Lea from Germany is doing an internship in Albania in the field of Sustainable Tourism. During her free time, she’s exploring Tirana and other cities and started to write articles about her trips to share experiences. The first article is about her family daytrip to Bovilla Lake.
“I had a long weekend in April during my stay in Tirana and as my family was visiting me from Germany, I decided not only to show them Tirana, but also to explore the surroundings. If you have seen Tirana already or you are not a big fan of museums or you simply like nature, hiking and exploring, these day-trips might be just right for you. You can do them all on one long weekend or spread them out over different ones.
As it looked like the weather will get worse the next couple of days, we decided to go to Bovilla Lake on Saturday to have a clear view of the lake. It was one of the things I wanted to do since I arrived in Tirana. We had hired a car for the whole weekend.
I think you need a car or a driver to get to Bovilla Lake. We left around 10 or 11am. It takes one hour to drive there, simply because the road conditions are bad (it’s actually only like 20 km), but we managed with a normal car! Even the drive there is beautiful once you are out of the city. We parked at the bottom, next to the dam and started walking up the road and then on the hiking trail next to the road (half way up there is a red and white sign that you can follow up).
After maybe 20 minutes walking up, there is a restaurant and also parking, so you can also drive up the serpentines, which we didn’t know. If you want to go even further up and have a breathtaking view of the lake you have to pass the restaurant and leave it to your right and make your way to the stairs (you can see them from the restaurant). There you have to pay 100 Lek/person to use the stairs and the platform on the top. The path is a bit difficult at some spots and I would recommend wearing good shoes and not going there if it's raining and wet. You have to use your hands sometimes. Once you are at the top you can enjoy the view, take pictures and maybe eat your lunch (that’s what we did).
There are other hiking options that we didn’t know about, respectively didn’t find, but they take much longer and I think you should be more experienced and plan a full day for them. One option would be to hike to Mount Gamtit and then further on to Herraj and back up on the road. There is a map of this hiking trail down at the lake, at the end of the dam.
The second option would be to hike to Mount Gamtit and back the same way (Wikiloc | Mali i Gamnit from the east side Trail). We tried to find this trail but didn’t. After coming back down from the platform, we had a little bit time left, so we walked passed the restaurant (leave it to your left), in the direction of Ranzë to find the start of this other trail. It was a nice path, through walnut plantations and fields, with a view of the lake. At some point we turned around and walked back on the road till the bottom. We returned to Tirana around 7pm and went to Veggies, a nice vegetarian/vegan Restaurant in Blloku.”
Written by Lea Lohmueller