The gods were truly inspired when they created Përmet, giving this town a timeless landscape that seems as if painted on a canvas, where mountains, hills, rivers and forests enhance as well as play hide-and-seek with one another. Përmet has gradually become one of the most visited destinations for outdoor adventure, like rafting across the Vjosa River, and healthy recreation in its now famous natural thermal baths. Though highly recommended by doctors for their health benefits, these baths are also wonderful to immerse yourself in for no other reason than pure pleasure.
The Vjosa River flows across the entire valley and eventually branches out into the Langarica River, the latter stretching across a canyon of the same name. The caves found within the Langarica Canyon are spectacular! Warm waters join Langarica’s stream which, despite the cold temperatures of the river, remain at 29-30 degrees Celsius year-round. These are the thermal baths of Bënja, or llixha as they are called in Albania, located only 13 km from the center of Përmet. Hundreds of people come here to seek recovery from rheumatism or skin and kidney ailments. In fact, each thermal pool serves a particular curative purpose! These baths, rich in minerals, are located very close to each other.
Bënja’s waters are smooth and clear and contain a high content of sulfur. The most authentic of these baths are the ones made of stone. A daily dip into these stone baths is highly recommended. Yet, 20-25 minutes suffices as spending more time in the highly sulfuric waters can be quite overwhelming and not necessarily healthy. Don’t be surprised if you notice people entirely covered in black mud! These are the deposits of the thermal waters which are thought to have regenerative properties for the skin. These waters have been well-known since antiquity and they are thought to flow from deep chasms of the cliffs surrounding the Langarica Canyon.
Two of the largest and most popular baths are located at the foot of the Bridge of Katiu (the Judge’s Brigde), and are considered quite beneficial for curing gastric and rheumatic diseases. The beautiful Ottoman bridge, still in great condition, reflects beautifully on the water surface and is yet another attraction of this area. In fact, this area represents a valuable archeological site as the earliest objects found in the cave settlements belong to the Neolithic (7000-3000 BC) and the Eneolithic (3000-2000 BC) periods.
Yet, it is the stone baths that attract visitors year-round. During the winter, when the temperatures in Përmet fall below 0 degrees Celsius, immersing yourself in these hot baths is especially thrilling. At once, you can get all the natural health benefits these baths offer while enjoying the scenic landscape of Përmet. With a choice of several resorts in the area, you may choose to extend your period of rejuvenation and regeneration in Bënja.