Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Via Dinarica hiking trail reveals the amazing nature of Kosovo

This time Lonely Planet has paid attention to the Via Dinarica trail, which links Kosovo with Albania and Kosovo with Macedonia. Alex Crevar, the author of this article has taken the road to Via Dinarica trail, where he discover fantastic scenery of these Balkan countries, one of them is Kosovo. The trail “Via Dinarica” links Kosovo with two countries, Albania and Montenegro.

The Via Dinarica hiking trail: a cultural corridor across the Balkans
Alex Crevar, Lonelyplanet 

Kosovo to Albania trail
From the Albanian town of Shkodra, trekkers move on to the mountain village of Theth. A seven-hour hike – among peaks reaching over 2700 m – takes you from Theth to Valbona Valley National Parks. Along the way to the Kosovo border, hikers overnight in family home-stays and in the Dobërdol shepherd community. Accursed Mountains, as they are technically known, provide the perfect combination of adventure and authenticity. Rugged peaks, well-marked trails and stays in rural guesthouses and shepherd settlements give hikers a chance to rough it and have a home base each night to eat fresh specialties and interact with locals.
A lake in Macedonia’s Mavrovo National Park © Julijan Nyča / CC BY-SA 2.0
 Kosovo border to Macedonia
One of the most challenging stretches of the Via Dinarica, the trail here follows the Shar mountain range. Long treks and high altitudes are balanced with glacial lakes and some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes in the entire region. Starting in the north, a ridgeline of peaks – there are more than 20 higher than 2500m – straddle the border between Kosovo and Macedonia, and then Macedonia and Albania.

A trek in Valbona National Park in Albania’s Accursed Mountains © NH53 / CC BY 2.0

The route starts with Mt Ljuboten, in the northwest corner of the country, and offers opportunities to sample some of the Balkans’ best gastronomy. Bagging the peak of Mt Plat, for instance, is rewarded with food prepared by locals in Macedonia’s Mavrovo National Park. Tackling Mt Golem Korab the highest point in Macedonia at 2764m, is countered with homemade breads, roasted vegetables, farm cheeses and wine in Galičnik village. The journey ends in Macedonia’s capitalSkopje and, undoubtedly, with conversations about which Via Dinarica leg to tackle next year.