- Peaks of the Balkans
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Climb top summits in Montenegro and Kosovo, experience the Albanian Accursed Mountains in this short break.
Besides this see the Cold War bunkers marking the frontier where nature took advantage of the strict border protection.
The trail through glacial lakes, with the purest water, home to Triton salamanders and other endemic fauna.
Enjoy Komani Lake with thick rocky walls in the middle of wild nature, visit Shkodra in Albania.
This trip can be organized with Wizzair flights from Luton – Friday to Wednesday.
To start your short break in the Balkans you will Arrive in Kosovo and drive next to the Accursed Mountains for lunch, accommodation at the hotel. Visit the Rugova Gorge, slide in 650 meters zip line, and climb the Via Ferrata Ari going through ancient caves used by monks in the middle ages as a place of worship. The via Ferrata trip lasts for two hours so it will be a nice entry to the next day hike in-between your lunch and dinner.
Distance: 18 KM, (11 miles)
Uphill: 915, (3000 ft)
Downhill 980, (3300 ft)
Minimal elevation: 1534, (5032 ft) Maximal Elevation 2656 (8713 ft)
Drive to the start of the trail (1hrs) and start the first day of hike to climb Kosovo’s Highest Peak Gjeravica. This path will take you to the highest mountain summit of Kosovo and then through the border into Albania. Furthermore, the trail is included in some of the versions of the famous Peaks of the Balkans (see video and other references for the trail). You will go through a border that is almost not patrolled at all. However, during the communist regime in the Balkans, this was the border between Albania and Yugoslavia and also one of the most protected in the world with bunkers marking it.
You will be hiking between two shepherd villages in two different countries, however sharing the same culture and language. These two valleys have been connected by culture even so disconnected by political borders. The hike will include two glacial lakes and reaching one of the most isolated corners of Europe: No mobile network, no electricity, and no roads. Sleepover in the village of Doberdol.
Distance: 15 KM (9.3 m)
Uphill: 449 (1473 ft)
Downhill: 1025 (3362 ft)
Minimal elevation: 1152 (3779 ft) Maximal Elevation 1920 (6300 ft)
You will be walking between two shepherd villages inhabited only during the summer. The villagers camp in these mountains in order to use the abundant pastures. It should be noted that Doberdol is connected to the world only by small tracks, not reachable by cars. On the way, you will be passing through the village of Balqin, part of the Gashi valley.
These parts of the Accursed Mountains are under strict protection, as they are also home to the glacial lakes of Sulbica plateau. The families living here produce dairy products to sell in the market and offer basic services to tourists, including tea and milk to share during breaks. Gashi woodlands are under UNESCO protection as part of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathian’s and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany, which now stretches over 12 countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine.
Distance: 20 KM (12.4 miles)
Uphill: 1400 (4600 ft)
Downhill 900 (2950 ft)
Minimal elevation: 2048 (6700 ft) Maximal Elevation 2535 (8300 ft)
This trail goes through Kollata Keqe or Zla Kolata peak which is the highest peak of Montenegro 2535 meters or 8300 feet. Though beautiful, the trail is used only in past few years, it makes a small hop to Montenegro, while mostly you will be in Albania. This is absolutely one of the best hikes in the Peaks of the Balkans trail which is considered an epic journey through the Accursed Mountains.
Part of the hike is quite steep and will take you to the rocky plateau where you will turn to enter Montenegro and climb Kollata. The village of Cerem is very small, and it was created from the summer shepherds camp when the border between Yugoslavia and Albania was closed. You will end this day in the Village of Valbona which is the biggest village in the Valbona National Park. Finally, dinner for closing the hike, sleepover in higher quality accommodation.
Transfer to Lake Koman, take the ferry, and slip through water passages created by the thick rocky lake walls. Enjoy the scenery of wild Albania while in a boat.
At the end of the lake, you will take a one-hour 30 minutes transfer to the city of Shkodra. After a rich lunch (included in the price) you will firstly visit the Shkodra castle. An ancient monument with living legends and amazing views, to the sea and the mountain.
Finally, after a cool slow afternoon in Shkodra, a personalized vehicle will take you to Tirana Airport, to end this short break in the Balkans.