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The best part of Balkan Peaks Trail Albania & Montenegro in 6 Day

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6 Days
Tirana
Peaks of the Balkans

The Balkan peaks guided tour is the best way to explore the beauty of the Albanian Alps, Montenegro, and the Accursed Mountains. An epic trail divided into 6 days in a border crossing adventure going through local villages, pastoral communities, and very remote settlements placed in between the Alps. In addition,  the transnational ”Peaks of the Balkans” leads through one of the remote and wild mountainous regions of the Western Balkans. By using shepherd paths and footways, the trail winds through high alpine mountains up to 2300 meters above sea level and leads through mountains scenery, with a diversity of breathtaking landscapes, varying from green valleys to crystal-clear mountain lakes, waterfalls, rivers, and remote picturesque mountains village, in which time seems to have stopped.

As Oliver describes in his article at Lonely Planet, God took six days to create the Earth, the sea, and the sky. But, so a local legend goes, the devil took only 24 hours to create the Accursed Mountains. It was a full day’s work. He would have scored deep ravines with his pointy tail. He would have sculpted spires of rock with his evil little claws. And, long after he finished the mountains, the curse remained, for this range has always been synonymous with bandits, blood feuds, avalanches, and miscellaneous misfortunes for anyone foolish enough to visit.

Oliver SmithLonely Planet Writer - February 2020
Tour Details

This Peaks of the Balkans trail offers to its participants the chance to get lost in the wildest paradise of Albania, and Montenegro. In addition, if you have ever wonder to sail through the steep canyons, when waters runs throw, hiking back in the time in the heart of Alps and Accursed Mountains this tour brings it nearer to you. The tour combines the amazing wild nature with the generosity of welcoming locals and Sheppard’s. You will be welcomed to step as a visitor but leave as a Local! Furthermore, a hut to hut trail that will challenge you but most definitely you will leave with plenty of memories. Maybe some of the best ones. 

Departure & Return Location

Hotel Pick Up in Tirana

 

Departure Time

7:00 am

Price Includes

  • 5 Nights Hotel Accomodation in Shared Room CapacityFor Private room capacity there is an extra suplement of 10 euro / person / night
  • Tour Guide
  • 5 breakasts, 5 Lunches, 5Dinners
  • Entrance Fees
  • All transportation in destination location

Price Excludes

  • Any Private Expenses
  • Drinks

Bring with you

  • Good Hiking Shoes
  • Baackpack 25 - 35 L
  • Suitable Multilayer Clothes
  • Rain Jacket
  • Hiking Poles
  • Underweres and easy to dry extra clothes
  • Personal First Aid Kit
  • Personal Care Products (shampoo, suncream etc)
  • Water is provided, but mostly from mountain streams and is not chlorinated. Water treatment tablet might needed
What to Expect

The Trail was born of a passion to preserve the cultural, natural, and spiritual heritage of these communities, linking them together to create a rare journey for both local inhabitants and for visitors. Available only for only 5 months a year this trail is a fantastic opportunity to discover some of the wildest parts of the western Balkans. In addition, going through 2 countries and being able to sit cross-legged with the locals and understanding the deep roots of the sacred welcoming and the importance of “The guest” or the “Given word”, locally named “Besa”. 

Join us in this adventure to rediscover the amazing nature hidden between peaks and the warm, hospitable locals. 

  • The level of difficulty is mostly moderate but requires good physical condition and mountain equipment.
  • Avaliable from Early June to Latte October
  • Locally, homecooked and organic meals.
  • Unpredictable Weather
  • Most of the trail goes near, drinkable water streams
  • Hot to Hut hiking when accommodation is changed each day

The Water Situation

Along the trip, we will have access to fresh spring water. If you know from the past that you have a sensitive stomach we recommend bringing bottled water to avoid any Upset Stomach symptoms. If you have a history of that, bringing some medicine might come in handy. 
Feel free to ask the guide where you can buy bottled water. 
 
Itinerary

First DayDriving from Tirana to Theth. Exploring the Village of Theth and Grunas Waterfall

Leaving Tirana and heading toward the North of Albania, Theth is our first destination of this Adventure of Balkans peaks. Often known as probably the most famous village of the Albanian Alps and the Dukagjin region, Theth is covered by a mantel of natural beauty, history, and local traditions and rules. 

In addition, after the arrival and light lunch at the guesthouse, the next destination will be the beautiful Gurnas waterfall, located around a 45-min walk. On the way back we will be introduced to the fascinating rules and history of the Blood feuds, part of Albanian history. For a better understanding take a short look at the “Broken April” book by Ismail Kadare. This tower and its history, are highly contacted also with the phenomenon of “Burrnesha” or “Sworn Virgin”

Overnight in Theth. 

Second DayHiking from Theth to Valbona

This itinerary involves a hike from Theth (745 m) over the Valbona Pass (1759 m) to Valbonë (995 m). This hike follows the route of an ancient mule track linking the tribal regions of Shala and Nikaj. The hike is not particularly difficult, with very diverse sceneries and panoramic views. In addition, during all the trail there are also 2 possible stopping and resting places for a quick mountain tea and lunch break.

Dinner and overnight in Valbona.

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Trail Details 
  • Trek: 16.3Km; Uphill: 1040m, Downhill: 945m; Maximum altitude: 1759m; Time: 6-7hrs
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Third DayTransfer from Valbona to Cerem and Hiking to Doberdol

Leaving Valbona we will take a local transfer to Cerem, a smaller village on the northeast of Valbona. Now Cerem, is largely abandoned by poor weather conditions and lack of infrastructure. Now it si only inhabited by pastoral families during the summer season, and the Peaks of the Balkans trail is one of the strongest reasons people are repopulating these areas and providing for the travelers and tourists. A short stop in Cerem before continuing to Doberdol.

This day involves a transfer hike from Çerem to Doberdol, a remote shepherd’s village accessible only by mule tracks and populated only during the summertime by shepherds. From Çerem, the hike climbs up to the Montenegrin border, passes the beautiful summer shepherd’s village of Balqin, and continues through the Gashi valley (protected area) to the shepherd’s village of Dobërdol. The main attractions in Dobërdol are the glacial lakes of the Doberdol-Sulbices plateau. Dinner and Overnight in Shepherd huts in Doberdol.

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Trail Details 
  • Trek: 12.8Km; Uphill: 686m, Downhill: 410m; Maximum altitude: 1922m; Time: 5-6hrs
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation: Mountain huts
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Drive: 45min

Fourth DayBorder crossing hike from Doberdol to Babino Polje (Montenegro) and transfer to Vusanje

We will leave Doberdol, to head toward Montenegro with our stop in Babino Polje. As the village starts to disappear behind our backs we will go very close to “3 Borders point” where the border of Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro meets. In addition, the path will continue all the way down to Babino polje for the next 60% of the trail. Most of the trail continues on an open valley between mountains and a dense, pine forest. 

After reaching Babino Polje, the last part of the day is a shuttle to Vusanje, less than an hour from the departure. Overnight in Vusanje (Montenegro)

Distance: 13km. Time: 3:11.
Ascend: 452m. Descend: 745m.

Fifth DayHiking from Vusanje (Montenegro) to Theth (Albania

Going to an end, this day of the tour is relatively long and also one of the most memorable ones. Almost the entire hike is surrounded by steep mountains with stunning views. It is an area where not too long ago it was strictly guarded against armed guards of both the Socialist Republic of Albania and Yugoslavia. In addition, the trail will be followed by a line of bunkers and protection points, testifying more about those dark times. Going through the Alps we will be reaching Theth in the late afternoon as the last stop before leaving with the best memories from the Accursed Mountains and Albanian Alps. 

Trail Details

  • Trek: 17.8Km; Uphill: 788m, Downhill: 1231m; Maximum altitude: 1734m; Time: 6-7hrs
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Sixth DayDriving from Theth to Shkoder and Tirana

After a late morning and a hearty breakfast, we will leave Theth and drive for a short stop to Shkoder. It is  the biggest city in the Albanian North, and furthermore a real cradle of culture.

You can possibly terminate the tour in Shkoder if you would like to privately continue or in Tirana as the last stop. 

  • Being dropped off somewhere else out of the Itinerary is available on request. 
Photos

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