The Albanian Road SH40 is the Journey to Hell

Nicknamed the Journey to Hell, SH40 road is an epic adventure in the heart of northwestern Albania. Avoid driving in this area if unpaved mountain roads aren't your strong point.


Set in the middle of nowhere, the long dirt road is totally unpaved but navigable by all passenger vehicles in dry weather; however, it’s strongly recommended for high clearance vehicles. The road was built on the slopes of the mountains. Hidden deep in the country away prying eyes, it leads to the Spaç Prison, a terrifying prison and labor camp of the Communist period in Albania, holding the imminent political prisoners of the country.

Tucked away in a remote and mountainous area in the center of the country, the narrow and winding road is 25.9 km (16.09 miles) long, running south-north from Blinisht to Kimesë. Along the way you’ll have to deal with some dangerous drop offs. So, if you're afraid of heights, better avoid the road. Albanian writer Ornela Vorpsi described it: "On the one hand, mountains were rising, on the other there was an opening [...] abyss, at the bottom of which orange water flowed, smelling of rotten eggs."

It’s a high mountain road, topping out at 1.170m (3,838ft) above the sea level. The drive features narrow parts, dangerous drop offs, unlit tunnels, steep gradients and many turns.
Pic: Giorgos Kiassas