The Natural Adventure Company’s Albanian Alps and Accursed Mountains self-guided walking holidays offer some truly breath-taking scenery and a chance to experience the best of of European hiking as it used to be through some of the last untamed natural locations and wilderness in Europe.
Even the journey to the heart of the Accursed Mountains is an integral part of the Albanian experience and includes a ride on the Koman Ferry which has been described as one of the world’s great boat journeys. The hikes include rugged mountain terrain but also take you through remote villages, beautiful valleys and alpine meadows surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Albanian Alps.
The Albanian Alps & Accursed Mountains
A tour for intrepid travelers who are eager to explore the Albanian Alps on their own. It combines scenic hikes for average fitness levels with the two most interesting cities in an 8-day tour. From historic Shkoder one starts with a tranquil ferry ride on the Koman Lake into the Accursed Mountains to visit two of the most remarkable valleys: Valbona and Theth – both dominated by towering mountains and traditional alpine houses.
Why choose a self-guided walking holiday in Albania?
Albania is one of the few countries in Europe which still excites as an exotic destination. Nearly untouched by Western civilization, the country is rich in traditions and culture, and has a lot to offer. Exploring Albania with a self-guided walking holiday will give you a chance to experience people’s hospitality and enjoy spectacular scenery. The lower prices (compared to other European countries) are only a bonus to what will certainly be an epic holiday!
Perhaps the only company which offers private en-suite accommodation for Albania!
We take pride in hand-picking the hotels we offer on each of our holidays and Albania is no exception. We’re probably the only company which offers private rooms while hiking in Albania. This means you do not have to share a bathroom with total strangers. Each hotel and guest house we’re offering is monitored by a representative of our company to ensure you’ll make the most of your holiday!
The Albanian Alps are one of Europe’s hidden gems and offer a unique hideaway from the modern world. An additional bonus is the chance to experience the legendary hospitality of the famous Malësori (highlanders) – a mountain community unlike any other you’ve ever heard of. According to Adam Graham from BBC travel this hospitality was the reason a Valbonë villager gave him a ride at 1:30am, chuckling when he realized that Adam managed to get lost in a village with only one road.
Even today the Malësori comply to the Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini – traditional Albanian code of conduct (a set of laws in you like) which evolved from ancient Illyrian tribes in the 15th century. The Kanun is based on four pillars:
- Honour (Albanian: Nderi)
- Hospitality (Albanian: Mikpritja)
- Right Conduct (Albanian: Sjellja)
- Kin Loyalty (Albanian: Fis)
The Albanian Kanun has sparked the interest of many writers and movie producers around the world. It is even referred to in an episode of Law & Order, as well as hundreds of other movies and books.
The legend of the Accursed mountains
Locals often refer to the Albanian Alps as the “Accursed” mountains. The legend tells of two brothers who went hunting in the mountains and found a nymph. When they asked her which one of them she chooses, she replied that she likes the one for his bravery and the other one for his looks. The brave brother then murdered his better looking sibling and took the nymph home. When his mother realized what happened she cursed the nymph, her son, and the mountains for ever.
Another legend tells the story of a mother, who cursed the mountains after her son (a shepherd) never returned.
According to linguists, however, the nickname of the “accursed”mountain may originate from a linguistic hiccup. The Albanian word “nam” means “to curse” but it also refers to something large and renowned. This could perhaps better explain the translation Accursed mountains from the Albanian expression “Bjeshkët e Namuna“.
If you’d like to learn more about Albania, we recommend the following reads: