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9
Ke Classic
Ke Classic
Holidays

High Peaks of the Balkans

Albania, North Macedonia
9 reviews
Available Departures: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep

8 days from

US$1,955

without flights
Walk & Trek
Guided Group
CHALLENGING CHALLENGING

Summit the high peaks of Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia on this European trekking holiday in the Balkans.

Trip Code: HPB
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

High Peaks of the Balkans

Highlights
  • An amazing trekking journey through the heart of the undiscovered Balkans
  • Climb the mighty three – Korab (2751m), Gjeravica (2656m) and Zla Kolata (2534m)
  • Boat across Lake Koman and overnight in bustling Tirana, Albania's capital
  • A real off the beaten track experience in the land of the Via Dinarica trail

At a Glance
  • Group Size 5 to 12
  • 5 days walking
  • Max altitude - 2751m
  • Join In Tirana

Accommodation & Meals
  • All meals included
  • 2 nights Hotel
  • 1 nights Traditional Hut
  • 3 nights Guesthouse
  • 1 nights Camping
Overview

This Classic KE 8 day holiday includes an amazing trekking journey through four of Europe’s most exciting countries with the opportunity to climb to spectacular summits in each. In the heart of the Balkans - Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia offer a rich melting pot of culture, cuisine and history combined with spectacular alpine scenery. We start our adventure in welcoming Albania and kick off the week in true KE style by summiting its tallest peak – Mount Korab (2751m). Located on the border between Albania and Macedonia, Korab sits in the Korab-Kortinik National Park. Next we head to the Republic of Kosovo with its rich traditions and simple lifestyle. Kosovo is a true undiscovered gem and we climb Mount Gjeravica (2656m), the second highest in the Dinaric Alps range. After Kosovo we cross-border trek between Albania and Montenegro through a remote and wild landscape before finishing our adventure by summiting the highest point in Montenegro – Zla Kolata (2534m). Finally we take a ferry through the fjord landscape of Lake Koman and a final night in Tirana sees us celebrate in the bustling capital of Albania. If you are looking for a new trekking holiday that is a KE classic – dramatic peaks to summit, amazing scenery and a spot of “the undiscovered,” then this is the perfect choice!

This is a real mountain journey with significant amounts of ascent and descent on each day. Trails are generally good underfoot but you need to be prepared for difficult sections with no obvious path to follow and overgrown terrain. There are steep ascents and descents which cannot be avoided as we trek from one valley to another and include a number of summits. You need to be prepared for continuous sections of stony ground, scree, narrow mountain paths and brief sections of scrambling. Occasionally there may be the snow patches to cross. Each day you’ll carry a daypack with everything you need for a full day in the mountains whilst your main kitbag is transported by horses. You will be hiking through a remote area and need to be prepared to walk for an average of 7 to 8 hours each day and for several days continuously. Each overnight has basic facilities so this holiday is suitable for fit and experienced hill walkers who are looking for a challenging mountain journey with a simpler style of accommodation. (Please note that early booking is recommended so we can secure your permits for Kosovo).

Why KE?

Pioneered by KE leaders, an exclusive to KE holiday, with a maximum group size of 12. This superb Balkan adventure is an adventure classic - awesome peaks to summit, genuine mountain days, dramatic landscapes, wild regions, expert mountain guides and all meals. Want to know more? Speak to Emily our High Peaks expert before securing your adventure. You can also read about, jounralist, Ben Lerwill's fantastic Balkan experience with KE in the Sunday Observer Magazine

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Itinerary

The group will meet at Tirana Airport before transferring (3 hours) to the remote hamlet of Tejze (1100m) in the far North-West corner of Albania. Our journey takes us along the 'Road of Nation', a scenic motorway connecting Albania to Kosovo which cuts through the middle of the Mirdita Highlands. Tejze is located at the base of Mount Korab and is the main gateway to the mountain. A cluster of houses above the village of Radomire, this is the end of the road and tomorrow we'll walk directly from our accommodation. Transferring from Tirana Airport in the evening, we will stop for dinner at a roadside restaurant en-route to our family run guesthouse in Tejze. During dinner we'll be briefed on the week ahead.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

D

Today starts with an early breakfast before we head off on our first full day of walking. We have the added bonus of walking directly from our accommodation on a woodland trail that is soft underfoot and takes us over rolling hills covered in fir trees. An hour after leaving the guesthouse we'll reach an open plateau. For the next couple of hours the trail climbs slightly more steeply towards higher ground and we walk over a pass known as The Korab Gate. This spectacular pass is southwest from the main summit and our trail offers superb views towards Little Korab (2500m) which is opposite the main Korab summit. We'll also have a fantastic panorama across to Macedonia's Mavrovo National Park. The final part of the climb is on a "goat trail" which is not exposed and ascends gradually all the way to the summit. From the top the views are fantastic and after the all-important summit photos we'll start our descent which takes approximately 3 hours. We'll return back down to the village hopefully in time for a welcoming cup of mountain tea. After brief refreshments we'll transfer (3 hours) to Gjakova in the Republic of Kosovo where we overnight in a hotel near the historic ottoman bazaar. Over dinner we'll be briefed on the plan for tomorrow when we head into the heart of the mountains and leave civilization behind!

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1500 M

Descent

1500 M

Time

8 - 9 hrs trekking

Distance

16 KM

After breakfast, we drive (2 hours) in 4WDs until the end of the mountain road. Here we leave our vehicles and start on the trail to Mount Gjeravica. From now until the end of the trek we'll be hiking through a remote area as our kit bags are carried by horses. For the first hour the trail is easy underfoot as we head off on a footpath that is just above the tree line. Once we are above the tree-line and over the next two hours, the climb becomes slightly steeper as we approach a beautiful section of the trail which traverses a wide ridge. There are awesome views over the Sulbica gorge on our left and the pretty Gropat e Erenikut Meadows on our right. This is one of the main routes to the top of the second highest point in Kosovo and as we contour the shore of the splendid alpine Lake of Gjeravica. The final section of the path (approximately 1 hour) towards the top becomes steeper and slightly more rugged underfoot. From the summit we are rewarded with breathtaking views including the Accursed Mountains of Albania. After the all-important summit photos and our picnic lunch, we'll start our descent towards Albania on wide open trails and across grassy slopes. The descent (2.5 - 3 hours) includes views of three lakes which are part of the Doberdol-Sulbica plateau - the lakes of Dashi, Sulbica and Verdhe. Tonight we overnight on the Doberdol Plateau (1600m) in simple but traditional shepherd's huts. These basic structures offer a "camping" experience without a tent and are similar to a "Scottish mountain bothy." Managed by a local shepherd, each hut has a basic kitchen and dormitory style accommodation. Tonight's dinner will be prepared in the hut.

Accommodation

Traditional Hut

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1050 M

Descent

1050 M

Time

7 - 8 hrs trekking

Distance

18 KM

This morning we may wake up to the sound of the resident cows and sheep! This whole area is used by mountain shepherds who head up to high pastures during the summer months to provide their flocks and herds with alpine meadows to graze, before returning to the valleys in the autumn. After breakfast we'll start on the trail which is mainly undulating and good underfoot for the majority of the day (6 - 7 hours). Today is really interesting and historically important as we cross-border hike between Albania and neighboring Montenegro. We'll be walking on dirt tracks that were used in the times of the Communist regime to patrol the border with Montenegro. During the day we'll hike along a gentle ridgeway overlooking the Gashi River Valley and its protected area. The Gashi River starts in the glacier area of Doderdol and flows in the area of Valbona. The valley is famed for its oak, coniferous and beech forests which are home to brown bears, chamois, wolf and eagles. Towards the end of our trekking day we'll leave Montenegro and descend gradually into Albania as we follow a gravel road which runs alongside the Markofsha stream. Finally we reach the small village of Çeremi (1200m) and our simple guesthouse with a welcoming hot shower! We are surrounded by un-spoilt nature in a village which is only used in the summer months - a peaceful end to a fantastic day of walking.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

525 M

Descent

1100 M

Time

7 hrs trekking

Distance

16 KM

After breakfast we leave the village of Cerami and start along a beautiful forest trail for the first hour of the day. Rich in birch trees and densely forested, this wonderful woodland has meandering streams running through it. After leaving the woodland we reach a grassy plateau which has views towards the Kollata massive and for the next two hours we'll pass meadows which lead us to the Bori Pass, the natural border into Montenegro. After crossing into Montenegro the next part of the route (1 - 1.5 hours) is slightly more technical. Here we'll make our way through a dramatic limestone landscape which contains narrow trails and brief scrambling sections. The final steep climb brings us to the summit of Zla Kolata - Montenegro's highest peak. Here our hard work is treated to amazing views not only towards Montenegro "Black Mountains" but also across The Accursed Mountains, the most dramatic part of the Albanian Alps. Our descent takes approximately two hours as we initially head down the same way before making a detour off after the area of limestone. This trail takes us to the wild and remote area of the "Lugu i Persllopit Trough" (1500m). This narrow alpine basin is truly off the beaten track and sees very few walkers. Our luggage and tents will have already arrived so whilst the leader and camp staff organise dinner, we'll have time to prepare for a night under canvas.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1500 M

Descent

1100 M

Time

7 - 8 hrs trekking

Distance

15 KM

After the past few days of relatively challenging trekking today is shorter (about 3 hours). This morning we'll wake up in a wonderful setting and have breakfast before we start our descent to the Valbona Valley. Initially we walk on a forest trial that is soft underfoot and make our way through a beautiful area of woodland. This trail brings us to the elevated mountain terrace of Bregu i Rrethit. A rocky plateau provides spectacular views down onto the Valbona Valley and across to the rocky dome of Mount Jezerca (2694m) the highest peak in this range. Finally our trail descends steeply into the secluded hamlet of Kukaj, before reaching the bottom of the Valbona Valley (800m), and our guesthouse which we will reach by midday. The afternoon is free to relax in the picturesque surroundings, relax with a book or just lie back and enjoy and solitude. If you're feeling energetic you can explore the local area on walking trails that lead to the higher meadows of Grykat e Hapura just above the tree-line.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

70 M

Descent

650 M

Time

3 hrs trekking

Distance

3 KM

An early morning start today as we leave the narrow valley of Valbona and take a transfer (1 hour) to the tiny port of Fierza. Here we board a local ferry boat to travel across the spectacular Lake Koman. Our journey lasts for almost 3 hours and this is a wonderful way to experience a fjord style landscape. With its steep sides, high mountains and occasional farmstead the lake is perfectly still and gives a feeling of stepping back in time. Originally created by the River Drin this wonderful area used to be the main transport link for local people until the Kosovo motorway was built. After the end of our journey on Lake Koman we transfer (3 hours) to the bustling capital of Albania - Tirana. Here we'll stay near in the centre and after checking in at the group hotel we'll head out to stroll through Tirana on foot. We'll wander through large boulevards of Italian, Communist and Ottoman architecture and experience Tirana coming to life at night. Dinner tonight will be in the lively area of Blloku which is the most popular place for local Albanians to head to in an evening. Here we'll celebrate with dinner in a local restaurant and a few drinks including, for the brave, the local raki!

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Your holiday ends after breakfast. You may wish to do some further exploration of Tirana or extend your stay here before making your way to the airport by taxi in time for your departing flight. If you would like to extend your stay in the capital of Albania then please contact the KE office and we can assist with this.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Point Point
Peaks Peaks
Airport Airport
Direction Direction
Boat
Transfer
Trek

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • A professional and qualified tour leader
  • Single timed airport transfer on arrival
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • All land transport required by the itinerary
  • National park entrance fees
  • All excursions mentioned in the itinerary

  • Travel insurance
  • Departure airport transfer
  • Tips
  • Miscellaneous personal expenditure - drinks and souvenirs etc

The group will meet at the hotel in Tejze.

A single timed transfer is provided from Tirana Aiport in the early evening of Day 1.

On the last day of the itinerary airport transfers are not included. Getting to Tirana Airport by taxi or shuttle bus is straightforward.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

All meals are included in the holiday price, from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8.

Many places on this holiday have drinkable water from the tap to fill your personal water bottles. Please check with the leader at the various locations. Please take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) for days when drinking water out of the tap is not available. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

The food of the Balkan is a real mix of Turkish and European and during this holiday there will be plenty of freshly cooked food using local ingredients. Breakfasts are simple in style, with bread and jam, tea, coffee and sometimes eggs or cheese. Packed lunches are provided (bread, meats, cheeses, tomatoes, cucumber, fruit and biscuits). The simple accommodation on this holiday is deep in the heart of the mountains and the lifestyle is very basic. Therefore “packed lunches” will not be the same as you are used to at home. If you’re someone who enjoys chocolate/sweets/nuts on the trail then please feel free to bring extra snacks from home. What is prepared is freshly cooked and evening meals are based on what local families would have themselves - traditional soups and bread, locally-grown vegetables and salads, dairy produce, rice and meat. Although simple the guesthouses will also provide a vegetarian alternative but please note that cheese, eggs and other dairy produce is used frequently in Balkan dishes. Water is provided, but very often this is from local wells or mountain streams and is not chlorinated. If you are concerned about drinking untreated water, we suggest you bring a supply of water treatment tablets.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

During this holiday, the group will spend 2 nights in comfortable 3* tourist class hotels in Tirana and Gjakovo.

There will be 3 nights in simple village guesthouse/lodge accommodation with dormitory rooms of between 4 and 6 people per room. It may be necessary for male and female group members to share, depending on the make-up of the group. Each guesthouse is run by a local family and whilst charming, they have basic facilities. However the warm welcome and location more than makes up for the lack of hotel facilities!

There will be 1 night of camping and 1 night staying in shepherd accommodation which can be compared to a Scottish or mountain bothy - "camping without a tent." These huts are managed by local shepherds during the summer months. Although basic the sleeping area has proper mattresses on the floor, blankets are provided and there is a rustic toilet. Food is prepared by one of the local shepherds alongside the leader and staying here offers a fantastic opportunity to overnight in a remote location.

If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex for the 2 hotel nights. Single rooms are available for a supplementary cost for these 2 nights. If you are planning on extending your holiday additional nights at the group hotel are available on request.

The group will be accompanied throughout by a professional English-speaking local mountain guide and a driver for transfers etc. In addition the group will be supported on trek by baggage animals (horses) and their handlers who will assist with chores when camping.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

Approximately £100 should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including drinks and reasonable tips to the support crew.  If you intend to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). Kosovo & Montenegro use the Euro, and the Lek is the currency of Albania.  You should obtain Euros for this holiday.  By far the easiest way to obtain your travel cash is from ATM’s using a credit card or a debit card.  ATM’s are available in the arrivals hall at the airport in Tirana. 

Tips do not form part of the wages of local staff but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. It is best if the tip is given at the end of the trip by the group as a whole. We recommend that each group member contributes around £30 and that tips are then distributed between the guide and support staff as the group feels is appropriate.

During this holiday we trek across the borders of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.  A trekking permit will be applied for on your behalf by our local agent.  Please send a copy of your passport into the KE office after you have been confirmed on the holiday.       

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage, which should be a soft duffel bag, and a daypack.  Your bag while on trek will be carried by a team of horses.  The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking including your sleeping bag /sheet liner and and camping mattress should be no more than 16 kg.  There is no weight restriction as such on this holiday other than that imposed by your international carrier. 

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

Europe

Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

For the latest details on visiting countries within the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA), please check the UK Government website

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

For this holiday we require a scanned copy of the main pages of your passport. Please email this to the office when your holiday is guaranteed to run.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

VACCINATIONS

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in Albania is the Lek.

The currency for part or all of this holiday is the Euro.

It makes a lot of sense to spend time before coming on a trekking holiday getting some additional exercise.  Regular walking in hill or back country is the best preparation whilst running and swimming are also good for developing better cardiovascular fitness and stamina.  It makes sense to have some long days in the mountains walking in the boots you will be using on the holiday.   

Daytime temperatures in the lower valleys will vary between 15ºC and 30ºC at the times of year we operate this trip.  The weather in summer is generally excellent - with hot days, clear skies and little rain.  Note that temperatures do drop in the evenings in the mountains by several degrees.  High up, we will encounter cooler conditions and stormy weather cannot be ruled out at any time of year in this wild mountainous region.  

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • Western Balkans Lonely Planet

  • Southeastern Europe Lonely Planet

  • The Accursed Mountains - Robert Carver

  • Broken April - Ismail Kadare

  • High Albania - Edith Durham

  • The Mountains of Montenegro – A Walkers and Trekkers Guide. Rudolf Abraham. (Cicerone)

  • Kosovo Bradt guide

Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro

1:600,00. Detailed, double-sided road map of Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, with index and city centre street enlargements of Belgrade, Sarajevo, Zagreb and Ljubljana. Clearly shows the national road network and selected provincial and local roads, with each class of road clearly indicated and road numbers shown. Intermediate driving distances between locations are shown in kilometres alongside the road, motorway filling stations are shown and motorway junctions are indicated.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof overtrousers

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts (1 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve)

  • Light fleece shirt or mid-layer

  • Warm fleece jacket or jumper

  • Waterproof jacket

  • T-shirts or casual shirts

  • Lightweight thermal gloves

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Daypack 30 litres

  • Headtorch and spare batteries

  • Sun protection (including for lips)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre (x2) (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)

  • Water purification tablets (Water is provided, but very often this is from local wells or mountain streams and is not chlorinated.  If you are concerned about drinking untreated water, we suggest you bring a supply of water treatment tablets.)

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Travel towel

  • Antibacterial hand wash

  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)

  • Thermarest or similiar lightweight camping mattress

  • Sleeping bag

  • Name and address label for your trek bag (for Customs when the bags travel across borders by vehicles unaccompanied by their owners)

  • Basic First Aid Kit including Insect repellent (DEET); antiseptic cream; throat lozenges; diarrhoea treatment (Diocalm or Immodium); painkillers; plasters and blister treatment; and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose sweets and vitamin tablets are a useful addition.

The following items are optional:

  • Trainers or sandals

  • Spare laces

  • Shorts

  • Travel clothes

  • Trekking poles

  • Camera

  • Pen-knife

  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

Reviews

4.6 out of 5 from 9 reviews

A fantastic week exploring the beautiful Balkans ★★★★★

My boyfriend and I have had an incredible week of challenging but rewarding hiking and exploring. First and foremost thank you to Besi for guiding a brilliant tour - he's a living legend! Kind, calm, informative and clearly passionate about his home and the mountains. Each day brought something new and unique. From the scenery views, to the hikes, to the variety of accommodation, to the food. We felt like we had a real adventure and quickly got into vacation mode. The itinerary is inch perfect i n its efficient use of time. We recommend this trip very highly! One minor point that would have helped us... we took backpacks that would be ok to carry our sleeping mat/sleeping bag (for the night camping), but realised on the trip that we wouldn't be carrying those items, and we would be met by our bags. So our packs were a little bigger than necessary. Maybe this could be made a bit clearer in the itinerary or packing list? Sorry if I missed it! Thank you KE and Besi. We'll be back for more!
By Rachael Manchester | 28 August 2023

Expertly guided through beautiful mountains ★★★★★

A well planned itinerary that seamlessly brought a diverse group of walkers and experience across the beautiful Balkan Alps. Our guide, Besi, was passionate about the environment and balanced professional guidance with a friendly demeanor. Really recommended.

By Nicholas Leighton Buzzard | 27 August 2023

Stunning Trek Across 4 Countries ★★★★★

Thanks for an amazing trip. We would highly recommend to others. The scenery and trekking routes exceeded expectations. Challenging but well worth the effort. Well organised and great fun.

By Darren Hove | 29 July 2019

Nice walking but totally spoilt by failure of baggage transfer so day lost. ★★★★

While not KE's fault, Lufthansa's failure to transfer our (and 3 other group members) luggage to Tirana meant we had to walk the first day in our travelling clothes (not walking clothes) and risk going up the mountain with no waterproofs and unsuitable shoes. Despite the KE reps best efforts our baggage was still missing although the others were re-united with their bags by the following day consequently we missed out the second day walk because of lack of our walking kit, reluctance to put ours elves and the rest of the group at necessary risk. Through the efforts of the KE rep, fortunate goodwill of the son of the shepherd hut owner and a new road that has been recently constructed we were able to rejoin the group for the rest of the week. However, the uncertainty of whether we would regain our luggage and the fact we missed a full days walk spoilt the best part of the week. The walking itself was pleasant with beautiful scenery and stunning floral diversity. Local hospitality could not be faulted, the food and accommodation was simple but very good and more than adequate. Having once regained our luggage/kit and we were able to enjoy our time, the particular highlights were the variety and beauty of the flora and the stunning campsite finished off with spectacular firefly display once it got dark. Whilst perhaps a downbeat way to end/start the holiday, a visit to the BunkArt museum in Tirana should be included on the itinerary as an insight into Albanias recent past.
By Susan BATH | 17 July 2019

Beautiful Balkans ★★★★★

Have done previous trips with KE and this was another highly enjoyable adventure. Although the trek is relatively short, it was none the less somewhat challenging, with four long days of walking. Our local guide, Ardit, was excellent, taking great care of us all and very knowledgeable. To summit the three peaks required no technical ability, just plenty of stamina, especially in the heat we encountered in August. Overall the accommodation and food were very good, with the hotel in Kosovo being o f high standard. Albania was a nice country to visit, with lovely scenery and friendly people. Go soon before it becomes too touristy. Would highly recommend this trip.
By David Falkirk | 27 September 2017

Traveller Reviews
4.6 out of 5 from 9 reviews

A fantastic week exploring the beautiful Balkans
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
My boyfriend and I have had an incredible week of challenging but rewarding hiking and exploring. First and foremost thank you to Besi for guiding a brilliant tour - he's a living legend! Kind, calm, informative and clearly passionate about his home and the mountains. Each day brought something new and unique. From the scenery views, to the hikes, to the variety of accommodation, to the food. We felt like we had a real adventure and quickly got into vacation mode. The itinerary is inch perfect i n its efficient use of time. We recommend this trip very highly! One minor point that would have helped us... we took backpacks that would be ok to carry our sleeping mat/sleeping bag (for the night camping), but realised on the trip that we wouldn't be carrying those items, and we would be met by our bags. So our packs were a little bigger than necessary. Maybe this could be made a bit clearer in the itinerary or packing list? Sorry if I missed it! Thank you KE and Besi. We'll be back for more!
By Rachael Manchester | 28 August 2023

Expertly guided through beautiful mountains
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A well planned itinerary that seamlessly brought a diverse group of walkers and experience across the beautiful Balkan Alps. Our guide, Besi, was passionate about the environment and balanced professional guidance with a friendly demeanor. Really recommended.

By Nicholas Leighton Buzzard | 27 August 2023

Stunning Trek Across 4 Countries
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Thanks for an amazing trip. We would highly recommend to others. The scenery and trekking routes exceeded expectations. Challenging but well worth the effort. Well organised and great fun.

By Darren Hove | 29 July 2019

Nice walking but totally spoilt by failure of baggage transfer so day lost.
★ ★ ★ ★
While not KE's fault, Lufthansa's failure to transfer our (and 3 other group members) luggage to Tirana meant we had to walk the first day in our travelling clothes (not walking clothes) and risk going up the mountain with no waterproofs and unsuitable shoes. Despite the KE reps best efforts our baggage was still missing although the others were re-united with their bags by the following day consequently we missed out the second day walk because of lack of our walking kit, reluctance to put ours elves and the rest of the group at necessary risk. Through the efforts of the KE rep, fortunate goodwill of the son of the shepherd hut owner and a new road that has been recently constructed we were able to rejoin the group for the rest of the week. However, the uncertainty of whether we would regain our luggage and the fact we missed a full days walk spoilt the best part of the week. The walking itself was pleasant with beautiful scenery and stunning floral diversity. Local hospitality could not be faulted, the food and accommodation was simple but very good and more than adequate. Having once regained our luggage/kit and we were able to enjoy our time, the particular highlights were the variety and beauty of the flora and the stunning campsite finished off with spectacular firefly display once it got dark. Whilst perhaps a downbeat way to end/start the holiday, a visit to the BunkArt museum in Tirana should be included on the itinerary as an insight into Albanias recent past.
By Susan BATH | 17 July 2019

Beautiful Balkans
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Have done previous trips with KE and this was another highly enjoyable adventure. Although the trek is relatively short, it was none the less somewhat challenging, with four long days of walking. Our local guide, Ardit, was excellent, taking great care of us all and very knowledgeable. To summit the three peaks required no technical ability, just plenty of stamina, especially in the heat we encountered in August. Overall the accommodation and food were very good, with the hotel in Kosovo being o f high standard. Albania was a nice country to visit, with lovely scenery and friendly people. Go soon before it becomes too touristy. Would highly recommend this trip.
By David Falkirk | 27 September 2017

Unpretentiously excellent trek
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Easy flights to an unspoiled and peaceful region . Exceptionally well led by Ardit who was genuinely kind and caring , calm confident and competent .... we felt entirely safe yet free to roam individually and there was a noticeable feeling of space .. sometimes missing on other treks . Accomodation and food was sometimes basic but part of feeling at one with the communities we were joining who were without fail kind, welcoming and friendly . The camping night was great. Weather amazing in Sept , trekking challenging but hugely rewarding . Highly recommended as long as you can forego much relaxation time !
By Clare Hereford | 21 September 2017

KE really let us (and themselves) down with this trip
★ ★
After 8 excellent KE treks, this was a major disappointment. We are particularly unimpressed that KE has denied all responsibility for the problems. 1. KE booked the flights, allowing far too little time for the transfer in Frankfurt. As a result we arrived in Tirana 12 hours late and missed the first day trek. No compensation has been offered for this. We will never book flights through KE again - and advise others accordingly. We had thought that booking through them would give us some protect ion - this is not the case. 2. The trip dossier suggests 6 days walking. Day 6 has NO walking - just 5-6 hours total of minibus travel, 3 hours ferry and some evening sight-seeing. Day 5 offers just 90 mins walking. If you are looking for a holiday with 6 days walking this is not for you. 3. I was excluded from the final summit climb to Zla Kollata because the guide was anxious about having time to cook supper. I was a bit slower than others so we might have reached camp 30-40 mins after the 5pm arrival - but KE are claiming this was a safety issue. I felt humiliated by the whole process, but again no compensation - not even a bunch of flowers as an apology. The guide, Besi, was great, particularly in his generous sharing of knowledge about Albania. And we loved Albania and felt that walking there was a privilege - so lots good. Such a shame that KE's response has not been what we might have expected as regular KE travellers.
By Alison HACKNEY | 12 September 2017

KE Adventure reply

We are sorry that after 8 excellent treks with us, your experience on this trip has changed your mind about KE. We have had several email exchanges with you and a phone call to express our sympathy for the situation in which you found yourself. We have explained to you that appropriate connection times are determined by the airline, and we have taken this up with Lufthansa. When we were notified that you had missed your connection in Frankfurt, we worked hard to enable you to rejoin your group for the start of the trek and are sorry that the journey left you too tired to take part in the first day’s walk. With regard to the walk timings, these are described in detail in the trip notes. We understand and sympathise with your disappointment at being excluded from the final summit climb to Zla Kolata. This decision was made by your guide, on the grounds of safety for yourself and also for the group as a whole. Although we are saddened that your opinion of KE is now less after your previous excellent experiences, we are none-the-less pleased that you loved Albania and that you felt walking there was a privilege.


Bucket list trip!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Peaks of the Balkans trek was attractive to me because it offered a challenging itinerary in a little more than the course of a week. It was amazing that so much could be experienced and achieved in this short period of time. Each day had something special. The scenery was fantastic (a cross between the Grand Tetons of Wyoming and Yosemite National Park)..... without the crowds. We crossed in and out of four countries that just a few years ago were communist and completely inaccessible to th e western world. As a tight knit group we conquered the objectives without a hitch. There were occasional long days but our enthusiastic/experienced guide, Ardit, never tired and was right there if you needed any type of assistance on the trek. He knew the trails, the people, and the history so well because he was was born and raised in the heart of it. The food was very good and plentiful. A variety of breads, cheeses, vegetables, and meats were served and everything seemed to be so fresh from local sources or homemade. On restaurant days, we were always taken to really great places that scored near or at the top of Trip Advisors rankings. I've always enjoyed KE's trips (I've been on nine) because they always seem to offer unique itineraries and experiences. This trek was one of my favorites.
By Michael Cary | 04 September 2017

Fantastic trip, delivered in all areas for me
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This trip delivered in all areas. Fantastic guide (Ardit), challenging trekking, lots of local culture, history and food. First the hiking. What can I say, the scenery was outstanding. You hike both above and below tree line. The trails are rocky, but generally not too steep. The first two days are long climbs. Our group took about 9 hours each day. I would not make this your first trekking experience. For anyone one that wants a challenging hike, this one is for you. With baggage support we car ried very light day packs. Plenty of clean cold water could be found along the trail each day. So no need to carry a huge amount of water. Our guide, Ardit, was an exceptional guide. He shared his love of the mountains, people, and culture.I learned so much about Albania and it's people. He was constantly going from the front of the pack to the back. I was always at the back of the pack, but never felt rushed to speed up. Ardit would check to make sure I was OK and assure me to hike at my own pace. Ardit was quick to resolve any issue that came up. You could tell he truly wanted to make sure we had the best possible experience. The hotels in Kosovo and Tirana were very nice. I highly recommend coming in at least one day early if you are traveling from outside of Europe. You need to make sure you are rested and fully hydrated for the start of the trek. The food in Kosovo and Tirana were excellent. Along the trek the food did get a little repetitive. Your food is generally grown by the owners of the guest houses so expect whatever is in season. The good news is all the guest houses had beer and it was a bargain. Trekking is very new in this area. The guest houses we stayed at were all nice. Some were more rustic than others. I enjoyed the various guest houses. Each one was unique. I must say my favorite was the one we stayed on the last night of the trek. They had such a nice setup. Hot showers were a hit. They also have various animals. I had a blast watching the kittens and puppies play. This trip ticked all the boxes on what I consider a great trip. I highly recommend this trip to seasoned trekkers/hikers. If you want to get away from the crowds, this is the trip for you.
By Matthew Cary | 05 August 2017

DATES & PRICES

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2024

Dates

Adults from

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More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /01/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 22 Jun and ends on Sat 29 Jun
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$125 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /03/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 3 Aug and ends on Sat 10 Aug
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$125 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /04/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 17 Aug and ends on Sat 24 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$125 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /05/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 31 Aug and ends on Sat 7 Sep
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$125 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /06/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 14 Sep and ends on Sat 21 Sep
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$125 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

2025

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /01/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 21 Jun and ends on Sat 28 Jun
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$140 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /02/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 12 Jul and ends on Sat 19 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$140 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /03/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 2 Aug and ends on Sat 9 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$140 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /04/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 16 Aug and ends on Sat 23 Aug
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$140 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /05/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 30 Aug and ends on Sat 6 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$140 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • High Peaks of the Balkans
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HPB /06/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 13 Sep and ends on Sat 20 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$350
  • Single Supplement Price: US$140 - Available for only 2 nights at Tirana and Gjakova in Kosovo.
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary, joining at the guesthouse in Tejze. A single timed transfer is included from Tirana Airport on arrival.

ZEN_HOLIDAY_DATES_PRICES_LAND_ONLY_USD_NOTICE


Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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