“PEAKS OF THE BALKANS”: Trekking in Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo.

Booking code POB011

13 Days € 1100

Travel dates:2017-06-24 to 2017-07-06           Reservation

Travel dates:2017-08-12 to 2017-08-24           Reservation

Travel dates:2017-09-09 to 2017-09-21           Reservation

Travel dates:2017-07-22 to 2017-08-03           Reservation

Roundtrip through three countries: Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo.

Walking/hiking surrounded by the untouched nature of the Kelmendi region, along the Ēemi and Vermoshi river valleys, through the rugged peaks in Thethi and Valbona National Parks in Albania.
Walking/hiking in Gusinje, Vusanje and along the scenic Rapojana valley in Montenegro.
Walking/hiking in Juniku region in Kosovo.
Summit ascent possibilities: Trojani Peak (2194 m), Arapi Mountain (2217m), Gjeravica Peak (2658 m).
Sightseeing and cultural tours in Shkodra - the centre of north Albania, Durrės - the ancient and modern town on the Adriatic Sea and Tirana - the vibrant capital city of Albania.
Visits of the Decani Monastery - part of UNESCO World Heritage List and the ottoman city of Prizren in Kosovo.
Possibility to participate at the everyday life of the locals and enjoy the delicious freshly homemade traditional food.
Accommodation in hotels, guest houses and tents.

We are offering you a wonderful tour through the Balkans: The winner of the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award 2013. This is a tour through unattainable places where you can realize the real grandeur of the mountains, and their jagged peaks. During your journey you will have the opportunity not only to hike and trek, but also to discover totally unknown lands, cut from the rest of the world preserving their natural beauty, the ancient culture and traditions of their inhabitants untouched. This is not only a tour: this is a discovery, a challenge, a new breathtaking experience. Enjoy it.

Day 1: Shkodra, the centre of north Albania.
The journey begins at noon, immediately after arriving at Mother Teresa Airport. We drive to Shkodra, one of the oldest inhabited cities in Albania with a 2400-year-old history of urban civilization. Numerous people, countries and cultures have left their traces on the city. Many sights, monuments, memorials and ruins bear witness of its eventful history. After a short city tour, we will have dinner in a traditional restaurant "Ą la carte". Overnight in a hotel in Shkodra. (-/-/D)

Day 2: Kelmend - Cemi valley, hike up to Sllapi waterfall and drive to Lėpushė. T3, Wt 3h, Am 450 ↑ Dm ↓ 450.
The journey to the north begins right after breakfast. The road leads from Shkodra to Han i Hotit, the village before the border crossing with Montenegro, then heads north, to the Albanian Alps. We drive through the region of Kelmend, the northernmost region of Albania, surrounded by stunning natural beauty. The trip through the steep Cem valley is exceptionally impressive and the winding road that leads to the village Grabom offers breathtaking views over the valley. Passing Tamara, the centre of Kelmend, we will be driven up to Selca, the village with an impressive Catholic cathedral, perched into the slope of the valley above the Canyon of Gėrrle. From here we will hike up to the 30 meters high Sllapi waterfall. We will have a lunch break on our way back to the village and then drive to Lėpushė, another village nestled in green hills and surrounded by beech forest. After a short walk on the plateau nearby, dinner and accommodation will be provided in a guesthouse. (B/ L/ D)

Day 3: Hike to Maja e Trojanit (2194 m), T3, Wt 6h, Am 1000 ↑ Dm ↓ 1000.
This is a little challenging hike that offers stunning views over the countryside of both lands: Albania and Montenegro. Starting from our guesthouse, we follow the trail that leads first through meadows and then through the beech forest and grassy pastures. From here the trail becomes steeper leading to Trojan Pass (Qafa e Trojanit, 2021 m). We will hike one last section over the ridge up to the summit and enjoy the majestic panorama of the Alps. The descent trail runs southwards, up to "Qafa e Dobkut" and then through the forest. From here we follow the good visible path in the direction of the valley up to our guesthouse in Lėpushė. Dinner and accommodation are provided in the same host. (B/ L/ D)

Day 4: Trekking along Ropojana Valley up to Buni i Jezercės. T3, Wt 8h, Am 900↑ Dm 100↓.
After breakfast in Lėpushė, we will be driven to Vermosh. Just before crossing the border to Montenegro, we will admire the Gėrnjēara Canyon (Canyon of Bashkimi), where the river of Vermosh, the only tributary of the Danube that flows through Albania, gushes into a narrow gorge less than 2 m wide, in a pleasant natural setting. Passing through the town of Gusinje, our hike will start in the village Vusanje (970 m), after a short photo stop at its waterfall and karst spring. We will follow the Ropojana Valley, surrounded by stunning views of high and rugged peaks and then turn left in the direction of Buni i Jezercės. We will gradually gain altitude and re-enter in Albania. Then we will have a lunch break and follow the path in Buni i Jezercės. At the glacial trough of Buni i Jezercės, approximately 1800 m altitude, lay six glacial lakes surrounded by unspoilt, wild nature. We will have some free time to hike around and visit each of the lakes. Accommodation will be provided in tents at the upper section of the trough. (B/ L/ D)

Day 5: Hike to Arapi mountain, 2217 m and to the village of Theth. T4, Wt 9h, Am 500 ↑ Dm ↓ 1360.
Today's hike is challenging and starts very early in the morning. We hike up in the southwestern direction following the path that leads to Jezerca Pass (2150 m). We leave back the majestic views of Kokėrhana Peak and the highest one, Jezerca (2694 m), and continue down to the winding trail on the feet of the prominent Maja e Bojės (2461 m). Our hike passes by the first woods above the field of Runica and leads to the water source "Sheu i Bardhė" where we will have a short stop.
The trail follows southwards with slight slope differences, on a firm grass and stony path and then continues in the direction of the small Peēakeqi glacial lake. As we approach Peja Pass (1711 m), we will turn right, where the trail becomes steeper and runs through the rocky blocks. We will continue hiking westward, winding past small steep meadows and big blocks of limestone cliffs. The summit of Arapi offers an awe-inspiring view over the Valley of Theth and the summit of Radohina (2570 m). We will take the same trail to get down to the Pass of Pejė. From there the descent towards Theth follows a narrow rocky trail that leads down the valley. The last part is surrounded by colorful scenery, forests, mountains and passing streams. Dinner and accommodation are provided in a guesthouse in Theth, where we will taste the homemade traditional food. (B/ L/ D)

Day 6: Theth and its surroundings. T1+, Wt 6h; Am↑480 Dm ↓480
The day begins with an introductory walk through the village. We visit the eye-catching vernacular church and the "Lock-in Tower" (Kulla e ngujimit). Then, the varied walking towards the gorge and waterfall of Grunas begins. Grunas canyon is 30 meters high and one meter wide, and the waterfall is a Nature Monument. After a short break we continue our walk up to Ndėrlysa. The glacier mills of Ndėrlysa offer a unique spectacle of nature: The water of the Black River (Lumi i Zi) squeezes through a narrow approach that has arisen over the millennia. Rounded and sharp rocks, half dipped into the shimmering colors of water and all around green vegetation will surround our path. We continue our hike up to the "Blue Eye of Kapre" (Syri i kaltėr i Kapresė), a spellbinding natural pool with amazingly blue water in a jungle-like environment. After a short break, we follow the same path to the guest house. On the way back, we will visit the mill of Kolaj, a small wooden building structure near a bridge which is put to work by a stream of water diverted from the river of Theth. (B/L/D)

Day 7: Hike from Theth to Valbonė. T2+, Wt 6h, Am ↑1070 Dm ↓800
Today’s hike starts early in the morning. The ascent is initially soft and runs through the woods, then becomes steeper and continues to the Pass of Valbonė (Qafa e Valbonės). From here, at a height of 1759 meters above sea level, the view over the valleys of Valbonė and Theth is unique. The descent towards Valbonė is initially craggy, getting softer as we approach the valley and then going through an open forest. Throughout the day, horses will follow us carrying the luggage. Accommodation and dinner will be provided at the guest house in Valbonė. (B/L/D) 

Day 8: Hike to the beautiful meadow of "Bregu i Rrethit". T2, Wt 4h, Am ↑ 620 Dm ↓ 620.
The day offers an easy hike and amazing landscapes, followed by an interesting afternoon to get in touch with the nature and culinary traditions, as well as participate in the everyday life of the locals.
The ascending trail leads through the forest towards a very beautiful meadow called "Bregu i Rrethit", from where you can admire the Valley of Valbonė and the mountain range of "Grykėt e Hapėta - Zhaborre". After a short photo break, we will follow the descent trail to the guest house.
In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to participate in the traditional manufacturing of cheese, the preparation of the local food, take care of the animals, etc. After such a simple yet rare experience, we will enjoy the delicious freshly cooked dinner. (B/ L/ D)

Day 9: Hike to Dobėrdol. T3, Wt 7 h Hm ↑1025↓440.
After breakfast we will be transferred up to the village of Ēerem, a small village amidst of woods, 17 kilometers northeast of Valbonė. At the moment Ēerem is inhabited only during the summer time. Our hike starts at the centre of the village on a path that runs northeast along the stream and then enters the forest. The track to Dobėrdol follows through the forest up to the Gashi Valley. Then we turn left following the ascending path that leads us to the beautiful meadows and the Valley of Dobėrdol. The main attractions in Dobėrdol are the glacial lakes on the Dobėrdol plateau. Some free time is planned for hiking or bathing in the lakes. Overnight stay is provided in tents. (B/ L/ D)

Day 10: Hiking on Gjeravica, the highest mountain of Kosovo. T3+, Wt 9 h Hm ↑1100↓1230.
The day begins with the hike through bilberry covered meadows of Dobėrdol in the direction of the mountain ridge, which forms the border between the two countries. Following the ridge and hiking in the southeastern direction we can see the heart-shaped glacial lake of Gjeravica. We hike up to the saddle from where it is possible to ascend the Gjeravica Mountain. After a break, we follow the descending path that leads us to the village where the vehicles will be waiting to drive us to Gjakova. (B/ L/ D)

Day 11: Visit of Decani Monastery and Prizren.
This day is dedicated to cultural sightseeing in Kosovo. We will be driven to Deēani to visit the Visoki Deēani monastery, part of UNESCO World Heritage List. It was built between 1327 and 1335 by the Serbian medieval king St. Stephen of Decani and was dedicated to the Ascension of the Lord. The monastery is the largest and best preserved medieval Serbian monastery. Today a young brotherhood lives in the monastery continuing the centuries old tradition of the past.
From there we will be driven to Prizren, a multicultural historic city. We will visit the Shadėrvan quartier, the mosque of Sinan Pasha, admire or buy the typical leatherworks and walk over the old stone bridge or uphill up to the fortress which dominates the city. Lunch is planned in a traditional restaurant just in the middle of the Sharri Mountains. You will have the possibility to eat traditional food as you enjoy the breathtaking natural landscape. In the afternoon - return trip to Tirana. (B/ L/ D)

Day12: Tirana - the vibrant capital city of Albania.
For the day is planed the visit of the capital city and its main attractions. Tirana is located in Central Albania, at the western foot of the Dajti Mountain. At its south and west Tirana is surrounded by hills that form a green belt around the city. Tirana is not only the cultural, political and economic centre of the country, but also a city where fun is guaranteed: lively, loud, crazy, colorful.
We will visit the “Mosaic of Tirana” (the oldest surviving remains in Tirana, built almost 2 millennia ago), Et’hem Bey Mosque, Skanderbeg monument and National Historical Museum.
After the dinner at a traditional restaurant "A la carte", you can have a drink in one of the nice bars in "Blloku" quarter, the most animated quarter of the capital. (B/ L/ D)

Day 13: Transfer to airport after breakfast according to the flight schedules. (B/-/-).

Additional information

On days 2, 3, 7, due to the length of walking and hiking, it is impossible to turn back to guest house for lunch. Thus, you will be given a daily lunch-packet with you. This applies even for the camping days (Days 4 and 9).

Hiking on days 4,5,7,9,10 will be accompanied by mules / horses that will carry the luggage. Therefore, it is important to pack your belongings in bags and not in suitcases. You will carry only your personal backpack.

This journey starts around noon on the arrival day. If you arrive in Tirana in the evening of this day, it is impossible to participate in activities scheduled for day one.

The journey begins immediately after landing at the airport in Tirana where reception is scheduled. If you enter Albania through other border checkpoints and via other routes, we can pick you up against additional charge, enabling your participation in the travel. If this is the case, you should carefully fill in the appropriate field of the reservation form.

If you wish to travel to Albania a few days earlier or extend your stay by a few days, we are at your disposal to further organize your journey according to your wishes. All related services and costs are not included in the tour price and as such will be additionally calculated. For this purpose you should carefully fill in the field "Comments" in the booking form and explain in detail all your desires through an e – mail message sent to our agency.

You are kindly pleased to read very carefully the information about the difficulty grade and the length of each activity. The tour includes many alpine crossing, during which it is impossible to interrupt it and turn back in the guest house.

We use very good air conditioned vehicles, and off road ones if needed. Nevertheless we ask you for your understanding in the cases of bad road conditions.

Number of participants: 8 - 10 people

Included in the price
•   Transfer from and to the airport
•   All trips according to the program schedule.
•   Entrance fees and sightseeing as per program
•   4 nights hotel accommodation in a double/twin room with shower or bathtub and toilet.
•   6 nights in guest house in shared rooms, shower/ WC
•   2 nights in tent (no shower facilities)
•   11 x full board (lunch packet for 7 x lunch, 2 x breakfast, 2 x dinner )
•   Dinner on arrival day and breakfast on departure day.
•   Selected restaurants "A la carte" in Shkodra, Kosovo, Durrės and Tirana.
•   Transport of luggage by horses on the 4,5,7,9,10 days (maximum 15 kg per person).
•   Accompaniment by an English speaking hiking or culture guide during the entire journey.

Not included in the price
Any type of insurance.
All drinks in guest houses, hotels and bars.

€ 20 per day Single room supplement

Equipment list

Backpack, approximately 30l
Rain cover for backpack
Hiking shoes/boots (category B/C)
Shoes/Sneakers for traveling and sightseeing
Hiking sandals
Telescopic walking poles
Sleeping pad and sleeping bag (3 season)
Long legged hiking trousers
Short legged hiking trousers
Waterproof trousers
T-shirts / shirts
Sweater/Jacket: (Recommended Fleece/Wind stopper)
Waterproof jacket
Warm hat
Rain coat
Drinking bottle/ Thermos Flask
First aid kit
Insect repellent