Lëpushë: A Sublime Town at the Core of the Albanian Alps
Lëpushë is one of the most charming mountainous villages in Albania. It is located 1,270 meters above sea level (4,167 feet), deep into the northern Albanian Alps. The surroundings are spectacular, dotted by the Alpine trees and plants of the Sheniku block, part of a wide area called Bjeshkët e Nemuna (Accursed Mountains).
The Journey To Lëpushë
The village of Lëpushë occupies the northmost part of Albania, some 95 kilometers (60 miles) from the city of Shkodra. It belongs to the region of Kelmendi, with a prominent and distinctive culture and a significant mountainous lifestyle. Lëpusha is so north, near the Albania-Montenegro border, that it is closer geographically to Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital than it is to Albania’s capital Tirana.
To get to Lëpushë, one must follow the Shkodër to Vermosh road that passes through Qafa Rrapshit and Tamara Bridge. This passage to this area, also called Leqet e Hotit, offers some awe-inspiring views without par in other Alpine terrains in the nation.
When you reach the glacial-like valley of the Lëpushë River, the town of the same name appears. Surrounded by some 45 peaks over 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) high, Lëpushë offers a spectacular sight. From this little northern village, a climber can begin unforgettable mountain hikes. These hikes vary in difficulty from easy ones to the hardest ones can find.
From a Small Settlement to a Tourist Destination
The first inhabitants settled in Lëpushë in the first years of the XX century. These people came mainly from the towns of Nikçi and Vukli. At the end of World War II, Lëpushë had only 18 households, still preserving its core demographic. In 1998, the community had a population that had increased six times; notably 495 people.
In recent years, the village of Lëpusha has attracted an increased number of tourists in search of unique mountainous destinations. The improved road and accommodating infrastructure have also contributed to this increase in visits.
Currently, the Alpine village spreads into three small boroughs: Lëpusha, Gropa, and Budaça, with 26, 22, and 24 houses each. Many of these homes serve as cozy guesthouses. The committed investment of the locals in these pastoral homesteads is evident; original and well-thought accommodations surrounded by a clean agricultural economy.
A Three-Season Snowy Village
In the second week of August, the “Logu i Bjeshkës” event happens at the spot called “Qafa e Perdelecit” in Lëpushë. It is a yearly folk festival with roots in the ancient era. It includes performances of local folk music, art exhibitions, beauty content of girls in traditional clothing, and, at times, a local product fair.
Local fairs are convenient opportunities to get to know the high-quality local dairy products and fresh potatoes. Meanwhile, wood-made and engraved utensils of local artisans represent the main non-food products in such exhibitions.
During winter, Lëpusha gets hit by a harsh and snowy winter. The thickness of snowfalls has exceeded, at times, the four meters (13 feet). Snowfall is also common during fall and spring. This snowy countryside is thus ideal for the practice of winter sports and recreational activities such as mountaineering, skiing, and snowboarding.
When to Visit Lëpushë
The best time to visit the village of Lëpushë is summer. Hikers can effortlessly follow multiple marked paths during summer through high beech forests and small streams. Some other upcoming natural attractions are some hidden and intriguing Alpine caves. Wildlife in the area is diverse, attracting naturalists from all over the world.
On the other hand, autumn and winter turn Lëpushë into a difficult location to access. Due to its altitude, heavy snowfalls immerse the village, isolating it from the regional communication network.
* Lëpushë features in our top 10 Albanian villages *