Things to do in Permet, Albania – Ultimate Travel Guide
Permet, Albania – Hot springs, nature & Vjosa river
Përmet is located about 60 km from Gjirokastra and 94 km from Saranda in the depths of Albania. The small, little known town has a romantic location. It stretches in the valley of the river Vjosa and is surrounded by mountains. Përmet itself does not offer much for tourists, it also looks like a sleepy, run-down town. Nevertheless, it stole our hearts. Not only because there are great sights of the region nearby, like the hot springs of Benje or the Kadiut Bridge, but because Përmet is so authentic. There are no big attractions in the town itself that would attract masses of tourists. In Përmet you can meet the locals, see how they live, and you can look forward to cheaper prices than in the coastal region. Here, you can experience Albania up close.
The most famous place why visitors come to this region after all are the hot springs (Llixhat e Bënjës). They are actually located next to the small village of Benjë, which is about 14 km from Përmet. The name of the settlement is derived from the Albanian word for bath.
The pools with thermal water can be reached from a large parking space. Parking and bathing in the springs are completely free.
Tip: In high season, the area can get quite busy during the day. So if you want to have the springs to yourself for a short time or share them with fewer people, arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
The springs of Benjë were already known in ancient times. The water contains chlorine-sodium-calcium substances and its temperature ranges between 23 and 32 °C. The thermal water has a cloudy blue colour. You will find several smaller and larger pools where you can bathe.
The hot springs are located at the beginning of the Lengarica Canyon. If you are adventurous and have more time, you can walk up the river and discover more thermal pools. These have the advantage that you can most likely be alone there.
Attention! Remember that 20-25 minutes in the pool is usually enough! More time in the highly sulphurous waters will cause more harm than good.
It’s also worth doing a beauty treatment with the mud you can get from a pool or the river. It has healing and regenerative effects for the skin.
Although there can be quite a lot of visitors here, we can still recommend the springs. It is simply a great, unique place that still has a lot of naturalness in it. The surroundings of the hot springs are also pretty, and there is more to discover here.
Getting to the hot springs in Benjë
The easiest way to reach the hot springs in Albania is by car (or motorhome, camper, etc.). There is a large free car park for you to use.
Some local tour operators organise bus tours to the springs. There is no public transport connection.
2. Kadiut Stone Bridge of Benjë
The beautiful Ottoman bridge, the Kadiut Bridge, is another popular attraction near Përmet. It stands right where the hot springs rise. The bridge was built in the 18th century and marks the beginning of the picturesque Langarica Canyon.
Tip: Above the bridge you will find a cave where you have a nice view of the stone bridge, the river and some water pools.
Places of interest in the town of Përmet
Until the springs and the bridge are popular tourist attractions, and the atmosphere there can be lively at certain times, Përmet seems very quiet. Like a town that has fallen into slumber. You can stroll the streets and discover how and where the locals live. Përmet has two faces: you will see renovated and new buildings, and many houses that are in pretty bad condition.
3. Big Rock of Përmet (Gur i Qytetit: The City Rock)
In the middle of the town of Përmet there is a huge rock. It is impossible not to see it. The City Stone, in Albanian Guri i Qytetit, is about 25 metres tall and rises right on the riverbank. It is possible to climb the Big Rock. Some stairs lead to the top. From the rock you have a beautiful view over the city and the Vjosa valley.
Tip: There is even a small beach by the river, which you can see from above and where you can swim.
It is believed that in the Middle Ages there was a small fortress on the Big Rock. According to legend, when the Ottomans came to conquer the castle in the 15th century, Premt, the ruler of this region, threw himself and his daughter from the rock to avoid falling into the hands of the Ottomans. With his martyrdom he gave the name to the town of Përmet.
4. Viewpoint at the park
In front of the feet of the Big Rock stretches a small, beautifully landscaped park. Above this green area you will find a small viewing platform near the mosque. From here you also have a beautiful view of the light blue water of the river.
Tip for families: You’ll also find a cute new playground in the park.
5. Lively town centre in the evening
Until the residential buildings in Përmet are often in very poor condition, there are also renovated buildings. Even the town centre has been redesigned and looks inviting.
What we liked most in Albania was that every evening the town centre was transformed into a lively, happy and cheerful place. There was music everywhere, cafés and restaurants filled up, children played in the squares and young people danced. There was a wonderful atmosphere in Korça, Saranda, Shkodra, Durrës, Vlora and also in Përmet.
The beautiful main square (Bashkia Përmet) is full of life in summer from 7:30 pm. It’s worth stopping by and letting yourself drift.
6. Tekke in Alipostivan
Not far from Përmet, a gravel road about 10km long leads up to the small village of Alipostivan. On a dominant mountain peak lies the tekke of Alipostivan. A tekke is the centre of a Muslim Sufi brotherhood. There are several hundred of these spiritual institutions in Albania, which, according to their word origin, are supposed to serve as a place of retreat and protection/asylum.
First built by Baba Ali in 1857, the Tekke was rebuilt in its present form after it was burnt down by Ottoman conquerors in 1870 and Greek extremists in 1914. Numerous congresses of church representatives are held here, which is why there is also a hotel on the site today. Tourists and visitors can also explore the grounds from the inside, as long as no important event is taking place. It is better to clarify the exact opening hours beforehand.
7. Bredhi i Hotovës National Park
Even if you can get to Alipostivan by normal car, the only way to go north is by off-road vehicle. Provided this is the case, the Bredhi i Hotovës National Park, which can also be reached from the other side from the thermal springs in Bënjës, is a worthwhile destination.
Albania, Gjirokaster, Fir of Hotove-Dangelli National Park, Lengarica Canyon, Lengarica river
Few people live in this natural environment of high mountains and wide views through the valley and the Lengorica canyon. A very bad road leads to the village of Frashër. However, you should plan 1.5 hours for the actually only few kilometres.
8. Sopot Waterfall
In the south of Përmet, just below Nemërçkë Mountain, the journey to the 20-meter-high Sopot Waterfall begins in the old village of Stëmbec. The path is moderate and passes through green pastures. It offers spectacular views of Nemërçkë Mountain site and its glacial areas. To access this trail, park in the village of Stëmbec and walk to the meadow below the village center.
The trail is clear and continues gently towards the hill. From here, you can see the waterfall, and the trail has some exposed parts where you need to be careful, but it is safe. The waterfall is at an altitude of 600 meters below the top of Mount Nemërckë. Water flows from a large karstic spring, flowing into fluvial glacial deposits. The experience will bring you closer to nature and remind you why you chose Albania for your holiday.
Getting to Përmet
Permet is centrally located in the Gjirokaster region. It is a 70-minute drive from Gjirokaster, 1.5 hours from Saranda and 3.5 hours from Tirana.
There are direct bus connections to Përmet from Gjirokastra and Tirana. If you want to travel from Saranda by public transport, you have to change in Gjirokastra. Attention. Only a few buses a day run to Përmet.
By car, you can easily get there from almost any direction. We write the word „almost“ on purpose. If you want to reach Përmet and the hot springs from the direction of Korça, allow several hours for the drive. The road is in very bad condition on this stretch, partly it is only gravel road, or broken asphalt with huge potholes.
Hotels in Përmet
You often hear about the Albanian hospitality. Unfortunately, we have only experienced it in a few cases. While in many hotels and restaurants the staff seemed indifferent, passive and disinterested, the owners of Ilir Guest House 1 in Përmet were the complete opposite. Although they did not speak a word of English (only Italian), they welcomed us very warmly. The guest house is run by an old couple with heart and soul. They do everything to make the guests feel at home. The house has some small, comfortable, clean rooms and a huge, cosily furnished roof terrace. The guesthouse seemed like a little oasis of peace. You can really feel at home here.
Tip: The woman makes delicious preserved nuts, jam or raki herself, which she is happy to offer for sale. Of course, you can try the products before you decide to buy them. We got some things from them. This way we could support them, and we saved a stop in a shop.
Restaurants in Përmet
We can warmly recommend the bar and restaurant Trifilia. Not only was the food delicious here, and the service friendly, but the ambience is particularly nice. The restaurant has nicely furnished rooms and a quiet, Mediterranean-style back garden where soft background music is played.
VJOSA RAFTING PERMET
Rafting has become one of the most popular activities in recent years. This is thanks to the Vjosa River, the last wild river in Europe. Rafting on the Vjosa is an adventure full of adrenaline and magic that is out of this world.
Travellers can experience almost 12 kilometres of the blue vein of Permet, rafting over rocks, strong currents and through the middle of forests. The trip is suitable for everyone, with or without enough experience. In summer, the difficulty level for rafting is 2-3 (the 6th level is the most difficult). Therefore, even small children can accompany their parents and have a unique experience they will never forget.
Rafting Vjosa Permet
– Rafting can be done from June to the end of September.
– In summer the difficulty level is 2-3 (out of 6)
– Rafting is a physical activity. You cannot raft if you have serious health problems.
– Tours usually last about 3 hours
How long should I stay in Përmet?
Many Albanian tourists make only a short stopover in Përmet on their way to the thermal springs of Bënjës. However, as you can see, the town and its surroundings have a lot more to offer. And the small town itself exudes its very own charm. I would recommend staying here for 2-3 days, especially as the accommodation is not expensive.