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Albania: Accursed Alps Trek

21st Jun 2025 - 29th Jun 2025

8 days/Albania /Moderate to Challenging


Do you have what it takes to take on the Accursed Alps? Sinisterly named due to their harsh and unforgiving terrain, this is a challenge not for the faint-hearted.

This new offering from Different Travel will see you spend five days exploring the rugged peaks and deep valleys of Albania. Take in the incredible views of the wild alpine landscape along the way.

You don’t have to fundraise to join an open challenge but you can support a charity of your choice if you wish. See the costs tab for more details.

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This trip is graded as Challenging. The mountainous terrain is steep in parts and you will be trekking for up to 8 hours a day, starting early in the morning, over consecutive days over varying terrain.

Although tough, this challenge is achievable for anyone with a good level of fitness who has trained appropriately. It is important that you stay positive, remember your goal, and keep your own steady constant pace.

The trek is accompanied by professional English-speaking local guides who have an excellent knowledge of hiking in the region. The guides are first aid trained and will support you throughout your journey. You will also be supported by assistant guides and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager.

The terrain is mountainous so there will be lots of uphill and downhill areas. There are some steep sections, some flat areas, and there is a very long descent so trekking poles are recommended, particularly for those with knee issues. Underfoot you will find rocky or grassy trails, uneven and muddy forests, scree slopes and possibly some stream crossings. You may walk over some snow or ice covered ground depending on the weather conditions at the time. Each day you will trek for approximately 7-8 hours (variable depending on group pace) and you will cover approximately 10-19km. It is critical that your training includes hill walking and trekking up and down gradients while carrying a heavy backpack.

As you will be trekking in mountainous regions you need to be prepared for changeable weather. In general, the climate in June is humid with a chance of rain. Temparatures range from lows of 18°C to highs of 28°C averaging at 23°C and dropping to around 11°C overnight.

It’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions and temperatures by packing non-cotton trek layers and waterproofs. It’s better to have waterproofs and not need them, than to not have any when you need them!

Although the temperatures and conditions above are historically accurate, climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions during the trip which are out of our control. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimately safety of the group as a whole.

All meals are provided as per the itinerary with breakfast and dinner at hotels, guesthouses and local restaurants. A picnic lunch will be provided from the guesthouses while you are trekking.

There will be plenty of fresh veg, fruit, meats and cheeses. Please note that typical Albanian food tends to be homecooked meats and veg and there may not be much variety while in the mountains.

Please inform us in advance if you have any dietary requirements or preferences.

You will stay in a mix of hotels and guesthouses on a twin or triple share basis.
The accommodation, although comfortable, is very basic.

The hotels and guesthouses have en-suite facilities with flushing sit-down toilets and hot showers. If a bin is provided, toilet paper should be placed in the bin, not flushed.

If you need to use the toilet during the trek day you must find a private area off the trail. You must never leave used toilet paper on the ground; this must be packed up into a nappy bag or sanitary disposal bag, pop it in your daypack and dispose of it properly at camp (please bring your own nappy sacks with you). You should bring one or two rolls of toilet paper for your own use.

The minimum age is 18 (or 16-17 if accompanied by a parent/guardian). There is no upper age limit.

The ideal candidate would be fit, healthy and determined, open to adventure and adaptable to unexpected changes. Adequate preparation, planning and training is important because the fitter you are the more you will enjoy this experience. An ideal candidate would be a hill walker, an open-minded person with a sense of adventure. Remote areas are sometimes unpredictable (be it because of group pace, weather conditions etc.) and itineraries may be altered to allow for this. You must also be willing to train hard for this challenge!

If you do not already regularly exercise or participate in a sport it is advised that you start training as soon as you book to ensure your best chance of success and enjoyment on the challenge.

Hill walking while carrying a heavy backpack should form a major part of your training as this will most closely replicate the actual trek, and be the best way to prepare your body for the numerous ascents and descents involved.

Increasing your cardiovascular endurance and core and leg strength will benefit you greatly too so hill walking can be complemented with swimming, running, cycling, gym workouts, team sports, boot camps etc. You can download a number of free apps which will help you train and track your progress. E.g. MapMyWalk, C25K (couch to 5k run), MyFitnessPal etc.

If you attempt to complete the challenge without training it will make the trek unnecessarily difficult and may hinder your experience, and the experience of your team mates.

This highest point on the trek is 2520m.

As symptoms are possible from approximately 3000m, there is a low risk of developing altitude related symptoms during the trek.


Accursed Alps Trek itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday June 21 2025):

London – Tirana
Fly from London to Tirana, and on arrival transfer to Shkoder (approx. 1.5 – 2 hours drive) to spend your first night at a hotel and receive a briefing on the trek to come.
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 (Sunday June 22 2025):

Shkoder – Vusnaje
In the morning we transfer to Lepusha (approx. 2.5 hrs drive) and start hiking over the border into Montenegro towards Talijanka Peak until we reach Volusnica, a panoramic spot where we can take in the sight of Albania’s wild alpine landscape, the Accursed Alps. In the afternoon, we descend through the meadows and continue via a beech forest trail to Grebaje and make a short transfer to our accommodation in Vusnaje.
Trekking: Approx. 10km/6 hrs
Altitude gain/loss: +835m/-960m
High point: 2056m
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 3 (Monday June 23 2025):

Vusnaje – Peja Pass – Theth
You set off this morning from your guesthouse and hike to Theth, back to Albania though the Peja Pass.  This rocky pass will afford you amazing views over the Theth valley where you’ll see the rocky dome of Harapit Peak, dominating the valley end and Jezerca – the highest summit of the Albanian Alps. Descending this afternoon you arrive in Theth, one of the country’s best-preserved alpine villages, which has a stunning location set amongst vertical mountains. Despite its popularity, traditional ways of life remain in Theth. On arrival you’ll settle in to your guesthouse for dinner and your overnight stay.
Trekking: Approx. 24km/10 hrs
Altitude gain/loss: +890m/-1140m
High point: 1750m
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 4 (Tuesay 24 June 2025):

Theth circular hike
We take a gentler route around Theth today; taking in its traditional “kulla” houses, built in grey stone with wooden plank roofs. You‘ll see its church, Kulla e Ngujimit, a tower house used in the past by men as a shelter against ongoing vendettas as well as the stunning cascade of the waterfall of Thethi. This afternoon will trek as far as the “Blue eye of Nderlysa”, a natural spring, before returning to your guesthouse.
Trekking: Approx. 7km/4 hrs
Altitude gain/loss: +250m/-470m
High point: 795m
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Wednesday 25 June 2025):

Theth – Valbona
An early start this morning as we cross on foot through the Valbona valley. This is arguably one of Albania’s most beautiful valleys, which for centuries has connected the glacier valleys of Theth and Valbona, and remains the only direct connection between the two villages.  You’ll pass through grassy meadows & beech woods before the landscape changes, with firm ground and sections of scree as you climb higher. Descending through meadows and past stunning scenery, you’ll end today’s trek at a guesthouse in the village of Valbona.
Trekking: Approx. 14km/8 hrs
Altitude gain/loss: +1070m/-795m
High point: 1760m
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 6 (Thursday 26 June 2025):

Valbona – Mount Rosi peak – Valbona
Hike to the Mount Rosi peak (1760m) for some incredible views then we wander along shepherds’ paths and through remote landscapes of the eastern Albanian Alps before returning to our guesthouse for dinner and overnight,
Trekking: Approx. 19 km/10 hrs (14km/8 hrs if you stop at the mountain pass)
Altitude gain/loss: +/- 1580m (1090m)
High point: 2520m (2000m)
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 7 (Friday 27 June 2025):

Valbona and sightseeing
A relaxing day after the treks of the past few days, you transfer to Fierza on a highly scenic journey before taking a boat ride on Lake Koman, an artificial lake created in the 1980s. We continue by road towards Kruja where we visit the Old Bazaar and the museum of the National Hero Skanderbeg.
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 8 (Saturday 28 June 2025):

Valbona – Tirana
Today we drive back to Tirana (approx. 1 hr), arriving in time to explore Albania’s capital city before our farewell dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 9 (Sunday 29 June 2025):

Tirana – UK
Transfer to the airport for the return flight to the UK.
Meals: Breakfast

N.B. This itinerary may change due to flight schedules, weather, the ability of the group and so on. We will do our best to keep to the itinerary but we cannot be held responsible for changes that occur outside of our control. In all circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the group’s health and safety.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £395 and then either…

Self-funded: £1,225


Sponsorship: £2,450


Flexi: £1,225 trip costs and £1,225 sponsorship for a charity* of your choice


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.


This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel and your fundraising is payable to the charity 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

*If your chosen charity is not on this list, please seek permission to fundraise for them by taking part in this challenge before making your booking.

What's included

  • Return flights from London (inc. current taxes and fuel surcharges),
  • Transfers and transport in Albania
  • Accommodation in hotels and guesthouses
  • All meals as specified
  • Local guides
  • Different Travel UK tour manager

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips (£XXpp)
  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, souvenirs etc.)
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel to/from UK airport
  • Personal trek kit and equipment

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.