A hike is always a good thing. Add in mountains and it gets even better. Choose a trail long enough for an overnight campout and it is becoming worthy of a planned adventure. Now add in 3 countries and 192 km of trail in sparsely inhabited, picture-perfect Photoshop-not-required beauty, and you have something epic. You have the Peaks of the Balkans.
This transnational hiking trail traverses what the Peaks of the Balkans map refers to as the “wildest and most untouched mountain range in the Western Balkans.” It takes 10 days to two weeks to trek the whole distance. The adventure can begin in the small mountain town of Plav, Montenegro; Pejë or Peć, Kosovo (the city is referred to by both names); or Theth, Albania. Wherever you start your journey, you’ll need to get approval in advance for the multiple border crossings.
Along the way you’ll see numerous glacial lakes in some unbelievable settings. Above is a snow encircled lake at 2230 m high on a peak in Kosovo from which you have an unbelievable view looking out at eye level to peaks in front of you. This second reflective glacial lake is on Mt. Dobrodol in Albania.
This area of the Balkans is the last spot for snow to melt. Winters here are hard with snow being measured on the peaks in meters. The thaw leads to a later spring and a hiking season that begins usually around June and runs into October. Drifts and avalanche potential make this a harsh environment for winter sports in its current condition.
For more information, check out the Peaks of the Balkans official site.
Photos are courtesy of Ahmet Rekovic who is mountain guide extraordinaire out of Plav, Montenegro and a friend of Meanderbug.