The roof of the entire Ionian Riviera, and dividing the sea from the valleys of the country’s southern highlands, Mount Çika splendidly rises 2045 metres above sea level, and is one of the highest peaks in Albania.
Mount Çika is the peak of the Ceraunian (or Acroceraunian) Range. Famously included in Lord Byron’s epic poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”, this mountain range stretches along almost the entire length of the Ionian coast until it reaches the southernmost city of Saranda. Its grandeur continues to intrigue to this day, remaining one of the most challenging and in-demand spots for avid climbers, explorers, skiers, and mountaineers. Included in many tourist itineraries of this region, Çika is ideal for hiking and advanced climbing thanks to its frequently wonderful climate, and a breathtaking landscape.
Mount Cika, photo courtesy of Altin Serani.
The western slope of Mount Çika is the result of rock separations caused by historic tectonic movements. In what makes for quite a sight, these gigantic rock formations have seemingly fallen on top of one another. Seen from above, it looks as though the mountain forms a staircase leading all the way down to the shores of the Ionian Sea. The part that cannot be seen from the sea is very steep, descends over the valleys of the Shushica highlands, and is known for its deep and steep chasms.
Mount Çika, photo courtesy by Altin Serani.
Landscape and Parnoramas
The scenery you witness when climbing Mount Çika is truly incredible, and utterly unforgettable. The panorama reveals a vast expanse that includes three other remote sites: the Karaburun Peninsula, Sazan Island, and the Greek island of Corfu. It’s not an easy climb, and may very well tire you out, but the panoramas experienced at the peak will make you forget all about the gruelling hike, and appreciate the sheer beauty of Albanian nature’s endless gifts. You’ll be able to feast your eyes upon the gorgeous beaches of Himara, Palasa, Dhërmi, and Jali, sitting side by side below.
Mount Çika, Vlora. Photo Courtesy of Altin Serani.
Of Mountaineers and Shepherds
Mount Çika is a known spot where professional mountaineers from all over Europe meet. These rugged slopes, however, are first and foremost the refuge of local shepherds. According to them, the wild vegetation of the southern ridge is the most suitable sustenance for cattle. Once you see them grazing there, you’ll soon understand the high-quality dairy produced from such pure, untouched pastures!