The hike connecting the remote Albanian village of Doberdol to the beautiful Montenegrin village of Babino Polje holds a special place in my heart because the trail passes through my home. I am a local, so I consider the entire Peaks of the Balkans Trail as my home, but this leg of the trail passes through my true home and backyard, Bogicevica. This is where I cut my teeth into backcountry skiing and hiking. Not only that, but in one day, you will hike through three countries. Pack your bag, lace up those smelly boots and get ready for adventure in the Doberdol to Babino Polje Hiking Guide.
HIKE DISTANCE: 12km
HIKE DURATION: 7 hours
HIKE ELEVATION GAIN: 650m
HIKE ELEVATION LOSS: 700m
HIKE DIFFICULTY: Moderate
NAVIGATING FROM DOBERDOL TO BABINO POLJE
Like most of the hikes starting from Doberdol, this hike starts off with a giant climb for breakfast. Believe me, it is a heavy one, but don’t be afraid it goes by quick. Your waypoint to start the hike is the peak of Tromeda. Don’t worry you can’t miss it. Look for the steep slope and the tallest peak hovering over the village, that’s it. Luckily, once you conquer this climb you are pretty much done climbing for the day.
Once at the top of Tromeda, appreciate the fact that you are now standing in the countries Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro all at once. This is always a fun thing to say to your friends. “Hey, I stood in three countries at the same time.” The trail continues north hugging the border of Montenegro and Albania.
This next part of the hike is my favorite. We call this section “Flat Mountain,” because the top of the mountain is like a plateau for a couple kilometers. It’s truly amazing. The trail winds through blueberry bushes and is a leisurely walk through untouched nature. Not only that, but it provides exception views of the Bogicevica on either side of you.
When the flat section of the trail ends you will make a small decent to a dirt road, a seating area and a map marking the border of Montenegro and Kosovo. This is a perfect place to take a break and rest. You can even take a look at the map and get your bearings. The trail continues following the road North up the mountainside until you pass into Kosovo. You will know you’ve made it when you reach a small pavilion and some trail markers.
Follow the road just a little bit longer and you will see a trail on your left side. Take this trail. It will wrap around a peak on your left side, drop in elevation then lead to a rocky scramble to gain elevation again. You will do this a few more times passing through mountain meadows filled with wild flowers. You can literarily smell them in the air. As you hike you will see a few trails going down on your right side. Don’t take these. These trails are for the traditional Peaks of the Balkans route to the village of Milishevcs.
Continue straight, bearing left until you reach another set of trail markers at the top of a hill. This marks the decent into the village of Babino Polje on your left hand side. Follow the trail down the mountainside until you hit a dirt road. Go left on the road and give yourself a warm welcome into the village of Babino Polje.
This village is where my family spent their summers for generations. Here they headed sheep, made milk and cheese and cut the fields for hay. I have a long history here and I feel so blessed that I get to enjoy it’s endless beauty. Babino Polje is nestled under countless peaks, has a fresh river flowing through it and it close to one of the most beautiful lakes in Montenegro, Lake Hrid.
HIKE WITH ME!
If you like what you see and want to be guided by a local, this hike is a part of the specialized Peaks of The Balkans Tour I provide with Balkan Mountain Adventure Company. Adventure is what we do. These experiences have changed my life forever. I want everyone to share the joy of the mountains with me and experience the wonders of my home. BLKNMTN gives you the opportunity to explore like a local and have the adventure of a lifetime. We also provide a self-guided tour for those who want to take on the trail on their own. Click the link for more information and feel free to reach out with any questions!
ADVENTURE IS WHAT WE DO
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING FROM DOBERDOL TO BABINO POLJE
This hike is always a treat for me because it is a homecoming hike. After long days out on the trail there is nothing more comforting than returning to your familiar stomping grounds. The most memorable go I have on this trail was with my buddy Jesse.
It was our last day on the trail together. He flew in from New York to have a one on one tour with me on my special version of the Peaks of the Balkans Trail. The previous night we celebrated our last night on the tour in style. We drank and enjoyed a nice bonfire with fellow hikers at our hut. Hiking out of Doberdol is a challenge on your best morning. While hung over it’s more like a death march to the top of Tromeda.
Either way we sucked it up made it to the top. Only to be greeted by heavy winds and a storm forming on the horizon. Even with the poor conditions the hike was a perfect. We walked and talked for kilometers. Laughing the day away with stories of embarrassment about last night, we got lost in the moment. The day went on and soon enough we were descending into the village of Babino Polje.
I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment when we arrived. That and the lingering feeling of fear haha. We were greeted by a herd of cows walking too close for comfort. Seriously, one of these things can take you out if they’re feeling in danger. All in all, like all my hikes, this one holds a special place in my heart.