The Soul of the Balkan Mountains

High Scardus Trail

The High Scardus Trail is a new long-distance hiking trail in the Western Balkans that connects the untouched mountain landscapes of Kosovo, Albania and North Macedonia with a fascinating trail system. Join this unique explorer tour with the pioneers of the High Scardus Trail, which was awarded “Best Tourism Project in Europe” at the World Travel Market in 2022 and achieved greater awareness for the first time in 2023 through a National Geographic article initiated by us.


High Scardus Trail, Western Balkans
Guided trekking explorer tour with a lot of the “Balkan way of life”

Duration: 9 days
Date: September 7th – 15th, 2024
Price: € 1,258 per person<


Key facts

Character: Guided explorer trekking trip on lonely paths on the award-winning High Scardus Trail

Country: Kosovo & Albania

Claim: ●●●○○

Contribution: Preservation of the hiking trails on the High Scardus Trail

Included services: including guided tours by English-speaking guides, overnight stays in hotels, guesthouses & Mountain huts with full board, luggage & Shuttle services

©Outdooractive ®/

The Soul of the Balkan Mountains

1. The journey

Character of the journey

The new star in the trekking sky is a real trekking trip. You hike for 6 days in a row from mountain village to mountain village and alpine pasture to alpine pasture, staying overnight in small, hospitable guesthouses and even on a lonely, beautifully situated alpine pasture. The stages “in the middle” of the High Scardus Trail offer a very representative insight into the landscape and life along the High Scardus Trail: After a meeting at the Kosovo Prishtina airport and a first night in a good hotel, you start off hiking on the edge of the mythical Sharr Mountains through a kind of plateau that the locals affectionately call “Little Mongolia”. becomes. In between you spend the night in Restelice, which is densely built up on a steep slope almost like a Nepalese mountain village. You now cross the border from Kosovo to Albania and, after another night in the Albanian mountain village of Caje, hike below Mount Korab to Radomirë.

Now the highlight of the trip awaits you with the ascent of Mount Korab – at 2,764 m the highest peak in the entire Western Balkans – a very long but wonderful tour. However, since you are doing it as a day tour from Radomirë, you can turn back at any time or even use this day as a rest day. Because two more days of trekking with an overnight stay on the incredibly idyllic and lonely mountain pasture in Grama are still waiting for you, before you spend the night with Rabdisht in one of the most beautiful mountain villages in Albania at the end of the trek.

It will be difficult for you to say goodbye to the lovingly run guesthouse the next morning, but after a three-hour transfer there is still one last highlight waiting for you: namely the visit to the beautiful old town of Prizren – again located at the foot of the Sharr Mountains in Kosovo. Prizren is a melting pot of cultures and without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the Western Balkans. And with that a worthy end to a great trip full of intense impressions: you can celebrate before a short shuttle takes you back to Prishtina airport the next morning.


Highlights of the journey

In the Middle of Nowhere: the first stage on your explorer tour on the High Scardus Trail takes you to a plateau-like mountain landscape between the Sharr and Korab mountains – affectionately known by the locals as “Little Mongolia ” called. © Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

During the trek you usually spend the night in ancient, remote mountain villages like here in Radomirë, …
© Ernst Kratky

… in which the means of transporting hay are not yet from John Deere, but are still more off-road.
© Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

On the third day of trekking you cross the border from Kosovo to Albania and hike below Mount Korab, at 2,764 m above sea level the highest peak in the Western Balkans, … © Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

…which you can climb onto its head the next day – an absolute highlight on your explorer tour!
© Metodi Chilimanov/Shar Outdoors

As the icing on the cake, you will spend the night in small wooden huts on the lonely and extremely idyllic mountain pasture of Grama and can warm yourself up by the campfire in the evening. © Günter Mussnig/Trail Angels

After the last day of trekking, you will feel nostalgic in the evening in the beautiful mountain village of Rabdisht because of the exuberant hospitality in the Western Balkans. And just google where you can eat such delicious Albanian or Kosovar food at home. © Günter Mussnig/Trail Angels

But your trip is not over yet: after the trekking you will visit Prizren – a melting pot of cultures and one of the most beautiful cities in the Western Balkans. © Stefan Lieb-Lind/Trail Angels

Travel itinerary*


1. Day Arrival: 2:00 p.m. Meeting point Pristina Airport (KOS), transfer to a hotel near the mountain village of Brod; Accommodation: Hotel (KOS)
Shuttle time: 2 hours
2. Day Trekking: Stage 8 Brod – Restelice (new route 2024); Accommodation: Guesthouse (KOS)
Walking time: 6 h → 17.8 km ↗ 811 m ↘ 880 m
3. Day Trekking: short shuttle then variant to the High Scardus Trail Restelice – Caje (ALB); Accommodation: Guesthouse (ALB)
Walking time: 6 h → 18.9 km ↗ 620 m ↘ 1,067 m
Shuttle time: 15 min 
4. Day Trekking: Variant to the High Scardus Trail Caje – Radomirë; Accommodation: Guesthouse (ALB)
Walking time: 5:45 h → 15.3 km ↗ 775 m ↘ 995 m
5. Day Trekking: High Scardus Trail Stage 10 variant Radomirë – Mount Korab – Radomirë; Accommodation: Guesthouse (ALB)
Walking time: 8 h → 17 km ↗ 1,472 m ↘ 1,472 m
6. Day Trekking: High Scardus Trail Stage 11 Radomirë – Grama; Accommodation: Alpine hut (ALB)
Walking time: 7 h → 17 km ↗ 813 m ↘ 1,451 m
7. Day Trekking: High Scardus Trail Stage 12 Grama – Rabdisht; Accommodation: Guesthouse (ALB)
Walking time: 7 h → 17 km ↗ 813 m ↘ 1,451 m
8. Day Shuttle & Culture: In the morning shuttle to Prizren – afternoon visit to Prizren
Shuttle time: 3 h
9. Day Departure: Shuttle to Prishtina (KOS). Departure
Shuttle time: 45 min

*small program changes reserved

Included services


+ 2 nights in selected mid-range hotels (*** national categorization); Double room with full board
+ 6 nights in family-run guesthouses, refuges and alpine pastures; Double or shared room with full board
+ Guided tour by English-speaking experienced local hiking guides with extensive knowledge of the history and culture of the countries (certified according to the country’s guidelines, also co-developers of the High Scardus Trail)
+ Luggage transport depending on the stage by car or horse (max. 15 kg per person)
+ Guided sightseeing through the old town of Prizren
+ All necessary transfers according to the program (during the tour from/to Prishtina airport)
+ Contribution to the High Scardus Trail Organization for the maintenance of the High Scardus Trail
+ Detailed tour documents
+ Before the trip: information service from Balkan experts

Price: € 1,258 per person

Small group of min. 5 people to max. 8 people


2. The pioneers

Meet our High Scardus Trail pioneers who will accompany you on your Explorer Tour of the High Scardus Trail and provide you with many insights into the region, culture and the exciting project of the High Scardus Trail:

Trail working group,
developer of the trail

The fact that you can now hike the High Scardus Trail has many mothers and fathers. The development experts from GIZ and we as Trail Angels are also there – but above all it is the local enthusiasts from the three countries who have brought the trail from the initial idea to its current…

state. These are primarily trekking guides and local travel providers, but also national park employees and people working in regional development. Together they form the newly formed “High Scardus Trail Organization,” which is for the High Scardus Trail. You will get to know some of these enthusiasts on your explorer tour, be it as a local guide, hut owner or perhaps by chance.

Stefan Lieb-Lind,
IVBV mountain & ski guide

“When I traveled to the Western Balkans for the first time 17 years ago, I didn’t know how much I would fall in love with this harsh but warm, untouched and genuine region. Since then, more than 30 trips have taken me here – be it for first ascents…

on high rock faces, for ski touring or trekking or for work at Trail Angels: I am extremely pleased to play an important role in the development of the high Scardus Trails as the new top long-distance hiking trail in Europe.”

The state-certified mountain and ski guide has discovery in his blood: He has not only made a name for himself in climbing circles with more than 120 first ascents on rock and ice in the Western Balkans, the Alps, Iran and Bolivia , but is also in charge of routing some of the popular long-distance hiking trails in Austria as part of his work as a trail developer for the Trail Angels.

Stefan has designed this explorer tour and will provide you with advice and support in the run-up to the trip.


High Scardus hosts,
lived hospitality

The mountain region along the High Scardus Trail was virtually undeveloped for tourism until a few years ago. It is thanks to the vision and motivation of some local enthusiasts that something great is emerging in this so remote region. The owners of the …

Guesthouse Sabriu in Rabdisht are supposed to be exemplary for all these people you will meet on your Explorer Tour.

If you want to describe how a good guesthouse should be – you would describe Guesthouse Sabriu: a simple accommodation, but a place of tranquility with a garden that must be very close to the Garden of Eden. The indescribable hospitality and warmth of the owners, however, is what, in combination with the fantastic local food, makes the stay literally unforgettable. A perfect example of how enthusiasm and authenticity are still the most important ingredients. And both are innately in the blood of many people in the region, which you can feel at every corner of the High Scardus Trail.



3. Our impact

The Trail Angels are trying to live up to their responsibility as a tour operator for future travel. By offering breathtaking experiences with hand-picked tours and by participating in regional projects, we want to have the greatest possible impact on change for the better in the destinations.

And this is how we shape our responsibility on the High Scardus Trail:

1. Trail Angels project

Preservation of trails

For our Trail Angels project, 4% of the booking costs per High Scardus Trail Explorer go to the newly founded “High Scardus Trail Organization”. …

It consists of local experts and enthusiasts and is responsible in the future for the preservation and development of the High Scardus Trail – and thus also in a way for a gentle and sustainable development of these peripheral mountain regions, in order to provide the locals with an additional income and also more identity. And thus in the last consequence to stop the strong migration.

Since there are still hardly any existing structures and financing possibilities for trail maintenance in the three countries Kosovo, Northern Macedonia and Albania, regular trail maintenance, as we know it from the Alps, for example, is difficult. However, well-maintained trail sections are a basic prerequisite for the High Scardus Trail to become as popular and sought-after among trekkers in the medium term as it deserves in terms of potential.

With our Trail Angels project, we want to make our contribution to this: 100% of the money goes to trail maintenance through the High Scardus Trail Organization.


2. Sociale inclusion

Promotion of local structures

We only work with carefully selected local tour providers that we have verified and place the highest value on social sustainability…

and inclusion such as:

  • Fair pay for the trekking crew
  • On the trek: Overnight stay in small family-run guesthouses or in private mountain huts
  • Promotion of socially disadvantaged population groups and local value chains

Between 2020 and 2023, we were intensively and prominently entrusted with the development of the High Scardus Trail as a leading tourism product for the sustainable development of the mountain regions over a three-year project together with the Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and local experts . And of course it goes without saying that we will continue to support the local actors with advice and support even after the project has ended.


3. Climate protection

Climate-neutral design

If you want to make your trekking trip climate-neutral, you can do so with the world’s leading compensation platform Atmosfair®. Our team in the booking center will be happy to support you.


4. The story

No, this is not a white spot on your glasses when you look at a map of Europe. This spot is located on the map, in the middle of the border mountains between the countries of Kosovo, Northern Macedonia and Albania. The isolation of Albania, as well as the Yugoslav war, made tourist development of these mountains, so remote, impossible until 25 years ago. But also in the last 25 years the development in the mountain regions of the Western Balkans was very slow: the local people – often farmers and shepherds – had no relation to mountain sports and mountain tourism. Thus, these mountains have preserved a pristine and unspoiled nature that is probably unparalleled in Europe – which is why there are now 5 national parks and a nature park along the trail. Only in the last 5 years tourists from other countries slowly discover this treasure and travel the three countries exactly because of the incredible authenticity and hospitality – so seep nice slowly enthusiastic travel reports about these countries. In any case, the tourist potential of the region is huge! Who does not believe this and doubts the scenic beauty, need only look at the photos here.

The scenic beauty is beguiling – and the unspoiledness digs deep into your heart: in many places on the High Scardus Trail you will see hardly any signs of human civilization ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

Here, bear and wolf say good night to each other. The shepherds have adapted to this and have the flocks of sheep guarded by extremely vigilant and well-mannered Sharri Dogs. Just as it was 100 years ago ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

As tempting as that sounds, of course, for adventurous and discovery-loving outdoor enthusiasts to travel to regions that are not developed for tourism, life in the very remote mountain villages is arduous. Future prospects for locals are often poor and so many decide to move to the nearest town or even leave the country.

So why not combine the two? In other words, use the region’s unspoiled nature and authenticity to develop the region in a very careful and sustainable way, thus giving outdoor lovers an unforgettable trekking vacation while providing additional income to the locals? This is exactly the goal set by the High Scardus Trail and the organizations behind the long-distance trail – these organizations include the Society for International Cooperation and local experts, as well as us as Trail Angels.

Again and again you get deep insights into life in the mountains of the Western Balkans – like here in conversation with a shepherd on the way from Gornje Lubinje to Vejce ©Matthew Nelson/Trail Angels

So little can be so much. For the High Scardus Trail and also for us as Trail Angels, it is important to develop tourism as gently and as close to nature as possible ©Trail Angels

The High Scardus Trail is brand new and therefore only at the beginning of its journey. Even though much has already been done, there is still much to be done. But one thing is for sure: you will be amazed by the scenic beauty, the unspoiled nature and the hospitality. Get to know life there exactly as it is. To be there as a traveler and not as a tourist. The beauty and the potential have recently been recognized by international experts, as it was chosen as the “Best European Tourism Project 2022” at the “International Tourism Awards” in London in November 2022. This is something we as Trail Angels are very proud of, having played a central role in the development of the High Scardus Trail into a premium long-distance hiking trail in Europe. And it motivates us a lot to continue our work and show enthusiasts like you this treasure. And at the same time to promote a careful development of the peripheral mountain regions without losing its authenticity.

Travel reports from the High Scardus Trail:

„Travel reports from the High Scardus Trail:“

A travel report about the first Explorer Tour in Semptember 2022.

Read more here.

High Scardus Trail – Best Europe Tourism Project

„The High Scardus Trail was awarded the “Best European Tourism Project 2022” at the “International Tourism Award” awarded”

Read more here..

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