Përmet, Banjat e Bënjës, Other Adventures Driving Through Rural Albania

Përmet, Banjat e Bënjës, Other Adventures Driving Through Rural Albania

Driving inland through rural Albania, Durres to Permet to Gjirokastra. Across great green space, over mountains, and along the river. Dangling in open space, wide-eyed and full of wonder to think of how this piece of the world has always existed and will continue to exist when we leave, unnoticed by most.

From my travel notes:

“We began the three hour drive through rural Albania just after breakfast, our destination was the small town or Permet. It was so interesting to see it all. So much land and space. The most beautiful mountains. We drove along the edge of a ice-blue-grey river canyon, over rusty bridges, and past donkeys, sheep, goats, and horses. When we finally made it to Permet, we parked and walked to find food, only to find that it would be harder than we expected to find an open venue. But finally, we prevailed and  found one small shop, from which we ordered two salads and two waters. Before we left, unsure of when we’d see civilization again, we visited a convenience store for cookies and more water. We wondered if we were the only Americans in the entire town at that moment, and if we had ever been anywhere else in the world where that statement would also be true. Then, off to our real destination, the Benjes Thermal Baths, twenty minutes down the road, set under a giant Ottoman bridge. They were practically deserted when we arrived; eventually, we had the entire main pool to ourselves.  The view, breathtaking. Water flowing to infinity, snow-glazed mountain back-drop. It all seemed a little unreal.

We left this secret little corner of the world around 5 pm and began the 1.5 hour journey to Gjirokastra, back-tracking and absorbing what we could.”


Posts from this trip:

Albania #1
Albania #2
Albania #3
Albania #4
Albania #5
Albania #6
Albania #7
Albania / Corfu #8


9 responses to “Përmet, Banjat e Bënjës, Other Adventures Driving Through Rural Albania”

  1. Great post. I don’t suppose you remember much about the quality of the road down to the thermal baths. We will just have a normal car not 4wd so not sure if it is possible?


    • Hi Donna, I don’t remember the exact conditions, but I do remember that we also only had a normal (not 4wd) car and were fine getting to the baths. There was a small, gravel parking lot type area that had a few cars in it when we arrived (you can see two in the background of one of my pictures). I do remember the bath area being really difficult to find, and at the time, there were no signs or anything that made it clear we were in the right place. In general, I would say directions/navigating was the only real challenge for us driving in the country, but other than that, we didn’t have any problems exploring in a basic car. Hope you have a great trip!


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