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Called “the lungs” of the south, the 1400-hectare lush natural park Fir of Hotova is where you go to really get away from it all.
Located only 35 km from Përmet, otherwise knowns as “the city of roses,” this park is considered to be the largest one in the Balkans, stretching all the way to Greece and is accessible by car. Declared a national park in 1996, Fir of Hotova is an outdoor lover’s dream as it includes the best-preserved forests in Albania as well as spectacular rugged caves and canyons.
In addition to its appeal to the outdoorsy crowd, Fir of Hotova also attracts plenty of cultural tourism, as it is surrounded by villages with a rich history and tradition. Some of the most valued villages are Ogren, Hotova, Borocka, Pagria, Kreshova, Soropulli and the most famous of them all, Frashëri. The latter is worth mentioning as it hosts the house-museum of the famous Frashëri brothers, crucial Albanian figures in the national cultural and literary Renaissance movement. The Frashëri tekke is also located in the same village.
While the park is completely safe and a perfect setting for hiking and camping, there is no accommodation available to visitors. As such, those of you who are planning an overnight visit, are urged to bring all your camping gear and food along. Sheltered by the Macedonian fir, the park’s namesake tree, as well as the starry sky, camping here can be quite wonderful. The park is also a hiker’s paradise with more than 5 different hiking trails that take you along its rich flora and fauna.
Located at an altitude of 800 – 1600 m, Fir of Hotova includes a wealth of flora and fauna. Alongside the Macedonian fir, the black spruce, and juniper, this richly biodiverse place includes a variety of medicinal and aromatic plants. The animals that populate the area include the brown bear, wolf, fox, marten, wild boar, wild rabbit, squirrel, roe deer and various birds, such as the owl, eagle, thrush, and the turtledove.
The park is surrounded by amazing views of mountain ridges as well as canyons. A couple of must-visits are Kamenica and Lengarica canyons and the Pigeons’ Cave (Shpella e pëllumbave). This natural oasis, rich in stunning canyons lined with coniferous forests and alpine meadows, is truly a matchless destination.