The Osum Gorge (Osum Gorge in English or in Albanian Kanioni i Osumit) is one of the most breathtaking gorges in the Balkans. It is not for nothing that it is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Colorado” of Albania. Located in the south of Albania, near the town of Çorodova, in the Skrapar region, many adventurers come to these gorges to see the scenery, and also to go rafting . The descent takes place against the backdrop of immense 100-metre vertical walls, which we often think of as being from another continent. The rocky landscape alternates pine forests, Mediterranean shrubs such as heather and heather, and river meanders, with suggestive spots such as the so-called “cathedral”, “crocodile’s head”, “love waterfall” or “devil’s door”, formations resulting from erosion, about which the locals tell legends that have served to baptize them.
Panoramic view of the Osum Gorge
The gorge is 26 km long, varying in width from 1.5 metres wide to 35 metres wide. It is believed that the gorges were formed 2-3 million years ago by water erosion. There are many unexplored underground passages and caves along the gorge, and in fact it is thought that the river initially flowed underground, but over time the caverns collapsed, leaving the course of the river in the open air.
The Osum River Gorge is one of Albania’s most spectacular natural attractions. During spring, the melting snow waters allow you to explore the entire gorge from the river. Spring is also the best time to see the numerous waterfalls in the gorge, which thunder from above as explorers pass below in boats. The rapids are Class II, so no previous whitewater experience is needed to navigate them. In late summer, when the water is at its lowest, you can’t navigate the entire gorge, but there are several hikes with opportunities to swim in various pools and streams.
Picture of Rafting in the Osum Gorge – ©Trip&Travel Blog/Flickr
The organised activity usually starts from Berat (where the Osum River flows), with a two-hour drive to the rafting start. Equipped with helmet, waistcoat and wetsuit and of course paddles, we will go down the river letting all the adrenaline out.
In addition to rafting, kayaking or canoeing down the river, which has been eroding its walls for millions of years, the Osum canyon area offers several trekking routes.
OSUM CANYON TOURS AND ACTIVITIES
HOW TO GET TO OSUM CANYON
The Osum Gorge is a few kilometres south of the village of Çorovodë. It can be reached by organised tours, taxis or collective vans from Berat, from where it is a 1.5 hour drive.