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On a Backroad from Petrela to Elbasanoffroad

Summary: Many residents and visiors have been driving from Tirana to Elbasan using the standard "Elbasan Road" over the mountain top. Undoubtedly, this road remains an adventure for many, and quite rightly so. A tunnel between Tirana and Elbasan is being constructed, and going to be the alternative for those without a head for heights. Until this is done, the "Elbasan Road"may become a little boring, and for those with a 4WD vehicle there is another alternative.

The first part of the described route is on asphalt, then dirt. The middle part is not shown on any commercial map, and is basically a track that evolved over time. The last part, from the village of Garunje, it becomes a regular non-asphalt road again, until it meets the Lushnje-Elbasan highway.

Maximum altitude: 486 meter
Minimum altitude: 73 meter
Cumulative height: 532  meter
Cumulative length: 27 kilometer
Difficulty difficult
Time: 2.5 hours
Date of this record April 2011
Download GPS info: Backroad

General location and approach: The strat of the trail is Petrela village. Just before reaching the Petrela central market or parking place, an asphalt road turns off to the right. It eventually leads to Baldushk. Consult the map and coordinates to find the right turns. The trail ends on the Lushnje-Elbasan highway. The distance shown (27 kilometer) is from Petrela to the Elbasan highway only.

Other Information: The route earns a "red"or "difficult" rating because of its short stretch (perhaps 5 kilometers) of unprepared and unmaintained track in the middle, partly with considerable gradients and deep ruts. The road may become entirely impassable during a rainy period.

For a roundtrip from Tirana with a happy ending, we recommend to return from Elbasan via the standard road, and have mish (roasted lamb) at one of the eateries on top of the mountain. We prefer the first restaurant, on the right side in a left bend once the road leaves the ridge, when coming from Elbasan.