Visiting Blue Eye Theth as part of a 10 day itinerary for north Albania

Hiking to the Blue Eye in Theth: Everything you need to know

Hiking to the Blue Eye in Theth is a must-do activity if you are visiting Theth National Park. It truly is a wonder of nature, with crystal clear blue waters created by the melting ice which flows down from the mountains. The hike is moderate and can take anything from a couple of hours, if you drive to the start of the trail, or a whole day if you decide to walk from the village of Theth.

However be warned that the path is often inaccessible due to snow until early May. So check the weather in advance if you are visiting out of season. If you’re trying to decide when is the best time to visit Albania, this guide may help.

Is the hike to the Blue Eye worth it?

The hike to the Blue Eye is 100% worth it and I really would recommend including it in an itinerary for north Albania. When you travel a lot you often come across places which don’t live up to the hype, or the Instagramable photos you’ve seen online. But this really isn’t one of those cases. Rounding the corner and seeing the Blue Eye for the first time took my breath away.

Hiking to the Blue Eye Theth

If you don’t have much time, you can drive to the start of the trail and at a brisk walk you could do the hike in 45 minutes each way. However I would recommend spending some time there if you can. There is something really special about sitting on the sandy bank with your toes dipped in the icy water.

Can you swim in the Blue Eye Theth?

Yes, you can definitely swim in the Blue Eye Theth, but be prepared for the chill! We visited in April (in an unseasonably warm year) so it was a bit cold for us to swim, but we enjoyed an invigorating paddle. I imagine on a very hot day it is lovely and refreshing. 

Paddling in the Blue Eye Theth

While it was very quiet when we visited, with just a few other people around, in the summer it does get very busy. So set off early if you’d prefer to avoid the crowds.

How far is the Blue Eye from Theth?

It’s possible to walk to the Blue Eye from Theth itself, which is an 18km/11 mile round trip. There is an information centre in the village where staff can help to direct you.

However, if you would prefer a shorter two hour round trip (about 4.8km/3 miles) you can drive to the start of the trail at Nderlysaj. There is a free carpark and two small restaurants here. This is what we decided to do.

Be warned, the hike is not very well marked and involves quite a lot of scrambling over rocks. It also gets very hot, as there isn’t much shade along the way. So make sure you go prepared with plenty of water and sun protection.

Hiking to the Blue Eye in Theth with kids

As we travelled around Albania with kids we did the hike to the Blue Eye in Theth with our two little adventurers who are three and six. They are both pretty confident hikers, which helped, as there are sections of rocks to clamber over. However, it’s worth being aware that many of the paths are fairly narrow, with steep drops, so make sure your children walk close to you and don’t run ahead on the trail. 

If you have a toddler it may also be worth considering taking a carrier for some parts. We took our Osprey Poco LT Child Carrier and carried the three-year-old on sections which were more challenging.

The hike takes about an hour in each direction, walking at a steady place. It does get hot along the way, as there are areas without much shade and the sunlight reflects off the surrounding rocks. So make sure you take plenty of water, suncream and a sunhat for children. Also, take lots of regular stops. We were overtaken quite regularly be speedy hikers who were keen to get to the beauty spot. However, we just went at our own pace as hiking with small children can’t be rushed.

At the Blue Eye itself, the lagoon is shallow at the banks and is good for paddling, but gets deeper towards the middle. There is also a bridge crossing the lagoon, which only has a rope handrail (as many people jump off it into the water) so keep an eye on little ones here.

Things to take on the Blue Eye hike

  • Plenty of water – the trail gets very hot, as there isn’t much shade
  • Food – there are a couple of small huts at the Blue Eye which sell food and drink in the summer. However, these weren’t open when we were visited at the start of the season, so make sure you take food. You’re definitely going to want to enjoy a picnic at the Blue Eye before heading back!
  • Sturdy footwear – the trail is quite rocky in parts, so I would recommend sturdy footwear to avoid slipping. Although we did see some people doing it in flip flops!
  • Sun protection – as I mentioned, the trail gets hot, so make sure you take a sunhat and wear plenty of suncream, especially if you’re in Albania with kids
  • Towel and swimwear – If you’re planning on taking a dip, don’t forget your swimming gear!

Is the Blue Eye hike dangerous?

The Blue Eye hike isn’t dangerous. It is a moderate hike, with some rocky bits you might need to scrabble over. If you usually use walking poles, you might find them helpful on this hike. The main thing to be aware of is that there are some steep drops on the paths. Also, if you visit at the start of the season, like we did, you may come across some rock falls on the paths, caused by the winter’s snow.

How to get to the Blue Eye in Theth from Tirana

If you want to get to the Blue Eye in Theth from Tirana it is a 3.5 hour drive to Theth National Park. You should familiarise yourself with driving in Albania before you go. Another alternative is to get a minibus to the village of Theth from Shkoder.

If you’d prefer to leave the arrangement to someone else, there are plenty of tours which will collect you from your hotel in Tirana: 

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Blue Eye Saranda

Just so you know, the Blue Eye Saranda is in a totally different place to the Blue Eye Theth, so make sure you don’t muddle them up in your sat nav!

The Blue Eye Saranda is another beautiful lagoon in the south of the country. If you have time it’s worth including it in an itinerary for the south of Albania. It’s located between Saranda and Gjirokastra.

Access to the Blue Eye Saranda is easier and you can either walk or drive to it. There is a small charge for entry.

I hope you found this post about hiking to the Blue Eye in Theth helpful. If you’re planning a trip to the country you may also like to read Travelling in Albania: Everything you need to know before you go.