VIA DINARICA Albania
The Guardian, and National Geographic Traveler‘s “Best of the World” destination for 2017.
Experience Via Dinarica highlights of the Accursed Mountains from Albania via Montenegro to Kosovo. This 8-day trip includes an amazing journey through some of the finest scenery of Europe’s most unexplored mountain ranges. Each country offers a vast range of activities, from adventure to relaxation, on both land and water.
Dinarica trail takes us to the most spectacular mountain scenery, picturesque waterfall, and incredible views of the Accursed Mountains. You’ll leave civilization far behind as you trek for instance, to Cerem and Doberdol, the most remote areas in Albania.
Via Dinarica Albania to Kosovo is a best-chosen trekking trail through the Accursed Mountains of both countries. The itinerary below starts from Tirana, the capital of Albania and ends up in Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo.
Via Dinarica Highlights
- Trek in some of the most remote Via Dinarica Albania areas;
- Take in phenomenal mountain views from Albania and Kosovo;
- Visit two national parks: Thethi and Valbona;
- Taste regional food and enjoy distinct culture in the remote villages of Albania;
- Spend a night in Prizren, a lovely and cultural herritage city;
- Experience Prishtina, Europe's youngest capital.
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.
VIA DINARICA ITINERARY
Day 1: Welcome to Albania! Drive to Theth.
Meet and greet with the guide in Tirana International Airport followed by a transfer to Shkodra; one of the oldest inhabited cities in Albania with a 2500-year-old history. After a lunch break, we continue the drive towards Theth, passing through the beautiful Valley of Boga, gate to the Albanian Alps.
We will stop at Qafe Thore – the diagonal Pass, to enjoy the spectacular mountainous landscape unfolding in front of us. Then will switch to a local van and drive downhill to a nice guesthouse in the village. We will overnight and enjoy a tasty homemade meal in Theth.
Driving: 4 hours. Dinner included.
Day 2: A warm-up hike offers a relaxing day into Thethi National Park.
Our morning wake-up starts each day with a cup of hot mountain tea. After a hearty breakfast, we set out on the trail as it wanders through rolling terrain, past traditional homes, and the church-house of Thethi. The Church stands in the midst of the plain–a solid, shingle-roofed building, with a bell tower. As we walk slowly into Thethi National Park, the snowy peak of Bosh, Radohime and Kakia give us a taste of the unmatched mountain scenery to come.
Today's hike is relatively short. We will start walking from the guesthouse and visit the attractions in and around the village. Highlight the stone‐build Catholic Church. The blood feud tower ‘Kulla e Ngujimit’. The waterfall, the Grunasi Canyon, bathtubs of Nderlysa, and the Blue Eye before we turn back. All meals included.
Trek: 9 Km, 3-4 hours; elevation gain: 350 m, elevation loss: 150 m.
Day 3: Hike the spectacular "Valbona Pass".
Today our trail heads towards spectacular Valbona Pass. It's not a particularly hard walk and is one that is attempted by many first-time mountain walkers. For the next couple of hours, the trail climbs slightly more steeply towards higher ground and we walk over a pass known as Valbona Pass.
After several hours hiking uphill, we stop at the Zefi’s housing for a hot mountain tea. Resuming our hike for another 45-min, we continue ascending to the Valbona col (1792m) where we have outstanding views of the Albanian Alps and the Valley of Valbona.
Well rested, we continue walking down (45 min) to the Simoni cafè for lunch. After lunch, we make our way down to the valley. Of course, we can choose whether to independently continue our walking down on the main wide dried up riverbed road or take a bus to avoid it.
The valley is known for the rare natural beauties, high mountains, biodiversity and natural monuments. The views and landscapes are very stunning, particularly in the clear summer nights.
Trek: 13 Km, 6-7 hours; elevation gain: 1043 m, elevation loss: 764 m.
Day 4: Hike up the epic and remote “Prejsllopi Pass” trail. Overnight in Cerem.
After a hearty breakfast and a cup of hot mountain tea with honey, we will start ascending the steep zig-zag trail to the epic and remote Prejsllopi Pass. Having several hours hiking, we'll reach the highest point of our trip today (2000m). As we hike a series of switchbacks over a pass that offers outstanding views of the snow-capped peaks of the Alps Range in every direction.
After crossing the border and thrusting in Montenegro, we will stop for lunch at Bori Pass, a flat spot with grass, a meadow for many shepherds from Cerem and Vuthaj.
In the same vein, we continue trekking another 45 minutes toward the shepherd's hut where we'll enjoy a final coffee and mountain tea. Henceforward we can see the village of Cerem where we'll stay tonight after another 2 hours of further hiking downhill to reach our destination. Enjoy a hot shower, a cold beer and celebrate the end of an exceptional trek. All meals are included.
Trek: 12.5 Km, 7-8 hours; elevation gain: 1089 m, elevation loss: 870 m..
Day 5: Trek from Cerem to Doberdol, a vast alpine pasture.
Enjoy waking up with a hot coffee & tea, then settle in for a hearty breakfast, snap a few last-minute photographs, then prepare for another beautiful trek.
Today’s hike is a very easy walk mostly into the forest. We briefly cross the Montenegro border and return in Albania until we reach the ruins of the old military border post. Further on we take a picnic break at the hamlet of Balqin, which is used by the shepherds during the summer season.
After a hearty lunch and coffee break, we continue to walk along a mostly flat, scenic trail through patches of beech forest. We finally reach Doberdol pasture. All meals included.
Trek: 15 Km, 6-7 hours; elevation gain: 890 m, elevation loss: 440 m..
Day 6: Hike to the Three Border Point. Overnight in Prizren.
After an early breakfast, today's hike begins through bilberry covered meadows of Dobërdol. In the direction of the mountain ridge, which forms the border between the three countries. The Via Dinarica Albania trail ends up in the magical Triple peak 2266m, with a view of the Albanian Alps behind where we walked days before. After a photo brake we descend slowly through a beautiful alpine meadow to Zalli Rupes field which mark the end of our trek. We will take a transfer towards the historic town of Prizren.
Trek: 6 Km, 3-4 hours; elevation gain: 630 m, elevation loss: 840 m.
Day 7: A lovely day in Kosovo.
We have most of the morning at leisure to relax and enjoy the morning coffee and breakfast. Then, we go to Prishtina, the capital city of Kosovo. We will take off a scenic drive towards Prevalla Pass, in the middle of the Sharri Mountains. And so on, we will stop to enjoy a coffee in the fresh air of three different climates. Besides Via Dinarica Albania trek is Scardus Trail another mega-hiking trail.
The afternoon is provided to have a short city tour to see some of the most important sights in the city. After a short amble, we will have a very delicious dinner in a lovely traditional restaurant.
Driving: 2 hours. Accommodation in hotel; all meals included.
Day 8: Depart for home.
After breakfast, our adventure ends with a private transfer to the airport, ending our exciting trek in the heart of the Balkans.
Although we try to do our very best to carry out the schedule written above, this itinerary of Via Dinarica Albania is subject to change for some reasons beyond our control. This is an 8-day trip, however, we can make it shorter or even longer.
* Feel free to contact us for other deparute dates.
- 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 and Montenegro is the Euro.
Note: Buying Lek is possible only in Albania
- Bajram Curri (17Km away from Valbona)
Montenegro Emergency numbers
- 92 (Police); 94 (Medical emergency)
- United States Consulate, Podgorica: +382 (0) 20 410 500
- Canadian Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia (also responsible for Montenegro): +381 (0)11 306 3000
- Australian Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia (also responsible for Montenegro): +381 (0)11 330 3400
- British Consulate, Podgorica: +382 (0) 81 205 460
- Podgorica International Airport: +382 0 20 444 244
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