Steeped in history and culture and hidden from the rest of Europe for decades, the ancient lands of Macedonia and Albania are intriguing enclaves that few have visited, yet they offer incredible hiking territory along with a cultural legacy that echoes the intricate tapestry of the storied past. We’ve crafted a hiker’s journey that brings us to compelling sites like the Bronze Age observatory of Kokino and remote Treskavac Monastery, and through pine-clad forests and stream-laced valleys of rugged national parks. Along the way we sample the savory regional cuisine, with its Mediterranean, Balkan, and Turkish influences, taste hearty, full-bodied local wines, and experience wonderful cultural encounters in timeless villages and monasteries throughout these age-old lands.
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
Days 1-2, Aug 28-29, 2017
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, Aug 30-Sep 1, 2017
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, Sep 2- 3, 2017
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, Sep 4- 5, 2017
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, Sep 6- 7, 2017
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, Sep 8- 9, 2017
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.