Trek

Albanian Alps Explorer

Country: Albania Region: Dinarica

Albanian Alps Explorer

£510

8
DAYS

Book

Overview

  • One of the most popular self-guided tour in Europe
  • Scenic hikes in the Valbona and Thethi National Parks
  • Insights into traditional mountain lifestyle and culture
  • Tranquil ferry ride on fjords – Lake Koman

A tour for intrepid travelers who are eager to explore the Albanian Alps on their own. It combines scenic hikes for average fitness levels with the two most interesting cities in an 8-day tour. From historic Shkoder one starts with a tranquil ferry ride on the Koman Lake into the Accursed Mountains to visit two of the most remarkable valleys: Valbona and Theth – both dominated by towering mountains and traditional alpine houses. The visitors returns on a panoramic drive over the Terthoria Pass to the low lands and Albania’s capital Tirana, . “

Itinerary

DAY

1

Arrival in Albania and Visit of Shkodra

Your driver welcome you at the airport in Tirana. During the transfer (90min) to the hotel close to Shkoder’s center you can gather first impressions and the country is introduced. Time permitting you have the choice to swim in one of the villages at the Balkans biggest lake and visit the Rozafa Castle. Learn about its legend and enjoy fabulous views that excite your curiosity for the days of travel through the Albanian Alps. In the city the cafés bust with people who flock for a stroll to the pedestrian area. Lined with bourgeoisie town houses, reminder of the cities rich past, it has a certain Italian atmosphere to it. Immerse in the buzz of the bazaar, at the Marubi photo library in Albania’s past, visit the museum or enjoy an espresso with the locals. When daylight fades you can choose between restaurants that offer carefully crafted traditional meals. We are wish you a good night after an eventful first day in Albania. Tomorrow you start into the Albanian Alps!
Accommodation: Standard hotel

DAY

2

Journey into the Accursed Mountains

You rise early for the transfer through a scenic gorge to the Koman Dam (55km/1:30h). The picturesque reservoir loops similar to a Norwegian fjord through sheer rock walls and is considered a highlight of the Alps. The custom made ferry stops at several points to pick up locals from remote villages before arriving at Fierze (46km/3h). After lunch you travel by minibus past traditional villages, composed of wooden shingle-covered stone houses, into the highlands and the Valbona National Park (35km/1:15h). On a first warm-up walk you continue on foot along the crystal clean stream and on quiet berry-lined trails through the forest to the secluded Xhemes Lake for a swimming break. The walk ends at your cozy accommodation in a small hamlet. You will have itchy feed when you see the jagged peaks from the terrace, tomorrow will be the day.

Accommodation: Guesthouse
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Walk: 3 hours / 7 km

DAY

3

Valbona – Queen of the Mountain

Refreshed you start our hike to Kukaj, an isolated hamlet where only two families reside, below bunkers that once protected the border are now scattered in the riverbed. The windy path takes you over lush meadows ablaze with the colors of a wide variety of spring flowers to a shepherd hut on 1.650m. In the communist period when this was a no-go area and the building used as a military barrack. Admire the wild and romantic jagged mountain scenery, sample fresh milk products should the shepherd be present or opt to climb higher to an ancient crossing at the Montenegrin borde. At 2.040m a weathered border pyramid is a reminder of the isolation Albania once endured, from here views reach to the most dramatic parts of Montenegrin Prokletije. Catching a last glimpse at the Alps highest peak Jezerca (2.694m) you descent on a different path to another guesthouse. When daylight fades you can watch the alpine glow over dinner in the idyllic garden, no surprise many women are named after the beautiful valley.

Accommodation: Guesthouse
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner
Walk: 7 hours / 13 km

DAY

4

The Grand Crossing: Hike from Valbona to Theth

Accompanied by a local and mule that carries your load you set out for the transfer hike across Valbona Pass (1.811m) – another highlight and highest point of your journey. After passing the village Rragam few steep segments need to be tackled, you can pause regularly near springs and on colorful meadows to take a breath and enjoy the splendid views. Reaching the pass the surrounding peaks appear on par and sweeping views of both valleys fascinate even the seasoned traveler. Enjoy the picturesque landscape during a lunch break ahead of the descent to Theth. The fairy-tale beech forest provides cover from the sun in the afternoon for you, by the time the woods thin out Mt. Arapi (2.217m) is visible and soon the upmost houses of the village are reached. Spread below are the different hamlets, on a broad path we reach another inviting guesthouse in the center of the village.

Accommodation: Guesthouse
Meals: Breakfast,Picnic Lunch, Dinner
Walk: 7 hours /15 lm

DAY

5

The Peja Pass or Meadows above the Clouds

Today you have the choice between the Peja Pass, located at the northern end of the valley below the Matterhorn of Albania, Mt. Arapi, or the panoramic trail to the Meadow of Deneli. For the hike up the Peja Pass we recommend an early start and using transport to and from the trailhead, otherwise add 4km or 1h walking time each way, one-way transfer is 20€, return 30€. The trail starts near the source of the Thethi River and follows an ancient caravan path hidden in the sheer wall, Peja is a city in Kosovo the route connected to. To reach Deneli you start from the guesthouse and walk through the green Ulaj neighborhood, after crossing the river the ascend leads through light forest and on path in the cliffs to the football field size plain in the middle of the mountains. Both routes return on the same way and you stay in the previous night’s guesthouse.

Accommodation: Guesthouse
Meals: Breakfast, Picic Lunch, Dinner
Walk: 3-4 hours

DAY

6

Theth – In the Heart of the Albanian Alp

A walk through the village and the green gardens reveals the full extent of Theth. Visit the iconic church, well-kept fields and dive at the lock-in tower that offered protection for men threatened by blood feud into the history of the “kanun”. It is the perfect place to learn about the highland law code of Leke Dukagjini, its origins, impact and present day relevance. Onward along the water channels you ascend to the waterfall. On a cliff above the river archeologists discovered stoneaged terraces, you can rest here, enjoy picnic lunch and gaze into the adjacent 50m deep Grunas Canyon. Along the river a well-worn bridle path leads downstream to Nderlysa where you stay on a farmstead. You can use your free time to sample mulberries, grapes and plums in the garden, harvest corn and milk sheep with the family, learn to cook a typical dish, explore the surroundings or swim.

Accommodation: Guesthouse
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner
Walk: 4 hours / 8 km

DAY

7

The “Blue Eye” and Modern Face of Albani

The hike through the canyon leads to a karst spring called “Blue Eye”. The bravest can take a dip in the icy waters while butterflies swirl around you – truly a hidden oasis to relax at. Without mobile phone coverage, electricity and road access busy everyday life seems completely forgotten. After a meal at the guesthouse the minibus takes you to the Edith Durham Memorial, over a scenic pass road to the Boga Valley and Shkodra (3h). You change cars and continue for Tirana (90min), in the capital you can visit museums, admire historic buildings and explore the “blloku” district. Once the living quarters of politburo elite it turned now into a chic upmarket neighborhood packed with boutique shops and cafes. Tirana stands in stark contrast to the rural areas of Albania you explored in the Accursed Mountains. Your day concludes with a final dinner, you recall the past week of travel and celebrate a successful, multi-faceted and memorable journey through Albania

Accommodation: Standard hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Walk: 4 hours / 9 km

DAY

8

Tirana - Mirupfashim and Faleminderit Albania

If time permits you can further explore the city prior to your departure. Your journey ends with a transfer to the airport (30min) where our driver wishes you farewell and safe trip home.
Looking

Meals: Breakfast

Additional Nights and Extensions

Looking for more? Extend your stay by adding days at the beaches of the Riviera, add a tour in Southern Albania or explore the surrounding Balkans nations of Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo or Macedonia.

Tour Facts

Trip Cost Includes

  • 2 nights in hotel, 7 nights in guesthouse
  • 7 breakfast, 5 lunch, 5 dinner
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • All luggage transfer on trek

Trip Cost Doesn't Include

  • Flight ticktet to Albania
  • Drink for meals
  • Travel insurance

Meals

Full Board on tek

Accommodation

2 nights in standard hotel / 5 nights in guesthouse ( privete en-suit and dormitory)

Date and Price

Available Tour Dates

Flexible departure! Have you got any dates in your mind? Click here to contact us.

General Info

Coming soon…

Additional Nights and Extensions

Looking for more? Extend your stay by adding days at the beaches of the Riviera, add a tour in Southern Albania or explore the surrounding Balkans nations of Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo or Macedonia.