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Walking in Northern Albania - Into The Accursed Mountains

Group Tour

8 Days From £925

Overview

Extending across vistas liberally scattered with deep river valleys, alpine lakes and national parks, the towering limestone gorges of the Accursed Mountains, or Albanian Alps, provide the perfect backdrop to one of Europe’s last great adventures.

After soaking up the past in the historic town of Shkodër, the gateway to the north, our journey takes us from the breath-taking expanse of Lake Koman deep into the heart of the Valbonë Valley, also known as the ‘Miracle ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

7 x Breakfasts
7 x Lunches
7 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use a minibus, a local ferry and our own two feet! 

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. 

On this particular trip we will be in small 3* hotels and locally run guesthouses (with mainly en-suite facilities). In Thethi and Nderlysaj we stay in guesthouses where it will be necessary to share with up to 4 people in a room. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Very High

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE/HIGH: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-4hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-5 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 5-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Walking in Northern Albania - Into The Accursed Mountains
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TIRANA - SHKODËR

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TIRANA - SHKODËR

Those arriving on the group flight will meet at Tirana airport and head immediately north to one of Europe’s oldest and most historic cities. Located close to the border with Montenegro, Shkodër stands as a gateway to Albania’s stunning northern landscapes, with impressive views of the Drin River to the east, the Adriatic Sea to the west and the majestic Albanian Alps to the northeast. Historically an important trading post for centuries, the city is home to the ancient Rozafa Fortress, strategically located on the hill overlooking the city and surrounding vistas. Dinner will be in the heart of the old town which comes alive in the evenings as people gather together along the wide boulevards.

Rozafa Hotel or similar
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: SHKODËR - VALBONË VALLEY

DAY 2: SHKODËR - VALBONË VALLEY

From Shkodër this morning we will drive for a couple of hours to Lake Koman to begin our spectacular journey towards the Albanian Alps. As part of a major hydroelectric project dating back to the 1980s, Lake Koman was created by a dam, and the result is quite breathtaking. Traveling on a small public ferry, this idyllic ride will take us along the Drin River, which over the centuries has carved its way through the mountains to create some magnificent canyons and narrow passageways that are reminiscent of the celebrated Norwegian fjords. Unlike the fjords however, in comparison this area is vastly unpopulated by tourists and offers some spectacular unspoiled views as we slowly cruise north for about 2½ hours. Arriving at the Fierza dock, we will then continue by road deep into the heart of the Albanian Alps and through the dramatic Valbonë Valley, stopping for lunch en route. In the afternoon we will take a leisurely walk to the beautiful meadows of Grykat e Hapta, before returning to the valley where we will enjoy an evening of local food and hospitality.
Approx. 2-3hrs walking (300m ascent, 300m descent. Total distance 4kms, highest point 1361m)

Vila Dini or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: VALBONË VALLEY

DAY 3: VALBONË VALLEY

Today we will explore these stunning jagged landscapes as we head towards the more remote areas of the eastern Alps of Albania. Following a simple shepherd’s path up through beech and pine forests and lush green meadows we can enjoy dramatic views of the rocky domes of Maja Jezercë (2695m) and Mount Rosi (2560m) as we further explore the depths of this remote region. There’s no better place to stop for a picnic lunch and a rest surrounded by some of nature’s best, before slowly making our way back down into the valley, stopping along the way in the quaint little hamlet of Kukaj where we can sample some local herbal tea before enjoying another evening surrounded by nature’s finest in the valley. Approx. 6hrs walking (800m ascent, 800m descent. Total distance 12kms, highest point 1625m)

Vila Dini or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: VALBONË VALLEY

DAY 4: VALBONË VALLEY

Moving closer to the Montenegro border today we will drive a short distance to the secluded village of Çerem, populated mostly by shepherds during the summer season but otherwise left uninhabited due to poor weather conditions limiting supplies and snow blocking the roads. From here we will set off by foot through more enchanting forests and meadows which are dominated by the rocky domes of Kolata Mountain. As we continue our ascent, and weather permitting, we reach the Bori Pass, which marks the border with Montenegro. Here we can enjoy a well-earned picnic lunch near one of the fresh-water mountain springs. Following the winding slopes of Mount Sqapit, this afternoon we will make our way back down to Çerem where we will meet our minibus and drive back to Valbonë for the night. Approx. 6hrs walking (730m ascent, 700m descent. Total distance 13kms. Highest point 1840m)

Vila Dini or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: VALBONË VALLEY - VALBONË PASS - THETHI

DAY 5: VALBONË VALLEY - VALBONË PASS - THETHI

Today offers some spectacular scenery as we hike one of the area’s most celebrated trails, which has for centuries connected the glacial valleys of Valbonë and Thethi, crossing over the 1800m high Valbonë pass, which is only accessible during the summer months due to heavy snowfall. We will be accompanied by horses which will carry our luggage as we tackle this challenging but hugely rewarding hike. Passing by the last houses of the village of Rrogam, the trail steepens towards a large bowl of alpine meadows, framed by rocky slopes that lead up to the Valbonë Pass. From the pass we can take in some of the region’s most spectacular views of the jagged peaks of ‘Bjeshket e Namuna’, also dramatically known as the Accursed Mountains. From here we will slowly descend towards the village of Thethi (approx. 850m above sea level), stopping along the way for another charming picnic lunch, and arriving mid-late afternoon. Approx. 7hrs walking (700m ascent, 1040m descent. Total distance 9kms, highest point 1800m)

Logu i Harushave or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: THETHI - NDERLYSAJ

DAY 6: THETHI - NDERLYSAJ

Today we will enjoy a leisurely day of exploring Thethi and the surrounding area. Standing as the most well-preserved alpine village in Albania, Thethi has been declared a Protected Historic Centre and, located in the heart of the Theth National Park, offers some outstanding natural beauty. The village itself has a lot to offer, including the stone-built Catholic Church, the blood feud tower ‘Kulla e Ngujimit’ and the stone-walled terraces which date back to the Bronze Age. As we venture out of the village, we will follow the River Shala, through the beautiful Grunasi Canyon towards the picturesque hamlet of Nderlysaj where we’ll be able to soak up the peace and tranquility of this very special mountain setting. Approx. 4 hrs walking (110m ascent, 355m descent. Total distance 7kms, highest point 810m)

Prek Bjeshka Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: NDERLYSAJ - THORE PASS - KRUJË

DAY 7: NDERLYSAJ - THORE PASS - KRUJË

Our final day of walking will take us up to the spectacular Thore Pass. Following the trail along the Kaprea Creek, we can stop to admire the stunning Nderlysa turquoise pools, before continuing up through forests and pastures until we reach the 1,685m-high pass. Here we will be met by our minibus and transferred along a wonderfully scenic route to Krujë, passing through the Boga Valley. After checking into our hotel we will enjoy a delicious final dinner in this charming town located just north of the country’s capital and within good distance of the airport. Approx. 4-5 hrs walking (1190m ascent, 50m descent. Total distance 9kms, highest point 1670m)

Hotel Panorama or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: TOUR ENDS IN KRUJË

DAY 8: TOUR ENDS IN KRUJË

The tour ends at the hotel after a visit to the National Museum 'George Kastrioti Skanderbeg'. Those on the suggested group flight (see GETTING THERE below will be transferred to Tirana airport)

Breakfast

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.

If travelling to/from the start/finish of the tour from another European country you might also want to consider reducing your carbon footprint by travelling there by train. We are unfortunately not (yet) in a position to help you with the actual booking of the train tickets but lots of good information can be found here - www.seat61.com 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 2648 London Gatwick (LGW) 07:45 Tirana Airport (TIA) 11:50
BA 2649 Tirana Airport (TIA) 13:00 London Gatwick (LGW) 15:10

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders do not currently require a visa for Albania.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Tirana

Take an extra day or so to explore the country’s quirky capital. Allow 1- 2 days.

Southern Albania

Check out our Southern Albania itinerary which connects perfectly with our Northern Albania dates and will give you an incredible insight into the south’s stunning landscapes. Allow 8 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Albania has a variety of climatic conditions, being situated in the transition zone between the typical Mediterranean climate in the west and the moderate continental in the east. In early/late summer you can typically expect daytime temperatures to be around 25-28C and night-time temperatures to be around 12-15C. Rain is always possible so please come prepared.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

You will need to be in a reasonable state of health and have a good level of fitness to be suitable to join this tour involving consecutive days of walking. The trek is graded as moderate with an average daily walking time of around 5hrs, but please note there are two full day treks in the itinerary. In some places the paths are rocky and uneven.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation, but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour except at the guesthouses in Thethi and Nderlysaj, where you will be required to share with others of the same sex due to the limited number of rooms available.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £500 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 2234 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

WF SIGNATURE VIDEO

In this short film Wild Frontiers founder and MD explains the ethos behind the award-winning travel company.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP