The Peaks of the Balkans Trail
Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo
Guidebook to the Peaks of the Balkans Trail, a 192km trek through Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo. The route, which can comfortably be completed in less than a fortnight, is waymarked and covers terrain between 670m and 2300m in altitude, taking in remote valleys, dramatic mountain passes, stunning scenery and villages untouched by time.
SeasonsThe trekking season begins May/June and finishes in October, with June-August the driest months. Wildflowers bloom in June. Snow-patches may linger until June/July.
CentresTheth (Albania), Valbona (Albania), Çeremi (Albania), Dobërdol (Albania), Milishevc (Kosovo), Rekë e Allagës (Kosovo), Drelaj (Kosovo), Babino polje (Montenegro), Plav (Montenegro), Vusanje (Montenegro)
DifficultyModerate fitness is required, though the walking itself is not difficult. The trail passes through some remote areas.
Must SeeFour beautiful national parks: Prokletije (in Montenegro), Thethi and Valbona Valley (in Albania) and Rugova Valley (in Kosovo); birdlife, plants and butterflies; warm Balkans hospitality
A guidebook to the Peaks of the Balkans Trail, a circular route through the wild and rugged borderlands of Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo. Launched in 2013 to promote sustainable local tourism and transcend political borders, the 192km trail winds its way through the spectacular scenery of the Prokletije mountains (the southernmost range of the Dinaric Alps), taking in high passes, sweeping valleys and striking limestone peaks. It can be completed in around two weeks: the walking itself is not difficult though the route passes through some remote areas and demands a moderate level of fitness. Welcoming guesthouses and homestays offer accommodation and delicious local cuisine on route, though camping is also a possibility.
The guide presents the trail in 10 daily stages and also includes suggestions for excursions to bag neighbouring peaks and visit local sites of interest. Comprehensive route description is accompanied by mapping and colour photos. You will find everything you need to plan a successful trip: guidance on how to get to the route, advice on when to go, where to start your trek and what to take, and information on cross-border permits. Appendices include accommodation listings, useful contacts and an English-Albanian-Montenegrin glossary.
The trail has opened up this little-known corner of Europe to trekkers. Yet, despite increasing visitor numbers, the region remains underdeveloped and unspoilt, with traditional mountain villages that feel like somewhere time forgot nestled in dramatic alpine landscapes. Promising spectacular scenery and genuine hospitality, the Peaks of the Balkans Trail invites you to discover the magic of the magnificent mountains of the Balkans.
Geography and geology
National parks and nature reserves
Wildlife and plants
When to hike
Getting there and around
Accommodation and food
Phones, internet and electricity
Local tour operators
Where to start/finish
Variations, transfers and highlights
Safety in the mountains and what to do in an emergency
Using this guide
The Peaks of the Balkans Trail
Stage 1 Theth (Albania) – Valbona (Albania)
Stage 2 Valbona (Albania) – Çeremi (Albania) via the Prosllopit Pass
Stage 3 Çeremi (Albania) – Dobërdol (Albania)
Stage 4 Dobërdol (Albania) – Milishevc (Kosovo)
Stage 5 Milishevc (Kosovo) – Rekё e Allagёs (Kosovo)
Stage 6 Rekё e Allagёs (Kosovo) – Drelaj or Restaurant Te Liqeni (Kosovo)
Stage 7 Restaurant Te Liqeni (Kosovo) – Babino polje (Montenegro)
Stage 8 Babino polje (Montenegro) – Plav (Montenegro)
Stage 9 Plav (Montenegro) – Vusanje (Montenegro)
Stage 10 Vusanje (Montenegro) – Theth (Albania)
Appendix A Useful contacts
Appendix B Accommodation
Appendix C Further reading
Appendix D Language and glossary
Appendix E History timeline
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One of the best ways to discover the Balkans
The Balkans may not be as popular for walking as, say, the Alps, but that's not to say they don't offer the same level of fantastic hiking. In fact, the mountains of Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo are home to some truly astounding trails, and to turn a blind eye to them is a disservice unto yourself. With that said, one of the best ways to discover the best of the area is by walking The Peaks of the Balkans Trail. The recently developed route stretches for 113 miles and takes hikers through remote valleys, over high mountain passes and past unspoilt, welcoming villages. As ever, guidebook specialist Cicerone is here to guide you through it all, with an in-depth book talking you through each stage.
Adventure Travel magazine
We will definitely feel confident taking this book along with us for the trek.
The Peaks of the Balkans is a newer trekking route that takes trekkers through the Prokletije mountains of Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo. We've had our eye on this 182km trail for some time now, and the fact that a detailed guidebook now exists in English, means that we'll definitely be packing our bags to tackle the route soon! Not only does the Peaks of the Balkans trail let you escape the increasingly busy trails closer to home, taking you to a more remote part of Europe, but the formation of this trail also brings much needed sustainable income to the small mountain villages along the route, with guesthouses being the popular choice for accommodation amongst hikers.
As well as all of the information that you would expect to find in a guidebook (and some additional useful advice), you'll find decent maps complete with contour lines and points of interest (though the available Peaks of the Balkans map would still be recommended). and handy elevation charts, The inclusion of useful phrases and a pronunciation guide is a nice addition and while you won't find yourself fluent in any of the languages, the author points out the importance of at least learning a few phrases which the locals will appreciate. The book is of the high standard that we've come to expect from Cicerone guides, answered all of our questions that we've been building up over the last couple of years, and we will definitely feel confident taking this book along with us for the trek!
Trek and Mountain magazine.
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Rudolf Abraham is an award-winning travel writer and photographer specialising in Croatia, Central and Eastern Europe. He is the author of over 10 books including Peaks of the Balkans, The Islands of Croatia, The Mountains of Montenegro, Walking in Croatia and St Oswald's Way and St Cuthbert's Way. His work is published widely in magazines and online, including Arts Society Review, BBC Countryfile, BBC Travel, France Magazine, Geographical, Hidden Europe, The Independent, Morning Calm, Mountain Pro, The National, National Geographic Traveller, OE, The Telegraph, TGO, Top Trails etc. He first visited Croatia in the late 1990s, lived there for two years, and has been returning to his favourite corner of Europe ever since.View Articles and Books by Rudolf Abraham
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