Until we hear more from you (Dear Reader) about what’s really useful, here is a hodgepodge of maps. Some (like Google maps) you can obviously explore for yourself. According to Robert Carver (The Accursed Mountains: Journeys to Albania, 1999) maps were actually illegal in Albania until 1996.
We’re not sure what this actually means, or how true it is, but what is true is that maps are hard to come by in Albania, and there isn’t really a national standard.
According to Albanians, the best maps are the old Soviet contour ones, and people make arrangements to meet in back rooms and borrow the few precious existing copies (of course these are tricky to use, since all the place names are in Cyrillic). We’re busy collecting maps, and are happy to share them with you.
For now, the best thing to do is familiarize yourself with topography and the place names of major towns, which is easy, and makes navigating all these weird maps a bit of an adventure!
Stop Press: Here’s some new news: In the fall of 2009, Catherine managed to track down some good topographical maps. If you’re a really die-hard hiker, and want crazy topographical maps, you can buy ’em from a company called East View Cartographics : www.cartographic.com. The maps we like are 1:25,000 scale and cost about $40 a pop. We don’t know about shipping, internationally. Email our good friend Matthew (Matthew.Tabaka@cartographic.com) and he’ll help you. He’s used to crazy questions about Albanian maps by now (bless his heart). The useful map coordinates for Valbona are:
Keep on trekkin’!
A few other maps we like
Click here to see a Serbian map of Northern Albania.
Click here to see a map of Protected areas and conservation hotspots in Albania.
Click here to see Valbona from Google Earth