Where to Stay
|Well, of course my first choice is always to stay with Alfred Selimaj at Rilindja! (or one of his other accommodations) This was my home for the first 7 years of life in Valbona, so for sure I think it’s the nicest, in my wildly biased (but struggling to be objective) opinion. Rilindja has a great central location, within walking distance of 6 of the most popular trailheads, as well as the best range of services with cozy rooms, landscaped camping sites and ‘the best showers in the Balkans’ – and then there’s the restaurant at Rilindja – Valbona’s oldest and best, as well as its own information office (which, unlike the official government-sponsored information office, has actual, accurate information and people who speak other languages. Hmph). That’s the pro – I do want to be clear however that the popularity of the restaurant can mean that it doesn’t get completely quiet until the kitchen closes down which can be as late as 11pm. This is great for campers, bons vivants, or people who habitually sleep with ear plugs, but if you like to fall asleep at 8pm (like ME!) you might want to consider the other options: 1 km up the road is the rest of the family village, where Alfred’s brother Skender runs the Rezidenca Luxury Rooms (fanciest in Valbona) as well as the Farmhouse Hostel (the first guesthouse in Valbona). Pros here are that it’s quieter, and has very elegant and newly renovated facilities – but some people find it a bit less personal than the hurly-burly of Rilindja. Historically, people looking for peace-and-quiet and charm get the best of both worlds by staying in the village, but trotting down to the Rilindja to spend social time. Scroll down past this verbiage to see summaries of all of Alfred’s businesses (if you click on the ‘bolded’ building name you’ll get a page with more details and photographs).
About Booking! (which seems quite reasonably to be confusing everyone this year). I (Catherine) have handled bookings for the past 7 years, via email – which works better than phone calls since it ensures that there’s a record of whatever you asked for — and with something like 2000 guests each summer, even I can’t remember all the details all the time! I’ll continue to do this in 2017, so feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com. On the other hand, we do work with the Little Hotelier system, so if you’d like to be one of the first to try booking your own room you can click HERE to go to our online booking engine! NB: I’m still working on filling in the room information so you probably should read the room descriptions below before jumping over to make a booking?
You may also be interested to know that now, in February 2017, I am actively working on revising the website to list more information for more of the other guesthouses in Valbona. There’s plenty of business for everyone and as ever we believe that a healthy community is the best insurance for healthy individuals so we’re all working together to try to find a way of making it easier for foreigners to find information and make bookings. For that reason you might want to keep checking back over the upcoming weeks, since if you’re asking for summer, you still have plenty of time to make a final decision. Until this is ready, some of the other guesthouses in Valbona are listed briefly HERE, although I’ll be the first to admit that contacting them can be tricky!
click on the map for room descriptions
|Farmhouse Hostel. The first and original Valbona Guesthouse, now running as a hostel. Those interested in handicrafts may want to learn to card, spin and knit the traditional raw wool that keeps us toasty warm during the harsh winters, or milk cows, make cheese . . . .||• 15 € per Person (with breakfast) • 4 rooms, 16 beds • Modern Bathrooms (2)• Albanian & English|
|Rezidenca Luxury Rooms in Traditional Setting. It seemed like only a heartbeat between people being happy to find anything at all in this remote village, to the moment when people started being shocked there were no private bathrooms! Well, now there are. 11 luxurious rooms with all wooden fittings, super double beds, private bathroom and private balconies.||• Single 35 €, Double 45 €, Triple 55 € (with breakfast) • Sitting Room with sofas and Fireplace • Full kitchen and dining service • Village setting• Albanian & English|
|Rilindja Alpine Rooms / Restaurant / Information Center Opened in 2005, Rilindja (“Rebirth”) is the oldest operating restaurant in Valbona. And the coziest! Upstairs are 5 rooms which can house a maximum of 12 people. These rooms are cozy but basic, and best for those who intend to be out and about most of the time. The Restaurant specializes in traditional Northern Albanian fare, including whole goats roasted on a spit(!). The Information Center is what we call the office, and since we are the people doing the trail marking, map making, environmental research and education programs you can always find the most up-to-date information here.||• 35 € per Twin Room (2 persons w/breakfast) • 38€ per Double Room • 5 rooms, 12 people maximum • Full Restaurant downstairs • Modern Bathrooms • Albanian & English|
|Camping Located along the small river behind Rilindja, the campground can hold up to 25 campers. There aren’t really defined sites, so people are welcome to stake their claim wherever they like. There are plenty of leveled spots for tents, access to water and a fire pit. There is a dedicated shower and toilet building, with some of the nicest showers in the Balkans (or so we’re told). Campers are welcome to cook for themselves, or can use Rilindja’s restaurant.||• 5 € per Person, children 6 or younger free(!) • Dedicated Showers and Toilets• Swimming Hole• Electricity and water for camping cars|
And then there are the others . . . .