mountaineering in the albanian alps

Price From

1958€

Category

Hiking, Mountaineering

Destinations

Albanian Alps

Difficulty

T6

Duration

9 Days

Group Size

5 – 8

Trip Code

ALP02

Why join this tour?

  • Small group hiking tour – industry-leading guest-to-guide ratio
  • Discover the capital city – Tirana
  • Travel along the Valbona Valley surrounded by the rugged mountain peaks of the Albanian Alps
  • Enjoy hiking through untouched landscapes of Albanian Alps National Park
  • Take a dip into the crystal water of the Blue Eye
  • Dare to ascend the mountains of Arapi, and Jezerca – the highest mountain of the Dinaric Alps
  • Enjoy a ferry ride along Koman Lake winding its way between high cliffs and towering peaks
  • Get in contact with locals and enjoy Albanian hospitality

The right tour for you?

  • This is a mountaineering tour, which includes some challenging alpine hiking. Advanced alpine experience and confidence using alpine technical auxiliary tools is needed. The reward for your efforts is the jaw-dropping scenery, which will accompany you.
  • This tour includes alpine crossings, which you have to perform in order to continue with the program. There is no access to transport.
  • We kindly ask you to read our daily trip descriptions before deciding to book this tour.
  • Please read the packing list carefully and bring all essential items with you especially the right walking shoes and camping equipment.
  • Being prepared to cope with the weather conditions is an important factor to consider before you travel. Be prepared for all elements – rain, wind, heat and cold.
  • Most of the time there is no shade, so remember to bring a hat and sun protection
  • This trip involves some long travel days. The vehicles are modern and air-conditioned.
  • The accommodation in guest houses is planned on a multi-share basis and meals are served family style. Please inform us in advance if you have any dietary requirements.
  • You will spend one night in tents. It can get quite cool, even in Summer, so don’t forget to pack some warmer layers.
  • Packed meals are provided where it is impossible to have a meal at a restaurant or guesthouse.
  • We take care of the luggage transportation between the accommodations. If needed, pack animals that will carry the luggage. Therefore, it is important to pack your belongings in duffle bags and not in suitcases.
  • Please bring a day pack/bag to carry clothing, water, packed meals, a camera etc. for the day trips.
  • We are strongly committed towards responsible and sustainable travel. We please you to follow our guidelines regarding sustainability.
Day 1: Arriving to Tirana

Welcome to Tirana. Your hotel is located in the downtown. There are plenty of attractions, cafes and bars to keep you busy. Founded in 1614, Tirana became the capital of Albania in 1920 and is the main cultural and industrial center of Albania. The city boulevards are marked with fascinating relics of the Ottoman, Italian and communist past.
If you arrive early, you can even take the cable car to the Dajti Mountain for panoramic views over the city.
In the evening, you can have a drink at one of the numerous cafes or trendy bars of the “Blloku” district. The most animated quarter of the city lies at the place where before the democratic changes it was not allowed for the public to enter as it was inhabited only by the higher leadership.
The price includes:
• Accommodation in a 4-Star hotel in Tirana
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 2: Hiking in the wild-romantic Valbona Valley: T2, 3h, ↑400m, ↓400m, 7km

In the morning you will meet your guide and the rest of the group to for a short tour briefing. There, you will be issued with your mountaineering equipment, and will try everything on to make sure it fits correctly.
Then we will continue with the transfer to Valbona. The road goes through the city of Gjakova in Kosovo, and re-enters Albania near Bajram Curri. Afterwards it runs through the valley, along the Valbona River, surrounded by wild and beautiful natural panorama and the rugged mountain peaks of the Albanian Alps, up to the village of Valbona.
In the afternoon is planned a short walk in the surroundings of Valbona.
Starting from the guesthouse, you will hike on a well-maintained trail to the hills above the valley. Today you will not gain a lot of altitude, but the views will be amazing none the less. After reaching the highest point of the trail, you will descend at first towards “Kukaj”, and then down to the guesthouse in the valley.
Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse in Valbona.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Dinner
• Accommodation in a guesthouse in Valbonë
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 3: Ascend of the “Kunji i Rragamit” Peak: T2, 6h, ↑900m, ↓900m, 18km

The summit that we will ascend today offers some of the best views over the Valbona valley.
We will start from our guesthouse, hiking in western direction into a dense forest. The trail winds uphill through the forest. The last part of the hike goes through a steep meadow, until we reach the peak at 1868m above sea level.
After some time to enjoy lunch and to take in the views, we will hike down to the same guesthouse in the valley, where dinner and accommodation are planned.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Packed Lunch
• Dinner
• Accommodation in a guesthouse in Valbonë
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 4: Over the Valbona Pass to Theth: T2, 7h, ↑900m, ↓1100m, 17km

We will start the day with a walk along the Valbona valley up to Rragam located at 1130m altitude. From there the trail leads gently uphill through open forest to a glade with rocks and then follows a rough upward slope. On the Valbona Pass at the altitude of 1812m, the view of both valleys is unique. The descent towards Theth begins very steep on a gravel path and follows through the forest. The overnight stay is planned in a guesthouse with shared rooms in Theth.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Packed Lunch
• Dinner
• Accommodation in a guesthouse in Theth
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 5: Theth and surroundings: T2, 6h, ↑600m, ↓600m, 15km

A less demanding hike through the forest is planned for today. The walk begins from the village with a visit of the Isolation Tower. Then we will hike to the Waterfall of Grunas and to the Grunas Canyon that is 30 meters in height and one meter in width. After a short break, the hike continues up to Ndërlysë. On the way, is planed the visit of the mill of Kolaj, a small structure which is put to work by a stream of water diverted from the river.
The glacier mills of Ndërlysë offer a unique nature spectacle. The water squeezes itself 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 will continue our hike up to the Blue Eye of Kaprre, a spellbinding natural pool with amazingly blue water in a jungle-like environment. After a short break, follows the hike back to Ndërlysë, from where we will continue to our guesthouse.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Dinner
• Accommodation in a guesthouse in Theth
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 6: Ascend the Arapi Summit: T6, 9h, ↑1800m, ↓750m, 14km

The Arapi mountain is 2217 meters high, but with its 800-meter-high south wall, the highest in the Balkans, it dominates the National Park of Theth as a prominent rock formation.
Beginning from Theth we will take the trail that leads to Peja Pass. Approaching the pass, the trail becomes steeper, running through the rocky blocks. The hike continues westward, winding through steep meadows and big blocks of limestone cliffs. The Arapi Peak is located on top of a series of diagonal karst plates that are quite impressive. Some easy scrambling is needed to cross these. Once passing them, we will turn in the direction of the summit reaching it after hiking on the ridgeline.
We will follow the same trail back to the Peja Pass, from where the trail ascends gently eastward to Gropat e Bukura, where overnight is planned in tents.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Packed Lunch
• Packed Dinner
• Accommodation in Tents
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 7: Jezerca, the highest mountain of the Dinaric Alps: T6, 10h, ↑1100m, ↓1850m, 16km

From Gropat e Bukura, the trail runs eastwards towards Jezerca. The ascent to the northern ridge of Jezerca gets difficult; the terrain becomes more rugged and exposed. Some scrambling and easy climbing is necessary to reach the peak. With a height of 2694 meters, Jezerca dominates the Albanian Alps and the view from the top is amazing. The steep descent towards southeast is relatively risky and exposed. After a short rappel, we will follow the trail that leads towards the Popluka Summit and then left to the Trough of Vali. At the foot of the Valbona Pass, the trail becomes smoother and goes through the woods up to Rragam.
The price includes:
• Packed Breakfast
• Packed Lunch
• Dinner
• Accommodation in a guesthouse in Valbonë
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 8: The spectacular Koman lake

After a well-deserved lazy morning starts the transfer to Fierzë, where our ferry ride begins. The ferry ride across Lake Koman allows some spectacular scenery, not unlike a Norwegian fjord winding its way between high cliffs and towering peaks. We will leave the ferry in Koman, from where the trip continues by car to Tirana. You will have some free time to settle in your hotel or enjoy the capital city on your own. In the evening, the guide will pick you up to walk together to the restaurant, where the farewell dinner is planned.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Packed Lunch
• Farewell Dinner in Tirana
• Accommodation in a 4-Star hotel in Tiranë
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 9: Departure

After breakfast at your hotel, it is time to say goodbye to Albania.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

Performance level:

Our daily trip descriptions give detailed information about: terrain, technical difficulty, estimated walking times, ascent/descent in meters. We kindly ask you to read these very carefully and consider them while choosing your trip.

This tour includes alpine crossings (Days 4, 6 and 7), which you have to perform in order to continue with the program.

The given technical difficulty for each daily trip specifies in any case the maximum difficulty in the course of the corresponding trip. That does not necessarily mean that the whole day trip is technically that difficult.

Short sections of scrambling and easy climbing will have to be crossed on days 5 and 6. While your guides will take care of safety, you have to be physically fit, be willing and able to follow their directions, and have prior experience in the mountains to join this trip.

 

Abbreviations:

↑ = Ascent in meters

↓ = Descent in meters

 

Walking time:

Estimated walking times are given for each day. These times do vary, however, according to the day’s weather conditions, and the fitness levels of the tour participants. These times do not include times taken for meals and breaks.

 

Accommodation:

During this tour you will be accommodated in carefully selected:

• Hotels on days 1 and 8 on a twin-share basis
• Guesthouses on days 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 on a multi-share basis*
• Tents on day 6
*An accommodation upgrade option is available for days 2, 3 and 7

The accommodation in hotels will be provided on a twin-share basis. The hotel rooms all have a private bathroom with a shower/bath and toilet. In rare occasions, the accommodation in hotels will be provided in triple rooms.

The accommodation in guesthouses will be provided on a multi-share basis. Bathrooms with a shower and toilet may be shared between multiple rooms. Please note that there may be occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different trips than your own.

The accommodation in tents will be provided on a twin-share basis. For your comfort, we use three person tents for two travelers. Please note that no bathrooms or shower facilities are available in the tents or camp sites.

In all cases, we pair up solo travelers with other travelers of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports.

 

Solo travelers:

The tour is suitable for solo travelers.

 

Luggage transportation:

We take care of the luggage transportation between the accommodations.

Hiking on days 4 and 6 will be accompanied by pack animals that will carry the luggage. Therefore, it is important to pack your belongings in duffle bags and not in suitcases. The maximum weight of the luggage must not exceed 15kg per person. You will only carry your personal daypack.

 

Equipment:

The performance of this tour necessitates the usage of tents and mountaineering equipment. The rental of this equipment is included in the price of the tour. You will be given the equipment on the morning of day 2. At the same time, the guide will also inspect the equipment you will bring by yourself. You cannot take part in this tour if you fail to bring any of the equipment mentioned in the “Essential Equipment” section of the equipment list, or if the equipment you bring is damaged or otherwise unusable.

 

Camping equipment:

The tents for this tour will be provided by AFA. However, due to hygiene reasons, AFA cannot provide sleeping bags and sleeping pads. Therefore, you will have to bring your own sleeping bag and sleeping pad. The sleeping bag should at least have a -5°C comfort level.

 

Transfers:

All transfers described in the itinerary are included in the price and will be organized by us.

 

Extensions:

If you wish to extend your journey by a few days, we are at your disposal to further organize your tour according to your wishes. All related services and costs are not included in the tour price and as such will be additionally calculated.

If you wish to start or end your tour from/to a different location, we can pick you up or drop you off against additional charge, enabling your participation in the travel.

 

Sustainability:

We are strongly committed towards responsible and sustainable travel.

We please our guests to follow our guidelines regarding sustainability:

• Respect the local people, their culture and environment.
• Support locally owned businesses, restaurants and other services: Eat local food and drink local brands and brews.
• Shop from traditional artisans and for locally made products. Favor local products over imported items. This helps in keeping traditional crafts alive. Even a small amount could be extremely important to local producers.
• Always ask first before photographing or videoing people. Send them back copies of photos to help make it a two-way exchange.
• We strongly recommend bringing reusable water bottles. In places where tap water is potable, this eliminates the usage of single-use plastic bottles entirely.
• Bring a water filter. This way you can drink tap water even in places where it is otherwise unsafe to do so.
• We also recommend bringing a reusable straw, reusable camping flatware and a reusable container for packed lunch.
• For the packed meals, you will be provided with the ingredients and will pack the meals by yourself. Please do not pack more food than is necessary, in order to reduce food waste.
• Be careful with fires at the campsite, and don’t build an unnecessary large fire. Please leave the campsite in the same condition you found it, or better.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have. Our staff and guides are trained and able to advise you in detail about our approach towards sustainability.

Included in the price:
• All trips according to the program schedule
• Transport in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
• Local transfers on days 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8
• 2 nights’ accommodation in 4 Star hotels
• 5 nights’ accommodation in guesthouses
• 1 night’s accommodation in tents
• Tents and mountaineering equipment rental
• Meals according to the program schedule
• Water during the meals and for the hikes
• Luggage transport between the accommodations and by pack animals up to 15kg per person on days 4, 6 and 7
• Accompaniment by an English-speaking guide during the entire journey
• Accompaniment by a second English-speaking guide for days 6 and 7

 

Not included in the price:
• Transfer from and to the airport
• Any type of insurance
• Any beverages
• Other services not mentioned in the included section above or in the itinerary

Essential Equipment:
• Daypack
• Rain cover for daypack
• Hiking boots (category B/C)
• Hiking trousers
• Sweater/Jacket
• Waterproof jacket and trousers
• T-shirts/shirts
• Spare socks
• Sleeping pad
• Sleeping bag (At least have a -5°C comfort level)
• Reusable camping flatware and plate
• Toiletry
• Wipes
• Towel
• Reusable water bottles (at least 3 liters in total)
• Comfortable shoes for traveling and sightseeing
• Head lamp
• Warm hat
• Sunhat
• Sunscreen
• Sunglasses
• Blister bandages
• Any prescription medication you might need
• Duffle bag for personal luggage
• Passport or ID

 

Recommended Equipment:
• Water filter or alternative water purification system
• Reusable container for packed lunch
• Reusable straw
• Hydration system
• Slippers
• Personal first aid kit
• Insect repellent
• Trekking Poles

Departure Dates:

Please click the date you are interested in from the list below:

13 July 2024 – 21 July 2024


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