A stone bridge arcs over a winding stretch of brilliantly blue-green water. Built in the Middle Ages, it has been letting people cross the sulfur-rich river since the days of the Ottoman Empire. Warm water rushes beneath it, providing a relaxing treat for those who visit.
Near the bridge, you’ll find the the Benja Thermal Baths, born from the geothermal waters near Përmet, Albania. The heated water flows down the river unless it gets diverted into one of the several human-made pools. They’re a splendid spot for a hot soak on a crisp, cool day.
Some say the baths have healing properties. As such, you may see some locals arriving to bathe there and reap the water’s alleged health benefits. The pools are off the beaten path, though, so you can still expect a fair amount of privacy.
The area surrounding the old bridge and the hot springs is stunning. Walking atop the stone overpass is a great way to soak in the views. The river carves through a beautiful gorge, backdropped by distant mountains that stretch toward the sky. Small waterfalls rush and ripple along some parts of the river. It’s a gorgeous spot to camp—if you don’t mind spending the night breathing in air saturated with the stinky stench of sulphur.
Know Before You Go
It costs 200L for parking at the site. It is possible to hike there from the nearby town of Përmet. The water contains sulphur and there is a strong smell in the area. It's muddy so bring some water-shoes!