WHY IT'S DIFFERENT?
Travel by boat and then by foot, through the stunning remote mountain landscape from Albania into Montenegro.
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Based on two people sharing, not including flights learn more
The trails are comparable to any in the world. Remote, authentic and crowd free, the perfect trip to get away from it all and enjoy the tranquility of the out doors. One of the free regions where it's quicker to walk than drive!
Lake Koman River Ferry
This beautiful, picturesque, 3 hour boat journey takes you from Koman to Fierze. Enjoy the turquoise water, passing mountains and narrow canyons as drift towards your final destination.
The lack of accessibility, ensures the remote villages remain authentic and part of one of the most undiscovered places in Europe. Ask about the blood feuds and sworn virgins, some of which still exist!
Snow blocks the path from village to village until mid June. This melting snow causing the flora to flourish into an array of bright colours scattering the meadows through which you'll walk. Simply stunning!
"A special shoutout to our beyond wonderful guide Ilija - informative, kind, responsive, knowledgable - a real pleasure to be around and made the trip immeasurably better."
NEED TO KNOW
|SEASON||June 5 - 9 2019|
|GROUP SIZE||12 people|
|FLIGHTS||For more information on flights from the UK please refer to the Trip Details section.|
|VISA||UK, EU & US not required|
Arrival in Podgorica (capital of Montenegro) followed by an airport transfer into Albania to Shkodra, known as the city of birds and bicycles. Here, you’ll check-in to a traditional Albanian guesthouse which is a museum in itself and has an incredible authentic restaurant with local cuisine and entertainment. There will be time in the afternoon to explore the crumbling ruins of Rozafa Castle.
Early morning transfer to the ferry port for the magical Lake Koman Ferry Ride journey. Arrive in beautiful Valbona, check in to your accommodation and spend the rest of the day enjoying the serene mountain setting and the fresh traditional food listening to the locals talk about the legends of the blood feuds and sworn virgins.
Day based in the Valbona Valley and/or the surrounding area; enjoy the great outdoors with a hike around the Albanian Alps under the shadow of the Accursed Mountains, visit a local stan or get involved with some traditional activities with the locals.
Day spent in the Valbona Valley experiencing the authentic life of rural Albania; head out on a nature trail with the knowledge and expertise of an experienced mountain guide admiring the rich flora and fauna and the overwhelming natural beauty; get your hands dirty helping the locals milk cows, herd sheep and pick berries for an afternoon.
Morning transfer to the start of the Valbona – Theth hiking trail. You’ll trek through the Valbona Pass over to the remote village of Theth led by a local boy whose horse will carry your bags. The trek lasts approximately 5 – 6 hours. On arrival in Theth you’ll check in to the welcoming guesthouse and enjoy a traditional evening meal.
Spend the day in Theth and its National Park exploring the local Kulla and iconic church or taking some time out before your next trek tomorrow.
Early morning drop-off at the start point of the trek across the mountains into Montenegro. The trek lasts approximately 6 – 7 hours. You’ll be collected at the end point of the trek and transferred to Podgorica where you’ll check in to your accommodation.
Transfer to Podgorica airport for the flight home.
A selection of our accommodation, which is subject to availability, however alternatives are always of a similar price, grade and location.
Shkoder's hotels are generally located centrally to the main boulevard which is great for people-watching. Our hotel choices are rich in character.
Typical Accommodation: Hotel Tradita, Alis Hotel or similar
Valbona stretches along the river, there is an abundance of basic but clean guesthouse accommodation, we have selected the best for you.
Typical Accommodation: Rezidenca Guesthouse, Villa Dini or similar
With the village of Thethi being so small you are within walking distance of everything so you are well located whichever guesthouse you stay in.
Typical accommodation: Margjeka Guesthouse, Villa Gjecaj or similar
Podgorica isn't renowned for its hotels but the comfy beds and crisp white linens at our hotels are perfect after trekking and guesthouse stays.
Typical Accommodation: Hotel Aurel, Hotel Terminus or similar
WHERE YOU'RE GOING
Just north of mainland Greece, Albania is full of outstanding natural beauty and rich history waiting to be explored. From the Romans and Greeks to the Ottomans, past civilisations have left their marks on Albania’s landscape, architecture and archaeology—as showcased in fascinating ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Berat and Butrint, and other dramatic mountain citadels dotted across the countryside. A country of stunning contrast, Albania boasts both rugged landscapes peppered with jagged mountains and traditional villages along stretches of sandy coastline and green pastures. The coastline boasts miles of pristine beaches, beautifully sun-kissed along the Ionian Coast while the north of the country preserves rural traditions and maintains its reputation as a wild frontier.
DID YOU KNOW
"An adventure through this breathtakingly beautiful region does require some patience as the locals are very laid back meaning their timekeeping isn't the best, to say the least!"
Ilija - Untravelled Paths
The trekking route is intermediate level so all but the seasoned walker will find parts challenging, so a good level of fitness is required to ensure you enjoy the experience.
Many of the locals you will encounter have never left the region let alone Albania, so keep this in mind when is comes to service. It is improving but it takes experience and time.
In mountainous areas, the weather is unpredictable, you can have all the seasons in one day so please pack with with in mind. Waterproof jacket, warm jumper and hiking boots essential.
A must read if you want to have a better understanding of the code of the "blood feuds", which unbelievably are still applied in some areas of the region today. A fascinating read.
As a tour operator we are not able to offer inclusive flights as part of our experiences however we are more than happy to help you find the most appropriate incoming and outgoing flights for you. All the listed airports fly directly in and out of Podgorica with multiple different airlines to choose from. We highly recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.
In order to be fully covered on your trip should anything happen, we suggest getting an insurance before you travel. We recommend True Traveller, designed especially for adventure travel, who will be able to tailor an insurance package based on your needs. You can find out more here.
Our prices are based on people sharing, for solo travellers who would prefer a private room the price per person will include a solo occupancy fee.
If you wish we can also organise extra nights at either end of your trip for you.
Book your trip in five easy steps.
Once you’ve chosen the dates you’d like to travel on using our availability calendar all you need to do is head over to the booking page and fill in the enquiry form.
BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS
We will get back to you answering any questions you might have and confirming availability. If all is good, we can hold the places for you for 48 hours while you book your flights. Please note that this stage does not represent a guarantee of the booking.
Once you have booked your flights, we will send you a booking form you will need to fill in with your details, flights and other relevant information.
PAY FOR YOUR TRIP
As you fill in the booking form, you will also be asked to make the payment through a secure link; if you are travelling in less than 8 weeks, the payment will be paid in full, otherwise only a 35% deposit will be taken.
Shortly after you pay, you will receive a confirmation invoice, followed by a personalised itinerary and digital booklet. All you need to do now is write the dates in your diary, prepare your packing list and look forward to your next adventure!
Please note deposit is non-refundable. The balance will only be refundable if you cancel with more than 8 weeks in advance. More information about the cancellation policy can be found in our Terms & Conditions. We highly suggest getting insurance before you travel to avoid any problems. Our personal recommendation is using True Traveller.
The Albanian currency is the lek (plural lekë) with banknotes coming in denominations of 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 lek. Coins come in various amounts including 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 lek pieces, which can be useful to keep handy for the odd coffee or small tips. While Albanians obviously accept and quote payment in their local currency, it is still possible and quite common to pay using Euros instead. Remember also that you’ll be spending one night in Montenegro which uses the euro so it is a good idea to have the currency on you. Of course, using the local currency (lek) will offer better value than using euros but you’ll only be able to get hold of the currency when you’re in Albania.
The easiest and only option to get lek is to head to a cash machine once you arrive in Albania to withdraw funds. If you choose to withdraw lek, make sure you spend it all prior to your departure as it is extremely difficult to convert it outside of Albania.
If you're keen on using Euros, head to an exchange bureau in the UK when the euro is readily available. You can also purchase Euro online and collect it from your local post office or even have it delivered straight to your door. Ordering currency online with the Post Office is commission-free and available for next day delivery. Obviously the more you buy the better rate you’ll receive.
While major credit and debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are accepted throughout Albania and Montenegro's main towns, smaller towns, rural areas and villages in the mountains will only accept payment in cash (lek or euros) so do not rely on using your card. The only occasion you’re likely to use your card will be to withdraw cash from the ATMs in Shkodra, Kolasin and Podgorica. However it is still advisable to inform your bank that you’re travelling abroad in order to avoid the frustration of having your card blocked.
As mentioned previously, as soon as you venture away from Albania's major cities and into more rural areas, you should absolutely rely on carrying cash with you. Expenses will be marginal so a little goes a long way. As a general rule, you will be able to have a good lunch for around £4 a had and will pay around £8 a head for a nice evening meal. We reckon £100 for lunch, drinks and snacks for two people is plenty for the week, excluding any activities you might want to sign up for.
Tipping in Albania is by no means compulsory, however it is polite to tip in restaurants and cafés by about 5 to 10% or leaving your change on the table. If the service has been poor please don’t feel obligated to leave a tip.
Spring: Travelling to Albania aduring the spring months mean mild temperatures – perfect hiking! Spring time also means that the meadows and hills burst into life with colourful wildflowers and other flora and fauna. While April can bring a fair amount of rain, May tends to be drier and warmer with the chance of the odd thunderstorm here and there.
Summer: Expect warm days and clear blue skies in the peak summer months. In the mountains you’re likely to experience cool evenings but elsewhere temperatures can soar to over 30 degrees so it’s best to come prepared with lots of layers to accommodate any change in climate.
Autumn: September bring with it slightly fresher temperatures and a certain sense of tranquillity as the rush to get the hay in from the fields is usually over by this point. You’ll still have warm and very pleasant days with cooler evenings.
You can always contact the UTP team on +44 207 101 4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Before you travel, you will also receive a personalised itinerary with the contact details of the local manager in Romania should there be any problems. Your guide will be on hand throughout the trip as well, so you're in safe hands.
Our digital booklet, which you will receive before travel, contains all the information you need about optional activities. Simply drop us an email letting us know what you'd like to do during your trip, and we'll take care of the rest. Please note that the payment for the optional activities will be taken locally in cash.
As a general rule, it is a good bet to stick to bottled water in order to avoid a tummy upset, particularly in more built-up areas. However, you’ll likely be served iced mountain water at the guesthouses in the Albanian Alps which comes from glacial melt via limestone springs that last as natural filters making it perfectly safe to drink and positively delicious! If you’re out walking do make sure that you carry plenty of water with you.
The hikes are at the higher end of the moderate spectrum, so a relatively fair amount of fitness in required. The hike to the village of Theth lasts for about six hours, consisting of a 800m ascent for about two and a half hours, followed by a 1000m descent through forests, rocky slopes and meadows. The second hike, between the borders of Albania and Montenegro, is for seven hours, through a pine forest and ascending up a steep rocky path before descending into Montenegro.
You will need to bring clothing appropriate for changing weather conditions, which can be unpredictable in the mountains. Layers are an excellent option as they'll allow you to warm up and cool down when necessary. A warm fleece or hooded jumper will also come in handy for the evenings when the temperatures drop significantly, and lightweight waterproof jackets will be godsent if the heavens decide to open during on of your trekking excursions, and will protect you against the wind as well as the rain.
As you will be out and about a lot during the trip, wear shoes that will be comfortable for walking. Think a sturdy pair of trainers or walking boots. The mountains can get quite slippery if it's been raining. It's also advisable to bring a pair of flip-flops or sandals for the non-trekking days.