Rilindja Alpine Rooms, Restaurant and Camping AND Information
(Up-to-date as of 10 Feb 2017.) Opened in 2005, Rilindja (“Rebirth” in Albanian) was named for the economic prosperity owner Alfred Selimaj dreamed that sustainable tourism could bring to the people of the area and is the oldest operating tourism business in Valbona.
The Restaurant is proud to have evolved for all tastes, and I would like to point out that it is the ONLY restaurant in Valbona (or Tropoja, for that matter) which has splashed out to hire TWO chefs. One specializes in traditional Northern Albanian fare, including whole goats roasted on a spit and fresh trout from the reservoir (you can even catch ’em yourself!). However, as traditional food consists mainly of meat, meat, butter, cheese, meat, and meat soup, they ALSO bring in a foreign chef each summer, to do fabulous things with vegetables and sauces and soups and salads.
The traditional cooking happens in an enormous outdoor oven/barbecue/grill, so you can watch your dinner cooking if you like (that’s for everyone who ever wanted to take a picture of the goats roasting on the spit, but got ordered out of the kitchen by any one of the prima-donna chefs in the old days!)
As far as accommodation goes, there are four small-but-cozy “Alpine Style” rooms upstairs, 2 which are simple twins, and 2 which in 2017 will have a 2.5 x 3m bedroom (with double bed) plus another attached room (same size) with a day bed, table etc. Basically, Alfred’s enclosing the old balconies to make larger rooms. These will be good for 3 friends, small (quiet!) families OR someone wanting to stay longer and use the second room as a sort of study. There is also one larger room with its own private bathroom (five rooms total). The 4 alpine rooms share one large bathroom (plus the annex showers described below under “camping”). A washing machine is available for a fee. I almost forgot to add that the smallness of the rooms is (somewhat?) compensated for by the large balcony with books, sofas and free computer (picture below), which is available for use by (and ONLY by) people sleeping upstairs. Well, and the odd camper, I suppose, if it’s raining. These rooms are good for people planning on doing a lot of hiking, who want to get out and about as early as possible, because downstairs is also . . . .
Our Information Office. We are the people marking, mapping and maintaining some 200 km of hiking trails originating in the valley. Therefore no one can tell you more than we can about where to go and what to do, or what the state of the trails are on any given day. We are also doing environmental research, and you may like to peruse our photos of bears boars and wolves (etc.) or pick up a Bird Checklist. Over the last year people have started turning up with 3 or 4 different hiking maps of the area which different non-local people have made (several of whom have to our certain knowledge never even been here), and to be honest they’re all pretty terrible and inaccurate. Ours of course are lovely.
The campsites are landscaped and private, located on the banks and tiny islands of the small river running behind the hotel, and even include a private (icy cold) swimming hole. Each site is near water, has a fire pit and leveled grassy patch for a tent. Alfred also – AND THIS IS THE EXCITING NEWS! – recently finished converting some old fish reservoirs (basically two – really ugly – terraced enormous cement boxes) into two new and lovely little terraced houses, one of which contains (are you ready?) toilets and showers for campers! I’m going to expand, because I’m so happy about this. There are 3 different showers, 2 of which actually have 2 shower heads, good for families, good friends, or Very Good friends. All of them have enough room to fling your arms around and jump about, which makes them a vast improvement on any other currently existing showers in Valbona. Ha. They even use a solar panel to heat water (with an electric back up for bad weather), so all in all they’re pretty great and Alfred is (obviously) pretty darn proud of ’em. I will also add that when the roofs were put on on (steep, to handle snow in winter), it was my idea to make the whole triangular space under the roof into windows, so they’re FULL of light! Airy! Yep, we’re pretty darn excited. You should come and have a shower soon (or sponge fight).
And don’t forget winter at Rilindja, when things change a bit. First of all, all the staff goes home, so a lot of the “restaurant trappings” are packed up and it’s turned more of a winter chalet sort-of-thing. This makes it really nice for either weekend get-aways or ski groups, cause you can take over the whole place and turn it into your own holiday home. And of course there are winter rates, too.
Rates: Rilindja has 5 rooms (1 with a double bed, 2 with twins, and 2 with double plus single). Therefore: 3 rooms can sleep 2 people, 2 rooms can sleep 3 – ie, Rilindja has space for 12 people maximum.
Basic Twin Rooms (2) have twin beds, cabinets, lace curtains, reading lamps and use of the shared bathroom.
Double + Single Rooms (2) are being reconfigured in 2017. Basically the old balconies (in picture to left) will be enclosed so that the whole “room” consists of an anteroom with a double bed (same size as the twin rooms) and then a second room (same size again) with a day bed and desk. Total of 4 beds for up to 6 people available in 2 rooms.
Private Double Room (1) is a larger room with a super double bed and its own private bathroom.
twin rooms are 35€ per night with breakfast / 25€ as a single
double + single rooms are 30€ as a single, 38€ as a double, 46€ as a triple
private double room is 30€ as a single, 38€ as a double
Click HERE to book it yourself using our online booking engine, or feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picnics: If you plan to spend the day hiking, they are happy to pack you a traditional shepherd’s lunch. If possible, let the office know the evening before.
Camping is 5€ per person per night. Children 6 or younger are free. There are also a couple of on-site 2-person tents available for rent, 10€ per night, with all blankets, pillows, etc.
Electricity hook up is 2€ per day
Winter Rates (1 November – 30 April) are available, although the business is (so far) generally more-or-less “closed” in winter. Doesn’t mean there’s no one here, or you’re not welcome, but the family tends to spread out and live a little in winter, so you may arrive to find them sprawled on the carpet playing Risk (world domination! yippee!). Or to be fair, less picturesquely, with laundry scattered all over the place, and various construction projects being neglected in various states of incompleteness. Better to get in touch early!
If you’re based in Germany, you can also see the listing on ferienhausmarkt.com, here:
Maps start at 2€
2€ for laundry per load
50€ per day for a guide
50€ per day for a horse (accompanied by a boy)
25€ for private transportation from Bajram Curri
25€ for private transportation to Gjelaj (start of the trail to Theth)
We will hold reservations until 3pm on the day of arrival, after which if we have not heard from you we will consider the reservation cancelled. If you’re running late, please just call us!