Day One: Flight in: Pristina (Kosovo), Podgorica (Montenegro) or Tirana (Albania)
The easiest destination to start the get to the first guest house is Pristina, however you can do this from any of the three airports. Some flights allow for a short city tour. Check your flight and we advice you for the best starting point.
Day 1: Peja – Reka e Allakes
The first day of your trip will begin with a bit of culture as we introduce you to Peja’s historic sites, including the Patriarchate of Pec – a medieval Orthodox monastery – as well as the striking Qashi Mosque. You can always add a Via ferrata trip to your itinerary before you enter the mountains. After lunch, you will be transferred to the village of Reka e Allakes in Rugova Canyon to prepare for your mountain journey. Mustafe Nikqi will greet you upon your arrival, welcoming you to his guesthouse, Ari, your home for the evening.
Day 2: Reka e Allakes – Drelaj
Today you begin your Peaks of the Balkans tour with an easy 10.1-kilometer hike to the village of Drelaj. This beautiful stretch will give you further insight into mountain life in Kosovo as you will pass several more villages along the way. Although this will be a long day, the hike is considered easy because the elevation (1100 meters to 1820 meters) is gradual. Upon our arrival in Drenaj, we will stay with the family of Osman Shala. At guest house Shqiponja.
Day 3: Drelaj – Kuqishte – Babino Polje, Montenegro
This day will begin with a car transfer to the village of Kuqishte where you will begin your first border crossing of Peaks of the Balkans over into Montenegro. This intense 15.8-kilometer hike offers some of the region’s most breathtaking views, passing several glacial lakes and water sources. Some people decide to divide this hike in two parts: a 7.4-kilometer ascent on the first day and 8.4 kilometer descent on the second day. There are no villages or accommodation facilities between Guri i Kuq and Babino Polje, but camping is allowed in authorised campsites. However, BNA suggest to give a push to the hike and finish this in one day, as the carrying of tents will make it more difficult for the trip.
Day 4: Babino Polje – Vuthaj – Theth, Albania
If you decide to take the cross-border hike to Babino Polje in one day, you will have another long cross-border trek today from Montenegro to Albania. We will provide a transfer by car from Babino Polje to Vuthaj, where you will begin the 21 kilometer hike to the historic Albanian village of Theth. The path passes along the craggiest part of the Prokletje/Albanian Alps, which was a forbidden zone during the Communist era. In addition to the dramatic cliffs that form the backdrop for the day’s hike, you will also see a military bunker and the old border crossing signs as you cross into Albania. This Peaks of the Balkans hike finishes in the remote village of Theth, which is famous for its traditional way of life and stone houses. We will stay in one with a local family.
If you decide to divide this section into two days, we recommend camping in the meadow at Sheh i Bardh. In the summer, you can often find shepherds taking shelter in the former border police building from whom you can purchase fresh food. (horses available) This trip takes a shortcut from the original Peaks of the Balkans trail in order to make the trip doable in less days.
Day 5: Theth
Today you can either finish the cross-border hike or spend the entire day in the picturesque village of Theth. There are several options for small hikes around the village that we can plan if you are interested. There are naturally made ‘bath tubs’ in the river of Shala, and local architecture that you can enjoy. Theth is the most beautiful village in the Peaks of the Balkans trail.
Day 6: Theth – Valbona – Gjakova
Today you will do one of Albania’s most iconic hikes from Theth (745 m) over the Valbona Pass (1759 m) to the town of Valbona (995 m) in the heart of the eponymous national park. This 14-kilometer route follows the path of an ancient mule track linking the tribal regions of Shala and Nikaj. The hike goes through a narrow crest that gives a view in both of the valleys and it the most southern glacier in the world. After a difficult ascent, you will walk slowly in the track to get to the village of Valbona. (Horses available)
Day 6: Gjakova – Peja – Prishtina
Your Peaks of the Balkans journey will end in Kosovo, where it began. Today, you will tour a few more gems of Western Kosovo: Gjakova’s Hadumi Mosque, which was built in 1594 and boasts state-of- the-art acoustics for the time, as well as the UNESCO Heritage Site, Deçan Monestary. You will have lunch in Peja before being transferred to Prishtina to catch your flight.