Peak of the Balkans

Uncharted territories

Kosovo, Montenegro & Albania

12 days

Trail designed and operated in close cooperation with Outdoor Kosova

Reference: HKMA1-12-UK

Description:

It is not anymore a myth. Hike within uncharted territories, abandoned, forgotten and unspoiled for decades. Step foot on lands known only by few, traveled up by old shepherds and their herds. Cross the Accursed Mountains using Via Dinarica and Peaks of Balkans paths. See unforgettable sceneries, landscapes, valleys, plateaus, streams, wildlife…  Share moments with people making hospitality a sacred law, unchanged for centuries.

In brief:

2/2+
Difficulty
Experienced English-speaking guide
Maximum 15 persons
9 hikes
No trek
Made by photo3idea_studio of flaticon.com
3 cultural visits: Peja (Afternoon day 1*), Shkodra (evening day 7 and morning day 8), Prishtina (morning day 12) (*) Depending on flight schedules
Made by Smashicons from flaticon.com
Outdoor activity: No
Made by bqlqn from flaticon.com
12 days / 11 nights
Made by ultimatearm from flaticon.com
Luggage: Backpack or equivalent 15 to 20 kg max..
Made by freepik flaticon.com
Hotel 3* and guesthouses
Made by freepik flaticon.com
Prishtina airport
Made by freepik flaticon.com
From May to October
Made by freepik flaticon.com
Porting: A small backpack is required for your daily equipment
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com
Transfer of luggage by vans or 4×4 car from one accommodation to another

Strengths:

  • A discovery hike with unforgettable memories
  • Route on the paths of the Rusolia and Hajla edelweiss reserve in Rugova mountains in Kosovo
  • Itinerary in the Via Dinarica and Peaks of Balkan
  • 3 countries: Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo
  • Meeting with a warm population
  • Visit of exceptional places such as the Great Highlands, Kelmend and Komani lack
  • Private transfers
Day 1

Prishtina airport – Peja

Welcome by an English-speaking guide at the airport in Prishtina. Departure by van to Peja. Cited in the past as a busy place, the city has been occupied throughout the ages by many tribes, tribes, civilizations, peoples and armies. In the 14th century it was a very important Slavic religious center, so that Emperor Stefan Dusan made it the seat of the Slavic Orthodox Church. After his capture by Ottoman forces, Peja gained notoriety. Today, Peja preserves part of its historical heritage and is the starting point for many tourists who wish to visit the famous Rugova canyons or venture into the surrounding mountains. Visit of the bazaar and Peja’ most important places of interest.

Diner in a traditional restaurant and accommodation in a hotel.

Day 2

Peja – Berdynaj huts – Rusolia Mountains

Hiking: ~ 7:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 900 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 300 m.
Distance: ~ 12 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com 4×4

Short transfer in vehicle up to the departure location. The path will lead through pine forest and open meadows, while gently climbing along the Rusolia mountain to reach the ridge. From there, the panorama offers a magnificent view on Accursed mountains and Dukagjini plain. Descent towards the Hajla mountain cabin.

Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 3

Hajla - Drelaj

Hiking: ~ 6:30hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 200 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 1301 m.
Distance: ~ 9 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com 4×4

The itinerary will go through the Hajla mountain located on the border between the Montenegro and Kosovo. The mountain belongs to the North-eastern part of Prokletije mountain range, which includes the Accursed Mountains. The trail will climb up to the highest peak of this side of the Prokletije mountain, the Hajla peak (2403 meters). Streching along the ride’s north-eastern end and bellow the main summit is a 400 meters high sheer limestone cliff, attractive and suitable for alpinist climbs. Below the cliff is a plateau at 1810 meters called Brahim breg with water source and abandoned shepherds huts. The summit offers a 360° view on mountains surrounding Rozhaje valley, but as well on peaks such as Maja Rosit, Maja Kolata or Karanfili from the south-eastern side and Guri I Kuq, Majae e Ropsit or Gjeravica from the south.

Descent towards the hamlet of Pepaj and further the small village of Drelaj.

Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse.

Day 4

Drelaj – Liqinati huts - Belegu

Hiking: ~ 6:30hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 880 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 620 m.
Distance: ~ 16 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com 4×4

Short transfer in vehicle up to the starting point Liqinati huts. The itinerary goes through a wonderful pine trees forest which hosts some mountain pastures. After passing the two glacial lakes of Kuqishtes and Drelajve, it continues towards the famous and mysterious Shkodra pass – a natural wonder, and then to the Mariashi crest and peak. The highest peak reaches 2532 meters, The crest belongs to the massive of Roshkodol and is part of the Via Dinarica. Descent through open meadows terrain and pine forests towards the hamlet of Begu.

Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse.

Day 5

Belegu – Babino Polje

Hiking: ~ 4:30hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 460 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 720 m.
Distance: ~ 12 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Van

The hiking trail continues along a path known for its abundant supply of wild blueberries and mushrooms depending on the season. The trail will follow the border with Montenegro and cross the border to reach the lake of Ridsko. Stop for a short break at this mountain lake where in summer it is possible to go for a dip in its chilly waters. From here, descent towards the small village of Babino Polje.

Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse.

Day 6

Babino Polje – Grebaje - Lepushë

Hiking: ~ 6:30hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 900 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 1020 m.
Distance: ~ 12 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Van

Transfer by vehicle to the hamlet of Grebaje in Montenegro and from there, hike to Albania up to the hamlet of Lepushë. The trail does not present any particular difficulties. It goes through beautiful forests and meadow terrains. The itinerary will gently climb the hills following time to time some streams descending from the surrounding mountains and summits, such as the Talijanka peak reaching more than 2000 meters. The path continues along mountain pastures offering beautiful views on the Albanian and Montenegro Alps. After crossing the border, the descent starts towards Lepushë through meadow terrains and forests and finally the circus of Lepushë.

Lepushë. The hamlet takes its name from a yellow flowering plant that grows in the region. Lepushë, is truly a land of natural beauty surrounded by the high peaks of the cursed mountains, pastures and forests. It is one of the snowiest regions in Albania. The local economy depends on livestock, agriculture, crafts and recently tourism. An important event in the region is the ‘Lugu I Bjeshkeve’ festival, an annual event that goes back centuries and brings together locals and tourists. Young women from the Kelmend region and the diaspora dressed in traditional clothing and participate in a beauty contest. It is usually held in August and is considered one of the most original traditional Albanian events.

Dinner and accommodation in a guest house.

Day 7

Lepushë – Nikc - Shkodra

Hiking: ~ 7:30hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1150 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 700 m.
Distance: ~ 16 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Van

Small transfer from Peja to Koshutan hamlet in the Rugova mountains. Before 2016, this location was completely isolated during winter time, as there was absolutely no way to reach it. The trail will lead to the Dromodol pass then to the Dromodol summit. The trail itself is not challenging. From the pass or from the summit, the views are simply 360 °splendid. Many peaks emerge from the horizon giving the impression that it is possible to touch them with fingers just by reaching out  the hand. The beauty gives the desire to go further and further. Back to Koshutan and transfer to Peja.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 8

Shkodra - Lake Koman - Valbona

A cultural morning. 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, which is home to one of the largest bird reserves in Europe.

Departure to reach Lake Koman. Travel by ferry to Fierze. This crossing 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.

Accommodation at the guest house and if there is enough time or some volunteers, a hike up to the hamlet of Kukaj can be organized.

Dinner and overnight at the guesthouse.

Day 9

Valbona – Çerem

Hiking: ~ 7:30hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1200 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 950 m.
Distance: ~ 14 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Van

This long walk will take you to the village of Cerem via Montenegro. The ascent of the Prosllopit Pass is interesting. 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. Quick Montenegro and 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 overnight at the guesthouse.

Day 10

Çerem - Doberdol

Hiking: ~ 6:30hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1290 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 680 m.
Distance: ~ 16.5 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Horses

This trail gives 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 where a stop at local shepherds is necessary to get a glass of refreshing milk and then to the Bodërbol pastures. These mountains are under strict nature protection by UNESCO.

Dinner and overnight in a guesthouse.

Day 11

Doberdol – Gjeravica – Gjakova

Hiking: ~ 7:30hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 900 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 920 m.
Distance: ~ 18.5 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Horses

The itinerary offers an open view to its surrounding practically all along its distance. It passes by some springs and crosses pastures where fauna and flora and well preserved. Some lakes are the home of an endemic and rare salamander. During summer it is possible to go for a dip in their chilly waters. The trail will pass-by the second highest peak of Kosovo, Mount Gjeravica (2656 meters) and ends at Gacaferri where a transfer in 4×4 is organized for Gjakova city.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 12

Gjakova – Prishtina airport departure

During the Ottoman Empire, the city of Gjakova benefited greatly from its location. Located on the Shkodra – Constantinople trade route, it quickly became a place of economic and cultural exchange. Partially destroyed during the Kosovo war, it is now one of the most beautiful cities on the peninsula. Visit of its center and its bazaar, the oldest in Kosovo.

Departure by van to Prishtina airport.

INCLUDED
8* Nights in guesthouses 3* Nights in hotels 3* (days 1, 7 & 11)
11* Breakfasts and dinners 9* Picnics
2* Lunches Transportation
English-speaking guide Ferry between Koman and Fierze
All visits mentioned in this program Experienced English-speaking guide for the duration of the stay
Accommodation in hotels (double room and local standard) or guest houses. Meals (breakfasts, lunches or baskets, dinners) and drinks (table water)
All luggage transport (1x backpack or equivalent of 15 kg maximum per person) Costs related to planned visits, ferry and border crossing permits
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 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 Incoming 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 border crossing authorizations from the competent authorities.

Insurance:

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

  • This discovery hiking 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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