Bicycling mountain roads and passes

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Qafa e Thorës 1,681m
Albania's highest mountain road

The highest pass road in Albania leads south from Qafa Bordolecit deep into the Albanian Alps. The villages behind the pass are only accessible via this road and are probably inaccessible for months in winter. Images on Google Street View and even current travel guides show the eastern part of the pass as a dull gravel track in 2023. In fact, the road has now been completely tarmaced all the way down to Theth and further south to Nderlysai.

Start: Boga 972m
Altitude difference: 714m
Distance: 11km
September 2023

700 metres altitude gain over a short distance is no problem for experienced cyclists.

Start early in the morning shortly before 7am in the village of Boga. The pass road actually starts much further down in Koplik and climbs around 850 metres in altitude over 30 kilometres. However, the road is very narrow, mainly single-lane and is used by many cars and coaches - hence the start up here in Boga.

The ascent is leisurely in the light of dawn.

Turn-offs to various places of interest

The road offers excellent conditions without much traffic.

View back from the so-called "Theth Balcony" into the valley through which the ascent winds.

Viewpoint at the same place

A few nice hairpin bends follow.

View up

Shortly before the finish

And then we reach the top of the pass.

To my astonishment, the tarmac road continues downhill towards Theth. I had expected something completely different. Only when I get back to my accommodation do I realise that the road is now completely paved (it's worth taking a look at the outdated Street View Images).

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