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Driving the Road to Theth in Albania (2024): Is it safe?

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Are you planning to drive the road to Theth and wondering if it’s safe to drive? We’re answering all of your questions in this post.

The road to Theth in Albania is a scenic, winding route full of breathtaking views and dramatic landscapes. This road was recently completed in 2021 and now offers a safe journey to Theth for all types of vehicles.

Prior to this, the road was made of gravel, and the only way over the mountain pass was by hiring a 4×4 vehicle.

We visited Theth in May and were unsure of what the road would be like in our compact rental car. Luckily, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the road is well-paved and easy to drive on.

In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information and tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip to Theth.

Is the road to Theth open?

The road to Theth is open and was completed during the summer of 2021. The road is newly paved and well-maintained. It is a bit narrow, so you’ll have to stop to let people pass at certain points.

Along the road, there are several pullouts where you can stop and enjoy the amazing views. For the best panoramic views of the Albanian Alps, pull over at the top of the pass. There is a gravel parking lot, and you can see the entire valley from here.

As you near the top of the mountain pass, the switchbacks are narrow and frequent. We had to take it pretty slow as we made our way to the top because there are some sharp corners.

The road to Theth is open during the spring, summer, and fall. The owner of our guesthouse in Theth said the road is sometimes closed during the winter when there is a lot of snow. However, they do have plows and try to keep the road as clear as possible during the winter months.

Can you go to Theth in a normal car?

Yes, you can drive to Theth with a normal car since the road is now paved. We drove a two-wheel drive Hyundai Elantra from Shkoder to Theth, and we didn’t have any issues.

Once you get to Theth, the roads in the village are all well-maintained dirt roads. We were still able to get by without a problem in our car going up and down the dirt roads.

The road to the Blue Eye in Theth from the guesthouses is also paved now, so you will no longer need a 4×4 to drive there.

Do you need a 4×4 to get to Theth?

No, you do not need a 4×4 to get to Theth anymore. Prior to 2021, you did need a 4×4 to get up the mountain pass, but since the road is paved, you can drive a normal car to Theth.

Since the road was completed in 2021, the drive is quite smooth. There are small stretches of road, especially early on as you depart from Shkoder to Theth that are a bit bumpy. Think of a typical road that might be due for a fresh layer of pavement. You can still easily drive a two-wheel drive on these stretches of road.

Is it safe to drive to Theth?

Yes, it’s completely safe to drive to Theth in a normal car. If you do not feel comfortable driving around tight turns, then you may feel a little nervous. However, if you drive slowly, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Be aware that the road to Theth is quite narrow, especially as you wind up the mountain pass. For those of you who are used to American-sized roads, you might feel a bit squeezed. As oncoming traffic approaches, you’ll need to slow down and pull over to the side of the road, at times coming to a complete stop. Fortunately, there are frequent pull-outs along the road that you can use.

As you are driving up or down the mountain pass, you’ll want to be extra cautious on the switchbacks and allow for oncoming traffic to drive around corners before you do. Sometimes, you’ll really have to crane your neck to ensure the turn ahead is clear.

During the spring, summer, and fall the road is clear. There were several people working on the road to maintain it while we were visiting in May. Since it’s becoming such a popular tourist destination, the government seems to be putting more money into the road to make sure people can reach Theth village throughout the year.

How to get from Shkoder to Theth?

There are four ways to get from Shkoder to Theth: by car, minibus, taxi, or with a tour group. The drive takes around 2 hours in total without any stops.

Driving from Shkoder to Theth

The easiest and most convenient way to get from Shkoder to Theth is to rent a car and drive yourself. This will give you the most freedom and flexibility to see Theth on your own time.

Minibus to Theth

Taking the minibus to Theth from Shkoder is a great option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to get there. The minibus departs at 7 am every day and takes approximately 2 hours to reach Theth. The cost is around €10 euros per person each way.

The best way to get tickets for the bus is to ask your guesthouse or hotel in Shkoder to arrange your reservation in advance. During the high season (July and August), you’ll want to contact your hotel in advance to make sure you get a seat on the bus, as it gets extremely busy this time of year.

The bus back to Shkoder from Theth departs once daily at noon. Again, ask your guesthouse to arrange the tickets for you.

Taxi to Theth

If you’re looking for a more convenient and comfortable way to get from Shkoder to Theth without having to rent a car, then taking a taxi might be the best option.

The taxi ride takes 2 hours and costs around 150 euros. This can be booked in advance through your hotel or guesthouse in either city.

If you want the same taxi to take you back to Shkoder the next day, you will need to negotiate the price with them. Again, ask your guesthouse what they suggest doing.

Day Tour to Theth

The last option is to take a group day trip from Shkoder to Theth. Both of these day trips stop at the Grunas waterfall and Blue Eye in Theth.

Overall, the road to Theth is easy and safe with a normal car. Whether you choose to drive yourself or take public transportation such as the minibus or taxi, it’s now possible for anyone to reach this beautiful mountain village without needing a 4×4 vehicle.

If you’re looking for an incredible nature experience in Albania, then visiting Theth should be at the top of your list!

More information for your trip to Albania


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.

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 the best things to do in Berat, visiting Kruja, and things to do in 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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