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Accursed Mountain Trek

Albania Trek TOUGH
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About the Challenge

The Albanian Alps offer an unspoilt wilderness of magnificent snow-capped peaks, gorges, lakes and dense forests, dotted with tiny stone-built hamlets that have changed little in years.

Our trek takes us to protected Valbona National Park, home of inspiring scenery and adventurous trekking. One of the many highlights is the high Valbona Pass, used for centuries to connect remote valleys lying among the jagged peaks of the dramatic Accursed Mountains.

The appeal of this memorable and rewarding trip is not just the incredible scenery, but the quietness of the trails – you are just as likely to meet local shepherds as other trekkers.

Find out why now is the best time to visit Albania here 


Accursed Mountain Trek

9 DAYS
  • Fly to Albania’s capital, Tirana, where we transfer (approx. 30 mins) to the historic town of Kruja. Night hotel.

  • After a short visit to Kruja’s impressive fortress, we drive to beautiful Lake Koman and take a scenic boat trip through this magnificent fjord-like canyon. The lake was formed by dam construction and is a wonderful way to reach the start of our trek. A short transfer takes us from the end of the lake to the picturesque hamlet of Kukaj (1100m) in the Valbona Valley where, time permitting, we’ll have a short walk in the valley to stretch our legs. Night guesthouse.

     

    Drive 2-3 hours; boat trip 2-3 hours

  • Setting out from our hospitable guesthouse, we start hiking through beech and pine forest, following a shepherd’s path into the more remote landscapes of the eastern Albanian Alps. Our path ascends smoothly amidst green alpine pastures, with fabulous views of the surrounding mountains, their peaks towering up to over 2500m.

    After a beautifully scenic picnic, we continue to the pass (2000m), before returning to our hosts at Kukaj. Night guesthouse.

     

    Trek approx. 6-8 hours / 9km

  • A spectacularly scenic day, which takes us up to an elevated plateau covered in thick forest. Continuing along a ridge, we reach the summit of Kinji Rrogamit (1860m) on steep trails. Fabulous views along almost the entire Valbona Valley reward our efforts, and we have plenty of time to soak up the views of the green slopes topped with dramatic mountain peaks over another picnic, with ice-cold water from the pure mountain spring. We continue our trek along the opposite ridge, which brings us gradually down to the bottom of the valley (950m). Night guesthouse.

     

    Trek approx. 6-7 hours / 7km

  • A classic Alpine trail awaits us! The path over Valbona Pass (1860m) has linked the glacier valleys of Valbona and Theth for centuries, and can only be crossed by foot before the first snow falls each year. Leaving the last few stone houses of the tiny village behind, we follow a steepening trail, which leads us up into a great grassy bowl of alpine meadows, surrounded by rough slopes leading up to the pass. After a stiff climb up, we can admire the views of the jagged peaks of the Accursed Mountains that tower around us. Our route then descends through forest and grassy meadows, losing over 1000m of altitude, to the traditional village of Thethi (850m). Night guesthouse.

     

    Trek approx. 7-8 hours / 14km

  • Thethi is a wonderfully well-preserved alpine village, with its traditional stone houses with wood-tiled roofs, and its location surrounded by mountains is very photogenic! After our big effort yesterday, we enjoy a more relaxed pace today, taking our time to appreciate the village. We then walk past a scenic waterfall and canyon to our picnic spot at Bronze Age stone-walled terraces, discovered less than ten years ago. Fairly gentle trails then take us to Nderlysa, a quiet hamlet (850m). We can relax by the pristine turquoise pools of the nearby creek to round off our day. Night guesthouse.

     

    Trek approx. 5-6 hours / 11km

  • Our last day in the Accursed Mountains! A scenic trail takes us through a canyon to the aptly-named Blue Eye cascade. We stop here for a break before winding gradually up through the forest to emerge in grassy alpine meadows surrounded by mountain peaks. Our last steep climb takes us up to beautiful Thore Pass (1670m), which marks the end of our trek. Here we soak up the last of the magnificent views before meeting our vehicles and heading back through the stunning Boga Valley to Shkodra, seat of an impressive lake-side castle, where we break for a coffee-stop. We then head to Tirana, a dynamic, young town with interesting Italian-influenced architecture, which forms a significant contrast to our week in the remote Alps. Night hotel.

     

    (Dinner not included)

     

    Trek approx. 4–5 hours / 7km; drive approx. 4 hours

  • You’re free to explore Tirana before transferring to the airport for our late evening flight home (arriving home early hours of Day 9.)

     

    (Lunch and Dinner not included)


Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £99 Fundraising target £2,200 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £99 Fundraising target £1,700 Tour Cost £250.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £99 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,100 Airline Taxes - Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All transport from London to Tirana return
    • All meals except where specified and accommodation, Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with groups of over 15; local guides, mules, muleteers and drivers
    • Local support and back up equipment
    • Entry to National Park and any other sites included in the itinerary
    • Airline taxes

    What's excluded

    • Three meals where specified in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax applied at the time of writing)
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details
  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £149 Fundraising target £2,200 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £149 Fundraising target £1,700 Tour Cost £250.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £149 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,100 Airline Taxes - Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All transport from London to Tirana return
    • All meals except where specified and accommodation, Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with groups of over 15; local guides, mules, muleteers and drivers
    • Local support and back up equipment
    • Entry to National Park and any other sites included in the itinerary
    • Airline taxes

    What's excluded

    • Three meals where specified in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax applied at the time of writing)
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details
  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £149 Fundraising target £2,200 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £149 Fundraising target £1,700 Tour Cost £250.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £149 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,100 Airline Taxes - Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • All transport from London to Tirana return
    • All meals except where specified and accommodation, Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with groups of over 15; local guides, mules, muleteers and drivers
    • Local support and back up equipment
    • Entry to National Park and any other sites included in the itinerary
    • Airline taxes

    What's excluded

    • Three meals where specified in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax applied at the time of writing)
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We do not always use the same airline for each destination; if you wish to know the probable carrier please call for details. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.

  • Some accommodation (in hotels or camp) will be twin-share. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller.

    On some nights we are likely to sleep in more communal accommodation such as dormitories, huts, local homestays or monasteries, depending on the trip, and you may be sharing with a larger number of participants or the whole group; this type of accommodation cannot always be single-sex.

  • We stay in local guesthouses in mountain villages. They are wonderfully located and very hospitable, but expect fairly simple facilities. In towns we stay in hotels of a good standard hotels, on a twin-share basis.

  • The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.

    Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we may be in very rural or remote areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.

  • Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.

  • An expedition doctor or medic accompanies the group (dependent on group size.) Their role is to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly, and encourage you when things get tough. The total number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but at Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: participant ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.

  • Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Local guides know the area well, and are a great source of knowledge about local lifestyles. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. In some destinations we work together as a team with local guides to help set up or break camp, or prepare meals. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something!

  • Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not porters, mules or even camels might carry your bags, depending on the destination and terrain.

    Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.

  • Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

  • This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace. Inadequate training is likely to have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too - and we want you to have the time of your life!

    Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

  • Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is up-to-date and any visas are obtained in good time. For further information please see our Factsheet and Visa information page.

    Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.

  • For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow participants and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!

Trek Training Weekend

Snowdon_Training_Trekking

£160 Special Offer - Only when you book at the same time as registering for your main challenge

Discover Adventure Trek Training Weekends take place in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. This training weekend is designed to put you through your paces to enable you to gauge fitness levels and gain advice from our experienced leaders.

MORE INFORMATION

GRADE | tough (3)

Trip grades range from Challenging (1) to Extreme (5).

TOUGH trips involve tough terrain, with some very rigorous days; weather, altitude and/or basic living conditions will add to the challenge. They demand good stamina, fitness and a determined attitude.

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