East from Gjirokastra, higher up in the mountains, without 300-year old Ottoman architecture but also not really discovered by tourist hordes, is the small town Përmet. It’s uncharacteristically flat, built along a river, but the true attraction are the mountain villages above.
Getting there means climbing, some steep 550 meters to the two I chose, Lipë and Leus. The latter has an orthodox church with fantastic paintings, for a village consisting of little more than wooden shacks for animals and people. Some people have odd priorities. The weather is extremely hot, but there are wells with cold fresh mountain water.