Entering Albania from Greece, Vjosa River creates a picturesque valley. The visitor’s eye is caught by a panorama of images succeeding harmoniously on the landscape –from the calm waters of the river and the cultivated fields aside the river banks to the forested hills rising along both sides of the valley. Monumental natural formations sitting up on the hillsides, picturesque villages hanging from the cliffs, stone bridges and pathways, complement the image of the area. This thematic route has three sections.
The gifts of the Forest explore the flora and fauna of the area. When crossing the Vjosa valley you will find that 2/5 of the total surface is covered by forests, the majority of which date before the World War II. Oaks, beeches, firs and pine trees are the most extensive forest ecosystems. Dominating the area is the Fir of Hotova National Park, a protected area of approximately 34361.1 ha, which is known for the presence of the Macedonian (reddish) fir (Abies borisii-regis), a quite rare Mediterranean species. It is also known for its abundance in medicinal herbs, over 120 species, the use of which is a century long tradition practiced by the locals. The local fauna is also quite diverse with brown bears, wild boar, wild goats, roe deer and others.