Vjosa Park Kombëtar

The truth about Vjosa

The Vjosa River in Albania is the last wild river in Europe outside of Russia. The river and its tributaries flow freely from the mountains in Greece to the Adriatic coast in Albania. This wilderness area is made up of an enormous mosaic of different habitats types from the narrow gorges in the upper part to the wide braided river sections in the middle part to the near-natural delta at the Adriatic Sea. The middle stretch alone is made up of at least 8 habitat types that have the highest conservation importance at the EU level.

Scientific knowledge about the Vjosa’s biodiversity and physical processes is limited. It is one of the least explored rivers in Europe. But the few existing studies underscore the importance of the river valley as Albania’s biodiversity hotspot providing ideal aquatic habitats for numerous species. The river is host to over 1,100 species, including 13 globally threatened animal species and 2 plants and at least 50 animal species and 24 plants are included in the national Red Lists of Albania.

The surrounding watershed provides the villages with fertile land for agricultural activities such as crop production and livestock farming. The abundance and diversity of fish is vital for the well-being of local fishermen mostly in the lower part of the Vjosa. Eco-tourism on the Vjosa and its tributaries is ever-increasing, particularly in recent years in which enthusiasts have started to enjoy activities such as rafting, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, etc.