To this date, the epic hike to the highest peak in Kosovo, Gjeravica takes the cake as the best hike of my life. As travelers we crave new experiences. This is one of them. It’s not every day you get to casually stroll through the intersection of three bordering countries Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo. When you walk over a hill into another country it makes you realize just how imaginary borders are. The hike up to Gjeravica from Bogicevica, Montenegro is a breathtaking one that you will remember for the rest of your days.
Hike Duration – 10 to 12 hours depending on pace and breaks
Hike Distance – 25 kilometers total
Hike Difficulty – This is a moderate trail because there is not much elevation gain, but difficult in the sense of distance.
Paper Work – Before your hike head to the local police station to obtain documents to cross the border. You will pay a small fee of about five euros. Personally do not do this because I am a local and my uncle is the head of border police in the area. Chances are you will not really need any documentation, but for five euros it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Water Sources – There are endless natural springs along the trail. Water is abundant.
HOW TO GET TO GJERAVICA
I hiked this trail beginning in Montenegro, but it can also be started in Albania and Kosovo. To begin this hike you will need 4×4 transport to the trailhead in Bogicevica, Montenegro. The road leading to the trail head is simply too rough for normal vehicles and takes a skilled driver to finesse through the rough terrain. Once at the trailhead, you will begin with what is about a half hour accent to the border of Kosovo. The border will be marked by a few sign posts giving directions for local hikes. Here you can see Gjeravica in the distance and the trail leading to it. This is where the fun begins. This trail will lead you through what seems like a massive bowl of mountains. The trail, bending through endless green pastures, will be marked by red and white markers painted on rocks. These markers are frequent, but be sure to pay attention. Along the way you will pass a handful alpine lakes that form from the spring water. These lakes are a great place to take a break and fuel up.
You will find that this hike is not very strenuous as far as elevation gain, but it is long. Most of the way you will be hiking up and down steady inclines. There are only two main ascents that you will have to climb. The first climb is just before the main ascent to the peak of Gjeravica and separated by a rocky traverse to reach the base of the final ascent. The final ascent will take you about a half hour to complete. The last 50 meters of the climb are the most dangerous part of the hike. Filled with loose rocks, steep climbs and large drop offs be sure to watch you step and take it slow.
After climbing these last 50 meters, take pride in your accomplishment and grab the notebook and pen out the ammo box attached to the concrete post marking the top of Gjeravica and sign your name into history. Be sure to take plenty of time to take in the endless views of Kosovo to the north and Albania to the east. Enjoy, but don’t spend too much time though, you’re still only half way through with the hike. Gather your things and head back to the trail head. After 25km of hiking the sight of the car is going to be a beautiful one. That paired along with a bucket list hike is enough to put a smile on your face. All in a day’s work.
This hike began with a phone call from my uncle interrupting a night out clubbing. I stepped outside relieving myself of the cloud of cigarette smoke that plagues all Montenegrin clubs and was informed that a car would be ready to pick me up at 5 in the morning. My uncle Dado is the head of border patrol for this section of the country so he connected me with some of his hiking buddies. Turns out of one them is an 76 year old legend of a man named Zuvdo who will serve as my guide.
After countless glasses of water, morning came. I was greeted by Zuvdo and three other men as we loaded up the Jeep and began the hour ride up to Bogicevica. Filled with talk of politics and hot breath, I questioned what I was getting myself into. All those questions quickly dissolved when we began hiking up to the border with the sun rise marking a new day. There is a limitless feeling that takes over when you begin a hike at sunrise. You know you are in for a day to remember. Filled with talks of women, breathtaking views and a few breaks, the kilometers flew by. Next thing I know I was standing at the top of the highest peak in Kosovo with an endless view of the three surrounding countries. That moment right there is what all the struggle is for. The early mornings and long days all pay off when the feeling of accomplishment fills your soul as you gaze at the beauty of our planet. Like I said, I will never forget this day.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to conquering the tallest peak in Kosovo, Gjeravica. Happy trails and be safe out there my friends.