HIKING MACEDONIA AND ALBANIA

Maininfo_Hiking-Albania

Category: Hiking, Nature 
Area: Macedonia, Albania
Tour duration: 12 days (11 nights) 
Evaluation of the Trek: Challenging


macedonian hike/Days/day_1

Welcome to Macedonia. Your guide will meet you at the airport and take you for a welcome lunch at Pero's in the bohemian part of Skopje. Here we'll discuss logistics and local customs while sampling Macedonian grilled cheese, peppers, and courgettes.  Transfer to Canyon Matka, for a 40min night hike to your campsite in the canyon. Grand welcome dinner with ethno music up in the camp. Feel free to ask our musicians to show you how to play kaval (traditional end-blown flute). It's fun! Overnight in tents.

macedonian hike/Days/day_2

Take a hike on the history trail in Matka Canyon. It was once the place where only Orthodox monks lived in the monasteries built in the rocks. Today it is also a nature reserve, home to the Bold Eagle and Egyptian Vulture, as well as to over 200 different butterfly species. After the lunch we'll take a boat ride along the canyon to one of the deepest caves in the world – Vrelo cave. Drive to Popova Shapka in the Shar Mountain Range for dinner and overnight in a mountain hut.

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Hike to Titov vrv  - named after Marshall Tito, is an all-day tour full of great panoramic views of Shar Mountain and Jakupica range, Pelister, Korab, and even Rila mountains in Bulgaria. Below the peak is probably the most beautiful area in Macedonia – the alpine style Leshnica area with pine trees, deep river valleys, and impressive overhanging rock faces. Early evening transfer to Galicnik in National Park Mavrovo for tasty village dinner and overnight in hotel.

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Rise early and join the shepherds on Mount Bistra for breakfast Balkan style - a shot of rakiya, homemade bread and cheese. Hike to Medenica peak, and down to Galicnik. Galicnik village is not inhabited in winter and can only be reached when the snow melts. It is famous for its sharp sheep cheese and traditional architecture. Afternoon is free for walks in the village, or you may take a 2 hours ride with trained mountain horses in the surrounding hills. Dinner and overnight in same hotel in Galicnik.

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Morning drive to Prilep where we'll take a moderate 5 hours hike to the monastery of Treskavec - a XIV century church hidden between the boulders of Gold Mountain. It is worth visiting for its great Byzantine treasure, for the remains of a II century Apollo temple and for the relaxing cup of tea with father Kalist.  Afternoon drive to Bitola, just in time to join the evening promenade in the old town and have a pizza. Overnight in hotel at the foothills of Mt Pelister.

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We start early to hike to top of Mount Pelister, the highest point on Baba mountain range. This is the oldest national park in Macedonia, famous for its ancient pine, lynx, and bearded eagle. Lunch will be at the summit. From there we will head to the mountain hut next to a glacial lake - „the Eye of Pelister“ where we'll have a jolly supper and sleep in the hut. Optional: night swim in the lake.

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From Golemo Ezero we will descend to the lovely old village of Brajcino. It is a quiet peaceful village, famous for its hospitality and homemade fruit liqueurs. We will have dinner in a traditional restaurant with a wood fire, sample the local tipples, and stay overnight in the monastery.

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From Brajcino, it is a short walk to the shores of Prespa Lake. We will then drive to Konsko, an old fishing village (approximately 20 km - 30 min) where we take a boat to the uninhabited island of Golem Grad, or ‘Snake Island,’- home to cormorants, pelicans, and sun-bathing water snakes. Back to the shore of Prespa Lake for lunch and swim in the lake, and early evening drive to Ohrid. Free evening to wander in Ohrid old town. Overnight in hotel in Ohrid Old Town.

albania ext days

Drive to Albania, „the Land of Eagles“, visit Korça and its busy bazaar, and taste some delicious Albanian specialties in Voskopoje. Overnight in Voskopoje.

albania mountain days

Hike through the pine forests of Voskopoje to peak Maja e Poshe Tepes. (4 hours). Explore Voskopoje: now a quiet village with remains of its great past as former center of Byzantine art. Overnight in Voskopoje.

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Drive back to Ohrid. Ohrid and Ohrid Lake are UNESCO world heritage sites: Ohrid for its great cultural and historical importance and heritage, and Ohrid Lake for being the oldest lake in Europe with many endemic species, sponges and algae. There are 365 orthodox churches in Ohrid, a Roman theater and a gallery of icons with priceless collection. It is also the birthplace of the Cyrillic script. Morning drive to visit Bay of Bones and St Naum monastery, and we'll stop for a swim and lunch (Ohrid trout) in an old fishermen village on the shore. Afternoon is free to explore Ohrid or, you can take a discovery dive with our expert guides in the Bay of bones. In the evening, gala farewell dinner in a restaurant on the beach with life ethno music. Overnight in Ohrid.

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After breakfast transfer to Skopje airport for flight home.

Day 1
Camping in Matka is located in a quiet place up in the rocks, with fantastic view over the canyon. It is on the grounds of a XIII century monastery, close to a spring with drinking water and you can only reach it on foot (40 min walk from the river). The idea to set up a camp here came initially to Macedonia Travel as a contribution for the maintenance of this great history heritage, but since then it has became the most popular destination on our hikes and trekkings. Even for picnic lunch when guests prefer to sleep in hotel.

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macedonian hike/Day1/the_camping_1

Day 2
The mountain hut in Popova Sapka is part of the monastery complex St Naum in Popova Sapka, located at 1.760m height. The accommodation is basic in 1/4 rooms, there is one shared bathroom and 5 toilets, dining room with bar, and open terrace, free WiFi and satellite TV.

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Day 3 & 4
This lovely hotel is located in Galicnik village on Bistra Mountain, at 1420m height. It is built in old traditional Galicnik style, on the hill with the best view over the village, and the surrounding woods and pastures. It is simple, with nice traditional interior, and 20 rooms in total, 4 double rooms of them with private bathroom, and the rest are twin with 1 bathroom shared on every 2 rooms. The hosts are warm and friendly, and always there to make you feel at home. Their kitchen is traditional, and very good.

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Day 5
Hotel Molika is a 3***   hotel, placed in the pine forest of the National Park Pelister. One of the rare places where you can become one with the untouched nature, rest from the daily life and enjoy the impeccable service of the hotel's personnel.  All rooms are equipped with phones, TV with satellite program, free WiFi in public areas, mini-bar, toilets and central heating.

Day 6
The mountain hut on top of Pelister is basic, with accommodation in 4 rooms with bunks for 8 to 14 people, a big dining room and a kitchen with wood stove. Clean linen is provided by the hosts, so there is no need to carry additional sleeping bags. It is located at 2.218m height, right by the big glacial lake, called "The Eye of Pelister" for its beauty in the reflection of the surrounding hills and meadows in its surface.

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Day 7
This beautiful monastery built in 16 century is modest in its outside look, but it hides real Byzantine treasure inside its walls. The accommodation in the monastery could be considered basic, with shared facilities, but clean and renovated in 2009. Dining is in a traditional restaurant in the village.

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Hiking Albania_Macedonia/Day 6/rsz_outside
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Day 8 & 11
The hotel in Ohrid (3*) is located only 500m from Ohrid Lake, overlooking the main pedestrian street of Ohrid Old Town. It offers 32 air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi, cable TV, minibar and private bathroom, and 1 restaurant.

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Hotel Cingo   lobby small
Hotel Cingo   restaurant small
Hotel Cingo   room small

Day 9 & 10
The hotel in Voskopoja is situated in the heart of the town with spectacular views of the Voskopoja’s Mountains. It offers air-conditioned rooms with central heating, a fireplace, free Wi-Fi, flat screen TV, a minibar and private bathroom.

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vila falo reception small
vila falo restaurant small
vila falo room small

Day 2:

Estimated hiking time: 4 - 5 h

Start: 351 m / 1152 ft

Highest point: 780 m / 2560 ft

Finish: 320 m / 1050 ft

Distance: 9,4 km / 5,6 mi

Ascent: 627 m / 2057 ft

Descent: 618 m / 2028 ft

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Day 3
:

Estimated hiking time: 8-9 h

Start: 1730 m / 5676 ft

Highest point: 2746 m / 9012 ft

Finish: 1730 m / 5676 ft

Distance: 23 km / 14,3 mi

Ascent: 1188 m / 3897 ft

Descent: 1205 m / 3953 ft

macedonian hike/Itinerary/day4

Day 4:

Estimated hiking time: 6 h

Start: 1649 m / 5410 ft

Highest point: 2152 m / 7060 ft

Finish: 1453 m / 4767 ft

Distance: 8 km / 5 mi

Ascent: 536 m / 1759 ft

Descent: 732 m / 2402 ft

macedonian hike/Itinerary/day5

Day 5:

Estimated hiking time: 5 h

Start: 723 m / 2372 ft

Highest point: 1256 m / 4120 ft

Finish: 723 m / 2372 ft

Distance: 15km / 9,3 mi

Ascent: 533 m / 1749 ft

Descent: 533 m / 1749 ft

macedonian hike/Itinerary/day6

Day 6:

Estimated hiking time: 6-7 h

Start: 1420 m / 4659 ft

Highest point: 2602 m / 8537 ft

Finish: 2218 m / 7277 ft

Distance: 12km / 7,3 mi

Ascent: 1560 m / 5118 ft

Descent: 605 m / 1985 ft

macedonian hike/Itinerary/day7

Day 7:

Estimated hiking time: 4 h

Start: 2218 m / 7276 ft

Highest point: 2218 m / 7276 ft

Finish: 1020 m / 3346 ft

Distance: 11,8km / 6,8 mi

Ascent: 0 m / 0 ft

Descent: 1198 m / 3930 ft

Price per person: Call for pricing

Included in price:
Accommodation: 5 x hotel (3*), 2 x hotel boutique, 2 x mountain hut, 1 x tents, 1 x monastery
Meals: 11 x breakfast, 11 x lunch, 10 x dinner
Transport by air-conditioned van / minibus
Full escort by professional hiking guide
Boat in Matka and Prespa Lake
Cheese tasting in sheepfold on Mt Bistra
Life music on day 1 and 11
Full organization and logistic by Macedonia Travel

Not included in price:
Drinks during the meals
Travel insurance (recommended)
Guided tour in Ohrid
Discovery dive in the bay of Bones
Any extra expenses not mentioned under „included in price“

What to pack

Footwear: comfortable walking shoes. Also sandals or flip flops.
Casual clothes
Water/windproof jacket with hood
Warmer clothes for nights at higher altitudes
Hat
Toiletries
Sunglasses
Camera
Passport
Trip voucher
Money: cash, or, you can also use your credit card in most cities in Macedonia. Feel free to ask your guide for help
Travel insurance
Personal medications

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