Komani Lake is described by Bradt Travel Guides as one of the world’s greatest boat rides.
When I first started reading about Albania, one of the things often mentioned was the towering, amazing mountains in the North. I read so much about the famous Valbona – Theth hike and we considered this when we first planned to go to Albania in the month of October. But plans changed and it was now April. The hike was impassable with snow, and I was not certain with my knee / back if it would be doable anyway! One cannot go from Valbona to Theth (or in reverse) in any way, other way than hiking. We did consider driving to Valbona and doing some smaller daytrips but after our other multiple interactions with snow on our slow explore, we decided we would leave this for a future date.
But the Komani ferry was something that I refused to give up on! I knew the smaller boat the Berisha ran from 1st April. So we searched on Google maps to plan a trip so that we could do it.
The Berisha runs through the canyons of the Albanian mountains. The map below shows the Theth and Valbona National parks in the north and then the Komani Lake ferry from Fierzes to Koman.
We drove from Prizren in Kosovo to Albania. Once through the easy border crossing we drove through the town of Bajam Curry and onto Fierze. We had booked our car ferry crossing online. It costs 8 Euro per person and the car cost is calculated by size of car.
The ferry goes one way and then turns around and returns.
So it goes at 9am from Koman to Fierza,
And then at 1pm from Fierza to Koman.
One cannot get from Fierze to Koman by any way other than the ferry. We were accompanied by about another 20 people, 3 cars, and 8 motorbikes. From other accounts that I have read, we were very lucky to have such an empty (early season) ferry so that I could easily photograph the magnificent surroundings. In summer it can also get very hot, and temperatures of 41 degrees have been recorded. There is an internal air-conditioned cabin area.
Lake Komani is a reservoir with a height of 115m on the Drin River in northern Albania. It was constructed as a hydro-electric project between 1979 and 1988 near the village of Koman. Lake Komani is surrounded by densely forested hills, vertical slopes, deep gorges, and a narrow valley, completely taken up by the river. Besides the Drin, it is fed by the Shala and Valbona Rivers. The lake stretches over an area of 34 km², its width being 400 m. The narrowest gorge, which is surrounded by vertical canyon walls, is more than 50 m wide.
The Drin River is a combination of two branches the White Drin which originates in the area of Peja in Kosovo, and the Black Drin which comes from Lake Ohrid in Macedonia in the area of Kukes, Albania. The elongated shape of the lake surface follows the contours of the valleys.
We have seen lots of scenic places in the world, but I still rank this as one of my top three. The scenery is just majestic. A fellow traveller said the only other place he had seen something similar was in the Norwegian fjords.
And YES the colouring on the ferry is Yellow and Blue in protest at the invasion of Ukraine. The river Drin borders the massive block of the Albanian Alps. This combination of river and mountain creates these utterly majestic views.
The scenery is slightly better on the Fierze to Koman side, so we had the best scenery first. The limestone cliffs and surrounding mountains plunge through wooded forests into this amazing blue, green, and turquoise water. One just cannot believe how beautiful it is!