Peak of the Balkans

 

Everlasting innocence

Albania, Montenegro & Kosovo

                      12 days

Reference: TDAMK2-12-FR

Description:

A discovery trek for nature lovers wishing to explore previously forbidden places and bad omens. Meeting with those who want to revive their regions in an environmentally friendly way. Live these moments of humility in the face of the greatness of the elements. Let yourself be lulled by this eternal innocence scattered in the heart of green valleys protected by arrogant peaks. Go on an adventure in this unknown world.

 

In brief:

2/2+
Difficulty
Experienced English-speaking guide
Maximum 12 / 14  persons
2 hikes: Lëpushë (day 2) & Theth (day 5)
6 treks with an average of about 7: 00 hours of walking and nearly 92 km to cover
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3 visits: Shkodra (day 1); Peja & Gjakova (day 10) & Kruja or Podgorica (evening 11)
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Outdoor activity: No
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12 days / 11 nights
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Luggage: Backpack or equivalent max. 15 to 20kg
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3* & 4* hotels and guest houses
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Tirana or Podgorica airport – See notes (1)
Made by freepik flaticon.com
From mid-of May to October
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Portage: A small backpack is needed for your daytime equipment
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com
Luggage transfer by mules and/or vans from one accommodation to the next one

Strengths:

  • A discovery trek for a unique experience
  • An itinerary within the Balkan summits
  • 3 countries: Albania – Montenegro and Kosovo
  • Meeting with a warm population
  • Visit of exceptional places
  • Private transfers
Day 1

Tirana or Podgorica airport – Shkodra

Welcome by an English-speaking guide at the airport of “Mother Theresa” of Tirana or by a driver for groups arriving at Podgorica airport. Transfer to Shkodra, the former capital of Illyria.

Depending on the arrival time of the group in Shkodra. Visit of the Rozafa citadel, dating from the Middle Ages and built on Illyrian foundations. From its summit, a 360° view allows you to admire the surrounding mountains and plains, but also the largest lake in the region, home to one of the most important bird reserves in Europe.

Visit of Shkodra, a high place of democracy and Albanian culture. This city rich in history and architecture was partially rebuilt in 1979 following an earthquake.

Visit of Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. Destroyed during an earthquake in 1905, then partially destroyed during a bombing in 1913, transformed into a sports palace following the “Albanian cultural revolution during communism, partially destroyed again in 1967, it hosts the Communist Congress of Albanian Women in 1973 to finally be reopened in 1990 and welcome Pope John Paul II in 1993.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 2

Shkodra – Lëpushë

Hiking: ~ 2:30 hours
Maximal ascent: ~ 860 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 860 m.
Distance: ~ 5 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com No

Travel by vehicle to Lëpushë. Its region is well known for the beauty of its landscapes and an ideal starting point for a trek in the cursed mountains.

After lunch, a warm-up is required.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 3

Lëpushë – Vusanje

Hiking: ~ 8:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 860 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 750 m.
Distance: ~ 12 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Vehicle

On this little-known route, the trek leads to the ascent of Mount Taljanka (Maja e Vajushës – 2057 m.). The ascent offers spectacular views of the Karanfili mountain range. Let your mind drift, the emotions fill you, and the intensity of the place will simply come up against you with full force as the landscapes are so grandiose.

After lunch break, descent to Montenegro and the Grebaje valley, bordered by high cliffs that sometimes take on shapes that let the imagination soar. This valley offers a vast biodiversity whose beauty inspires respect.

Short transfer by vehicle to Vusanje.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 4

Vusanje – Theth

Hiking: ~ 7:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1000 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 1235 m.
Distance: ~ 22 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Mules or horses

Passage obliged by the cascade of Grla which rushes violently into a black hole and famous for being bottomless. Direction the valley of Ropojana offering a luxuriant fauna and flora. Along the river, Oko Skakavice a stopover to see ice-cold and turquoise water gush from the bowels of the earth. The route leads into the valley bordered by the majestic Karanfili and their neighbors.

After laying at the foot of Lake Gjeshtares, the journey leaves Montenegro and arrives in Albania, recognizable by its bunkers which still emerge like large mushrooms.

Passage through the Pejës Pass and its lakes under the control of Mount Harapit (culminating at 2217 m.). Steep descent to Theth in Albania.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 5

Theth – Theth

Hiking: ~ 4:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 250 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 500 m.
Distance: ~ 15 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com No

A day of relaxation in this small village at the bottom of a valley. Land of legends, myths and traditions, the Kanun law was the moral code that served as jurisprudence based on the concept of honor. Finding for some of them pre-Christian origins, this way of life reflected the austere reality of these mountain people whose traces are still visible today. Surrounded by mountains, some of which reach more than 2000 meters, Theth owes its development to nature lovers.

Direction the hamlet of Nderlysaj, passing by a place of rare beauty listed as an Albanian heritage site, the Grunas waterfall, whose last waterfall is 30 meters high. The walk continues along the Grunas Canyon. Over time, the water has carved its bed into the limestone rock to form a gorge about 2 km long, 60 meters high and between 2 and 40 meters wide, where icy, clear water flows.

Stroll along the river to reach the famous natural swimming pools of Nderlysaj where a lunch break will be organized.

It is necessary to take the road again to reach the hamlet of Kaprre and its Blue Eye. Formed by erosion, it is about 100 m² and has a depth of up to 5 meters.

Return to Theth for a well-deserved rest.

Alternative: For those who prefer to spend a quiet day, it will be possible to walk around the village to admire its cultural sites such as its small church, the Nikoll Koceku tower or its ethnographic museum (*).

Dinner and night in a guest house.

Day 6

Theth – Valbona

Hiking: ~ 7:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1050 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 850 m.
Distance: ~ 14.5 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Mules or horses

The itinerary invites you to climb the famous Valbona Pass (1759 meters) and will follow the old road used by mules to reach the Shala to Nikaj region.

The route will offer a magnificent glimpse of Mother Nature’s jewels. Sailing between forests, slopes, torrents and neighboring peaks (Jezerces – 2692 m., Radohimes – 2568 m.) it will pass through the top of the Valbona pass to offer a splendid view of the Theth and Valbona valleys.

Dinner and night in a hotel.

Day 7

Valbona – Çerem - Dobërdol

Hiking: ~ 6:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 950 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 300 m.
Distance: ~ 15 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Vehicle

Transfer by vehicle to Çerem.

This stage gives you a glimpse of the majestic beauty of the cursed mountains. The route crosses green forests that, in season, are full of blueberries. Climb via Montenegro to the Aljucit Pass (1920 meters) which allows a return to Albania.

The route will cross the Gashi Nature Reserve, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which takes its name from the river that crosses it. Fauna and flora are characterized by the significant presence of endemic species due to the isolation of the area, variations in altitude and the absence of humans.

Descent to the Balqin mountain pastures and then to the Bodërboll pastures. This village seems to be at the end of the world, being connected only by tracks not accessible to cars.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 8

Dobërdol – Babino Polje

Hiking: ~ 6:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 500 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 850 m.
Distance: ~ 15 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Mules,horses or vehicle

Let’s go to Montenegro. The route begins with the Trekufiri climb (2366 m.), forming the meeting point of Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo, each of the 3 countries having its share of the mountain.

Continuation of the journey to Mt Bogiçevica, two of whose peaks reach 2533 m. (Mt Marijas) and 2502 m. (Mt Maja Rops). The latter is classified as a nature reserve in Montenegro.

The path leads to the shores of the Hrid Mountain Lake (1982 m.), better known as the Lucky Lake in Montenegro because its waters would bring serenity to a couple after marriage.

Descent in the mountain pastures on Babino Polje.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 9

Babino Polje – Rekë e Allagës

Hiking: ~ 8:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1800 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 750 m.
Distance: ~ 15 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Vehicle or mules or horses

The journey leads to Kosovo through the pastures and mountain pastures used by Montenegrin herders and then between summits rising to more than 2300 meters, whose passes will allow you to pass through Kosovo and descend to the plains and plateaus of Rekë and Allagës. It is an idyllic route that the ancestors of this region used to follow.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 10

Rekë e Allagës – Peja - Gjakova

Relaxation and cultural day.

Transfer to Peja, a small town in Kosovo with a rich cultural and historical heritage. It houses the medieval monastery of Peja, a high place of Serbian Orthodoxy. Visit of this site built in the 13th century, enlarged in the 14th century, it is now composed of several churches and buildings, including a mausoleum and is part of UNESCO’s heritage.

After lunch, direction Gjakova. During the Ottoman period, the city served as a meeting place and exchange center on the Shkodra / Constantinople axis (Istanbul). Christianity has been present in the city since the Roman Empire, while Islam only arrived during the Ottoman period.

Visit of its historical center and the largest bazaar in the Balkans, Çarshia e Madhe. Despite partial destruction during the Kosovo war, the bazaar was rebuilt almost identically and contains nearly 500 shops.

Nearby is the Hadum Mosque, built in 1594. It is characterized by its architectural motifs and contains historical objects but also fountains and small mausoleums.

Further away are the churches of St. Paul and St. Peter, both part of the Cultural Heritage of Kosovo.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 11

Gjakova – Lake Koman – Kruja or Podgorica

It will be time to join Fierze in Albania. Travel by ferry to Koman. This navigation of about 2h30 to 3h00 allows you to discover unique landscapes resulting from the erosion created by the Drin River in the Albanian Alps, it is simply an incredible experience.

Then the vehicle will continue its journey to Kruja. Visit of its bazaar and depending on the time of day, visit of the castle.

Transfer to Podgorica for those arrived from Montenegro and free time.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 12

Departure

 

INCLUDED
3* Night in a 3* hotel (standard room) – Days 1, 6, 10 1* Night in a 4* hotel (standard room) – Day 11
7* Nights in a guesthouse – Days 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 11* Breakfasts
11* Lunches or picnics and dinners (*) Transportation including luggage transfers
English-speaking guide All the visits mentioned in this program except for the afternoon in Tirana (if any) or Podgorica (day 11) left free.
(*) Free option: Visit of the ethnographic museum of Theth (Plan between 1 and 2 €) Bottled still water of 0.5l is included, per person, at each meal.
Bottled still water of 0.5l is included, per person, at each meal. Experienced English-speaking guide for the duration of the stay (except for those returning to Montenegro day 14
Experienced English-speaking guide for the duration of the stay (except for those returning to Montenegro day 14) Accommodation in hotels (double room and local standard) or guesthouses (double room or shared room).
Meals (breakfasts, lunches or baskets, dinners) and drinks (table water) All luggage transport (1x backpack or equivalent of 15 kg maximum per person) by horses, vans or 4×4 between stages
Costs related to planned visits and border crossing authorisations
NOT INCLUDED
All personal expenses Costs related to specific requests or those not mentioned above
Meals and drinks other than table water were served during meals (*) Lunch and dinner day 11 for Podgorica version
Visit day 11 (if any) The plane ticket
Accommodation in single rooms Travel insurance
  • For safety reasons and in case of force majeure, the guide has full authority to adapt or even cancel an itinerary. This is all the more valid depending on the evolution of the weather or for medical reasons.
  • As the guide is responsible for all the people in his care and for the cohesion of the group, he can at any time adapt the pace of the walk, the effort, the itinerary… in order to avoid the isolation of one or more participants.
  • The guide has a duty to ensure that the environment in which the group operates is respected.
  • In order to respect the rules and laws in force in the countries crossed, Savatours can call on the support of local partners licensed in these countries (guides, transport, equipment, logistics, etc.). We have ensured that these companies share the same values as those established by Savatours.
  • The distances and walking times are given as an indication.

Passport:

International travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover the consequences of incidents that may occur while travelling, travelling and staying abroad. It is the traveler’s responsibility to check with his travel agent or insurer before departure.

Insurance:

International travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover the consequences of incidents that may occur while travelling, travelling and staying abroad. It is the traveler’s responsibility to check with his travel agent or insurer before departure.

  • This discovery trek includes walks over long distances in the wild. It is not recommended for children under 15 years of age.
  • It is advisable to be in good health and physical condition.
  • Avoid drinking tap water or spring water, unless your guide allows it.

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