The Fir of Hotova National Park Loop Road is an epic adventure in the heart of the Morava Mountain Range, in southern Albania. The road is in rough shape and requires a 4x4. Avoid driving in this area if unpaved mountain roads aren't your strong point. It shouldn’t be attempted by those who don't know how to reverse.
The loop road is 69km long. It’s gravel. Only 4x4 vehicles. The road is very rough--only try driving it in a 2wd car, if you're planning to buy a new car. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. With a coverage area of 34,361 hectares consisting mainly of Bulgarian Firs, the area was declared a national park by the Albanian Government on January 15, 1996.
Expect a narrow road, without protections, with drops of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails, impassable for 2 cars at the same time and hundreds of turns. Stay away if you're scared of heights. This track can get very muddy and slippery after rain making it challenging to get through. During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Fir of Hotova contains the largest area with Bulgarian Fir in the Balkans. Other species include maple, black horn-beam, red and black juniper, raspberry etc. Some of the park’s fauna includes the brown bear, wolf, fox, wild boar, hare, squirrel, wild goat, etc. Deer can also be seen on the pastures deep inside the forest.
The road is very narrow in some sections. If two vehicles have to pass each other, one might have to reverse for some kilometers of winding narrow road to get to a place wide enough to pass. There are no food facilities in the park, though food can be brought or ordered at nearby villages. Water can be secured from fresh water fountains located on the roadside along the way. Thanks to the wonderful and picturesque landscape, the health climate, clean air as well proximity to residential areas, the park offers opportunities for tourism, ecotourism, camping, excursions, as well as recreation and sports in every season of the year.