The Accursed Mountains – Northern Albania

The Accursed Mountains

Join us for a beautiful hike on the Accursed Mountains in the north of Albania. It is Europe’s least explored region that gives you a range of feelings by being mixed of wild nature, landscapes, tradition and cultural heritage.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Village of Theth – Visit one of the most picturesque villages in Albania
  • Hiking in the wild – Hike in this hidden corner of Europe 
  • Food: Experience the unique cuisine and hospitality of the Accursed Mountains provided by the local villagers


Guided or Self-guided tours can be arranged upon request.

For dates or group inquiries please contact us!


INTRODUCTION

The Accursed Mountains – a nature lover’s paradise and one of Europe’s least explored region. The range of the mountains is a massif mountain divided by steep valleys, gorges and canyons. The name refers to the ruggedness of these high and inaccessible mountains and to the hardship experienced by the people inhabiting their surroundings. Along the trails that cover these mountains, you will come across natural and cultural heritage sights, people and tradition, and natural landscapes with wild nature.

PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • Accommodation in shared rooms
  • Meals: 2nd to 4th day three meals; 5th day breakfast and lunch packet
  • Guide
  • All internal transfers
  • Border crossing permits

PACKAGE EXCLUDES

  • Luggage transfer can be offered on demand
  • Airport pickup can be provided on demand
  • Insurance should be secured by the travelers

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in the region (Saturday)

A transfer will be arranged to pick you up at the airport at your arrival and take you at your accommodation. If time promises, after a short break, you can continue to a short trip around the city.

The Shkoder city center is surrounded with beautiful buildings. Some of them are so colorful that light up the whole atmosphere. Small bars with different kinds of designs make you fall in love with the place. On the main pedestrian we will stop at Marubi Museum. This museum has the first picture taken in Albania and nearly 500 thousand photographs from the Marubi’s dynasty, photography objects and cameras that were used for three generations.

After, you can visit Rozafa Castle. It represents the main sightseeing in Shkoder. It raises on a rocky hill 130 meters above sea level. The castle was built during antiquity and endures the Roman and Ottoman Empires.

Lake Koman

Day 2: Shkoder to Valbone through Lake Koman – A great boat trip

Early in the morning,a private transfer will pick you up in your hotel for a two hour drive to Lake Koman. The ferry ride across the Lake Koman will leave you in awe as the ferry takes you through narrow, rocky cliffs and untouched mountains. Lake Koman is a reservoir created by a hydroelectric project in the 1970’s. The journey from Koman terminates in Fierze approximately two hours later. After that, you drive to your destination, Valbona. This valley is located in the heart of eponymous national park in The Accursed Mountains.

Day 3: Rosi Peak – 360 degrees view over the Accursed Mountains

The walk from Valbona to Maja e Rosit or Rosin Vrh goes through the half deserted village of Kukaj. This is a very nice part and easy track. In the mid summer you can stop at a few village houses for a glass of milk or tea. The trail serpents through the canyon for several kilometres and it continues with a steep hike. Just before halfway, the trail enters a rocky terrain. Also, this part will be the start of open views. As you go higher the view will open to Montenegro until you reach the peak to get the view in all three countries: Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo.

Rosi summit, 2523 meters high, lies on the border of between Albania and Montenegro and offers stunning views over both of these countries. Furthermore, Rosi mountain is especially interesting for botanists because many flowers such as the endemic Albania lily (Lilium Albanicum), orchids and many other can be found there.

Day 4: Valbone to Theth over Valbona Pass

Today you will do one of the most iconic Albanian hikes from Valbone, over Valbona Pass to the village of Theth. This route follows the 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 valleys and in the most southern glacier in the northern hemisphere. After a difficult ascent, you will walk slowly in the track to get to the village of Valbona. You will be walking between the Catholic valley of Shala and the Muslim valley of Valbona. The Albanian Catholics are descendants of pro Venetian Albanians living in the city of Shkodra. These are the most southern Roman Catholics in Europe as the divide between the Orthodoxy and Roman Catholics is Croatia. The Albanian catholic tribes have moved to these mountains to preserve their religion from the ottoman rule.

Valbona Pass

Day 5: Theth to Blue Eye

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 still has the kulla and other buildings dating back in middle ages. The village is 100 percent Roman Catholic. Also, it has the most unique structure in the world. Kulla e Ngujimit is a three-story rock building with no windows. It served as the self-imposed exile for people who were involved in blood feuds. So, this day you will be walking in the village toward the waterfalls and naturally created “bath-tubs” of the river Shala. Overall, this is a short relaxing walk full of culture and natural beauties. Finally, you will be transferred to the accommodation in Shkoder.


HOLIDAY INFORMATION

Transfers

Transfers during the tour will be private for the group. Depending on the road conditions, the private transfer is done by either regular car or 4×4. On the trail, shortcut transfers can be arranged for the trails that are distant or to skip asphalt road segments.

Food & Water

The food in this part of the world will be something you will eagerly anticipate at the end of each day. Food is fresh cooked in a traditional manner and has a mix of Balkan, Turkish and European influence. At the guesthouses the breakfasts are simple, homemade bread with locally grown vegetables, dairy products and eggs. Dinners include traditional soups, meat dishes, vegetables, pies. Guesthouses also will provide you with a packed lunch – often including a sandwich with cheese and vegetables.

Vegetarianism and diets will not be a problem as the home-stay families can provide alternatives.However, the choices are basic and limited.

Consider bringing your water bottle to refill along the way. Water is provided from mountain streams or in guesthouses tap water is drinkable. However, if you are concerned about drinking untreated water, we recommend you take water treatment tablets with you.

Accommodation

The accommodation is in simple home-stay/guesthouse/lodge- style with simple bathroom facilities. Rooms are likely to accommodate between two to five people per room and it may be necessary for male and female groups to share the room, unless noted otherwise on your request, but not guaranteed in each guesthouse. It always depends on availability of rooms.

Sheets and blankets, towels, shampoo, warm water and other basic services are provided, but it’s recommended to pack a travel towel and sleep sack just in case.

Private rooms at additional cost; limited availability.

Recommended readings for the region

– The novel called “Broken April” of Ismail Kadare. A read before the trip will increase the experience that this trip offers

– Edith Durham – High Albania

Other Info

– Time zone: GMT +1

– Language: Albanian, in Kosovo and Albania, Serbian/Montenegrin in Montenegro. In big cities many people speak English, but in remote areas this might not be the case. A lot of people may speak also German due to large diaspora in Germano-phone countries.

– Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50 Hz, two pin round plugs.

– Currency: Euro (EUR) in Kosovo and Montenegro, Lek in Albania, however you can use Euro freely. Credit cards and Cash machines available in Peja, Plav, and Gjakova.

– Cost of living: in the region is much cheaper than in the Western Europe. Some sample prices follow:

  • 3-course meal in a standard restaurant: EUR 7-10 pp
  • A flask of mineral water from a street shop: EUR 0.5
  • A cup of coffee: EUR 0.5 – 2

How to book?

You can contact us for your offer at Virtyt@bnadventure.com or +38349661105

Is this a guided tour?

The tour can be organized with a guide or self-guided, depending on your preferences.

Level of difficulty?

Moderate to difficult

Average daily walking time?

6 -7 hrs

When to go?

The trip is available from June until October.

How is the climate?

The weather in June can have more rain, however the risk of rain decreases in July and August when it is also warmer. September and October offer optimum time for hiking. In recent years the rainfall in these months has decreased.