A wild ride through 5 Balkan countries. Non stop action for those who can take the pace. Whitewater rafting in Bosnia, caving in Kosovo, paddle boarding in Albania, epic boat ride along Lake Komani plus a 4 day trek through the Accursed mountains to join it all together. You'll be meeting locals, sampling great food, seeing some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe and you might even be able to fit in the odd cocktail on the beach as well
Day 1-2 -Split & Trogir, Croatia. We begin our adventure on the stunning Dalmatian coast staying half way between the towns of Split and Trogir. You should have time to visit both these historic beauties. Split is much bigger and needs a whole day as well as possibly a night if you're looking for a party. Trogir is a much smaller but nonetheless a fascinating place to while away an afternoon. However if none if none of that does it for you then just soak up the sun on the beach for a couple of days. We camp right on the coast and there are plenty of acrtivtiues to keep you occupied including kayaking and even renting a boat to visit one of the islands off the coast.
Day 3 - Mostar, Bosnia's jewel; a picture perfect town with the turquoise blue Neretva River running through the centre. It is into this river that the divers known as the Icaaruses of Mostar plunge from the famous bridge that gives Mostar its name. The 400 year old stunning stone arch was sadly destroyed in the 1990s conflict but painstakingly reconstructed in 2004 and spans the water almost 100ft up. Extensive war damage can still be seen all over the town indeed as it can throughout Bosnia. A country steeped in history.
We stay in Blagaj just outside the town itself. The village of Blagaj itself is wonderfully peaceful and right on the river. Quaint wooden cafes surround a cave and cliffs, perfect for breakfast before heading into Mostar to see a bit of culture. A full day of canoeing is also on offer here, getting you a bit more up close and personal with that icy water. Approximate price fo canoe trip - 10Euro
Day 4-5 - Sarajevo - The 'Jerusalem of Europe' is one of my personal favourite cities. Small enough to take in over a few days but with a soul large enough to stay in your heart forever. Full of quirky nightlife and funky shops this is one of Europe's real gems. Yet to be overrun by the crowds on the budget flights - there aren't any - so we'll keep this little secret to ourselves for now!
Day 6-7 - Tara Canyon
The second deepest on earth this Canyon cuts between two countries. Bosnia and Montenegro. Camping on the Bosnian side with the option to upgrade to wooden cabins (€5)
Next day is rafting day. (£40) Leaving around 11am we head back into Montenegro and a 4x4 drive down the side of the river banks to the starting point for the rafting. Rapids ranging from level 1-3 make this a perfect mix of adventure and tranquility as we make our way down one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe. Stopping on the way got jumps off high things, swims in cold places and maybe a beer (or raki) at the waterfall bar.
Back to camp for dinner around the fire at the bar before heading off the next day to Albania
Day 8-10 Lake Shkodra Resort, Albania. Luxury camp site on the edge of the warm and shallow Lake Shkodra. Option to upgrade to Glamping or huts here of available. Must be booked in advance.
Lots to do here for 2 days. Rent pedalos or paddle boards to take onto the lake or a bicycle to take you into the countryside. The town of Shkodra is only 7km away so you can also visit here and get a sample of Albanian nightlife as well as bit of culture and history at the castle.
Or you can simply chill on the sun loungers with a cocktail and delicious Albanian food cooked on the premises.
Day 11- Lake Komani boat ride and Valbona mountain village. Leaving early at 6am we head in minibuses up into the mountains to take a ferry ride through massive gorges the length of Lake Komani. This is fantastic scenery and a leisurely ride through some untouched parts of Europe. The ferry docs at Fierze where we take taxis the short distance to Valbona. A beautiful authentic mountain village at the edge of the Accursed mountains. 1 night here enjoying Albanian hospital and local food before we begin to trek from this country into the next.
Day 12-14- Hiking through the Accursed mountains. This trek is known as one of the best in Europe. But is also in an area not frequented by mass tourism. Yet. Expert guide and adventurer Fatos Katallozi meets us here and takes charge of the trek over 3 days and nights to reach his home town of Peja in Kosovo on the other side of the mountains. See separate itinerary below (Accursed mountain Trek) for full hiking details. All meals are included in this period. Not drinks or snacks. Large Bags will be carried by 4x4 to meet in Peja.
Option to also be carried by road for those not able (or willing) to hike.
Day 15 - Peja - Caving or chilling out. The choice is yours. This is Kosovo's adventure capital and plenty more to do here if the trek hasn't finished you off. Fatos is also in the forefront of the caving exploration here and take you on a fairly easy trip through down vast caverns or down into some slightly more intrepid darker canyons. Or you are free to chill out and explore the town with a well deserved beer or two.
Day 16-17 - Pristina Europe's newest capital and an easy bus ride away. We finish the trip spending two nights meandering the streets of this quirky city. Cafe culture is what makes this city tick. That and the old clock tower in the ancient part of the city. Some of the best coffee in the world and a vibrant night life make this the ultimate finish to the ultimate Balkan trip
£575* including all accommodation 100Euro supplement for optional 4 day trek (all food included on trek)
July 10th -27th.
* + flights (£100 approx)
Via Dinarica Albania & Kosovo
4 day Hiking Adventure Explore the Via Dinarica along Albania and Kosovo, an area not yet frequented by many hikers. This route is a playground for active travellers: Spectacular waterfalls and limestone peaks; traditional food tasting; breathtaking views; colorful wildflowers; medieval villages; and warm welcoming culture. These will be unforgettable days of exploring.
Day 1 – Meet and Greet and start hiking from Valbona-Qerrem-Doberdol-AL After breakfast take a short ride to Qerrem mountain village and from here start hiking towards Doberdol mountain village for overnight stay and dinner at guesthouse Bashkimi (hot shower, shared bathrooms, no phone connection). Moderate walk. 6-7 hours walk/ +1290m, -680m /16.5km
Day 2 –Hike from Doberdol-AL to Milishec mountain-KS After breakfast start hiking towards Milisheci mountain village for overnight stay and dinner at guesthouse Lojza (hot shower, shared bathrooms, no phone connection). Moderate walk. 8-9 hours walk/ +1100m, -1180m /18.5km
Day 3 – Milisheci mountain to Liqenati Lakes and Peja. After breakfast start to hike towards Liqenati Mountain Lakes. Transport to Peja for overnight stay and dinner at Hotel Camp Karagaq. Moderate hike/ 500m/ 6-7 hours Day 4 - Caving in Peja exploring numerous caves around the adventure capital of Kosovo.
What is Included -Fully equipped English speaking Tour Leader/Guide -Accommodation for 3 nights -Meals specified in itinerary -All fees and taxes for National Parks & VAT -Cross border permit
What’s not -Meals not specified in itinerary -International travel insurance -Optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff -Souvenirs and items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.) -Any items not specifically mentioned in the program
Note on Itinerary Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed, it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather.
Note on Services To comply with regional laws and regulations, we sometimes use local suppliers, who provide services that may include transportation, equipment, logistic support, and other services (hotels, restaurants, etc.). We work with service providers, who share our commitment to safety and quality, and work closely with them to develop itineraries unique to the Via Dinarica.
ABOUT YOUR TRAVEL IN KOSOVO…
Accommodations In Peja we stay at Hotel Kamp Karagaq. In Accursed Mountains National Park, we use guesthouse Lojza. Also in Doberdol and Valbona we’ll be using preferred guesthouses. In these accommodations toilets and showers are shared.
Meals We provide breakfast on all days except day 1. Lunches during the hikes will be picnic style unless specified, including bread, cheese, sausage, meat and vegetarian pate, salad, chocolate bars, cookies, trail mix, and soft drink. Vegetarian and special diets will be catered to, but options are limited throughout entire trip. Please inform us of any specific requirements upon booking. Transportation We use comfortable and air conditioned Mercedes Sprinter (16+1) or (12+1) depending on the size of the group, and for the mountainous terrain 4x4 Land Rover Defenders, with experienced drivers.
Isn’t There a War in this part of the Balkans? No. Kosovo recently celebrated 19 years of peace. The disintegration of the old Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia led to armed conflict in the region. In Jun 12, 1999, peace was signed between the various parties involved, and fighting ceased. Since then, the countries infrastructure has been largely reconstructed and tourists are returning to the country in ever-increasing numbers, making tourism the fastest growing economic sector.
Activity Level - Moderate (Trips rated MODERATE typically have 5-7 hours of activity per day, with hikes up to 15 kilometers on rolling or mountainous terrain with some steep ascents/descents and uneven trails at altitudes of up to 2300 meters).