Peaks of the Balkans Trail near Croatia

Jezerca Mountain in Albania
Image by Alp Venturer

Peaks of the Balkans is a hiking trail in the mountainous regions of Montenegro, Kosovo, and Albania near Croatia. These countries are situated in the Balkans, and Croatia is also considered to be a Balkan country.

The trail’s highest peaks reach over 2.300 meters, including Jezerca in Albania, which is 2.694 meters high. Peaks of the Balkans features some of the region’s most magnificent untouched landscapes, including old shepherd paths, pristine lakes, twisting rivers, grand waterfalls, and tiny villages tucked into mountain ranges.

In this post, we include:

Let’s go hiking…

Basic information about the trail

The Peaks of the Balkans Trail includes a circuit of 192 kilometers crossing Montenegro, Kosovo, and Albania. The best starting points for this trail are:

  • Theth (Albania)
  • Plav (Montenegro)
  • Pejë (Kosovo)

The ending point is Shkoder (Albania).

Some quick facts about Peaks of the Balkans:

  • Lowest elevation: 670 meters (near Cerem, Albania)
  • Highest elevation: 2.290 meters (Dobёrdol, Albania – Milishevc, Kosovo)
  • Cumulative height uphill: ~ 9.800 meters
  • Cumulative height downhill: ~ 9.900 meters
Peaks of the Balkans trail route map
Image by Peaks of the Balkans

Peaks of the Balkans highlights

Although the whole trail features stunning sights, some places worth seeing are:

  • Jezerca, the highest peak on the trail at 2.694 meters
  • Visiko Decani Monastery (UNESCO site)
  • Patriarchate of Peć (UNESCO site)
  • Turkish old town of Gjakova and Prizren (UNESCO sites)
  • Vibrant city of Shkodra with its impressive castle (UNESCO site)
  • Skadar and Koman Lakes
  • The railway line between Belgrade and Montenegrin Port Bar
  • Taljanka Peak with a view of Grbaja Valley – considered the most beautiful in ex-Yugoslavia

[Read: UNESCO monuments of culture and nature in Croatia]

Some of the highest peaks are:

  • Kolata: 2.534 meters (Montenegro/Albania)
  • Guri i Kuq: 2.522 meters (Kosovo)
  • Jezerca: 2.694 meters (Albania)

Skill levels for Peaks of the Balkans

Peaks of the Balkans’ level of difficulty ranges from easy to moderate to difficult.

Easy

For those who desire an easy hike, there are comfortable paths to journey without a map. Valbona (Albania) – Çerem (Albania) is considered to be an easy part of the trail.

Moderate

The moderate part of the trail includes marked paths and demands basic orientation skills and sure-footedness. Some steep inclines and the risk of falling are possible.

Here are some moderate trail routes:

Difficult

Parts of the trail are categorized as difficult and reserved for those with excellent orientation skills, as the trail lacks no recognizable paths. There are also several highly exposed sections and difficult slopes. Alpine equipment is a must while hiking these parts of the trail.

Grebaje Valley
Image by Mountain Photographer

Accommodation on Peaks of the Balkans

Peaks of the Balkans Trail area is rich with traditional houses along the trail in all three countries. The regional inhabitants are very generous and well-known for their hospitality. You can rent a traditional stone house called kula, a mountain hut, or a room in a small mountain lodge called planinarski dom. It is best to book your accommodation in advance to ensure a safe place to sleep.

Here are some places where you can stay overnight:

  • Theth (Albania)
  • Valbonё (Albania)
  • Çerem (Albania)
  • Dobёrdol (Albania)
  • Milishevc (Kosovo)
  • Reka e Allagёs (Kosovo)
  • Liqinat i Kuçishtёs (Kosovo)
  • Babino Polje (Montenegro)
  • Plav (Montenegro)
  • Vusanje (Montenegro)

If you are an experienced hiker, you might like the idea of wild camping in the route’s area. Ensure you have all the camping equipment needed and enough warm clothes as it can get quite cold.

What to eat and drink on Peaks of the Balkans

Most of the Peaks of the Balkans Trail are made up of uninhabited mountain regions, so it is best to bring your own food and beverages in your backpack. Shops along the trail are sparse and can only be found in bigger villages or small towns (Pejë, Shkodër). Some mountain lodges along the trail offer homemade dishes made by local hosts.

Skadar lake on Peaks of the Balkans trail
Image by IBNA

Local guides for Peaks of the Balkans

Individuals and small groups can hire a local mountain guide. Here is the list of available mountain guides for all three countries included in the Peaks of the Balkans Trail (Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro).

Peaks of the Balkans maps and guidebooks

Most of the routes are well marked, but sometimes the markers are not visible. To ensure you do not miss the most beautiful points of the route or get lost, buy a guidebook for the trail. There is also the Peaks of the Balkans Hiking Map available that includes detailed descriptions of the different trail stages.

All the guidebooks and maps are available here. The beginner’s guide to the Peaks of the Balkans trail is available here. For the latest trail news, follow Peaks of the Balkans’ official Facebook page here.

View our other hiking posts


Source:
Peaks of the Balkans

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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