The Vjosa River is one of the five main rivers of Albania, second in length behind Drini River and has five main tributaries, Dishnica, Lemnica, Langarica, Çarshova and Sarandaporos, in the Greek border. The River’s water resources has always provided the basis for the Vjosa’s valley agricultural production but also a place of a leisure, offering- especially in the upper part of the valley- the best fishing spots in the area, a favourite for recreational fishing. It should be noted that in the Albanian part of the River. In its Albanian part, Vjosa flows uninterruptedly, free from human constructions such as dams, along its whole length (one of the few such cases in Europe); as such, it constitutes a continuous river ecosystem with rich biodiversity, which is home to many important species of fauna, like the European otter (Lutra Lutra), an endangered species whose priority for preservation has been recognised in several international conventions. However, in 2011, the Albanian Government approved the construction of two hydroelectric plants in Vjosa; the environmental, social and economic impacts of these infrastructures still need to be analysed.
This thematic route is divided into three sections that reflect the natural value of the river and the services it offers to local communities. Thriving land follows the fertile lands of the area, which was and still is a primarily agricultural zone. All kinds of crops are being cultivated and produce numerous varieties of grapes, wheat, corn and vegetables as well as extensive livestock breeding, especially sheep and goat breeding. A large part of the agricultural products is being processed locally, in the numerous small dairy farms, breweries and workshops of the area. The traditional products of the area have an established reputation in Albania due to their high quality.