Posted November 3, 2014

After the Alps the Accursed Mountains are the most glacial in Europe. Bordering Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Greece to the south, the scenery in this fairytale landscape is majestic and rugged, with steep limestone slopes; they are largely impenetrable other than by foot through a series of high well-worn passes.

The Accursed Mountains are said to have got their name when, according to local legend, two brothers out hunting one day came across a beautiful fairy. When asked which one she preferred, she replied “I love one of you for strength and bravery, the other for good looks and a gentle disposition”. The brave brother became enraged and killed his handsome sibling and took the fairy home: but when his mother found out what he had done she cursed the fairy, her remaining son, and the mountains for ever.

Fairytales aside, Albania has a rich and ancient history spanning thousands of years. Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Norman influence is to be found everywhere – a real cultural melting pot, and archaeological goldmine…and a trekker’s paradise.

Although inhabited for more than 100,000 years, it was around the third millennium BCE that Indo – European settlers began to arrive and put down roots. Over the ages, layer upon layer of these different civilizations and cultures have resulted in a diverse and interesting population dynamic. The fiercely independent Albanian people are defined by their geography, with mountainous frontiers on all sides.

The seas on Albania’s coastline are clean and warm; the beaches generally crowd free, with still more tiny secluded beaches to discover and enjoy: it’s also an absolute paradise for mountain biking, rafting, sailing and kayaking.

Many experienced travellers have compared the Accursed Mountains to more far-flung destinations such as some of the lesser-trekked regions of the Himalayas and the Atlas mountains. The scenery here is certainly dramatic. More than two thirds of Albania is mountainous landscape making it ideal to discover on foot. In Northern Albania discover the fairy-tale landscapes of the Accursed Mountains. Southern Albanian walking routes run along the crystal waters of the Ionian Sea, up high ridges and panoramic peaks, through pine forests, olive and citrus groves.

However, if you prefer the past to the future, then strike further inland – here you enter a whole new world – a different world – from days long gone by, a world where ancient mountain codes of behaviour still prevail: you’ll feel as though you have entered a pre mechanised time warp – where farmers work the land in much the same way as their ancestors did – the women continue to grow most of their food: and donkey is still the favoured mode of transport.

Apollonia, an ancient city in Illyria located on the Aous River, was founded in 588 BC by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth. Excavations conducted by Albanian archaeologists in the 1960s near the modern village of Saraqinishte led to the identification of the fortified city of Antigonea, believed to have been founded by Pyrrhus, the Molossian king, in 296 BC for his wife Antigone. The jewel in the crown, however, is undoubtedly Butrint. Originally ancient Greek, this remarkable site was built upon and extended by Romans, Byzantines and Venetians, each leaving their unique fingerprints on this exceptionally preserved site.

As seasoned travellers ourselves we organise packages to some of the most amazing destinations in the world. If you would like to join one of our small group tours or have any questions or particular needs, then please check out a selection of our tours below, or just get in contact with us to find out more...

Check out our tours with these unique experiences below

Prefer to do a tailor-made itinerary where you can choose your unique experiences and build your perfect trip? Click here to contact us today.

Albanian Odyssey


Discover the culture and hospitality of Albania

£1,885 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
10 days

Balkan Explorer

Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia

Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro & Bosnia

£3,995 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
20 days

Balkan Odyssey

Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia

Discover Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro & Bosnia

£2,695 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
15 days
Call us on:020 7183 6371

Trip Finder


Or search directly from our list of tours: