The Best of Via Dinarica:
An Eight-day Hiking Adventure through Accursed Mountains in Albania and Kosovo
Truly one of the most magnificent hikes in the Balkans and, in fact, Europe, this Via Dinarica hike takes trekkers through Northern Albania, across the three-border point (Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo), and into Kosovo. Along the way, visitors will walk through Theth and Valbona National Parks, to stunning shepherd villages and into Kosovo.
Hikers will also spend time in Prishtina, Kosovo, the continent’s newest capital and a vibrant city with international restaurants, hotels, and nightlife spots.
Travelers will not want to miss the chance to learn about a stretch of the trail that is quickly making its way onto many must-see lists.
- Thethi highland village and Theth National Park
- Stunning views of Zla Kolata (Kollata e Keqe), Montenegro’s highest peak
- Wonderful shepard hospitality all along the trail
- The ancient Orthodox Monastery of St. Nicolas in Decan
- Kosovo and its capital Prishtina, Europe’s newest country and capital
Itinerary – 8 Days
Day 1 – Welcome to Albania, drive to Theth
Meet and greet with the guide in Tirana International Airport, followed by a transfer to Shkodra, northern Albania’s largest and oldest town. In Shkodra we will switch to a local minivan and continue the drive towards Theth, passing through the beautiful Valley of Boga, gateway to the Albanian Alps. We will stop at Qafe Thore – The Diagonal Pass, to enjoy the spectacular mountainous landscape unfolding in front of us. The last downhill bit of the ride will bring us to a nice guesthouse in the village where we will stay overnight and enjoy a tasty homemade meal.
– Transfer: Rinas – Theth; 163km/approx.4hrs
– Dinner / Guesthouse in Theth
Day 2 – The Attractions of Theth
Today we will have a walk around Thethi, the best-preserved alpine village of Albania. It has many typical stone houses, roofed with wooden tiles and the location surrounded by mountains is truly spectacular. We will start walking from the house and visit the attractions in and around the village, such as the stone-build Catholic Church, the blood feud tower ‘Kulla e Ngujimit’, the waterfall, the Grunasi Canyon, and the 2007 revelation: cyclopean stone walled terraces dating from the late bronze era, build by mysterious ancient inhabitants. As an option we could also extend the walk till the Nderlysa turquoise pools, created by the Kaprea creek. At the end of the day we will return for dinner and overnight at the guesthouse in Theth.
– Moderate walk / 5hrs walk / 400Δh / 11km
– Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Guesthouse in Theth
Day 3 – The Valbona Pass
We will load our luggage on horses and start a steady uphill walk towards the Valbona Pass (1759m). This trail is perhaps the best known highlight of the Albanian Alps and it remains the only direct connection between the adjacent valleys of Valbona and Thethi. The path winds through beech woods and further to grassy meadows for than continuing on firm ground and small sections of scree on the higher parts. On a clear day, from the saddle, we can enjoy great views of the highest peaks of the Alps like Jezerca, Radohima and many others, above 2000m of elevation. The path continues downhill in stunning and rough landscape towards the meadows and the Valbona springs. A forest trail will than lead to the hamlet of Rrogam, located at the very end of the valley. This marks the end of the walk. Here, a short transfer through the dry riverbed will bring us to the picturesque hamlet of Kukaj.
– Challenging walk / 7hrs walk / 1100Δh / 14km
– Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Guesthouse ‘Kukaj’
Day 4 – The Epic and Remote “Lugu i Persllopit” Trail
After breakfast we start to walk on an epic trail known as ‘Lugu i Persllopit’ – it remains a hidden gem in the already remote net of trails of the area. The trail starts to zigzag right outside the gate of the house and ascends through pine forest to reach an open rocky terrace that will provide spectacular vistas on the entire valley and on the northern dome of Jezerca. It is difficult to leave from this panoramic ‘mighty throne’ of karst, but we promise that the follow up will unfold landscape of great magnitude and satisfaction.
Pristine forest trails and a succession of cols will bring us to the pass, located at 2030m of elevation where we will stop for a picnic lunch, surrounded by imposing jagged peaks of grey limestone. From here the trail enters in Montenegro and morphs into a mountain walk of moderate difficulty, on the side of the rocky dome of Zla Kolata (Kollata e Keqe) – Montenegro’s highest summit. At the Pass of Bori, we re-enter Albania and descent through woods and meadow clearings till reaching the remote village of Çerem, where we will rest after a long and rewarding walking day.
-Challenging walk / 7hrs walk / 1100Δh / 13km
-Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Guesthouse in Çerem
Day 5 – The Alp of Doberdol
We continue on foot on undulated terrain in beautiful alpine scenery, leaving Çerem and the Kollata mountains behind. The luggage is loaded on horses and we make way first on a forest path and grassy clearings, then on a gravel road, until we reach the Montenegrin border. We then continue into Montenegro territory until we reach the ruins of the old military border post. Further on we take a break at the hamlet of Balqin, which is used by the shepherds during the summer season. Several springs and creeks on the way are safe to fill the bottles with fresh water. In the last leg of the walk, we enter the valley of Gash and reach Doberdol, located in the middle of vast alpine pastures. In the afternoon we can relax in this pristine location, or why not, have an optional walk to some of the alpine lakes above.
– Moderate walk / 6hrs walk / 600Δh / 16km
– Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Mountain Hut in Doberdol
Day 6 – The Peak of “TRE KUJFIT” (The Three Borders)
We leave the village of Doberdol and start climbing slowly to the ridge in front of us, which marks the border between Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo. At the ridge the views are stunning. We can admire the Gjeravica (the highest peak of Kosovo), Kollata (the highest peak of Montenegro) and Jezerca massif. An additional climb will lead to the peak of “The Three Borders” and then descend slowly through beautiful alpine meadows and small glacier lakes, until reaching a fir forest, which will lead to the “Zalli i Rupes” field. This marks the end of our walk. Here we will take a transfer towards the historic town of Prizren. On the road, we will stop in the lower valley to visit the Monastery of St. Nicolas in Decan, a prime highlight of Kosovo’s monuments. Evening will be spent in the attractive and relaxed ottoman style neighborhood of Prizren.
-Moderate walk / 6hrs walk / 600Δh / 450km
-Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Hotel in Prizren, Kosovo
Day 7 – A Day in Kosovo
After a relaxed breakfast we will start a scenic drive towards the Pass of Preval, in the middle of the Sharr Mountains, the other important mountainous chain of Kosovo, besides the Accursed Mountains. At the pass, we will have a leisurely walk in the surroundings and then drive to the Serb village of Strpce, where we will have lunch in a traditional restaurant. In the afternoon, the last leg of the transfer, will bring us in Europe’s youngest capital: Prishtina. The town’s cafés, restaurants and clubs are always particularly lively and offer a great evening/night out at the end of the tour.
-Transfer: Prizren – Preval – Strpce – Pristina; 100km/approx. 2hrs
-Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Hotel in Pristina
Day 8 – Departure Pristina
Free time in town followed by transfer to the airport and departure.
-Transfer: Pristina – Airport; 25km/approx. 30 min
Trip Cost 2018
4 – 7 members 850 EUR
8 – 15 members 720EUR
Single supplement: 60EUR
-Price is per person, double occupancy
-Single rooms are available on a request basis at certain places
-All travelers will be paired with a same gender roommate when a roommate is available
-If a roommate is not available, a 60EUR forced single supplement will be charged
About Via Dinarica Adventures
Via Dinarica Adventures are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenges. These expeditions are organized by some of the best Outdoor Adventure Companies in the Western Balkans.
You’ll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides.
What is Included
-Transportation as per itinerary (Passenger & Luggage) during entire trip with 8+1 Mini Van or 20+1 MiniBus (including Airport transfers)
-Fully equipped English speaking Tour Leader/Guide
-Accommodation for 7 nights
-Meals specified in itinerary
-All entrance fees and taxes as per itinerary
-Flights to Tirana, Albania & from Pristina, Kosovo
-Meals not specified in itinerary
-International travel insurance
-Optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff
-Souvenirs and items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)
-Any items not specifically mentioned in the program
Airfare is not included in the land cost of our trips.
Payment & Cancellation Policy
Payment of 10% deposit after booking confirmation. The rest of the amount is due four weeks before the trip date. Cancellation policy;
– Up to four weeks before startdate – loss of deposit
– Up to two weeks before start date – loss of 50% of total price
– Two weeks or less – loss of 100% of price
Then Leave the Rest to Us
Before you go, we provide you with extensive pre-departure information, including clothing recommendations, suggested reading lists, up-to-date health advice and other details.
Don’t take our word for how great our trips are. We’ll be happy to provide you with references of satisfied past travelers.
Feel free to call us on Skype, or use the web form here to contact us if you still have any questions or concerns. We’re here to help you.
Note on Itinerary
Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed, it is subject to change for numerous reasons, including weather, beyond our control.
Note on Services
To comply with regional laws and regulations, we sometimes use local suppliers, who provide services that may include transportation, equipment, logistic support, and other services (hotels, restaurants, etc.). We work with service providers, who share our commitment to safety and quality, and work closely with them to develop itineraries unique to the Via Dinarica.
About your travel in Albania and Kosovo
We provide breakfast on all days except day 1.
A picnic lunch is included on days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Lunches during the hikes will be picnic style, including bread, cheese, sausage, meat and vegetarian pate, salad, chocolate bars, cookies, trail mix, and coffee/tea.
Dinners in Prizren and Pristina are in local restaurants known for their good food and great location. Dinners does not include beverages.
Vegetarian and special diets will be catered to, but options are limited throughout Albania and Kosovo. Please inform us of any specific requirements upon booking.
We use comfortable Opel Vivaro (8+1) or IVECO / VW Minivans (20+1) with A/C (or similar), depending on the size of the group.
Trips rated EASY typically have 1-3 hours of activity per day, with hikes/walks less than five kilometers on mostly flat terrain at altitudes of up to 900 meters.
Easy to Moderate
Trips rated as EASY to MODERATE are designed for travelers seeking both EASY and MODERATE trip activity levels. Trips rated EASY to MODERATE typically have easier rated walks/hikes with options for more moderate activity levels on some days.
Trips rated MODERATE typically have 3-6 hours of activity per day, with hikes up to 15 kilometers on rolling or mountainous terrain with some steep ascents/descents and uneven trails at altitudes of up to 1,900 meters.
Moderate to Challenging
Trips rated as MODERATE to CHALLENGING are designed for travelers seeking both MODERATE and CHALLENGING trip activity levels. Trips rated MODERATE to CHALLENGING typically have moderate rated walks/hikes with options for more strenuous activity levels on some days.
Trips rated CHALLENGING typically have 5-8 hours of activity per day, with hikes up to 15-20 kilometers on mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents and uneven trails at altitudes of up to 2,700 meters.
Designed for very fit and experienced hikers. Trips rated ULTIMATE CHALLENGE typically have 10 or more hours of activity per day, hiking 20 or more kilometers on remote, mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents, and uneven trails at altitudes of up to 2,700 meters.