A day to Pellumbas Cave, the oldest human settlement in Tirana

How to go there

You drive from Tirana on the national road Tirane-Elbasan. You turn left as you see the sign heading to Pellumbas Village and Theater Kame. The road is good until you reach the center of Pellumbas village, which has been restored lately and has a very modern info point. You can ask there for the maps, buy souvenirs, and rent a flashlight or hat for your Pellumbas Cave trip. Sportive shoes are a must for this long trip to the cave.

You start the very tight path, climbing to the mountain. The road is marked with many signs, and you have some benches where to rest during your trip. You have to mind your steps because the terrain is risky. It takes from 40 -60 minutes to walk until you reach the cave. If you look down the nature it is amazing and rewarding.

The Erzen River flows down in its valley between mountains. Everything is green and beautiful. You reach the cave, and for a moment, you feel stunned by its huge entrance and the giant rock.

No one can resist without a photo in the entrance of the cave. Then you enter inside, but the dark becomes deeper and deeper. It is impossible to walk without a good flashlight. We had as a guide a young boy, about 11 years old from the village named, Orgito. He knows perfect the place and he showed us the way.  For a person visiting this place for the first time, it is scary. Bats are flying everywhere above our heads. The noise of water falling from the ceiling broke the silence inside the cave. Mind your steps constantly because you can slide and fall into the mud.

You open your eyes and start to see the figures and shapes created by stalactites and stalagmites. Some shapes look like animals, some like people. The place is like magic if you see it with good light. At the end, you see the main hall, where the maximum height is 45 m. The cave has a length of 360 m with a width that can vary between 10–15 m. All the tours inside the cave can last 15-20 minutes. After seeing the cave we started the way back to the mountain path.

A good lunch at Pashai Restaurant

After that tough journey, we reached Pellumbas Center and visited Pashai Restaurant. Two brothers, Duqi, manage this restaurant. This family is oldest in the area, and they are more than 60 families with the same surname in the village. Bardhi Duqi, one of the owners, comes to take the order. He is so nice and shows us not only the menu but also the unique dishes for this village.

You can taste the best pie with cottage cheese, rice, tomatoes, nettles, etc. The family makes the bread. The salad and fresh cheese are also part of the menu. You can accompany all these fresh village foods with good wine from the area, but a glass of buttermilk is fine. The prices are very cheap for such delicious and healthy food. Bardhi explains that the breakfast menu is the best he can offer. For the breakfast you have mountain tea, fresh milk, cheese, a special dish with eggs and cottage cheese, pie, ‘trahana’, pancakes with honey. All the breakfast will cost from 500 leke- 800 leke/ person, depending on your appetite.

Bardhi says that it is better to have a good breakfast and then to climb the mountain to the cave so you have good energy to afford it. All he wants is the client to be satisfied and to come again for a lunch or a breakfast, not only to come here once for a visit to the cave. Agroturisim is the business where all his family focused their efforts, so he wants Pellumbas be heard even for the good culinary.

We left Pellumbas very tired, but happy, hopping to come again and bring friends to this beautiful and hospitable area.

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