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The Accursed Mountains
4.5 from 2 posts
The Accursed Mountains and the village of Thethi in Albania

The Accursed Mountains

8 days | From £595 | Guided group departures

This walking holiday to the wild north of Albania is probably one of the last great European adventures. You'll discover the remote Thethi National Park and meet people who live in a world which is refreshingly disconnected from the rest of Europe. Space on this trip is extremely limited (and filled very early last year) so to plan your 2014 or 2015 walking trip in Albania contact one of our specialist trekking consultants. To check availability click on the Dates & Prices tab below.

8 days | From £595 | Guided group departures

  • A remote and challenging Balkan alpine adventure
  • Magnificent, isolated Thethi National Park
  • Albanian Highlander hospitality

Inspired by the likes of Robert Carver's book "The Accursed Mountains", Edith Durham's "High Albania", Edward Lear's "Journeys of a Landscape Painter in the Balkans", and even the exploits of Lord Byron, Mark Knowles from Walks Worldwide and a handful of intrepid, adventurous trekkers explored the isolated Accursed Mountains of northern Albania in early June 2010. The general conclusion was that this rarely visited, wonderful yet remote area is not anything like Europe as you would know it. Many a comparison was drawn to more far-flung, exotic destinations including life in the lesser-trekked regions of the Himalayas and the Atlas. In fact during the entire course of our research trek, not a single other trekker was encountered on the rugged, mountainous trails we followed. The scenery is certainly dramatic with rugged peaks rising sharply to over 2600m from low valley floors. However, the everlasting memory will be of meeting the exceptionally friendly and hospitable Albanian Highlanders themselves.

The Accursed Mountains of the north of Albania are both truly spectacular and virtually impenetrable except primarily for a series of high passes that link the small number of farmsteads and homes in the valleys below to the outside world during the summer months. This is a truly special European trekking adventure and well off the beaten track. Ideal for the discerning traveller in search of new cultural experiences and refreshingly different from anywhere else in Europe, this committed trek leads you into the heart of an unspoiled region where very few tourists venture. From historic Shkodra you travel into the Boga Valley and leave the 21st Century behind to then trek over the "Diagonal Pass" and into the valleys of the Accursed Mountains. Moving onwards you head for magnificent Thethi, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Surrounded by high peaks and dominated by the immense vertical rock wall of mesmerising Mt. Arapit (the Matterhorn of Albania), traditional wooden-roofed farmsteads are scattered throughout the valley and there's even a working water powered corn mill and "blood feud" tower too. The crux of the trek is next with the challenging crossing of the Valbona Pass into the stunningly beautiful valley of the same name. After following a shepherds trail to high mountain meadows your journey through the fascinating north of Albania is completed by taking a passenger boat on the fjord-like Lake Koman, which must surely rank as one of the world's great lake journeys before driving to Tirana, the fast becoming trendy capital city.

Click here to read an article in The Guardian from May 2012 about this trip

Click here to read a report from our May 2010 reccy trip



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Key / Legend for Walking and Trekking Routes on Google Maps

Day 1
Rendezvous at Tirana International Airport. A single timed group transfer is provided to the group hotel in Shkodra.
Day 2
Transfer to the Boga Valley. Trek across the "Diagonal Pass" to descend to the isolated hamlet of Nderlysa in the Radohima Mountains.
Day 3
An easy trek into the stunning Thethi National Park. We visit a 'Blood Feud Tower' along the way and can marvel at the spectacular Accursed Mountains from our Thethi base for the next two nights.
Day 4
We trek up the Thethi Valley beneath the striking Mount Ararpit (the Matterhorn of Albania) to ascend the Peja Pass with views into Montenegro and Jezerce, Albania's highest peak.
Day 5
A dramatic trail takes us up to the Valbona Pass. The views are simply outstanding. We then descend into the stunningly beautiful Valbona Valley and overnight in Rrogam.
Day 6
Trekking up to the remote hamlet of Kukaj we can witness rural life in isolation before we ascend further following a Shepherd's trail to his summer hut. We can climb higher towards the border with Montengro before returning to Valbona.
Day 7
We take the ferry across Lake Koman, which must surely rank as one of the world's great boat journeys (if the world knew about it) and then transfer to increasingly trendy Tirana.
Day 8
Depart Tirana.

FOR A DETAILED ITINERARY AND MORE INFORMATION PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE TRIP DOSSIER

  • tour grade: C - Demanding. Max altitude approx 2000m
  • tour code: TALB
  • OVERSEAS JOINING POINT : Tirana airport
  • IMPORTANT : Make sure your chosen holiday is guaranteed to run before you purchase your air tickets and make any other travel arrangements
  • what is included: Accommodation, most meals, single group airport transfer on arrival, professional English-speaking guide, overland and boat transfers, main baggage transfers by mule and vehicle
  • accommodation: Hotel 2 nts, Pension / village homes 5 nts
  • Blog: For customer feedback on Albania's Accursed Mountains - Click here
Read all our Reviews here

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