Summary

Destinations: Europe
  • 14 Days From
    R 26100
  • Trip code: TVR
  • Activity: Walking & Trekking, New Walking Holidays, Point-to-Point
  • Min age: 16
  • Group size: 5 - 16
Challenging

Stunning mountainous landscapes in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro

Discover a network of old shepherd trails as we traverse through high alpine mountains, taking in vibrant forests and glacial lakes. The Via Dinarica trail spans nearly 2000km across Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania and Macedonia. This epic route cannot be completed in two weeks, so we explore the southern part of the Via Dinarica. The mountains encircling Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro offer some of the most remote and wild scenery. Picturesque mountain villages are inhabited by agricultural communities, where farming practices and traditional shepherd life have been preserved for generations. We enjoy breathtaking views as we cross remote borders and summit the peaks of the Balkans, with time to soak up the traditional shepherd mountain life along the way. With a slew of awards – Via Dinarica was National Geographic Traveller’s “Best of the World” destination for 2017 – this is guaranteed to amaze and challenge the keen trekker.

Key information
  • 5 nights hotels, 4 nights guesthouses, 3 nights shepherd mountain huts, 1 night camping
  • 11 days point-to-point trekking
  • Altitude maximum 2694m, average 1956m
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
Activities
  • 5 nights hotels, 4 nights guesthouses, 3 nights shepherd mountain huts, 1 night camping
  • 11 days point-to-point trekking
  • Altitude maximum 2694m, average 1956m
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs

Highlights

* Traditional shepherd hospitality * Cross remote borders * Wild mountain scenery * Picturesque mountain villages

Dates & Pricing

 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
14 Jul 2018
27 Jul 2018
Guaranteed (Limited Availability)
R 26100
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
11 Aug 2018
24 Aug 2018
Guaranteed (Limited Availability)
R 26100
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
15 Jun 2019
28 Jun 2019
Available
R 27300
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
13 Jul 2019
26 Jul 2019
Available
R 27300
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
10 Aug 2019
23 Aug 2019
Available
R 27300

Full Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Land Only

Start Tirana, Albania

The tour starts at our centrally located hotel in Tirana, Albania’s trendy capital (approx. 30 minutes drive from the airport). The group flight arrives in the evening. Our leader will hold an evening briefing to discuss the upcoming trip and answer any questions. *Hotel Kruja or similar*

Day 2

Drive to Komani Lake; scenic ferry journey, followed by a walk to Tropoje Village

This morning we drive (approx. 2 hrs) to Komani Lake. We then have a 2 hour ferry journey through the gorge to Fierza. The boat journey allows us to take in the spectacular scenery whilst we wind our way between high cliffs and towering peaks. It is described as one of the world’s great boat journeys. Three hydroelectric power plants have been built here at the lake, which produces approx. 70% of Albania’s electricity. Upon arrival in Fierza, we’ll visit the 200 year old Mic Sokoli tower, which is significant in northern Albanian history and culture. We’ll then walk for 2 hours to our guesthouse in Tropoje. *Aste Guesthouse or similar*

Day 3

Through Tropoje Valley, following the river to Sylbice

We walk through Tropoje Valley and follow the river, taking several breaks along the way to enjoy the beautiful alpine scenery. Lunch will be a picnic in the valley. In the afternoon we reach our alpine huts in Sylbice Alpine Pasture, which is where we stay for the night. The huts belong to a local family and we’ll enjoy the homemade food and traditional hospitality, which has remained unchanged in this area for decades. Max. altitude 1620m. *Sylbica Huts*

Day 4

Cross the border into Kosovo; trek through green alpine pastures to Belegu

Today we cross the border into Kosovo and trek through green alpine pastures to Belegu. We start walking at 1600m, eventually reaching Ali Cela Pass at 2227m, where we have stunning views of the glacial lakes in Albania. We then start descending to Belegu. For lunch, we’ll enjoy another picnic en route, and dinner will be taken at Belugu shepherd huts, where we’ll be staying this evening. Our host plays the cifteli, a traditional musical instrument, so we’ll enjoy some folk songs from the area. Max. altitude 2227m. *Belegu Huts*

Day 5

Walk along ridges to the shepherd village of Milisevac

Today’s trail is carpeted with a dazzling array of wildflowers as we ascend from deep valleys to green mountain pastures, enjoying breathtaking panoramic views as we walk along ridges to the shepherd village of Milisevac. Max. altitude 1700m. *Milishevc huts*

Day 6

Trek to Lumbardhi ridge; descend to Rugova Camp Hotel and continue to Reka e Allages

Today’s landscape is truly untouched and wild. This area is renowned for its hospitality, with delicious cheese and homemade raki available to try. We first ascend to Lumbardhi ridge, and then descend to Rugova Camp Hotel, where we can rest for a while before continuing to our guesthouse in Reka e Allages. Max. altitude 1600m. *Ariu Guesthouse (Mustaf Hakaj)*

Day 7

To Boge via Mt Hajla (2403m)

An exciting day today as we trek to Boge via Mt Hajla (2403m). Hajla is a mountain situated on the border of Montenegro and Kosovo and belongs to the north-eastern part of the Prokletije mountain range (or the Accursed Mountains). It is the highest peak of this range. Many consider Hajla to be one of the most beautiful peaks in the area. Those who live in this area still rely on stock-breeding and forestry, where shepherds still migrate to their summer huts and high settlements using the trails on which we walk on. Lunch will be a picnic en route and tonight we stay in a mountain lodge in Boge, which has superb views across the valley and of Mt Hajla. Max. altitude 1950m. *Hotel Magra Austria*

Day 8

Transfer to Kuqishte; trek to Babino Polje, Montenegro

We have a 25 minute transfer to Kuqishte, the start point of today’s trek. We begin with an ascent on a good path, which leads us through lofty pine trees. From here, we have a steady climb to a valley full of dramatic rock formations. This is our highest point of today, with expansive views of the Accursed Mountains to the south. Depending on visibility, we may be able to see Babino Polje in Montenegro. We cross the border into Montenegro from here, with a delightful descent through a high alpine meadow, until we reach the sheep pastures above the Babino Polje Valley.  Max. Altitude 1870m. *Triangle Woodhouse*

Day 9

Trek to Hrid Lake in Prokletije National Park; continue to Plav

Today we trek to Hrid Lake, starting with a trail through woodland. Hrid Lake can easily be circled, with its western part offering enjoyable views. The lake is recognised as a strict nature reserve within the Prokletije National Park. We then continue to Plav. Max. altitude 1700m. *Hotel Kula Damjanova or similar*

Day 10

Transfer to Gradec; trek to Vusanje via Bor Peak (2106m)

We have a beautiful and exciting trek today, as we summit Bor (2106m). We first have a transfer to Gradec (approx. 20 mins), the starting point of our trek. We then climb Bor, and descend to the village of Vusanje. Max. altitude 2106m. *Guesthouse *

Day 11

Trek to the glacial lakes of Jezerca

Today we walk to the glacial lakes of Jezerca (Buni i Jezerces). We’ll then have a short walk upon reaching the lakes. Please note that our main luggage will be carried by horses to the Albanian border only. It will then be transported directly to our hotel in Valbone by 4×4 , which we’ll reach tomorrow. You’ll therefore need to pack items for both this evening and for our trek tomorrow, as well as your packed lunch. Tonight we’ll be camping at Jezerce, which will be set up ready for our arrival. We’ll enjoy dinner at the camp this evening.  Max. altitude 1800m *Camping, Jezerca*

Day 12

Summit Albania’s Jezerca Peak (2694m); continue to Valbona

Today we summit Albania’s second highest peak, Jezerca (2694m), with fantastic panoramic views of the Accursed Mountains (also referred to as the Albanian Alps). The summit is only 5km from the border with Montenegro. We start at the lake (1800m) and we climb to the summit for approx. 3.5km. The trek becomes more demanding and challenging as we go higher up. We then descend to Rragam Village in Albania for approx. 6km. From there we transfer to our hotel in Valbona, the home of Albanian folk culture. The walk today will take approx. 9 hours in total, including our coffee break at Simoni Kafe. Max. altitude 2694m. *Hotel Margjeka*

Day 13

Drive back to Tirana via Gjakovë and Prizren

This morning we’ll have a short 5km walk in Valbona, followed by a drive to Tirana via Gjakovë and Prizren (Kosovo). We first explore the town of Gjakovë, walking through the Ottoman Bazaar which has around 500 stores, one of the largest in the Balkans. We also visit Hadumi Mosque. After this, we drive to Prizren, one of the best preserved Ottoman cities in Kosovo. It has a rich cultural, historical and religious heritage with its 17th century Sinan Pasha Mosque, the Orthodox Church and memorial to the former political ‘Albanian League of Prizren’. We’ll have our lunch in Prizren. *Hotel Kruja or similar*

Day 14

End Tirana

End Tirana following breakfast.

Included

* All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 12 dinners * All accommodation * Transfer for group flights

Food

All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 12 dinners included.

It wasn’t until the collapse of the socialist republics in the early 1990s that the world got its first glimpse of the Balkans. This region has retained its subsistence culture and show very little signs of changing. You can expect your food to have been reared/grown not too far from your plate. Dairy products, especially milk, cheese and yoghurt are present in almost every meal. Breakfasts consist of cereals, bread and jam, eggs and cheese, tea and coffee. Picnics are provided on the trek and usually consist of bread, meats and local cheeses. For dinner, simple grilled meats, usually beef, chicken or lamb, are commonly served with potatoes or rice, and locally-grown vegetables and salads. Pies and other pastry-based dishes are also a staple in this region.

If you follow a vegan diet you should expect that the variety of food may be limited whilst on this trip. This diet is relatively uncommon in this region and we cannot guarantee that the hotels, shepherd huts and guesthouses will provide meals that have the necessary variety.

Water is provided, but very often this is from local wells or mountain streams and is not chlorinated. If you are concerned about drinking untreated water, we suggest you bring a supply of water treatment tablets or a SteriPEN. 

SteriPENs are widely stocked on Amazon, outdoor shops and other online retailers; look for the latest models but avoid USB charging ones. Better still, a SteriPEN will pay for itself over the course of the trek and you won’t leave behind a single plastic bottle – you will end up spending the same or even less than you would on bottled water, plus you can keep it for future trips.

Trip Notes

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

Map

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