up your water bottle or purchase more water, make sure to do it in Nderlysaj before heading up to the Blue Eye. You can purchase drinks and water at the Blue Eye, but there aren’t any other points along the way to get water.

In total, it should take you about 1.5 – 2 hours to make it to Nderlysaj from Theth village. This part of the hike is pretty flat and is easy to follow.

Nderlysaj to the Blue Eye Theth

Amazing views of Albania’s Accursed Mountains

Once you reach the village of Nderlysaj, you follow a simple dirt path up the mountain. This is the most strenuous part of the hike, as it’s an uphill climb for about 45 minutes.

As you make your way up the mountain, don’t forget to turn around and take in the incredible views of the canyon and Accursed Mountains. The views on this hike are breathtaking.

Sign to the Blue Eye or “Syri Kalter”

Near the top of the hike, you’ll reach a bridge with a sign that says “Blue Eye”. Cross the bridge, pass the house on the left, and follow the trail until you finally get to an opening with stunning views of the Blue Eye.

You can attempt to swim in the pool, but be prepared – it’s really cold.

Across the river is a cafe that you can climb up to and enjoy a bite to eat or a drink.

Blue Eye back to Theth

You can either take the same trail back to Theth or follow along the road instead. They both take about the same time.

We’d suggest taking the trail back to Theth village, as you are in nature the whole time instead of walking along a main road.

Adding on the Grunas Waterfall

Grunas waterfall

If you are hiking from Theth village to the Blue Eye, you have the option to add on the Grunas waterfall to your hike.

This adds an additional 30-minutes to your hike (one-way) and is an extra 0.4 miles (0.6km).

To get to the waterfall, you’ll follow the same dirt path along the river, cross the red bridge, and make your way up until you turn left to go towards the waterfall.

The best way to get there is to download the route on Maps.Me before your hike. It clearly marks where you should go.

Hike Option #2: Drive to the Blue Eye

The road to the Blue Eye

The second, and much faster, option is to drive to Nderlysaj from Theth and then hike up to the Blue Eye from there. The drive takes about 15 minutes each way on a paved road, and you can park in the gravel parking lot across the river from Nderlysaj.

Hike info:

  • Starting point: Nderlysaj
  • End Point: Blue Eye
  • Distance: ~5.8km (3.6 miles) round-trip
  • Time to hike to the Blue Eye: 45-60 minutes one-way, 2 hours round-trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
The parking lot across from Nderlysaj village

From Nderlysaj, follow the trail up the canyon until you reach the bridge that leads to the Blue Eye. It’s a single trail that is very easy to follow.

Once you’re at the Blue Eye, you can attempt to swim in the freezing water, or pack a picnic and relax on the shore further down the river. Again, there is a cafe up above the Blue Eye where you can purchase snacks and drinks.

Amazing turquoise water at the Blue Eye

On the way back down, admire the incredible views of the valley below and stop to check out the waterfalls in Nderlysaj.

Incredible waterfalls in Nderlysaj village

This option is much faster and shouldn’t take more than 2-3 hours depending on how much time you spend at the Blue Eye. If you have limited time, or simply want to spend the rest of your day doing another activity, this is the way to go.

Are you planning to drive to Theth from Shkoder? Check out our post on driving the road to Theth.

Hiring a 4×4 if you don’t have a car

Our car parked across from Nderlysaj

If you don’t have a car in Theth and still want to drive to Nderlysaj for the Blue Eye hike, then you can rent a 4×4 in town to take you down and back. Your guesthouse can also arrange this for you.

This costs around 6,000-7,000 Lek ($60-$70) to hire someone to drive you round-trip. It’s much more expensive, but it’s a good alternative if you prefer to drive.

Can you swim at the Blue Eye in Theth?

The beautiful Blue Eye

Yes, you can swim at the Blue Eye in Theth. Beware, the water is quite chilly, but most people come in their swimsuits for a chance to try it out anyways!

You can swim in both the pool and in the river below the Blue Eye.

Can you eat at the Blue Eye?

Views of the river on the hike

Yes, there is a cafe at the top of the hike just above the Blue Eye. They serve basic snacks and drinks, but don’t count on it for a full meal.

If you’re wanting to eat a proper meal, then it’s best to eat at one of the restaurants in Nderlysaj before or after making the final ascent up to the Blue Eye. There are a lot more options here.

You can also pack a picnic lunch and eat it on the banks of the river near the Blue Eye. We did this and it was a perfect, quiet spot to enjoy eat and enjoy nature.

There is a small market in the center of Theth where you can pick up food; however, it’s a bit pricey, so you may want to shop for lunch food and snacks in Shkoder before heading to Theth.

When is the best time to hike to the Blue Eye in Theth?

View of Nderlysaj village on the trail

The best time to hike to the Blue Eye in Theth without the crowds is in the spring and fall (May/June or September/October). We did the hike in May and the temperature was moderate with a bit of cloud cover, which is perfect for hiking.

Additionally, there were only a few people on the trail, so we practically had the Blue Eye to ourselves.

If you prefer to swim and enjoy the river, then the months of July, August, and September are the best time to hike to the Blue Eye. This is the hottest time of the year, with average temperatures in the low 80°F (27°C) and a lot of sunshine.

What to bring on your hike?

A precarious bridge leading to the cafe at the Blue Eye
  • Water bottle – You can refill your water bottle at the fountain in Nderlysaj, or purchase a new bottle of water at a restaurant or cafe in the village.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat – There isn’t a ton of shade on the trail, so make sure you’re prepared.
  • Snacks / Picnic lunch – Pack some snacks for the journey or a picnic lunch if you do not want to purchase food. There are restaurants in Nderlysaj and a cafe at the Blue Eye.
  • Hiking boots – Wear sturdy hiking shoes, as the trail is rocky and uneven.
  • Cash – Bring enough cash if you plan to buy any food or snacks.
  • Swimsuit – Wear or bring a swimsuit if you plan to swim at the Blue Eye.

More Information for your Albania Trip

Southern Albania

KSAMIL: Planning to head down south to the beaches? Check out our post on the Best Things to do in Ksamil and discover the 13 Best Beaches in Ksamil. Make sure to visit the Blue Eye on a day trip from Ksamil as well.

HIMARE: Read about the most incredible Beaches in Himare and the top Things to do in Himare to help plan your trip to the Albanian Riviera.

GJIROKASTER: This historic city is well worth a visit. Read our post on the best things to do in Gjirokaster to help plan your day in this town.

Northern Albania

FROM TIRANA: Check out our guides on BeratKruja, and Durres, which are all great day trips from Tirana, or worth visiting on their own.

Albania Travel Planning Guide

Albania Travel Insurance – Should you get travel insurance for Albania? YES! We always get travel insurance before all of our trips for peace of mind. Check out Travel Insurance Master to find the best plan for you.

Albania Rental Cars – Is it safe to rent a car in Albania? Yes! We rented a car in Albania for one month and it is the best way to see the country. We rented our car through Discover Cars (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling.

Albania Phone Plans – If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in Albania, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used Airalo during our trip to Albania, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. We even had to rely on it for data to get some work done, and it worked great!

Albania Hotels – Wondering where to book your accommodations for Albania? We booked all of our hotels through Booking. All of the hotels were responsive through the messaging tool, and there are endless options to choose from. Note – some hotels in Albania require you to pay in cash. Make sure to message the hotel in advance to be prepared with the correct form of payment.

Drinking Water in Albania – Wondering if you can drink the tap water in Albania? We were advised to not drink the water by our hotels, so we ended up buying bottled water instead.

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