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Peaks of the Balkans - Long - distance trail passing Valbona

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Peaks of the Balkans - Long-distance trail passing Valbona

The "Peaks of the Balkans" hiking trail is a 192 kilometer long hiking trail in the Prokletije mountains, also known as the Albanian Alps. For practiced long-distance travelers, this trail leads of about ten day stages through Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.

The trail partly runs through developed valleys but partly also very secluded in high alpine regions, where only simple alpine huts are available as overnight accommodation. As hikers, you should also keep in mind that there are wolves and bears in the Albanian Alps, so a meeting on the paths is not unlikely. The trail therefore is only recommended for experienced hikers. The nature trail Lumi i Gashi and the National Park Prokletije are part of the hiking trail through nature reserves such as National Park Theth and National Park Valbona Valley.

  • Theth (Albanien) – Qafa e Valbonës – Valbona: 13,9 km
  • Valbona – Çerem: 19,8 km
  • Çerem – Alp Dobërdol: 15,64 km
  • Dobërdol (Albanien) – Tromeđa – Alp Milishevc (Kosovo): 18,2 km
  • Milishevc – Rugova-Schlucht – Reka e Allagës: 16,24 km
  • Reka e Allagës – Pepaj – Drelaj – Dugaiva – Kuçishta (Čakorpass): 23,26 km
  • Kuçishta (Kosovo) – Babino Polje (Montenegro): 15,8 km
  • Babino Polje – Hrid – Plav: 20,31 km
  • Plav – Bor (Berg) – Grlata – Vusanje: 27,4 km
  • Vusanje (Montenegro) – Qafa e Pejës (Albanien) – Theth: 21,35 km

To enter into the Peaks of the Balkans trail it is possible in places like Valbona, Plav, Vusanje and Peć too. In the case of several stages being choosen, it is possible to divide them into several sections of the day hikes due to the length, even not always accommodations is available. Border crossings are not carried out on official border crossings. The necessary documents have to be collected before already.

After our arrival in Fierza on Lake Coman we were directly going to the Valbona valley, where we were then meet with some familiar faces of the ferry crossing in a hut while having a coffee. More hikers were present who were preparing themselves for a tour. In the valley of Valbona it still looking like in the Alps 200 years ago: raised bales of hay on pastures, mountain forest and behind the rocky peaks of more than two thousand meters of height. No ski lifts, no bars or clubs, no casinos or sports shops.

Getting into the trail is quite easy, red-white dots highlight it. Steadily it goes up between beeches, pines and oaks and despite the autumn coolness we get a strong sweat. At some point, we find a wooden sign on the edge of the road with a reference to a small settlement, which should also contain localities. In front of a self-made wooden pavilion without a roof, ice-cold water runs into tubs, a water wheel rotates turned by water stream. Unfortunately the localities are all already abandoned. Only one pastoral family is still present. Two of the children are enthusiastic, finally a little change in their daily life procedure.

The relatively young hiking trail was preceded by efforts to bring the population of the Prokletijes closer together and to demarcate borders. In particular, the "Balkans Peace Park Project" had endeavored to reopen the old pastoral and trade routes across the border. The German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) has been working on the development of mountain tourism in Theth since 2006, promoting the identification of hiking trails and the publication of appropriate maps and hiking guides. The trail was created and popularized by the AGEG Tourism for Sustainability Consulting as part of a GIZ project.

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Valbona - mountain settlement in the valley of the same name

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