Nestled in between the Lurë Mountains in the Drin River valley, Peshkopi is a city of about 13,000 people–many of them young people with few prospects for finding work. The Outdoor Albania Association came to Peshkopi in 2014 with the idea of developing opportunities for these young people by engaging them in developing the tourism potential of their hometown.
Working together with local young people, we have cleared and marked hiking trails, opened a backpacker hostel, and begun rafting tours in the greater Peshkopi region. However, our work reaches beyond simple job creation. By taking a more youth centered approach and implementing peer-to-peer activities, we aim to have young people as the leaders of this initiative, teaching them fun yet marketable skills with which they can help their city flourish. In all our work with young people–both guides and participants–we strive to instill in them an appreciation for the natural beauty of the region, and for the potential it holds to create opportunities for them right here in Albania.
Want to experience Peshkopi for yourself? Find information about rafting, hiking, and accommodations here!
Peshkopi Backpacker Hostel
Everyone in Peshkopi knows the place known as “Shtëpia e Pritjes” (The Guest House) . Built in the 1960’s, this shady villa hosted the most important Communist leaders during the regime of Albania’s dictator, Enver Hoxha. Hoxha himself used it as a vacation home from time to time, and it’s easy to see why–perched above the sleepy town, with views of the Drin River valley and mountains stretching into the distance, the atmosphere of the villa can only be described as serene.
After standing empty for 23 years, we acquired the building in 2014 and officially opened it as a backpacker hostel in the summer of 2015. Now renovated and fully equipped with modern amenities, Peshkopi Backpacker Hostel can accommodate up to 20 people and offers guests a bar, herb garden, and patio with stunning views. Camping spots are also available!
During summer 2015 we have built a team of 5 young people from the city of Peshkopi which worked to identify the potential touristic assets of the area. We focused on the most interesting villages from where tourist can start the hiking tours in the mountains. We got in contact with local farmers in those villages who were interested in our project, and have begun discussing with them how they could use their homes as guest houses, making traditional local food and being mountain guides for tourists. We also spearheaded the renovation of an old mill run by a man who inherited this profession from his grandfather. The working team was composed by a group of 15 young international and local voluntaries, lead by a professional mason. The OAA local team is also involved in clearing and marking 6 hiking trails, and producing a hiking map for the Municipality. Additionally, we have trained 5 young men by experienced mountain guides.
Our long-term vision is to contribute to sustainable economic and social development in Peshkopi. OAA’s projects have provided Albanian and international young people with the valuable opportunity for cultural exchange. For the young people from Peshkopi and other parts of Albania who are engaged in OAA projects, the skills they build here in English, leadership, and project management can help them find higher-qualified positions in a number of fields down the road, or even to start their own ecotouristm projects. As our projects attract more tourists to the area, the local economy will grow as businesses have more clients, and locals find their own niche, operating guest houses and selling their goods to tourists.