Complete Maja Rosit Hike Guide, Valbona (Albania’s Prettiest Hike)

Maja Rosit is hands-down the prettiest hike in Albania and easily my favourite hike in the Albanian Alps. The Maja Rosit trail starts off in Valbona Valley National Park, then crosses the border into Montenegro’s Prokletije National Park.

The Valbona-Theth hike is the main trail in Albania that gets all the hype, however other hikes like Maja Rosit are slowly starting to gain traction. Add this one to your bucket list before the crowds catch wind!

In this guide I’ll go over important hiking information for the Albanian Alps, where to stay in Valbona, how to get to the Maja Rosit trailhead, plus everything you need to know about the trail itself.

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~ Taylor ♡

I’ve created a map of Albania equipped with 200+ pinned locations including:

  • Hiking trails, national parks, caves, waterfalls & beaches
  • Historical, cultural & religious sites
  • Lodging options, restaurant recommendations & transit hubs
  • Main points of interest, big cities, beach towns and mountain villages

Each pin has photos, a description, direct booking links, and external itineraries (when applicable).

The map is downloadable to Google Maps on your phone and was designed to be a digital tour guide when you’re on-the-go.

This map has all of Albania’s best and will save you loads of pre-travel research time.

Travel Insurance: ALWAYS purchase reliable travel insurance before your trip. This insurance is trusted by backpackers and adventure sport enthusiasts around the world. You can also use my link to receive 5% off SafetyWing policies. Here’s a blog post with more trustworthy travel insurance options you can compare.

Currency: Albanian LEK (aka ALL). This is a closed currency so you’ll need to wait until you’re in Albania to exchange $.

Transportation: to enter the country you can find 1 international airport in Tirana, 1 port in Saranda (daily ferry arrivals/departures to Corfu, Greece), and a bus line from Montenegro. Buses are very cheap here, but unreliable. Driving is chaotic, I’d recommend sticking to buses. There are no trains within the country.

Phone: purchase a local SIM card from Vodafone – the plans are cheap and they include lots of data, however international minutes are typically not available.

Language: Albanian, however you can get by with English. Google translate is recommended for smaller cities/villages.

Helpful Info: don’t drink the tap water or bring a purifying bottle like this one. Bring an international travel adapter, and notify your bank before travelling.

Purchase my Albania map which is downloadable to google maps on your phone. It has 200+ pinned locations around the country – all available at your fingertips.

Albania is one of the last “undiscovered” countries in Europe. Plan your trip while prices & tourism levels are low!

Tips for Hiking the Albanian Alps

Maja Rosit Hike, Valbuena
Morning light on the Maja Rosit Hike

For most people, hiking in Albania is foreign territory. These tips should answer any questions you may have about hiking in this “unexplored” region of Europe:

  • Hiking season runs from May-Oct, although the cooler temps & changing colours make May-mid June and September ideal months to visit.
  • Water sources are limited on any trail, especially in the summer when sources dry up. Ensure you plan appropriately and pack lots of water. I always recommend bringing minimum 2L in a Hydrapak.
  • If you stick to the popular hikes, trails are generally well-marked and easy to follow.
  • The ideal length of time to spend hiking in the Albanian Alps is 3-4 nights (unless you want to explore more trails).
  • There are no shopping markets in the alps. Bring your own food or plan to eat at the local guesthouses.
  • Take advantage of your guesthouse’s packed lunch options if you want to get an early start hiking.
  • You don’t need a guide in the alps, however I’ve linked some great tours in the section below.
  • Solo hiking is totally safe here granted you stick to the main trails and feel comfortable hiking alone.
  • I had a local SIM card and had cell service throughout mainly all of Valbona and theth. Wifi at the guesthouses is typically standard.
  • Hiking in summer is HOT. Wear breathable clothes, a full-coverage hat, and wear sunscreen.
  • Get an early start to beat the heat. I started hiking at 5am every day, but by afternoon (at elevation) the mountains reached 35 degrees celsius in July.
  • Bring lots of cash! You won’t be able to use card in the alps. No card = no food.

Aside from Maja Rosit, the Theth to Valbona hike is very popular and is the best way to get from Valbona to Theth.

Albanian Alps Tours

Albanian Alps hiking

Trekking in unknown territory, planning multiple days in the alps, and spending extended time in nature can be intimating. Booking a tour takes away the stress and the “unknown” aspects of venturing out into the mountains. Rather than focusing on logistics and planning, booking a tour allows you to just experience the fun stuff without the worry!

Here are my top recommendations for Albanian Alps tours:

  • This Jeep tour is the perfect way to experience Theth in 1 day. This tour will bring you to Theth from Shkoder and back in the same day. It showcases all the highlights of the park; Grunas waterfall, the rolling countryside, and the Blue Eye.
  • If you’re coming from Tirana and want a full taste of the Alps (including Komani Lake, Valbona, Theth, and Shkoder highlights), check out the 6 day tour listed on this page.
  • If you’re looking for something a little more wild and extreme, check out this multi-day trek through the Peaks of the Balkans. This is one of the most famous hikes in Eastern Europe and the trail crosses through 3 countries; Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo.

How to get to Valbona

Hiking trails in Valbona Valley National Park
Valbona Valley National Park

Valbona is one of the more “tricky” places to access in Albania, but rest assured – the area is set up for tourism. In short, you’ll need to catch a ferry across Komani Lake which will bring you to Fierza. From here you’ll catch a minibus to Valbona. If you’d like to get from Valbona to Theth, you’ll have to embark on the most famous hike through the Albanian Alps.

The Komani Lake ferry page now has pickups available to book from Shkoder and Tirana to the ferry terminal (Shkoder being the easiest access point). You can also book your transportation to/from Fierza and Theth online. Formerly, this booking process was done solely by the local hostels and guesthouses.

If you’re wondering where all these places are, I have them marked on my downloadable map of Albania.

As Albania becomes more and more popular, I’d recommend booking your Komani Lake ferry ticket in advance. If you plan to travel with a car, ensure you make this booking plenty of time ahead.

ps – if you’re not pressed for time, I’d recommend detouring off Komani Lake and spending a night on the Shala River.

Looking for more information about the Albania Alps? Check out my Hiker’s Guide to the Albanian Alps.

Where to Stay in Valbona

Valbona Valley National Park, Albania

About the Maja Rosit Hike

  • Distance: 16.1kms
  • Elevation: 1,1600m
  • Type of Trail: out & back
  • Rated: hard
  • Estimated Time: 6-8hrs

The map below goes to Rosni summit. I opted to go as far as the pass – the statistic above are to/from the pass only.

The entire Maja Rosit hike follows a scramble route up to Rosni Peak. In this guide I’ll only be talking about the pass. If you’d like more information regarding the full scramblers route, you can speak with the locals in town.

The Maja Rosit trail passes through a few guest houses early on, then starts to quickly gain elevation. The elevation gain is fairly steep and continues steady up until the pass – there are no “breaks.” You’ll be very exposed to the elements on the Maja Rosit hike, so proper sun protection is a must.

There are no water sources along the Maja Rosit hike, so I recommend carrying minimum 2L – I hiked in July and ran out of water at the pass which is why I couldn’t continue on to the summit.

Currently (as of summer 2023) the Maja Rosit hike sees very low traffic – I only saw two other people the entire day I hiked. I imagine this hike will become much more popular as time progresses.

There are markers along the trail, but they are fairly confusing so I recommend Alltrails+ which allows you to download offline maps. Cell phone service can be spotty up here, so having the ability to download the trail map is super helpful.

At the pass, the Maja Rosit trail crosses the border into Montenegro’s Prokletije National Park where you’ll find epic mountain views and vibrant wildflowers if you visit in July.

What to Expect Along the Maja Rosit Hike

Maja Rosit Hike to Montenegro
Maja Rosit Hike (pass looking into Montenegro)

The Maja Rosit trail starts here, ventures through the forest, then passes by a couple guesthouses (Hotel Rosi and Guesthouse Kukaj) which commonly have cute pups and cows running around.

Quickly after the guesthouse, you’ll find a meadow with a wicked view of a handful of mountains; Maja Ete and Maja Eles being the show stoppers. If you’re able to get here in the early hours of the morning, the sun lights up these faces beautifully and it’s a great spot for breakfast. For timing purposes, this point of the trail is approx 3kms with 250m gain in.

Maja Rosit Hike in Valbona
Guesthouses along the Maja Rosit Hike
Maja Rosit Hike to Montenegro
Breakfast spot by the meadow

After this the trail relentlessly climbs uphill through various forested and open sections. The higher you climb the more the scenery opens up of Valbona Valley below you. You may see various cows roaming about and the trail is easy to spot as it’s packed down.

The 360 degree mountain scenery and the greenery here made me feel like I was hiking through the French or Italian Alps. Who knew Albania had mountains like this – let alone alps! This section of mountains is commonly referred to as the “Accursed Mountains.”

Maja Rosit Hike in Albania
Views along the Maja Rosit Hike

The closer you get to the pass, the more the trail will break off and go in different directions. There are many other unmaintained trails around here. I recommend downloading the Alltrails map so you can track your location and ensure you’re going the right way.

There’s one notably important intersection where the trail splits – one way to Maja Rosit, the other to Jezerca. This area is marked by rocks displaying names and arrows. Go in the direction of “Rosi.”

Maja Rosit to Jezerca trail intersection
Trail Markers

After this point you’ll hike around the peak you just walked up to. Approx 1km later you’ll venture left off the main trail toward the pass. With 30m more of elevation you’ll be up at the pass.

Maja Rosit Hike in Albania
Views into Montenegro from the pass on Maja Rosit

After this, head back down the exact same way you came up or venture up the scramble route for Rosni Peak (for experienced hikers only).

What to Wear Hiking in Albania

If you’re hiking the Maja Rosit trail in July/August, you won’t need to wear – or pack – much. The scorching temperatures will actually probably make you wish you were naked.

I wore a T-shirt, long spandex shorts, sturdy hiking boots, and a hat when I completed the hike. Any form of light, flowy, athletic clothing will do though. For nighttime you’ll want to bring a light sweater and a pair of shoes to change into; sandals or crocs (my personal fav) are best. And ALWAYS pack an extra pair of socks and underwear.

Make sure you have some form of sturdy shoes for the hike itself and bring lots of sunscreen. I packed all my gear into a 24L pack + 15L dry bag. I was in the alps for 6 nights though. You could easily get away with just a 24L bag if you’re breezing in and out within a few nights.

A jacket is not necessary unless you’re visiting in the shoulder seasons; you’ll be hard-pressed to find rain in the Balkans in the dead of summer. If you’re visiting prior to mid-June or after late August pay close attention to weather and plan accordingly.

With that being said, if you hike in spring or fall, plan to wear pants and a long sleeve. Bring a mid layer and a light waterproof jacket. At the end of the day, use common sense, check weather reports, and understand what your body needs in whatever temperature you’ll be hiking in.

Maja Rosit Hike, Valbona

I’ve created a map of Albania equipped with 200+ pinned locations including:

  • Hiking trails, national parks, caves, waterfalls & beaches
  • Historical, cultural & religious sites
  • Lodging options, restaurant recommendations & transit hubs
  • Main points of interest, big cities, beach towns and mountain villages

Each pin has photos, a description, direct booking links, and external itineraries (when applicable).

The map is downloadable to Google Maps on your phone and was designed to be a digital tour guide when you’re on-the-go.

This map has all of Albania’s best and will save you loads of pre-travel research time.

Happy adventuring!

Taylor ♡

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About The Author

HI, I’m Taylor – the voice behind The Holistic Backpacker.

After moving to Banff National Park in 2020 I became an outdoor adventure enthusiast and vowed to never stop exploring.

I now spend my days travelling the world, climbing mountains, and spending nights under the stars in the Canadian Rockies backcountry.

I created The Holistic Backpacker so I could share my adventures and help connect people like you with the same amazing experiences.


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