Peak of the Balkans

 

Kelmend

Albania

                           8 days

Reference: WHA1-8-UK

Description:

The Kelmend region is home to some of the most impressive landscapes in the Albanian Alps. There are eight villages in the region for about 6,000 inhabitants in the summer. It is the region of myths and legends. Kelmend is still the wildest, least known and least visited place in the Balkans. 6 of hiking to discover this magnificent world, 7 days of meeting people in a warm atmosphere, 7 days in the footsteps of Mary Edith Durham or Baron Franz Nopcsa or more recently the historian Indro Montanelli.

 

In brief:

2/2+
Difficulty
Experienced English-speaking guide
Maximum 15 / 16  persons
(*) 6 hikes on snow or 6 hikes on snowshoes
No trek
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 1 free cultural visit: Kruja (evening day 7)
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Outdoor activity: No
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8 days / 7 night
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Luggage: Backpack or equivalent max. 15 to 20kg
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Hotel 4* or 3* and guest houses
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Tirana International airport
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From November to March up to mid-April
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Carrying: A small backpack is needed for your daytime equipment
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Luggage transfer: None

(*) depending on snow conditions.

Strengths:

  • Discovery hikes in a snowy environment
  • Route on the paths of the Accursed mountains
  • Trails in the most remote and mysterious region of Albania
  • Meeting with a warm population
  • Star hikes from a single accommodation location
  • Private transfers
Day 1

Tirana Airport - Lepushë

Reception by a French-speaking guide or an English-speaking driver at Rinas airport in Tirana. Departure by van or minibus to Lepushë in the heart of the Kelmend region.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Edith Durham, a young British explorer, was attracted to Malesia e Madhe, the land of the Great Mountain. Despite many difficulties, she was swept away by the charm of an ancient culture that is still alive: the land of the living past. To relive the same emotions as Durhan, the hike goes through unforgettable landscapes, unspoiled nature, and the discovery of ancient traditions and customs.

For those who thirst for winding roads and spectacular views, the road from Shkodra to Lepushë can be the very embodiment of adventure travel. Following the Montenegro border, the road will pass through Broje, which looks like a fortress attached to the cliffs, then Tamarë and Selca, which is famous for its natural monuments, historical and cultural sites.

Then 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 guesthouse.

Day 2

Lepushë – Vermosh – Lepushë

Hiking: ~ 5:00 hours
Maximal ascent: ~ 597 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 239 m.
Distance: ~ 10 km

On the way to the so-called “Italian” hike (11a). A comfortable route that passes only a few kilometers from the border with Montenegro and runs along the Ljpusa River. The path winds along the curves of the hills and mountains offering an unobstructed view of the valley below and the opposite slopes. It crosses forests and pastures where it is not uncommon to meet shepherds and herds.

Return to Lepushë by van or 4×4.

Dinner and accommodation in a guest house.

Day 3

Lepushë – Lepushë

Hiking: ~ 4:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 560 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 560 m.
Distance: ~ 9 km

Paja hiking (30c). Walk along the hills of Dobkul in the beech forests and alpine pastures to reach the so-called Paja place. Return to Lepushë along the border with Montenegro and descend to the very heart of the Lepushë circus.

Dinner and accommodation in a guest house.

Day 4

Lepushë – Vukel – Lepushë

Hiking: ~ 5:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 360 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 950 m.
Distance: ~ 12 km

Hiking in Qafa e Kercunës (24). The long hike of the day will penetrate the very interior of the Kelmend region. Where no one goes. Direction to the pastures and woods of Liv Koprishit. The path will pass through the so-called Panikut place while following the streams to finish its journey near the Vukel mill.

Return to Lepushë by van or 4×4.

Dinner and accommodation in a guest house.

Day 5

Lepushë – Lepushë

Hiking: ~ 4:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 575 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 575 m.
Distance: ~ 8.5 km

Hiking in Qafa e Tute (16c). The itinerary begins by sinking into the heart of the Lepushë circus to reach the foot of the Korkule mountain, which culminates at nearly 1900 metres. Then head north along the border with Montenegro to reach the famous Trojan peaks. Quiet descent into the woods to reach Lepushë.

Dinner and accommodation in a guest house.

Day 6

Lepushë - Lepushë

Hiking: ~ 5:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 700 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 700m.
Distance: ~ 12.2 km

Maja e Berizhdolit hike (15). Once again a dive into the heart of the Kelmend. The path will descend into the forests of Kuprisht poshtëm and Kuprisht sipem to climb to the top of Mount Berizhdolit at an altitude of nearly 2000 metres before descending to the Berizhdolit hills. Return to Lepushë via the Paja hiking trail.

Dinner and accommodation in a guest house.

Day 7

Lepushë – Kruja

Hiking: ~ 3:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 500 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 500 m.
Distance: ~ 8 km

Short hike of the day on the Dopku route (14). At the beginning, the route will take the Paja hiking trail to branch off and penetrate the Gropa e Ujit woods. It will then follow the hills of Pulli i Dobkut to finish its journey in the heart of the Lepushë circus.

Departure to Kruja, an ancient medieval city. The museum of Skanderbeg, 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 that took place during the 15th century between the Albanians and the Ottomans. Free visit. Or,

Departure to Podgorica. The name of the city dates back to 1326 and it is built in the middle of five rivers, the Zeta, the Moraca, the Ribnica, the Cijevna and the Sitnica. Most of the city was destroyed during the Second World War. Podgorica is therefore relatively new, with modern buildings at every stage and green spaces and parks. Podgorica hosts a number of cultural events and has many theatres, such as Crnogorsko Narodno, Gradsko and Dodest. Free visit.

Dinner and accommodation in a hotel.

Day 8

Departure

Transfer to the respective airports

INCLUDED
6* Nights in guest rooms 1* Overnight at Panorama 4* hotel in Kruja
7* Breakfasts 6* lunches or baskets (days 2 to 7)
6* dinners (days 1 to 6 – Free dinner day 7 in Kruja) Experienced guide for the duration of the stay (see notes)
Accommodation in hotels (double room and local standard) or guesthouse (shared room) Meals (breakfasts, lunches or baskets, dinners) and drinks (table water) – see above for details
Transfers according to versions Snowshoes and hiking poles provided on site
Local Taxes
NOT INCLUDED
All personal expenses Costs related to specific requests or those not mentioned above
Meals and beverages other than table water served at meals The plane ticket
Accommodation in a single room Travel Insurance
Costs that may be related to cultural visits Local taxes in Montenegro (about 2 € per person to be paid directly to the hotel)
  • 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 upon 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.
  • This discovery trek includes walks over normal distances and elevations in snow and nature. It is not recommended for children under 15 years of age.
  • It is advisable to have good experience and resistance on walking.
  • Beginners are welcomed (daily trail lengths will be adapted accordingly)
  • Depending on the depth of the snowpack and the quality of the snow, it will be possible to complete the route either by walking on the snow, using snowshoes or both.
  • It is recommended to be in good health and physical condition.
  • Avoid drinking tap water or spring water, unless your guide allows you to do so.
  • Respect the environment in which you operate. He’ll give it back to you.
  • The English speaking guide will be able to welcome and accompany the group to Rinas.
  • Transfer Kruja hotel – Rinas organized either by taxi or by van (depending on the number of people in the group).

It is strongly recommended to bring clothing suitable for winter conditions and walking on snow coats. A pair of boots can be extremely useful.

Snowshoes and walking sticks are provided. Innotek brand rackets model AXM, supporting weight from 45 to 120 Kg, adjustable in size from 34 to 47. The use of mountain or trekking shoes is strongly advised. Soft shoes are advised.

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