Villa Gjeçaj is located in Thethi National Park, which is in the Northern Albanian Alps at 850m above sea level.
This beautiful village is quite remote (3 hours from the nearest town, Shkoder) and has very few tourists. It is important to note that due to its remote location, there are no super luxurious hotels like you’d see in the ski resorts of Switzerland, but Theth is full of nice and clean accommodation.
If you’re looking for a true Albanian experience, this is definitely a place to visit.
Ready to check out remote Albania? Here is an insight into staying at Villa Gjeçaj
– Getting to Villa Gjeçaj –
The road from Shkoder to Theth is around 30km of single track road, of which the first two thirds are tarmaced and the last third is like a forest road with no tarmac, steep in places, large rocks and pot holes. It takes around 3 hours by car.
There are three options on travelling to Theth which are:
- Take your own car: this is not recommended unless you don’t mind it getting damaged
- Private transfer: this option is nice if you like to travel without other tourists, but it will cost you around 50-100 € one way.
- Public minibus: this is by far the cheaper option, the three hour ride will set you back around 10€ one way and it is a fun way to travel. We travelled with…. who was a happy chappy and was contacted by our B&B Amber Yellow in Shkoder. We used the public minibus and had a blast!
The other alternative is to hike the whole way, but this is a long way and it would be much better to spend your time hiking in the center of the alps!
Villa Gjeçaj has 2 buildings, both are traditional stone buildings which are surrounded by lush green gardens and views of the valley and mountains.
There is an onsite restaurant with beautiful views and guests are able to use the garden facilities to relax and take in the surroundings. I used time on the terrace to compose this blog post!
If you’re lucky, Villa Gjeça’s chickens will be wandering around in the garden, which provided us with entertainment.
– Food & Drink-
At Villa Gjeçaj, you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a fixed daily menu, but the restaurant will cater for allergies and dietary requirements.
Home grown produce
What is really great about Villa Gjeçaj is their home grown produce. Their jams and salads are made from produce that is grown on the property and they also make their own honey, how great is that! The dairy products are made from the cows and the eggs are from the chickens that roam the property (very happy chickens!). All the meat products are sourced from local farmers.
This is a selection of white bread, jams, cucumber, tomatoes, eggs, coffee and mountain tea.
Mountain tea is a herbal tea which is made using herbs from the valley. If you are looking to try Albanian Tea, then this is a great one to try!
An example of lunch was an appetizer platter with a salad. The platter came with a selection of local cheeses, Byrek (this was delicious), bread and cured meat.
There are also other options available such as homemade soups.
Most Albanian dishes are served with meat, which was a problem for my vegetarian wife. Our waiter at Villa Gjeçaj worked with the chef to come up with a delicious vegetarian risotto.
If you’re a home grown foodie fan, then this restaurant is a must!
The home grown produce and principles of product sourcing was a highlight of this trip to Albania!
– Rooms –
The room that we had at Villa Gjeçaj was basic, but clean and comfortable. There was a desk, chair, bed, closet and bathroom with shower; this is all you need after you come back from a day hiking in the mountains and spend time in the garden.
Although the region is hot in the afternoon, it can be considerably cooler at night. Thankfully, the rooms keep the heat out through the day (hooray our chocolate didn’t melt), which also means that it is not really warm and sticky at night.
– Things to do near by –
Hiking is the number one thing to do around this area of the Albanian Alps. There are numerous hikes that you can do from the valley such as the blue eye and hike to Valbone (and stay over night in Valbone). There are other activities available such as climbing and mountain biking.
Does this look like a place you’d visit?