10 hiking days, self-guided, across the breathtaking Peaks of the Balkans, a journey that will take you through three countries: Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro. This is one of the most diversified walking pathways in the world, winding through meadows, mountain summits, lakes, and woodlands. The views and pathways change, transitioning from stony paths and stark summits to meadows brimming with flowers and plants, showcasing the abundant beauty of nature.
The itinerary includes the first night in Shkodra upon arrival in Albania. You can use this day to enjoy the wealth of Shkodra cultural offerings.
With a transfer from Shkodra to Theth, you will start so the first day at the Peaks of the Balkans. The village of Theth is one of the most picturesque places in Northern Albania.
Preserved by the wild nature and very bad roads, the village has still the Kulla and other buildings dating back to the Middle Ages.
The village is 100 percent Roman Catholic and has the most unique structure in the world.
Kulla e Ngujimit is a three-story rock building with no windows. It served as a self-imposed exile for people who were involved in blood feuds.
Today you will do one of Albania’s most iconic hikes from Theth (728 m) over the Valbona Pass (1759 m) to the town of Valbona (995 m) in the heart of the eponymous national park.
This 20-kilometer route follows the path of an ancient mule track linking the tribal regions of Shala and Nikaj.
There are two possible routes from Valbone to Cerem: the ‘low’ (valley) route and the spectacular, the ‘high’ route via Prosllopi Pass (the one we do). This trail will go through Kollata and it is the longest trail of the hike. This has been opened as the usual Valbona – Cerrem through the ‘low’ trail is mostly a tractor trail offering very little. The Kollata trail is very nice and offers views on the steep rocky mountain of Kollata, which is used for climbing.
Today you will walk between two shepherd’s villages which are inhabited only during the summer in order to use the abundant pastures. Doberdol a village which is connected to the world only by small tracks is not reachable by cars. The village is situated below the triple-border point between Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro. On the way you will pass through the village of Balqin where you can stop for a glass of milk served by the local shepherds.
This part of the mountains is under strict protection, as they are also home to the glacial lakes of Sulbica platou. Gashi valley was included in the UNESCO Natural World Heritage list in 2017.
In this trail, you will be climbing the highest mountain of Kosovo and the second-highest of the Accursed mountains after Jezerca peak. The route to the summit from Doberdol is a straightforward hike. This is a loop path that will take you to Kosovo, a border that is almost not protected at all. However, during the communist regimes in this part of the world, this was the border between Albania and Yugoslavia and one of the most protected borders in the world.
You will be hiking again between two shepherds’ villages in two different countries, however sharing the same culture and language. These two valleys have been connected by culture but disconnected by political borders. Around 1 hr from the Guesthouse, you will reach the narrow pass on the border with Montengro, where from the views are spectacular. From here you will be climbing the 2366 m Tromedja (Three Border peak).
This part of the mountain is very well protected as from Milisevc you are connected to the biggest city next to the mountain Peja, which we also call the capital of the Accursed Mountains.
This intense 15. 8- kilometer hike offers some of the region’s most breathtaking views, passing a glacial lake 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, however, we will finish this hike in one day. As such it is not the longest hike during the trip. This part of the mountain is expected to be “tourist-free” and it offers spectacular views of the City of Peja and the rest of the Accursed Mountains.
Gerbaja situated in Montenegro was considered the most beautiful valley in Tito’s Yugoslavia home to now 7 independent states. It’s a detour from the classic Peaks of the Balkans. We consider that it is a pity this valley was left out of the classic Peaks of the Balkans. To start the hike, you will take a 20-minute transport. The hike will start with a climb in Taljanka peak green heaven with a view of Karanfil a rough rock massive.
From Vusanje Prokletije, you will begin the 21-kilometer hike to the historic Albanian village of Theth. The path passes along the craggiest part of the Accursed Mountains or Prokletije/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.
After the hike, you will be transferred to Shkoder.