Hiking in Macedonia and Albania route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4195  
Length: 13 days
Arrive: Skopje, Macedonia
Depart: Skopje, Macedonia
Lodging: 12 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: A mix of moderate walks and hikes, some steep trails and rugged terrain, 2-6 hours a day, van support (for luggage or tired feet)
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Highlights

  • Hike the exquisite—and untrammeled—mountain trails of Macedonia and Albania
  • Discover a rich collection of Greek and Roman ruins, Byzantine churches and monasteries, and old Ottoman towns
  • Stunning Lakes Ohrid and Prespa
  • Experience local cuisine like Selsko meso, a classic Macedonian dish of roast beef, pork, and lamb with mushrooms, white wine, and cheese


The hikes were challenging and varied with the rewards of lovely scenery and quaint villages along the way. Great food and wines everywhere we stayed were an added delight at the end of a perfect day!Lili H.—Taos, NM

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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Offering incredible opportunities for hiking, Macedonia and Albania are intriguing ancient lands that few have visited. We’ve crafted a journey that weaves together visits to compelling cultural sites like the Bronze Age observatory of Kokino and remote 13th century Treskavac Monastery, and hikes through pine forests and stream-laced valleys of rugged national parks. Crossing into once-forbidden Albania, our trails lead you through timeless villages and to the peak of Maja e Poshe Tepes. Along the way we sample savory regional cuisine, with its Mediterranean, Balkan, and Turkish influences, taste hearty, full-bodied local wines, and enjoy wonderful cultural encounters.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Skopje, Macedonia / Demir Kapija

Our explorations in Skopje include Byzantine, Ottoman, and Roman archaeological treasures, followed by a chance to sample local wines in Demir Kapija.

Days 3-5
Treskavac Monastery / Heraclea / Pelister National Park

Hike to Treskavac, a monastery with Byzantine frescoes, then explore Heraclea, renowned for its basilica’s mosaics. In rugged Pelister National Park, our trails lead to two glacial lakes known as the “Mountain’s Eyes.”

Days 6-7
Voskopoja, Albania / Maja e Poshe Tepes

Heading across the border to ruggedly beautiful Albania, explore Voskopoja, a peaceful village of farmhouses, and hike through pine forests to the summit of Maja e Poshe Tepes, with sweeping views.

Days 8-9
Korça / Galicica National Park

Korça’s bustling bazaar takes you into the heart of this cultural crossroads. Back in Macedonia, our hike in Galicica National Park offers you panoramas of Lakes Ohrid and Prespa right at your feet.

Days 10-11
Ohrid / Mavrovo National Park

After exploring the Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Hellenistic archaeological sites of lakeside Ohrid, hike to the tumbling waterfalls of Mavrovo National Park.

Days 12-13
Matka / Skopje

Our exploration of Matka Lake includes a visit to medieval Monastery St. Nicolas Shishovski, set atop a cliff with spectacular views. Depart from Skopje on Day 13.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 3+, Moderate. On most days, we hike anywhere from two to six hours over moderate to steep mountain terrain. You will carry just a daypack on the hikes, but the trails can be rugged and narrow. The hiking itinerary is planned as we have described it in the preceding pages. However, as in any mountain trip, we will remain flexible with regard to weather and other local conditions in choosing our routes. Tourism infrastructure in Macedonia and Albania is still in development and the services, facilities, and quality of hiking trails can be basic.

Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 p.m. Rooms in the hotels and inns we stay in are not always of uniform or international size. However, our leaders try their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. Single Rooms: Please note that single rooms in European hotels tend to be small by US standards.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2015
Jun 13-25, 2015  Ingrid Cercek
Aug 23-Sep 4, 2015  Ingrid Cercek

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$4195 (13-15 members)
$4395 (10-12 members)
$4695 (6-9 members)
Single supplement: $720
Forced single supplement: $520
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations in hotels and comfortable inns
  • All meals included except 1 dinner
  • Ground transportation throughout the trip
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees on group tours

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, airport/hotel transfers, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expense of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance or passports; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, hotel telephone calls, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

The Stone Bridge Hotel

The Stone Bridge Hotel

Day 1 (1 night),
Day 12 (1 night), Skopje, Macedonia

The modern Stone Bridge Hotel is located in the center of Skopje between the Old Town and the newer part of Skopje. Rooms are clean and comfortable ...
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Hotel Popova Kula

Hotel Popova Kula

Day 2 (1 night), Demir Kapija, Macedonia

This small wine country hotel, set atop a small hill with spectacular views of the surrounding vineyards, is a tranquil oasis just a short walk from ...
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Hotel Epinal - Bitola

Hotel Epinal - Bitola

Day 3 (1 night), Bitola, Macedonia

Set on the main street of town surrounded by lively bars and cafes, the Hotel Epinal offers quiet guest rooms decorated in modern furnishings and an ...
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Hotel Molika

Hotel Molika

Days 4 to 5 (2 nights), Pelister, Bitola, Macedonia

This chalet-style hotel, built for skiers and nestled within Pelister National Park, gives us access to the park’s hiking trails.
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Vila Falo

Vila Falo

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Voskopoje, Albania

This traditional, stone-built hotel, located in the center of the Old Town, is family run and offers a welcoming, homey atmosphere. Comfortable ...
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Hotel St Naum

Hotel St Naum

Day 8 (1 night), St Naum-Ohrid, Macedonia

Set on the shores of Lake Ohrid, the Hotel St. Naum complex encircles the ancient Chapel of St. Naum, which sits in the middle of the hotel’s ...
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Royal View Hotel

Royal View Hotel

Days 9 to 10 (2 nights), Ohrid, Macedonia

The Royal View is a very comfortable hotel within walking distance of the Old Town of Ohrid. Sunset views are grand from the rooftop bar and the ...
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Hotel Bistra

Hotel Bistra

Day 11 (1 night), Mavrovo, Macedonia

The Hotel Bistra, a lodge in Mavrovo National Park, gives us great access to the park’s hiking trails. It features an indoor swimming pool, a ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Ingrid Cercek

Ingrid Cercek was born and raised in Slovenia. After 28 years living in the lovely capital, Ljubljana, she moved with her husband to a small wooden chalet to the countryside. Since her childhood, Ingrid has been exploring the mountains and villages of Slovenia as well as Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, and of course, nearby Italy. Fluent in four languages (English, Slovenian, Italian, and Croatian), Ingrid is a wonderful guide and avid mountain hiker with a passion for introducing visitors to the alpine wonders and ancient European cultures she loves. “My country is one of those rare places where you can take a deep breath of fresh mountain air in the Alps in the morning then a few hours later, breathe the fragrant scent of the Mediterranean. I love to bring trip members closer to these special places that I have such a passion for.”

Upcoming Trips:

Croatia: Istria and the Dalmatian Coast, May 6-16, 2015
Hiking in Slovenia, May 17-27, 2015
Montenegro and the Adriatic Coast, May 30-June 9, 2015
Hiking in Macedonia and Albania, June 13-25, 2015
Hiking in Slovenia, June 28-July 8, 2015
Montenegro and the Adriatic Coast, July 11-21, 2015
Hiking in Macedonia and Albania, August 23-September 4, 2015
Hiking in Slovenia, September 7-17, 2015
Montenegro and the Adriatic Coast, September 20-30, 2015
Expedition to Lappland: Northern Lights and Reindeer Herders, March 2016

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Client Testimonials:


Ingrid is absolutely one of your best guides. She went out of her way to make sure the trip was enjoyed by everyone. WT is lucky to have someone like Ingrid. M. J., Irvine Ingrid is a true professional guide, so knowledgeable and proud of he country. She couldn’t have been more accommodating and was truly fun to be with. IT was a privilege to travel with her. J. D., Kailua, HI In addition to sharing her knowledge of Slovenia and the mountains we were hiking in, and taking care of each of us, Ingrid has an extraordinary sense of humor and energy that made the trip a wonderful experience. E. F., Los Angeles CA Ingrid was wonderful! She was caring, concerned and attentive to all details and most of all...FUN! Carol M., Hillsborough CA
Slovenia: Hiking in the Julian Alps
Ingrid is a wonderful person, whom I hope to meet again. She loves her country and shows that with enthusiasm. Very responsible and a lot of fun. Jon R., Hillsborough CA
Slovenia: Hiking in the Julian Alps
Ingrid Cercek is an awesome trip leader. She worked non-stop to make sure the trip went smoothly and was able to anticipate and cater to individual needs. She is really fun to be with and our group just loved her. Mary M., S. MN
Slovenia: Hiking in the Julian Alps
You are exceedingly fortunate to have Ingrid. She is one of the most well rounded guides I have ever had. A treasure, for sure. Barbara L., Coos Bay OR
Hiking Istria & the Islands of the Adriatic
Ingrid Cercek went beyond the expected to enure our enjoyment of the trip. Carolyn P., Strafford NH
Slovenia: Hiking in the Julian Alps
Ingrid is very skilled at interacting with each member of the group. She takes her job very seriously and was always concerned that we were enjoying ourselves. Martha Ann M., Comer GA
Slovenia: Hiking in the Julian Alps
Ingrid went beyond the excellent and expected—always. I'd follow her anywhere. Pat G., Golden CO
Slovenia: Hiking in the Julian Alps
Ingrid is a terrific leader. She took great care to make sure everyone had an extraordinary experience and was also a lot of fun to be with. Cheryl O., Bedford, MA
Montenegro & the Adriatic Coast
Ingrid was fun! She was an amazing Trip Leader and a great person. I loved having her as a guide and hope to stay in touch with her. Tiffany D., Nashville, TN
Croatia: Istria & the Dalmatian Coast
I loved Ingrid! She was extremely patient and knowledgeable, with an infectious enthusiasm and easy sense of humor. She is the perfect trip leader! John M., Houston, TX
Montenegro and the Adriatic Coast
Ingrid is a wonderful person whose enthusiasm is contagious. She is thoughtful and understanding of the traveler's needs. A true gem! Lili H., Taos, NM
Montenegro and the Adriatic Coast
Ingrid was wonderful. She was very professional, friendly, and knowledgeable about many areas of interest. What impressed me about her was her desire to learn more from each of the participants on the trip. FIRST CLASS TRIP LEADER! Ron K., Scottsdale, AZ
Croatia: Istria and the Dalmatian Coast
Ingrid possessed all the right characteristics of a good guide—knowledge, humor, enthusiasm, and a desire to show the best of Slovenia. Having a guide who intimately knows the terrain makes the difference. Nancy B., Charlestown, MA
Hiking in Slovenia
Ingrid was an excellent guide. Definitely among the best we've traveled with. Christel M., Milwaukee, WI
Hiking in Slovenia
Fantastic leader! Extremely competent and great sense of humor. She worked hard to make sure everything flowed smoothly on this trip, and even if it hadn't, it STILL would have been fun! Impossible to imagine a bad day on a trip with a leader like Ingrid. Mary Jo B., Aurora, CO
Hiking in Slovenia
Ingrid is The Best. We've traveled with her three times now and she never disappoints. Pat G., Golden, CO
Hiking in Macedonia and Albania
Ingrid is an outstanding leader with a real talent for creating a good group dynamic. Her enthusiasm for the trip and her obvious competence were inspiring and reassuring! Penelope K., Aptos, CA
Hiking in Macedonia and Albania
I've been on 17 Wilderness trips and guides just don't get any better than Ingrid. She is smart, fun, thoughtful, and highly professional. I'd rank her among your very best. Betsy S., Boston, MA
Croatia: Istria and the Dalmatian Coast
Ingrid was a wonderful leader. She found so many hidden surprises for us throughout the trip, and was very knowledgeable not only about the history of the area but almost every plant and flower. I would definitely travel with her again. Jen Y., Arlington, VA
Croatia: Istria and the Dalmatian Coast
Ingrid really made the trip. Her enthusiasm, sense of fun, and love of her country really made it so much more memorable. Kim R., Seabrook, TX
Hiking in Slovenia
Ingrid has it all: humour, knowledge, experience, compassion, patience, and more. Alison D., Dallas, TX
Hiking in Macedonia and Albania
Ingrid Cercek is absolutely the best tour guide I have ever had! She is pure gold, and a premier representative of your organization. Charles R., Saint Louis, MO
Hiking in Macedonia and Albania
Ingrid is a top notch professional, who in addition to knowing her stuff, has a real knack for dealing with people and situations. Natalie S., Howard, PA
Hiking in Macedonia and Albania
Ingrid was a pleasure to be around. She is enthusiastic, energetic, and fun, and she wants everyone to learn about and enjoy every part of the republics of the former Yugoslavia. Andy W., Oakland, CA
Hiking in Macedonia and Albania
A top-notch guide, one of the best I have encountered. The trip would not have been nearly as enjoyable without her. Ingrid's expertise and care enhanced the overall experience ten-fold. Mary R., Ann Arbor, MI
Montenegro and the Adriatic Coast
This was probably my 13th trip with Wilderness, and Ingrid is clearly among my favorite leaders. She is knowledgeable, organized, friendly, and funny. Eliza S., Los Altos, CA
Montenegro and the Adriatic Coast
Ingrid excels in every respect. She has tremendous people skills, an extraordinary sense of humor, and she anticipates everyone's needs and concerns. She is also very knowledgeable about the geography and the history of the countries we visited. She is by far our favorite guide. Ellen F., Los Angeles, CA
Montenegro and the Adriatic Coast
Ingrid's love and knowledge of her native country was so apparent that she inspired us to feel likewise. An excellent organizer, she enabled our group to maximize every moment of our trip. Kathy and Jack M., Woodbridge, VA
Hiking in Slovenia
Ingrid's passion for her country and knowledge of the place and its culture, made this a full Slovenian immersion trip. While the locales were striking, Ingrid brought them to life through her cultural and historical knowledge. Pam & Rod M., Steamboat Springs, CO
Hiking in Slovenia
Her passion for this area and her humor make an unbeatable combination. Attention to detail and a sense of fun led to so many favorite moments. Bonnie B., Bakersfield, CA
Hiking in Macedonia and Albania
Ingrid is a mind-bogglingly good guide! She is well organized, enthusiastic, personable, knowledgeable, and made each guest on the tour feel special. She is a pro at the top of her game. Bruce H., Santa Fe, NM
Hiking in Slovenia
Ingrid exceeded all expectations for a tour guide with her extraordinary knowledge, enthusiasm, intelligence, engagement with participants, and leadership skills. She was wonderful. Ellen H., Santa Fe, NM
Hiking in Slovenia
We thoroughly enjoyed Ingrid. She's a great guide and enjoys sharing her love for her country and the scenery, history, and food. She selected great hikes! Lorna D., Annandale, VA
Hiking in Slovenia
Ingrid really made the trip superb. Her enthusiasm, creativity, and in depth knowledge of Slovenia were wonderful. Virginia B., Seattle, WA
Hiking in Slovenia

Client Comments

The hikes were challenging and varied with the rewards of lovely scenery and quaint villages along the way. Great food and wines everywhere we stayed were an added delight at the end of a perfect day! Lili H., Taos, NM I thought this trip really highlighted the best of Macedonia and Albania. The sights, sounds, and culture were brought to life for me and I found the experience rewarding. Natalie S., Howard, PA We are SO glad to have been offered this unique travel opportunity! Each day surpassed our expectations and increased our interest in further Balkan explorations. Bonnie B., Bakersfield, CA
A great trip: lots of exercise in beautiful countryside in both Macedonia and Albania, and comfortable lodgings and good hearty food at the end of the day. Drew S., Alexandria, VA The scenary was spectacular, the walks exceptionally interesting and satisfactorily challanging, and the overnight stops clean and restoring. A very good trip indeed. Andrew S., Washington, DC