The Cave of Pellumbas, Pellumbas

#3 of 8 in Parks in Tirana County
Cave · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
The village of Pellumbas is located a little over 20 km southeast of Albania's capital city of Tirana. The village of Pellumbas marks the start of the trail to the unique and mysterious Cave of Pellumbas. One of only six of its kind in all of Europe, the Cave of Pellumbas is a must see natural attraction. The beautiful Erzen River runs near the small village as well and is frequented by many during the summer months for swimming in the turquoise blue water amongst the natural limestone canyon. The village of Pellumbas also offers a rustic, traditional feel and provides visitors the opportunity to experience traditional Albanian cuisine and freshly made goods. The informations of guides for tours of this region are provided at the bottom of this section.

The Cave of Pellumbas is also known as The Black Cave (Shpelle e Zeze in Albanian). During World War II the cave was used by local villagers as a place of hiding from the Nazis regime. During the communist era, the cave was kept a secret by the locals and has only been revealed to the outside people after communist rule in 1992. Recently, archeological research conducted by the Tirana Archeological Institute and Italian Universities on the cave have reveal the remains of an ancient species of cave bear (Ursus Spelaeus). Remains of this ancients species of bear have only been found in six other caves across Europe, making the Cave of Pellumbas very special. The remains of the bears date back to the years 10,000 to 400,000 BC. Traces of human activity dating back to the Paleotithic period (300,000 to 30,000 BC) have also been discovered in the cave. The cave stretches approximately 360 meters into the mountain side and is home to many species of bats. Impressive stalactites and stalagmites can also be found in the cave, some as tall as several meters long. Speleothems (stalactites and stalagmites) have an average growth rate of 0.13 mm per year and form . The trail to the cave as we'll as a platform at the cave's entrance was constructed in 2009 by the Outdoor Albania Association, a non-profit organization based out of Tirana.

The hike the Erzen River is full of beautiful views of the mountainous countryside of Albania. Farmers harvesting olives and other crops can be seen in the hike. Many species of wild fruits and herbs can also been seen and collected along the trail. The trail guides you to a part of the river where canyons begin to rise up over the water. The water is a breathtaking blue color and is pleasant for swimming during the summer months, so come prepared! Spring water can be seen flowing out if the adjacent mountain side and flows into the Erzen. Trails to the river are accessible from both the village and the cave and can be difficult at times.

The village of Pellumbas has a population of around 400 people. There are two cafés in the village which serve many traditional Albanian dishes. The food is fresh and provided by the farmers of the village. Don't forget to try some of the homemade wine or raki (traditional Albanian drink). Goods are also available for purchase at both of the cafés. Local guides are also available in the village and are more than willing to give guided tours to both the cave and river. Stop by the village at one of the Albanian or religious days of celebrations and take part in an authentic dining and traditions of the villagers.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
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  • Fantastic food. Be sure that here you will be served very well and the tasting experience will be rewarding. Highly recommended, quality food well prepared. I followed their recommendations and all...  more »
  • The Cave of Pellumbas is such a beautiful part of nature - you must you if you are in Tirana! The hike is stunning and the cave itself is so cool. Definitely rent the headlamps at the shop next to...  more »
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