Whether you are yearning for the warm caress of a thermal spring or the cold embrace of a mountain stream, both sensations may be found within stunning Lengarica Canyon located in Albania’s wild south. Catering to spa-lovers and thrill-seekers alike, the gorge presents itself as an exhilerating travel destination far off the typical tourist trail.
Few natural formations compare to the primeval allure canyons exude. Created by a primordial force grinding away at the bare rock, layer by layer, grain by grain, over unending millennia until the land has been changed irreversibly by the flow of elements. They hold a grandeur seldom witnessed on this planet.
Lengarica Canyon is no different.
Hailed by locals for the alleged healing properties of the thermal baths sprinkled about the gorge’s entrance, behind the sulphuric wafts rising from the ground, looming scarps slowly swallow azure skies and herald an untouched realm full of adventures.
Beyond the picturesque Ottoman stone bridge of Ura e Kadiut and the appealing warmth of the hot springs, those venturing towards the far reaches of Lengarica will discover hidden hollows, pristine pools, and colliding cliffs. As the canyon twists and turns, explorers will find themselves on a thrilling journey, wading through rivers, climbing boulders, and jumping into crystal clear waters.
Without a doubt, Lengarica Canyon provides the perfect playground for all those in search for an epic Albanian adventure.
Just make sure to rock up in your favourite swim trunks!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
| Lengarica Canyon is located near the village of Përmet in the far south of the country (roughly 1 1/2 hours from Gjirokastër). As far as I know, there are no direct buses to the gorge, so once in Përmet, you will have to arrange private transport or hitchhike the remainder of the way (always a feasible option in Albania).
| The total length of Lengarica Canyon is roughly 4 kilometres. Once you reach the end of the gorge, you can either head back the way you came, or climb to the top and hike back. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go further than a kilometre, so I can’t say what kind of obstacles may lie ahead (or how deep the water might get). Thus, make sure to schedule ample time if you want to explore Lengarica in its entirety.
| Bring your swimsuit! Not only will you want to relax in the thermal springs, but it will also be essential for further exploration of the canyon. Some crossings were only knee-deep, while others measured waist-high. At some point we had to carry our bags above our heads, so keep that in mind if you plan on going beyond the hot springs.
| Beware of flash floods! Always watch the forecast and do not enter the canyon if there is possibility of rain, or after heavy rainfall.
| There are a total of six hot springs scattered across the first few hundred metres of the canyon. You will find the nicest one half a kilometre into the gorge up the slope on the right-hand side.
| It is possible to camp at the entrance of the canyon (either with a van or a tent).