Peak of the Balkans

The Character

Albania & Montenegro

15 days

Reference: TDAM5-15-UK

Description:

A trekking of strong character based on the discovery of the Peaks of Balkans. Long and difficult stages remaining at the mercy of the nature. It has been designed for those who are ambitious and nature lovers. Without a doubt, its beauty will remain engraved in your memories.

 

In brief:

2/2+
Difficulty
Experienced English-speaking guide
Maximum 10 / 12  persons
2 hikes: Theth (day 2) & Vermosh (day 13)
10 treks with an average of about 7: 00 hours of walking and nearly 170 km to cover
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2 visits: Shkodra (day 1) & Kruja (evening 14) or free visit in Podogorica (day 14)
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Outdoor activity: No
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15 days / 14 nights
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Luggage: Backpack or equivalent max. 15 to 20kg
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3* & 4* hotels and guesthouses
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Tirana or Podgorica airport – See notes (1)
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From mid-of May to October
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Portage: A small backpack is needed for your daytime equipment
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Luggage transfer by mules and/or vans from one accommodation to the next one

Strengths:

  • A discovery trek in magnificent landscapes
  • An itinerary within the Peaks of Balkans
  • 2 countries: Albania and Montenegro
  • Meeting with a warm population
  • Crossings 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 – Theth

Hiking: ~ 4:30 hours
Maximal ascent: ~ 250 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 500 m.
Distance: ~ 15 km
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Travel to Theth.

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 (*).

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.

After lunch, head for the hamlet of Nderlysaj via a place of rare beauty listed as an Albanian heritage site, the Grunas Falls, 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.

Dinner and night in a guest house

Day 3

Theth – Valbona

Hiking: ~ 7:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1050 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 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 regions of Shala and then Nikaj.

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 4

Valbona – Çerem

Hiking: ~ 7:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1150 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 950 m.
Distance: ~ 15 km
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This long walk will take you to the village of Cerem through Montenegro. The ascent of the Prosllopit Pass is difficult. We think we’re there, we see it, but it’s still not there. At an altitude of more than 2000 meters, the landscape seems to be compressed between sky and earth.

Hopefully the Montenegro. Long descent to the Borit Pass to return to Albania and finally reach Çerem through mountain pastures and wooded areas.

The trek allows you to cross forgotten and magnificent landscapes. The route will offer spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse

Day 5

Çerem – Dobërdol

Hiking: ~ 6:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 950 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 300 m.
Distance: ~ 16 km
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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.

Descent to the Balqin mountain pastures and then to the Bodërboll pastures.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 6

Dobërdol – Babino Polje

Hiking: ~ 6:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 500 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 850 m.
Distance: ~ 13 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Mules or horses

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

Continuation of the journey to Mt Bogiçevica, two of its 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 7

Babino Polje – Plav

Hiking: ~ 7:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 720 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 1250 m.
Distance: ~ 20 km
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A journey without any particular difficulty, but which will leave room for wonder at what Mother Nature has to offer.

The itinerary must pass through the Lake of Hrid, whose promises deserve this detour. The descent to Plav crosses bucolic landscapes, where all kinds of flowers, mammals, insects and birds of all kinds have taken up residence there to the delight of the senses.

The arrival faces Mt Visitor, which exercises its authority over the valley, the city and its lake.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse

Day 8

Plav – Mt Bor – Vusanje

Hiking: ~ 10:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1145 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 1085 m.
Distance: ~ 27.5 km
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A long ascent to the peak peak of Bor (2106 m.) awaits the travellers. It will cross mountain pastures, wooded areas, pass near some drinking water sources, but above all it will offer sensational views.

Once past the pass, there is little left to do in the middle of grasslands filled with wild blueberries, to reach the summit. The most difficult seems to have been done. Time to get some rest and admire the surroundings proposed by the Çerem valley, Kolata massif, the lake of Plav and the Hajla, Komovi and Karanfili mountains.

Slow descent to Vusanje passing near an abandoned former military camp.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse

Day 9

Vusanje – Theth

Hiking: ~ 8:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 726 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 1748 m.
Distance: ~ 21.5 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Mules or horses

Another long walk, but less aggressive than the one of the previous day. It will offer magnificent views over almost its entire length.

Going down to Theth, the path will pass near old border surveillance points, composed of bunkers, shelters and other caches or nature, having regained its rights, referring to the ancient history of these not very glorious buildings.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse

Day 10

Theth – Nikç

Hiking: ~ 9:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1300 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 1150 m.
Distance: ~ 22 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Mules or horses

The journey leaves behind the present to go back in time. It will be necessary to reach a hamlet composed of a few farms scattered in this environment at more than 1700 meters to begin to see Maja Jezercë, guess Montenegro, and admire the stone valley with its peaks, ridges and cliffs. A Jurassic Park setting.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse

Day 11

Nikç – Lepushë

Hiking: ~ 5:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 450 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 1120 m.
Distance: ~ 8 km
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The hamlet of Nikç disappears as the route sinks into the pastures and then onto rocky hills forming the natural barrier between Albania and Montenegro. The higher the path climbs, the more beautiful the views, especially when it will be necessary to descend in the middle of the Berizhdoli ridges to reach the next accommodation sites.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse

Day 12

Lepushë – Vermosh

Hiking: ~ 6:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 720 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 790 m.
Distance: ~ 12 km
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Attacking the Greben summits, which will offer a splendid view of Mount Trojan, the peaks of the surrounding mountains and the Lepushë circus. It will be necessary to reach the Zabeli pass before heading towards Vermosh by going down in the middle of beech forests and pastures.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 13

Vermosh - Vermosh

Hiking: ~ 4:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 250 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 250 m.
Distance: ~ 6 km
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The village, located at an altitude of about 1100 meters, is the northernmost village in Albania. It has the particularity to offer its visitors a magnificent view of the Balkan Alps. Walk in the valley to discover the different features of these forgotten places.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 14

Vermosh - Kruja

Travel to Kruja and depending on arrival time visit the Skanderbeg Museum, one of the most visited places in Albania. Accessible via the bazaar, it is located in the heart of the historic citadel of Kruja and is dedicated to the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. The museum offers collections of objects dating back to most of the wars waged by Albanians and Ottomans during the 15th century.

Visit of the Ethnographic Museum of Kruja, located in the citadel in a house that belonged to one of the most important families of the 17th century. He closes objects and scenes of life from the period in a setting of elaborate ceilings and sumptuous murals.

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

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 15

Departure

INCLUDED
2* Night in a 3* hotel (standard room) – Days 1 & 3 1* Night in a 4* hotel (standard room) – Day 14
11* Nights in a guestroom – Days 2 and 4 to 13 (shared rooms) 14* Breakfasts
13* Lunches or picnics and dinners Transportation including luggage transfers
English-speaking guide All the visits mentioned in this program except for the afternoon in Kruja or Podgorica (day 14) 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)
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 14
Visit day 14 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:

A valid passport (at least 6 months from the start of the stay) is required. A copy of each participant’s passport will be requested at least one month before the departure date of the trek in order to obtain the border crossing authorizations from the competent authorities.

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.
  • Respect the environment in which you operate. He’ll give it back to you.

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