Discover the Accursed Mountains and one of the best hiking trails in the world. Erected from former inaccessible trails forbidden during the Cold War, The Peaks of the Balkans is a project created to represent a reconciliation and future development between Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania.
This full day hiking tour will take you through stunning trails, captivating alpine sceneries and intriguing legends of the Accursed Mountains high up to the grandiose Mountain Hajla and its highest Hajla summit at 2403m.
We will discover one of the European’s deepest gorges, Rugova gorge, admire the streams, waterfalls and caves, curvy roads and medieval villages, limestone peaks and warm welcoming culture which erected as a mixture of European and Eastern cultures.
Pickup Time Depending on whether we will start from Pristina, Prizren or Peje, it is recommended that we start with the tour at 7 AM or 8 AM. We are picking you up at your accommodation 15min before departure.
Pickup Locations Pristina, Prizren or Peja
Activity Note: Although hike to Hajla belongs to a medium level difficulty hike, the region belongs to continental mountain climate type with the Alpine climate in higher parts and in deep valleys.
That is to say, the region is characterised by cold and long winters, and fresh summers during which we can even witness the snow fall even during summer months. The best months for hiking to Hajla are between May and October.
The planned departure is either from Pristina or Prizren (at 7 AM) or Peje at 8 AM. Our team will pick you up at your address.
The first part of a day will take us through scenic suburbs towards the Patriarchy of Peja from where we will continue the drive through the spectacular Rugova Canyon.
Optional: Visit the Patriarchy of Peja
Before we head for a hiking adventure, we can arrange a short visit to the patriarchy of Peja. The visit needs to be announced so make sure to inform our team on time.
Located at the very entrance of Rugova Canyon, it represents one of the most important late Byzantine era monuments dating back from 13th century and certainly one of the most treasured Orthodox temples of Kosovo.
Hajla mountain is bounded by Pećka Bistrica, a mountain river that makes famous 25 km long Rugova gorge and separates the Hajla from Lumbardhit mountains.
That is to say, in order to reach the stunning Hajla peak, we first need to take a curvy road of the famous Rugova Gorge.
> Amazing drive through Rugova Canyon will face us with startling hairpin turns plunging into hand-made tunnels and re-emerging beneath amazing views of striking peaks, powerful springs, waterfalls and caves.
We will start the drive through Gorge from Patriarchy of Peja. Rugova is a river canyon with a length of 25 km and a depth up to 1,000 meters.
This spectacular gorge is considered to be one of Europe’s longest and deepest canyons that is, due to its geological, hydrological, speleological and botanic listed as a protected monument of natural heritage.
>The amazing 30 meters high mountain waterfall leading to the The Great Canyon Cave System, which is 12,000 meters long and the 12th highest cave in the world.
On our way we will make sure to stop at the few viewpoints including the one known for its spectacular 25-meter-high waterfall that springs out from the cliffs and emerging with the river.
In, roughly, 25kms of drive through the Rugova gorge, we will reach the frozen in time village Pepaj.
Rugova valley consists of 13 villages which are predominantly inhabited by Albanian Kosovars. The houses of Pepaj, including the shepherd´s settlements known as katuns reach the height above the forest line and are in pasture areas covered with vast fields and meadows.
At Pepaj we will leave our car, meet the locals, have a drink, grab some amazing local products we will threat ourselves for lunch, and head towards the spectacular Hajla summit.
> Most of the villages survive of stock-breeding and forestry and Hajla is one of the rare mountains where you can still witness the nomad life and seasonal shepherds´ migrations.
We will start the hike on the eastern side of Hajla mountain. Pepaj village and its open alpine meadows will lead us through mostly flat trails, and will enable us to enjoy stunning trails and rocky ridges, grassy valleys, dense coniferous and mixed forests, captivating streams and incredibly diverse flora and fauna.
> Trails will offer the views open up to a 360 degree view of the Accursed Mountains to the west and the Sharr Mountains to the South.
During the walks, we will learn about the traditional local life and hear some of the legends about how exactly the Accursed mountains got its name.
However, the most memorable parts will be the moments of complete silence, when we make a stop and just enjoy capturing the serenity of mesmerising views over, wild nature, old traditions, and warm-hearted people.
Climb to the very top of Hajla Mountain will be a bit more challenging by following the steep trail. However, nothing in this world could beat the amazing 360 panoramic views towards the rest of Accursed mountains peaks over the top at 2403m altitude which is centrally located along the Via Dinarica trail.
> Fascinating views from the 2403 m Hajla Summit looming over the Montenegro.
Being an administrative and natural border between Kosovo and Montenegro, Hajla summit is a very sport where you will finally understand why did the Montenegro earned the moniker “black mountains.
At the Hajla summit we will take a break and have the tastiest home mad food brought from the small ethnic farms and restaurants. We will try some delicious pies, cheeses and sudjuk while admiring the views of Bjelasica, Komovi and Durmitor peaks.
On our way back, 30 minutes away from the Hajla summit, at the height of 1,980 m we will find the cold waters and one of the numerous inexhaustible springs called Biser voda( Eng. jewel – water).
> After we bless our eyes and souls, we will head back to the village Pepej village from where we will take a drive back to your address in the afternoon hours.
Accompanied by peaks looming over the vast fields, carpeted forests and rocky formations, we will return to our starting point in the early evening hours.
What Do I Need to Bring?
Start of the trail: 1,600 m above sea level, Pepaj
Altitude difference: 850
Trail difficulty: medium
Trail length: 12 km