Montenegro-Albania ‘Via Dinarica’ Hiking Holiday
“The most wonderful week. Our guides were superb, so passionate and knowledgeable. I can highly recommend Undiscovered Montenegro – thank you so much!” Elaine Snell, September 2019
2020 departure dates: any Sunday, June-September
Some of the most spectacular, untouched landscapes in Europe are to be found on this cross-border hiking holiday exploring the southernmost Dinaric Alps! Designed for experienced hikers, our program combines two grandiose mountain chains – Komovi and Prokletije – and two amazing countries – Montenegro and Albania – to form one unforgettable hiking adventure! You will encounter settlements almost untouched by the modern world, local lifestyles, the traditional cuisines of Montenegro and Albania and as many stories about their shared Illyrian history as you could ask for!
Some background: the Dinaric Alps are one of Europe’s best kept secrets when it comes to mountain ranges. They have huge appeal for the intrepid explorer! Our itinerary covers sections of the famous ‘Via Dinarica’ trail, starting at Komovi, the third highest mountain massif in Montenegro, and moving to the cross-border ‘Peaks of the Balkans’ national parks of Prokletije, Theth and Valbona.
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All transport, accommodation and meals are included, as well as a 24/7 qualified guide who will collect you from your location and bring you back to Podgorica/Tivat Airport at the end of your trip. Group size is minimum two, maximum eight. Please also note that part of the program is created for hiking from spot to spot so it’s very important to pack your rucksacks in an optimal way – no suitcases! We will not carry all luggage by ourselves – support vehicles and, on occasion, horses are used for the most remote areas.
Your Tour Leaders: Vuk and Bojana are a brother and sister team who have worked with Undiscovered Montenegro for years taking our clients to explore paths less travelled. They both have a passion for the outdoors and for the North of Montenegro in particular. The more remote the area, the more likely they are to be found exploring it! Vuk and Bojana speak excellent English and have full mountain guide qualifications.
Want to see more? Watch our video of the Theth-Valbona hike!
Day 1 – Arrival
After landing in Montenegro, we’ll travel directly to Komovi Mountain and our accommodation at Stavna eco-village. Set in Komovi’s foothills, these charming wooden chalets with traditional restaurant have a really nice atmosphere, awesome hosts and great food! We’ll spend time chilling and getting to know each other.
Day 2 – Vasojevički Kom
Vasojevički Kom is one of the most spectacular peaks in the whole of Montenegro. Even though the trail is quite steep, up to 2,461m above sea level, there are no technically demanding parts and the ascent normally takes about 3 hours. However, you’ll be too delighted with the views to even to think about these details! From the summit you’ll see more than half of Montenegro and its stunning mountains and valleys, as well as a part of Kosovo and Albania’s beautiful landscapes. Overnight at Stavna Eco-village. Hike details: 11km, 760m ascent. Grade: moderate/challenging.
Day 3 – Prokletije – 3 peaks in one tour
“Prokletije” literally translated means “cursed mountains” – a remote and wondrous location. According to local legend, the Prokletije allows only the chosen ones – experienced and brave alpinists, to reach its peaks. But, the mountain also left some easier trails for those who don’t want to risk quite that much but still want to see and feel all the beauty of its rocky kingdom. Our trail connects three moderate summits – Volušnica (1,859m), Talijanka (2,056m) and Popadija (2,057m). From here you also have the best view of the rest of the mountain – the frightening peaks of Karanfil, Ocnjak, Maja Rosit… even the new highest peak of Montenegro – Zla Kolata!
Overnight at Maja Karanfil Guesthouse in Grebaje, an appealing place experienced at catering for hikers and nature lovers. Hiking details: 9km, 1,000m ascent. Grade: moderate/challenging.
Day 4 – Free day
Time for resting and enjoying the beautiful nature of Grebaja Valley. We’ll also visit some local cultural sights – the tower (museum) of the Redzepagić family from the 15th century and the last mosque that the Ottomans built in the Balkans (1912). Recharge your batteries and save some energy for the next two days in the Prokletije Mountains! Overnight at Maja Karanfil Guesthouse.
Day 5 – Crossing the border – Ropojana to Theth
We’ll start the day with a one hour transfer from Plav to Ropojana Valley, where we’ll meet our Albanian guide. Be ready for a very special day – this tour is definitely one of the top walking tours in the whole of the Balkans! We’ll be surrounded by the astonishing peaks of the Prokletije Mountains, passing through beautiful valleys and forests. The first section is more or less flat or ascending, but when we hit Qafa e Pejes, the highest point of this trail, we’ll descend for the rest of our walk, staring at the beautiful valley of Theth and surrounding peaks. At the entrance of the valley, we’ll stop at local café to have some fresh drinks and to decide whether to continue to our lodgings by foot or 4×4! Overnight at Polia Guesthouse, Theth. Hiking details: 17-23km (depending on last section!), ascent 500m. Grade: moderate
Day 6 – Theth to Valbona
This is a justly famous hike, with the scenery-o-meter ramped up to “staggering”. Even though the two places are really close – divided only by one ridge of the Prokletije – travelling by car takes about 8 hours (!), literally the same time that it takes to walk between the two Albanian National Parks. With trusty horses carrying our bags, the trail goes steeply up from Theth to the pass, giving us stunning views onto the valley and surrounding high rocky walls. From this point we’ll have about 2.5 hours of descent, enjoying the pure natural beauty. Coming down to Valbona Valley, you’ll see that despite the differences in landscape, there’s always one constant – the traditional, natural hospitality of the Albanian people. Overnight at Margjeka Hotel, Valbona. Hiking details: 17-20km depending on the group, ascent 1000m. Grade: moderate/challenging.
Day 7 – Komani Lake to Shkoder
The active part of the tour is completed but it’s not the end of our adventure! Our journey will start with a 1.5 hour long journey from Valbona to Firza by bus. There we’ll take a 2 hour ferry trip on Komani Lake. You’ll really enjoy travelling through the beautiful canyons before the second half of our bus ride to Shkoder, which lends its name to the huge lake on whose shores it sits. Shkoder is always inspiring. Its long and turbulent history is visible on every step in this simple, but very beautiful city. After a walk through the city centre and delicious sea food in the best fish restaurant in Northern Albania, we’ll finish our day in the traditional luxury of the Tradita Hotel, a gorgeous house dating back to the 16th century, and which is a “must-do” for all visitors passing through!
Day 8 – return to Podgorica/Tivat
Prices include all accommodation, transfers, meals and guided excursions.
Maximum Group size of 8. Minimum Group size of 2.
MNE-ALB hiking holiday
Please note, accommodation is clean, characterful and basic – in such remote areas, do not expect luxury! If for any reason the first choice accommodation is not available, we will let you know about the alternatives well in advance of your holiday.
STAVNA ECO LODGE
MAJA KARANFIL GUESTHOUSE
KOL GJONI GUESTHOUSE