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This trip is for the intrepid travelers who want to explore the Albanian Alps and get a sneak peak of the infamous Balkan Trail.

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On this beginner trail, you will enjoy splendid views on this scenic hike in the Valbona and Thethi National Parks on the edge of 2 magnificent valleys, as you hike across the Valbona pass.

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You will also get to experience the traditional mountain lifestyle and warm hospitality of the locals.

Upon your arrival in Tirana, you will be picked up by a Wild Guanabana representative and transferred to the beautiful village of Shkoder. After checking in to your rooms and getting settled, you have the choice to go swim in one of the villages at the Balkans biggest lake or visit the Rozafa Castle. 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!
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.
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.
Accompanied by a 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.
A walk through the village and the green gardens reveals the full extent of Theh. We 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 elaborate on the highland law code of Leke Dukagjini, its origins, impact and present day relevance. Onward along the water channels we ascend the plateau of the famed waterfall at which’s base often a rainbow appears. On a cliff above the river archeologists discovered stone-aged terraces, we rest here, enjoy our picnic lunch and gaze into the adjacent 50m deep Grunas Canyon. Along the river a well-worn bridle path takes us downstream to Nderlysa where we 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.
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.
After breakfast we head to the cable car station (40km, 1h) of Tirana’s backyard mountain Dajti (1613m). A walk takes us through rich green forest, home to many wild animals, to a peak where we enjoy the views of the capital and idyllic surrounding during a picnic. Upon return you can use the free time to explore individually or visit one of the museums. In the afternoon we dive into the turmoil of the vibrant city, admire historic buildings of all periods and explore the “blloku” district, which once the living quarters of politburo elite, turned now into a chic upmarket neighborhood packed with boutique shops and cafes. The last day showed us a very different, western image that stands in stark contrast to the rural areas of Albania we explored in the Accursed Mountains. Our day concludes with a final sumptuous dinner, we recall the past week and celebrate a successful, multi-faceted and memorable journey through Albania. The nightlife district is nearby.
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.
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Accommodation

On this trip we will be staying in a variety of different types of houses. Most of our stay will be in family run guest houses along the trail which have a cosy feel to them and you will enjoy the serenity and friendliness of the people there. The most memorable nights will be spent in shepherd and mountain huts where you will get to experience their way of life in all its forms. In the city you will be staying in comfortable and cosy hotels. Most of the accommodation is either in a double room basis or dorm style in some cases. Single rooms might be a bit difficult and unavailable in some areas but please tell us in advance so we can check the availability.

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Food

Food will be cooked by the families in the guesthouses or by the shepherds in mountain huts which will give you a taste of delicious home made food. We can cater to most diets so please let us know in advance if you have something in specific so we can make sure it is taken care of.

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Hiking

Light hiking is the general feel of this trip and it is mostly for you to enjoy the scenery and indulge in the life of the farmers, shepherds and the serenity of being surrounded by mountains. You will be hiking on average around 4.5 to 5 hours so you need to have some basic fitness to be able to enjoy the hike.

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Scenery

The scenery on this trip is simply breathtaking! From a tranquil ferry ride on the Koman lake to hiking through the magical Accursed Mountains, which will keep you in awe throughout the entire trail.

PRICE

$1,300

best time to travel:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

PRICE INCLUDES

    • Price based on 6 pax 
    • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (Breakfast = B, Lunch = L, Dinner = D) 
    • All internal transportation
    • All accommodation on a double room basis or dorm style (hotel in city, mountain huts and family run guesthouses on the hike) 
    • Wild Guanabana Leader to accompany you on your journey

PRICE EXCLUDES

    • International flight 
    • Visa Fee 
    • Personal & Travel insurance
    • Tips and Gratuity