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Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • A local English-speaking leader
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK (flight inclusive option).
  • Single timed group transfer to/from Pristina airport at the start and end of the holiday
  • All other transfers as per the itinerary
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Good twin share en suite standard hotel accommodation in towns
  • Dormitory accommodation elsewhere
  • 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 9 dinners
  • Sightseeing and activities as specified
  • The option of joining one of our pre-trip meets in the Cotswolds
  • A free high-quality Mountain Kingdoms kit bag

Three Peaks of the Balkans Adventure Special

Walking & Trekking

Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo | Walking & Trekking

Three Peaks of the Balkans
Vigorous / Strenuous

Vigorous: Suitable for enthusiastic hill/mountain walkers.

Strenuous: Suitable for fit individuals who have regular experience of mountain walking.

Find out more...

Grade: Vigorous / Strenuous ? Vigorous / Strenuous
Duration:  10 days from the UK  
On trek: 7 days

Flight inclusive from £1,550,
Land only from £1,175

Book now or call 01453 844400

A rugged trek along the scenic, mountain trails of the Balkans Peace circuit. Experience an ancient way of life in this hidden corner of Europe.

Highlights

  • Trek on sections of the 'Peace Trail' circuit straddling the borders of Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro
  • Enjoy rugged walking and ascend three peaks including the highest in Kosovo
  • Experience the warmest of welcomes and the generous hospitality of the local shepherds and farmers
  • Stay in a traditional shepherd's hut and village houses for a glimpse of an ancient way of life

Reviews          

If anyone is looking for an alternative to overcrowded routes in popular European mountain ranges the Balkans is certainly it. Mountain Kingdom's '3 Peaks of the Balkans' trek really whets the appetite for further exploration of this stunningly beautiful area. It has all the intrepid hiker could want: incredible scenery, the chance to see flora and fauna in abundance and the opportunity to...
Miss P, Herefordshire

A very enjoyable trip. The scenery was beautiful; the wild flowers – gentians, orchids, primulas, geums, etc – provided the best display we have ever seen (including in the Alps), the accommodation and food were generally very good and the itinerary was well planned (it was good to intersperse the trekking with trips to two beautiful monasteries; and we liked having a full last day of...
Mr M, Surrey

What a wonderful trip! The scenery was spectacular. I loved hiking in remote places and staying with lovely local families. The food was fantastic as well. Semir was a great guide who taught us a lot about the region and its history. I can definitely recommend this trip and I am looking forward to returning to the Balkans soon.
Ms G, Switzerland

Walking in this genuinely remote and undeveloped region of the Balkans was an experience more akin to trekking in wild Nepal than Europe. We trekked in splendid isolation meeting only the wonderfully hospitable local people, spending nights in tiny hamlets and villages where the outside world seemed to have had very little influence.
Seraphina Berry, Reservations Manager

A seriously great trip! We had loads of adventures. The mountains were really spectacular and every day the trekking was wild and exciting. The best thing though for me was the atmosphere of a country in a time-warp, with incredibly hospitable people and an edgy culture. One of the highlights I think was staying with nomadic shepherds in their summer mountain 'villages' and seeing their way of...
Steve Berry, Mountain Kingdoms

View All

For sheer variety, it would be hard to beat this trek. From the delightful beech forests of the lower hills to the flower-filled meadows of the high alps and from the characteristic verdant valleys of the region to the dramatic limestone peaks of the Accursed Mountains, every day brings different scenery and experiences. And, as you trek between Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro, criss-crossing numerous times across the three borders, you soon come to realise how unimportant these artificial lines on maps are both to the landscape and to the customs and culture of the local inhabitants. Regardless of the country you are in, you will be welcomed by the local shepherds and farmers who are rightly renowned for their exceptional warmth and hospitality. The old tradition of welcoming all travellers is well and truly alive in this corner of the Balkans and you will even spend a couple of nights staying in an authentic shepherd’s hut to give an insight into the simple way of life of the local people.

Your holiday begins in Kosovo, but immediately you travel across the border into Albania and the heart of the Accursed Mountains. The scenery here in the beautiful Valbona valley is truly awe-inspiring with a dramatic mountain backdrop and lush meadows carpeted in wildflowers. From the village of Ceremi you trek to the high mountain pastures of Doberdol where, for centuries, sheep, goats and cows have been pastured during the summer months and this tradition continues to the present day.

Trekking out of Doberdol you enjoy a fabulous ridge walk before ascending your first peak. The three peaks of the trek are relatively easy climbs: Tromeda, your first peak, forms the border of the three countries, Hajla Peak sits on the Kosovan-Montenegrin border and Gjeravitza is the highest peak in Kosovo. All are easily achievable by a fit hill-walker, and do not pose any technical challenges. After descending to Kosovo, you have a rest day exploring the culturally fascinating town of Peja and a night of comfort. Continuing your trek in the Rugova valley of Kosovo, you climb your second peak and then trek over a stunning pass to the Montenegrin mountain hamlet of Babino Polje. This is an area of beautiful mountain tarns and, after revisiting Doberdol, you climb your final peak before descending into the historic town of Gjokava in Kosovo.


At a glance

Grade: Vigorous / Strenuous
Vigorous / Strenuous

Duration:  10 days from the UK  
On trek: 7 days

Max. Altitude: 2,656m/8,714ft, Gjeravica Peak, Day 9

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Land only joining city: Pristina

Accommodation types: Hotels, Guest Houses, Mountain Hut

Meal arrangements: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners.

Itinerary overview
Day Activity
1
Fly to Pristina, Kosovo. Transfer to Valbona in Albania.
2
Trek from Valbona to the village of Ceremi.
3-4
Trek to the Doberdol Valley. Ascend Tromeda peak, 2,365m/7,759ft and descend to the town of Peja in Kosovo.
5
Sightseeing in Peja and drive to the Rugova Gorge.
6
Ascend Hajla Peak, 2,403m/7,84ft, descend to Drelaj. Transfer to Liquenat.
7-8
Trek to Babino Polje, cross into Monenegro, and continue to Doberdol crossing back into Albania.
9
Ascend Mount Gjeravica, 2,656m/8,714ft. Drive to Gjakova.
10
Transfer to Pristina airport and fly home.
Leader: Local leader, Balkans trek
Local leader, Balkans trek

Your guide will speak good English, have guiding qualifications and, in our experience, will guide you with great patience and charm through the Balkans. 


Three Peaks of the Balkans Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Fly London to Pristina. Group transfer to the Valbona Valley.

    You will be met on arrival at Pristina airport and there will be a single group transfer to your hotel in the Valbona Valley. The transfer is timed to fit the group flight, please check with us for further information.

    Pristina airport is situated on the wide plain of Kosovo, and you will drive west, initially on the excellent new dual carriageway, towards the hills and the Albanian border. At the town of Gjakova the road climbs into the mountains and you cross the border at a sleepy checkpoint. As you descend through a picturesque valley, cows and sheep appear on the roads and the verdant fields are covered in old fashioned haystack in the late summer. At the permanently semi-built town of Bajam Curri, the road starts climbing up the Valbona Valley. The road twists and turns up the stunning limestone gorge before the vista of the wide Valbona Valley opens out, with the soaring peaks of the Accursed Mountains on both sides.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Valbona Guest House
  2. Day 2 - Trek to Ceremi - 3 hours. Explore village.

    Weather permitting, you should be greeted in the morning by a stunning view of the valley. Your walk today is relatively short and designed to break you in gently to the more challenging walking ahead! A fifteen minute road transfer takes you to the start of the walk. The very rough track is surrounded by beautiful trees and soaring high above are the astonishing limestone rock faces that dominate these mountains. After about an hour of climbing you reach a welcome water fountain before the path flattens somewhat and the wider Ceremi valley appears in the distance. Ceremi is a widely spaced village, inhabited by shepherds in the summer months who have started welcoming foreign trekkers into their traditional houses. The same families have inhabited the old stone houses for many generations and their hospitality is legendary. You will be given a very warm welcome and fed with delicious local produce. In the afternoon there is the opportunity to explore the village and the picturesque waterfall at the head of the valley.

    Ascent 640m

    Overnight iconOvernight: Cerem Guest House
  3. Day 3 - Trek to Doberdol - 7 hours.
    three peaks of the balkans doberdol shepherds hut smb.

    There are two routes leading uphill from the lovely village of Ceremi. Both offer great views as you climb through a mixture of forest and dazzling flower-filled meadows. On either route you can stop after about an hour at the 'Forest Cafe'. This cafe was started by an enterprising Tirana man who speaks perfect English and lives with his family in the forest for the summer months. The trail continues uphill through the forest before you turn off onto a smaller path to climb gently to reach an open meadow and the Montenegrin border. You continue in Montenegro on a narrow mule trail, a truly delightful path, to finally reach a further clearing and the Albanian border. There are distant views from here of Doberdol, your final destination.

    Walking on, about an hour of descent leads to the tiny village of Balqin. Perched on a steep hillside, the families here produce sheep's cheese to sell and you may well stop here to eat your lunch at one of the small stone houses. The summer inhabitants grow some vegetables and keep hens in addition to herding. With glimpses of distant Doberdol you contour around and down through beech and fir woods until you reach the Glansh valley. This wonderfully unspoilt conservation area is home to a few families in summer. A steep hundred metre climb at the head of the valley brings you out at the base of the huge Doberdol valley. Here, there are sheep, cows and ponies everywhere in summer as the traditional farming families bring their animals up from the lowlands to graze and the human population swells to up to 500 people.

    Ascent 1330 metres, Descent 650 metres.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Doberdol Shepherd's Hut
  4. Day 4 - Trek to Milishevc. Ascend Tromeda Peak, 2,365m/7,759ft - 8-9 hours.

    From the broad, grassy floor of Doberdol valley you climb the side of the valley, quite steeply to start with but compensated by the superb views, to reach a saddle. Your first peak, Tromeda - 2,365m/7,759ft - is just ahead of you, an easy ascent up a grassy ridge to reach the top and the triangular border point of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. You descend by an alternative route to re-join the path and the start of a superb ridge walk. You are now in Kosovo. The display of wildflowers in spring and summer is remarkable - from tiny gentians to rare orchids the grassy uplands are a blaze of colour. The path undulates through high alpine meadows until you reach the Roshkodol pass at 2,258m/7,408ft. This is a good lunch spot and about halfway through your walk. As you continue on, the wide Roshkodol valley lies below you, and you traverse the head of the valley to gain another ridge and descend through sparse forest with a distant view of the town of Plav in Montenegro. The path then descends through trees, quite vaguely at times, to reach a meadow and then the scattered village of Milishevc. From here you descend by jeep to the Kosovan town of Peja.

    Ascent 915 metres. Descent 980 metres.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Dukagjini
  5. Day 5 - Sightseeing in Peja. Transfer to Reke e Allages.

    Kosovo is of course a young country, only formed in 2008, and it is immensely interesting as part of your Balkan trek to spend your rest day investigating some of the historic sites of the Peja area. Your day will start with a visit to the exquisitely beautiful monastery of Visoki Decani. Having survived since the 13th century, this important Serbian Orthodox monastery is carefully guarded following the formation of Kosovo as an independent country. The church was designed by a Franciscan monk, and both the Romanesque exterior and prolific interior frescoes provide a visual surprise and delight. The site is home to 24 monks who find time to make cheese and brandy in addition to preserving this important symbol of Serbian Orthodoxy in the heart of Albanian Kosovo.

    As possible light relief, you next visit the caves at the source of the White Drin river and experience the popular Kosovan past-time of eating trout. There will be time to visit the reconstructed centre of Peja town and the mosque (burnt by the Serbs in the recent war but rebuilt) before visiting the 13th century Serbian Orthodox Nunnery and Patricarch church on the edge of town. This is followed by a drive of about an hour up the stunning Rugova gorge to your homestay for the night with a friendly and hospitable Ariu family.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Reke e Allages Guest House
  6. Day 6 - Trek to Liqenat via Hajla Peak, 2,403m/7,884ft - 8 hours.
    {filedir_4}three peaks of the balkans trek to liqenat smb.

    The trek today starts right outside the back of your accommodation. You initially zig-zag up the home pastures of the family, climbing quite steeply until you reach woodland. Eventually you reach an impressive large meadow with old wooden huts. You climb behind these to reach a small rocky ridge, covered in wildflowers, before descending slightly to a mountain cabin. This is where you start your climb of Hajla peak - 2,403m/7,884ft and straddling the border of Kosovo and Montenegro. It is a steady two hour ascent, eventually following a stunning ridge with views to Montenegro. The mountain appears to be cut in half, with vertical cliffs on the Montenegrin side and far below views of the town of Rozaje. In the far distance, Serbia and the Albanian peaks can be seen. The summit is reached along a sharp ridge on a good path. The descent is via the same ridge to reach steep, grassy meadows and the path to the bottom. You now join the remains of an old caravan route to reach a small path that leads to the village of Pepaj. It is an interesting walk through this mountain hamlet to descend on an old route to Drelaj, a small hamlet with a large mosque. Your vehicle will transfer you to Liquenat, starting point for tomorrow's trek. The mountain lodge has superb views back across the valley to Halja Peak and much of the route you walked today.

    Ascent 1,250m. Descent 1,300m.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Liqenat Mountain Guest House
  7. Day 7 - Trek to Babino Polje - 8 hours.

    The start of today's walk is a lovely ascent on a good path through lofty pine trees. Your initial objective is the lake of Kucishtes at 1,860m. You skirt around this lake and climb to reach a smaller lake of a deep, green colour similar to the Rio Olypmics diving pool! From here it is a steady uphill climb to reach a valley full of dramatic rock formations. Your route takes you up the side of the valley to reach the pass of Jelenka. This is your high point of the day and there are expansive views of the Accursed Mountains to the south. There are several good lunch spots here before you descend to walk the ridge to Ravnobrdo. Here you cross into Montenegro. It is a delightful descent, gentle to start with through a high alpine meadow to reach the sheep pastures above the Babino Polje valley. The final descent is steeply through forest before you reach the valley floor and your guest house for the night.

    Ascent 1150m. Descent 980m.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Babino Bolje Mountain Hut
  8. Day 8 - Trek to Doberdol - 7-8 hours.

    Today you start walking on a farm track to reach a couple of picturesque mountain hamlets. There are excellent views from the meadows of the peaks of Montenegro. The trail now leads uphill on a small path through forest before contouring for half an hour to reach the stunning alpine lake of Hridsko Jezero. There will be time to relax here and take in the scenery before ascending on large rocks that eventually lead to a small hut. A rough track leads you back to the Albanian border, with lovely views of the big Albanian peaks. A ruined army post marks the border and you climb from here for an hour or so to the edge of the Doberdol valley.

    Ascent 1000m. Descent 950 m.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Doberdol Shepherd's Hut
  9. Day 9 - Trek to Gropa and climb Gjeravica Peak, 2,656m/8,714ft - 7 hours. Transfer to Gjakova.
    three peaks of the balkans approaching gjeravica peak smb.

    Your final day's trekking is an ascent of the highest mountain in Kosova, Gjeravica - 2,656m/8,714ft. You initially walk up the Doberdol valley before ascending the side of the valley to reach the pass of Aleiq. There are excellent views to enjoy from here before you descend to take a small path walking along two giant mountain cirques. This is another day of great contrasts as you initially cross limestone pavements to reach the first cirque. The small, rocky path contours the cirques and offers great views of soaring granite peaks. The second smaller cirque ends in a lovely little tarn and you can enjoy some time here before you start climbing on an old caravan path to reach the Gjeravitza pass.

    Weather permitting, from here it is about one and a half hours to the rocky top of the peak. This is the highest mountain in Kosovo (and was the highest peak in Serbia), and there are stupendous views from the top. You descend back to the pass and then initially down a steep rocky path which gradually becomes more gentle to reach meadows and the small summer hamlet of Gropa. Your vehicle will meet you here for the drive to Gjakova and hotel for the night. Gjakova is an interesting, historic town and in the evening you will have a chance to wander through its lively streets.

    Ascent 1165m. Descent 1195m

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Carshia e Jupave, Gjakove
  10. Day 10 - Transfer to airport and fly to London.

    After breakfast there will be a group transfer back to Pristina airport to catch your flight home.

Map

Map Key

  • AirportAirport
  • General point of interestPoint of interest
  • Mountain RangeMountain Peak
  • TrekDay walk in this area
  • FlightsFlights
  • Internal TransfersInternal Transfers
  • Trek routeTrek

2019

Dates Availability Land Only Flight Inclusive from
Fri 14 Jun - Sun 23 Jun 2019 Available£1175 Book£1575 Book
Fri 5 Jul - Sun 14 Jul 2019 Available£1175 Book£1630 Book
Fri 16 Aug - Sun 25 Aug 2019 Available£1175 Book£1585 Book
Fri 13 Sep - Sun 22 Sep 2019 Available£1175 Book£1550 Book

Hold your place

Not quite ready to book? Why not call us on 0044 (0)1453 844400 to hold a no obligation place while you make up your mind?

 
Optional supplements
  • Single Room Hotels
    From £55
Insurance
  • Cover starts from £59
No Surcharge Guarantee

No surcharges will be applied to your holiday after you book. Prices on this website are updated regularly. The Flight Inclusive holiday price, or Land Only holiday price, will be confirmed to you at the time you make your booking. There will be no surcharges after your booking has been confirmed.

Flight inclusive holidays

The 'flight inclusive' holiday prices shown on this website are based upon our preferred airlines and the best priced economy class fares we are able to secure at the time of publication.

We will be able to advise on fares with alternative airlines, upgrades to Business Class, and the options for flights from regional UK airports, please contact us for more details.

What’s included

  • A local English-speaking leader
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK (flight inclusive option).
  • Single timed group transfer to/from Pristina airport at the start and end of the holiday
  • All other transfers as per the itinerary
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Good twin share en suite standard hotel accommodation in towns
  • Dormitory accommodation elsewhere
  • 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 9 dinners
  • Sightseeing and activities as specified
  • The option of joining one of our pre-trip meets in the Cotswolds
  • A free high-quality Mountain Kingdoms kit bag

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Locally paid bar bills and laundry
  • Optional activities
  • Tips


Review your holiday

Reviews

Read holiday reviews by Mountain Kingdoms travellers.

Overall score:           (Based on 13 reviews)

Three Peaks of the Balkans          

The trekking was wonderful and the route fantastic with spectacular scenery.

Picturesque Adventure          

Thoroughly enjoyable trip. Picturesque scenery. Was an adventure. Definitely a place to visit now, before everyone visits in a few years time.

Private Departure - The Balkans Peace Trail and some sight seeing          

A wonderful experience in most beautiful countryside, with great hospitality from all the local people. But should not be taken on unless reasonably fit, many of the paths being quite rough.

Three Peaks of the Balkans          

There was nothing at all that we would suggest could be done differently, which is quite surprising for a trip of this length. The only surprise to us, but perhaps it will not be a surprise for much longer, is that others did not come on this trip with us to enjoy such good walking in a near pristine environment without the crowds typically experienced in the Swiss Alps and elsewhere. The message to others is that this is definitely a trip worth considering if you like high level walking, expansive views, alpine flowers, accommodations where you experience delightful local people who go out of their way to please, good food, an excellent itinerary, top notch guiding and the chance to explore an interesting wilderness area in near total solitude.

A truly unforgettable experience          

Well, what can we say other than this was a truly fascinating trip and amazing experience. Our main comments are, in approx. order of decreasing significance - Semir was the best guide we have ever had, very energetic, kept the same level of interest in us throughout the trip, knew many locals which led to good local interactions for us too and genuinely wanted us to have the best possible holiday so took account of anything we said - the itinerary is brilliant. High quality walking making the best use of the terrain. Clever use of transfers to avoid road walking or less interesting parts albeit creating considerable logistical challenges given the time it takes to travel up to the high pick up points due to the state of some of the roads. Great to have a chance to see Peja and Decani to give a welcome rest day from the walking - the food. High quality and plenty that was vegetarian for my wife. Balbino Bolje, Doberdol and the meals in Peja and at the Gjakove hotel stand out but all were good - the friendliness of everyone we met. we seemed to be genuinely welcomed - the quality of the walking; lots of long ridges, expansive views, virtually no other people on the trails, good paths in the main - the accommodations, several of which were superb with special mention of the two homesteads Balbino Bolje and Reke e Allages. The choice of hotels in the towns was also appreciated; both were very good - the scenery of which the Doberdol valley excels - the benefits of having a guide, both for route finding which would be difficult in places without excellent notes/map but more importantly for the interactions with the local people and information on the history of the area as well as its fauna. Whilst this was intended to be a group tour, it turn into a private journey and we benefitted from this more than we had expected, mainly because several of the accommodations happened not to be full and so we mainly had a room to ourselves (we would not have expected this for a group) - all transport logistics worked very smoothly, including the use of horses to transport our bags on four of the days - not having wifi for most of the trip meant we could relax completely There was nothing at all that we would suggest could be done differently, which is quite surprising for a trip of this length. The only surprise to us, but perhaps it will not be a surprise for much longer, is that others did not come on this trip with us to enjoy such good walking in a near pristine environment without the crowds typically experienced in the Swiss Alps and elsewhere The message to others is that this is definitely a trip worth considering if you like high level walking, expansive views, alpine flowers, accommodations where you experience delightful local people who go out of their way to please, good food, an excellent itinerary, top notch guiding and the chance to explore an interesting wilderness area in near total solitude. For us, this holiday had it all. Indeed, we are likely to want to return to the area before too long and before it becomes a well known and more appreciated destination, attracting larger numbers of travellers with the ensuing consequences.


Extend your holiday

There are many ways you can extend your holiday with Mountain Kingdoms: book extra hotel nights, relax at a beautiful beach resort, take a warm-up trek, arrange a personal sightseeing tour or enjoy specialist activities such as rafting, birdwatching or a safari.

We're happy to suggest ideas, provide quotes and make all the arrangements. We can also assist with flight and hotel upgrades. Just call us on +44 (0)1453 844400 or email info@mountainkingdoms.com and we will be pleased to help.

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