HIGH SCARDUS TRAIL
High Scardus trail transnational hiking connects the mountain ranges in the borderland of Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo. Scardus name originates from the Latin name of the Sharri Mountains, the biggest massive in the region; Scardus or colorful mountain. In other words, the colorful is what the High Scardus trail is in terms of landscape, biodiversity, people, tradition, and food.
Furthermore, the multi-country trekking trail in the Balkan Borderlands region, with a total length of 495 km hiking path, covers the cross-border triangle trek between Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia and can be hiked in around 20 days. To sum up, the High Scardus trail passes through six nationals parks, one in Kosovo, two in North Macedonia, and three in Albania; so, one destination, three countries.
Above all, there are several connecting trails and exit points leading to populated areas, allowing for trips of different lengths, durations and difficulty levels. Thus, the largest section of the trail, like 150 km, is on Albanian territory where it passes through the Sharri National Park so; Korab – Koritnik National Park known as the habitat of brown bears, wolves, foxes, and roe deer.
Sharri Mountains have a total area of 1600 km. Around 55% of that area is in North Macedonia, 44% in Kosovo, and 1% in Albania. During this trip, we mostly walk-in Kosovo. Meanwhile, we will cross the border two times. Also, make sure to have your passport in your bag. In addition, you send your copy of the passport when applying.
- Visit two national parks: Sharri Mountains National Park and Koritniku National Park;
- Trek in some of the most remote areas in Albania and North Macedonia;
- Take in phenomenal mountain views from Albania and Kosovo;
- Savor regional food and enjoy distinct culture in the remote villages of Albania;
- Spend a night in Prizren, a lovely and cultural heritage city.
Accommodation (hotel & guesthouse) and meals as written in the daily itinerary; group airport transfer and other transports required by the itinerary; all entrance fees; skilled tour leader.
High Scardus Trail Itinerary
Day 1: Welcome to Albania! Drive to Peshkopi, Diber.
2: A warm-up hike leads us to the pasture of Grama.
3: Summit of Mount Korab, the highest peak in Albania.
4: Morning trek followed by coffee and warm up nature walk. Overnight in Caj.
5: From Caja to the borderland of Kosovo.
6: Hike into Sharri Mountains Brod to Restelice.
7: A day in Prizren! Take a walking tour of the historic city.
8: Say goodbye Kosovo.
Scardus trip is rated as Moderate Plus and consists of a combination of moderate and more challenging hiking days. Similarly, trip members should be capable of hiking 5-7 hours a day on trails with steep ascents and descents and sometimes tough terrain. For instance, trails are often rocky and daily elevation gains and losses can range from 600 - 1000 m. We hike around 15 km per day during the adventure, much of which falls between 2,000-2,500'm of elevation.
Where is the starting point?
Most importantly to your enjoyment of the trip is your overall fitness level. In addition, we strongly recommend beginning a conditioning regimen at least 2-3 months prior to departure that includes hiking and/or walking in order to best prepare for this trip. However, the itinerary is subject to change due to your interests. You can start the tour from Skopje, from Prishtina, or from Tirana - depending on where you are landing off.
Feel free to give us a call at 00383 49 601 007 if you have any questions regarding the gear list. Likewise, we will also be happy to help you with itinerary questions. For more, email us, or check out TREK Faqs, which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.
And, the best time to do these trips is from the end of May till the beginning of October.
High Scardus Trail
- English-speaking local guide
- Group airport transfers
- All accommodation
- Meals from lunch day 1 to breakfast day 10
- All land transport required by the itinerary
- All entrance fees
- Luggage transport (more than four people in a group)
- Airline tickets
- Travel insurance
- Airport taxes
- Tips for local staff
- Alcoholic beverages or soft drinks
- Items of a personal sort
- Airport transfers other than group transfers
- Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, the following checklist has been created to help you choose your clothing and gear for this trip. Try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.
- Good walking shoes
- Day pack (20L – 35L)
- Sun cream
- Fleece Gloves
- Fleece Hat
- Fleece Jacket or Sweater
- Rain jacket
- Warm fleece jacket or jumper
- Rain pants
- Long Sleeve Shirts (Synthetic, Lightweight)
- Trekking trousers
- Warm fleece jacket or jumper
- Anti-bacterial hand gel
- Personal First Aid Kit/Medications (Lightweight)
- 2 x 1-litre water bottle
- Insect spray
- Water purification tablets (Water is provided, but very often this is from local wells or mountain streams and is not chlorinated. If you are concerned about drinking untreated water, we suggest you bring a supply of water treatment tablets.)
- Flashlight or Headlamp
- Trekking Poles
- Trainers or sandals
- Liner Socks (Synthetic)
- Shoes for Travel and Free Time
- Casual Clothing for Travel and Town Wear (Lightweight, Easily Washable)
- Spare laces
- Luggage Tags and Locks
- Camera and Accessories
- Ear Plugs
- Reading and Writing Materials
- Small Binoculars
- Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)
Albania has a high number of climatic regions for so small an area. Generally, experiences a Mediterranean climate with summer temperatures at 25ºC on average in the day, and the warmest months are July and August where temperatures can rise to 30ºC and above.
Kosovo has a largely Continental climate, although Pristina is considered an Oceanic climate. Generally, summers are long and dry, and winters are mild and rainy, with occasional heavy snowfall in the mountains. It can get surprisingly hot in summer, between May and August, with temperatures sometimes reaching as high as 32°C (90°F). The warmest month is July, with an average high temperature of 26°C (79°F). Winters are cold and snowfall is common. The coldest month is January, with an average low temperature of -5°C (23°F).
The unit of currency in Kosovo is the Euro.
The unit of currency in North Macedonia is Denar.However, the Euro is accepted.
Note: Buying Lek is possible only in Albania
- Bajram Curri (17Km away from Valbona)
North Macedonia Emergency numbers
- 112 General Emergency; 192 (Police); 194 (Medical emergency)
- United States Consulate, North Macedonia: +389 2 310 2000
- British Consulate, N.Macedonia: +389 2 329 9 299
- Embassy of Germany, N.Macedonia: +389 2 309 3 900
- Skopje International Airport: +389 2 314 8 333
Albania Emergency numbers
- 129 (Police); 127 (Ambulance)
- Embassy of United States, Tirana: +355 (0) 4 224 7285
- British Embassy, Tirana: +355 (0) 4 223 4973
- Consulate of Canada to the Republic of Albania, Tirana: +355 (0) 4 225 7274
- Tirana International Airport: +355 42 381 800
Kosovo Emergency numbers
- 112 (Police); 94 (Ambulance)
- British Embassy, Pristina: +383 (0) 38 254 700
- U.S. Embassy, Pristina: +383 (0) 38 59 59 3000
- German Embassy, Pristina: +383 (0) 38 254 500
- Pristina International Airport: +383 (0) 38 501 502 12 14
- Western Balkans - Lonely Planet
- The Accursed Mountains - Robert Carver
- Broken April - Ismail Kadare
- High Albania - Edith Durham