Lea from Germany shares her impressions after visiting 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, are not a big fan of museums, or 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 would get worse in 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 11 am. It takes one hour to drive there, simply because the road conditions are bad (it’s only 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 (halfway up, there is a red and white sign that you can follow up).

After maybe 20 minutes of walking up, there is a restaurant and parking, so you can 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). 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 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 of time left, so we walked past the restaurant (go 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 to the bottom. We returned to Tirana around 7 pm and went to Veggies, a nice vegetarian/vegan Restaurant in Blloku.”

Written by Lea Lohmueller

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