Let’s get this baby on the roooooaaaaad’’, I screamed as I turned the key and hit the gas, ready to drive #TeamWanderlust to Lake Komani in the north of Albania. It had become the slogan of our trip since I first yelled it in some kind of shrill sounding voice on day one of our adventure and Dan, Dave and I had been screaming it in the same ridiculous voice every single time we hit the road, laughing like crazy people over and over again. It was the first day in our third rental car, as we’d changed cars in every country to avoid huge one-way fees, and we were about to discover it was a little less performing than the previous two…

And that’s me being polite…

HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani



We’d arrived in Shkodër, Albania the day before, after a 2 hours’ taxi drive from Herceg Novi in Montenegro. It’s really not far but passing the border isn’t like driving from Belgium into say France or the Netherlands. It looks more like what I remember from driving into Belarus in the middle of the 90’s – only without having to give them 24 cans of coke to make it go faster and a woman screaming “no I’m not giving you my bottles of alcohol, I’d rather smash them on the floor right here”, giving them to different people in several other cars, crossing the border and recovering them 5 meters further on… 

But for some reason it DID give us that “let’s all be serious or they might not let us into the country” feeling that you just wouldn’t expect to find anywhere in Europe anymore. The fact that our taxi driver wasn’t an actual taxi driver and when asked we were supposed to say we were his friends but could in fact hardly pronounce his name obviously didn’t help either…  

So yes, it was one of those moments when a simple ride becomes an actual journey and to say we were super excited to finally discover Albania would be an understatement. Was it the fact that so few other people seem to have been there – at least in the parts away from the riviera, the crazy stories you hear from those who have or the fact that we really didn’t know that much about it at all, for some reason this wasn’t just another new country.

HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake KomaniHIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake KomaniHIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani



Shkodër is one of those pleases you could qualify as off-the-beaten path – but it would probably be because you were trying to be nice. Actually it was just not interesting, I was glad to have my two ‘bodyguards’ to walk down the street even in the middle of the day and with a guesthouse that looked more like a haunted cabin in the woods than a place people actually get out of alive, it’s safe to say we weren’t sad to leave.

We hit the road around 11 am, after waiting forever for our rental car and at some point not even being sure it was ever going to arrive anymore. The few extra euros spend on full excess-free insurance soon turned out to have been the best decision ever, for it wasn’t just that the road to Lake Komani was bad…

In fact most of the time the road wasn’t even there…

HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani

But there was this view…

At some points there was asphalt – or at least you could see that there had been at some point – but each time I started thinking ‘yay it’s starting to look better’, the next hole ungently reminded me that no, it wasn’t.

Aaaaaaah don’t drive so close to the mountain side!!!’ – screamed Dan from the back seat, holding on to whatever he could grab first and turning slightly pale whenever I took my eyes off the road to have a quick look at the view.

Babes, the holes on the other side of the road look deeper than the ravine! Don’t worry I got this under control!’ – I replied trying to sound as confident as I could, as we slowly moved forward in our Dacia Logan with no power whatsoever, brakes that took forever to react and nearly completely bald tires.

So honestly, don’t ask me how I did it with a crap car like that, but almost 3 hours later we’d finally finished the 50 km drive to Lake Komani, and thanks to what I can only imagine was some kind of divine intervention, everything and everyone was still in one piece.

HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake KomaniHIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake KomaniHIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani



Arriving at Lake Komani is one of those in-your-face experiences. At some point you drive through a tunnel – correction: the most scary-ass tunnel I’ve ever been in – and once you get through it, BAM, the road stops and you’re there. And with our bad brakes and me driving as fast as I could to get the hell out of that tunnel, we were lucky not to have ended up IN Lake Komani… 

It’s a small area with barely enough room to park 15 cars – and then hope one of the cars in the front doesn’t need to get out before the 2 cars that are parked behind it – and all there is to find is a restaurant/guesthouse and the tiny office of Komani Lake Boat Tours. But it was all we needed!

HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake KomaniHIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani


We hadn’t booked in advance as we weren’t sure about our rental car and about whether or not we’d be needing transportation from Shkodër to Koman, but as soon as we arrived we were warmly welcomed with coffee by Mario and his lovely staff. We chatted for a while and around 3 pm we got on the boat, that we had all to ourselves for more than 4 hours of pure awesomeness. Not that many tourists visit this place and those who do usually come in the morning, and we were definitely not complaining!

HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani

Other than a bunch of clichés, there’s no words to describe the beauty of Lake Komani, so from here on, I’ll let the images do the talking… Turn up the volume, hit play and enjoy!



Mario offers customized tours that cost around € 40 pp for a 3 hours’ boat trip, and transportation from and to Shkodër (or even Tirana) can be arranged with him, too. Make sure to ask for a stop at the tiny guesthouse along the lake, where Marjana and her family will welcome you with the warmest smile and the most delicious homemade rakkia, petulla (fried dough pancakes) and honey. Or if you have time, stay here for the night for a nice return to nature and mini digital detox – there’s no electricity or hot water.

Otherwise you can either sleep where the boats dock – we didn’t as it was full – or on the road back towards Shkodër. When you arrive at the first T-section, there’s a camping/hotel right in front of you. It’s not fancy nor really clean – and don’t get me started on the sound proofing of the rooms, it was as if the guy snoring in the room next door was actually IN my bed – but they have 8 different kinds of rakkia, so you won’t hear me complain… Haha!

Have you been to Albania? Did you go to Lake Komani? I wanna hear all about it in the comments!! 

HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani

HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake KomaniHIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake KomaniHIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA - A day at Lake Komani

Disclaimer: we were offered a special price on the tour but all opinions are my own and straight from the heart, as always! 

32 thoughts on “HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBANIA – A day at Lake Komani”

  1. I don’t know anything about Albania, looks like a really beautiful lake to visit! the photos are amazing, looks like you had great weather too! thanks for sharing.

    1. I think I didn’t know anything about Albania before actually going there either, hehe 🙂 It just doesn’t seem to be on many people’s bucket list, but I sure think that’s a mistake because it’s just amazing!! 🙂

  2. Pingback: A day at Lake Komani, Albania - The Travel Blogs

  3. Hi!
    Happy to say I was unaware of Lake Komani before reading this. I can relate to the dodgy car hire and awful roads, brought back some memories of other places I have visited in the past!

    Happy travels, Matt

    1. Hey Valerie! Sorry for my late reply, bad wifi… ugh 🙂 I actually felt very safe in most of the country, but I did go there with 2 male friends so I don’t know what it would have been like if I’d been alone. On the other kind, in general Albanians seem a bit macho but at the same time they’re very nice so I don’t actually think it would be a problem going there as a solo woman. Anyway, you HAVE to go because the country’s simply AMAZING!! 🙂

  4. Albania – was amazing though I think maybe Kosovo was even better. Though country comparisons aren’t really appropriate because everywhere is different.
    Korani was certainly stunning and we came away with way too many photos.
    As to the roads, I should declare an interest here. We travelled with
    Drive Albania who take you very much off road in some fairly elderly Land Rover Discovery’s. Have to say this has to be one of the very best trips we have ever done. 100% not been paid by them to say this, an amazing journey and I truly believe we saw the very best of Albania and Kosovo.
    So however you travel, definitely go to Albania (and Kosovo)! We

  5. Hi! I am visiting Albania in June, I was wondering the name of the guest house you stayed in at Lake Komani. It sounds wonderful!

  6. I’ve visited Albania a lot, but only Tirana and the riviera. I really want to explore the mountains as it’s where my boyfriend is from. He won’t take me, he can’t understand why I would want to go, he sees it as so poor and I think I’d embarrassed of the living conditions etc compared to what I’m used to. I might have to be brave and actually hire a car (which I’ve akways refused as getting buses or a driver is so cheap really I’d rather not have the stress of being in charge).
    Seeing these photos, I’m going ask him to take me to the village he grew up in. They’ve only just left because hospitals etc are a nightmare to get to for his elderly parents and so live in Tirana now. It’s such a cool country and the people are fabulous!

  7. During my trip this summer to Croatia, I’ve heard that nowadays the most clean Adriatic sea is in Albania. And it becomes more and more travel destination. I wish I can visit it before it will be too crowded by tourists:)

  8. I m sorry for not going through a deep understanding of the blog because I can’t just get my eyes off from these pics. Pics are super awesome. I hope to see more of Albania than just these pics.

  9. Wow, this lake is so majestic! I have never been fond of lakes before, I was too scared to the idea of them existing, knowing that they are their own water and doesn’t connect to the rest of the world, they must have something creepy hiding underneath. Well, that’s just my phobia talking, back to the topic, I would love to see and visit these places soon! Albania is a very wonderful place!

  10. Great article thanks! I am heading to Albania this September so it is really helpful ♡ may I ask you the website if any or contact details of Mario who manages the lake Komani tours please? We just don’t want to miss this place and a good guide will definitely help! 🙂

  11. The website for Komani Lake Boat Tours is not active anymore 🙁 Maybe you have another contact? Thanks in advance!

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