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Peaks of the Balkans – trail

Peaks of the Balkans group dates for 2020: June 13; June 20; July 11; August 8 ; September 12; October 10, Click here for itinerary and conditions

 

Peaks of the Balkans trail is the best Balkans hiking adventure. Our experts design tours based on your travell date and other preferencs. BNA can design an itinerary from 5 to 15 days of hiking. You can start and finish the hike in any of the countries: Albania, Kosovo or Montenegro. Check our reviews in TripAdvisor. Contact us for your offer: virtyt@bnadventure.com.

 

The Financial Times has travelled with us Watch Video or read the article of the Financial Times, when they visited Peaks of Balkans with Balkan Natural Adventure.

Valbona Valley

Day One: Flight in: Pristina (Kosovo), Podgorica (Montenegro) or Tirana (Albania) 

We have designed this itinerary for a 7 day vaccation flying to Pristina. 

Day 1: Peja – Reka e Allakes

The first day of your trip will begin with a bit of culture. We will introduce you to Peja’s historic sites, including the UNESCO protected Patriarchate of Pec – a medieval Orthodox monastery. 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 Allages 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. You can also do a small hike and enjoy Archery

 

Day 2: Reka e Allakes – Drelaj

Today you begin your Peaks of the Balkans trail 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. You will pass several more villages along the way. This will not be a too long day. Thus you can add climbing of Hajla peak in the hike. This decision can be taken while walking in consultation with your guide. Upon our arrival in Drelaj, we will stay with the family of Osman Shala. At guest house Shqiponja. You can also extend your hike and climb Hajla Mountain. This is how you will pocket the first peak in thie Balkan hiking adventure. 

Day 3: Drelaj – Kuqishte – Babino Polje, Montenegro

This day will begin with a car transfer to the village of Kuqishte to avoid asphalt walking.  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 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. There are no villages or accommodation facilities between Guri i Kuq and Babino Polje. However you can camp. 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 from Montenegro to Albania. We will provide a transfer by car from Babino Polje to Vuthaj. In Ropojane  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 bunkers built during communism. This Peaks of the Balkans trail finishes in the remote village of Theth, which is famous for stone houses. We will stay in one with a local family. When hiking this trail you can also climb Mount Arapi or the Albanian Matterhorn.

Day 5: Theth

Today you can either finish the cross-border hike or spend the entire day in the picturesque village of Theth. We can arrange for  small hikes around the village based on demand. Among highlights there are naturally created ‘bath tubs’ in the river of Shala. Theth is the most beautiful village in the Peaks of the Balkans trail. An additional day will add culture and “chilling” in this Balkan hiking adventure.

Day 6: Theth – Valbona – Gjakova

Today you will do one of Albania’s most iconic hikes from Theth over the Valbona Pass to the town of Valbona (995 m). This trail runs 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 7: 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.

See also: Peaks of the balkans referencesGuides, Article Hiking and Siesta, Self guided tours

Common Questions

What is Peaks of the Balkans?

Peaks of the Balkans trail is one of the best Balkans hiking adventures. The trail goes through three countries, Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro touching different cultures and different natural environments. This is considered as one of the most diverse trails in the world. The original Classic Peaks of the Balkans trail is a 10 day trip in three countries. However since its design more than 10 years ago new paths have been developed and new versions have appeared. They are of different length and style, As Balkan Natural Adventure we believe we add value by designing our original versions.

What value does Balkan Natural Adventure add?

Balkan Natural Adventure experts have made new versions which eliminate asphalt walking and uncomfortable hikes. Additionally, the company has created versions that include some of the best highlights and last from 4 to 15 days. On our design endeavour for Peaks of the Balkans trips we organise travel experiences with start or end from any of the countries or airports in the region (Tirana, Prishtina, Podgorica, Skopje, Sofia, Nis, Belgrade, Dubrovnik and Tivat). We will find best option for your trip based on your travel dates, airports, accommodation style and physical condition. Write to us, or continue reading for our options: Balkan Natural Adventure Private tour on Peaks of the Balkans; Self Guided tour Peaks of the Balkans; Open groups Peaks of the Balkans.

When is the best time to Hike Peaks of the Balkans?

The best time to hike the Peaks of the Balkans trail is from middle of June to end of September. In the last few years October has provided a springy weather with autumn colours, while rainy days in June have increased. October offers a challenge as the days start becoming colder and shorter. However, the colour palette, cool temperatures, empty trails, make the hike in this month a special experience.
In spring, April and May are also good times to hike. However, this is suitable only for shorter itineraries that cover only some parts of the trail. There will be patches of snow and sometimes snow covered regions which will require snowshoes, available to rent at Balkan Natural Adventure. The company has implemented late April and May hikes which went smoothly. Contact us for more information or a phone discussion with one of our guides.

What is the best place to start Peaks of the Balkans?

You can start Peaks of the Balkans from three different towns: Peja in Kosovo, Shkodra in Albania and Plav in Montenegro. From them Plav is closest to the trail but is the most distant from the airports. The fastest way from airport to the start of the Peaks of the Balkans trail Flying to Prishtina and Driving to Reka e Allages 2 hours 10 minutes. However, three main airports Prishtina, Tirana and Podgorica are all at 4 hours from the start of the trail. Other airports such as Skopje, North Macedonia, Tivat in Montenegro, Dubrovnik in Croatia and Sofia in Bulgaria are further but still quite nice especially if the trip is combined with other cultural visits. By train one can reach Podgorica and Peja from Western Europe but this will include travelling with diesel train in the region which is far bellow western standards and it would be much slower.

By bus one can reach Peja Kosovo the easiest from western Europe, to find your bus you can go to the page Gjirafa bus

Visa and Border crossing permits for Peaks of the Balkans?

The Balkan countries still require passport control when you travel from one to the other. Thus when hiking between these three countries you will need to get permits from the border police of all three countries. If you have all the documents for travelling to these countries your application will not be denied. To take these permits you can contact us or get more information at the Peaksofthebalkans.info.

For EU, US, Australian, Japanese, Turkish, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan citizens one does not need visa to enter any of the countries. Also if you hold a multiple entrance Schengen visa, you will be able to visit any of the countries without the visa. For other countries please contact us.

How is accommodation in the Peaks of the Balkans?

There are two main types of accommodation in the trail, guest houses and hotels. To do all the trail you will need to go in joint rooms in guest houses as in some parts only that is provided. However if you want to retain your privacy and commodity at the hotel there are very nice hikes you can do which are part of this trail. Guest houses are generally clean they provide warm water, proper bed and clean sheets. All guest houses provide food and a very warm welcome.

Camping in the Peaks of the Balkans is possible and this is done by using the yard of the guest houses, who will gladly offer this to you. You can do also wild camping in Albania and Kosovo while in Montenegro it is restricted.