Challenge level: 3 out of 5
|16 September - 23 September 2023||On Sale|
Join Dream Challenges in the barely trodden region of the Accursed Mountain Range in Albania, also known as the Albanian Alps, for Trek Albania 2023.
Together, we'll trek through the remote Theth Valley, explore towns, forests, and waterfalls that seem taken out of a fairy tale, and explore a 50m-deep canyon in the heart of the Albanian Alps. We’ll climb to awesome heights in a paradise of isolated peaks, cross the Valbona Pass and discover a massive plain hidden in the mountains.
This amazing new charity challenge also gives us the chance to stay in traditional mountain villages, discover fascinating historical monuments, and absorb the local way of life, far removed from the 21st-century society we know.
We'll reveal the full details and our full expertly-crafted itinerary very soon.
We first meet at the airport in London, where we catch our flight to amazing Albania. Our local guide welcomes us at the airport and we transfer to our accommodation in Shkodër.
Nestled between Lake Shkodër and the foothills of the Accursed Mountains, widely known as the Albanian Alps, this makes the perfect starting point for our charity challenge.
In the afternoon, you have time to explore the city's vibrant streets and sites. Then we reunite for a delicious welcome dinner and an exciting briefing from our Challenge Leader.
After a relaxing evening, we’re up early today to make our long but stunning journey to our trekking starting point in the Accursed Mountains.
After breakfast, we drive for about an hour to the crystalline Koman Lake, hidden between forested hills and rugged cliffs. The reservoir is hardly walkable, but it’s one of the most beautiful sites of the Accursed Mountains, so we make the most of the opportunity to take a ferry ride across the lake to Fierze.
Around three hours later, we arrive at the banks of Fierze and tuck into a quick lunch, before we’re back on the road on a drive to the Valbona National Park.
Now we’re high in the mountains, surrounded by lush valleys, snow-capped peaks and few people to disturb the peace of the area. Eager to stretch our legs after our time on transport, we commence our trek alongside a sparkling stream and on through the forest to a fairy-tale-like lake hidden between dense forest.
Here, we take a refreshing dip in the clear water, before drying off and heading to our accommodation.
Today after breakfast, our challenge begins in earnest. We trek up along a clear path that snakes over colourful meadows to an abandoned military barrack, now used as a shepherd’s hut. Having reached 1,650m, we catch our breath to drink in the panoramas and look out for sheep.
Then we tackle the real challenge of the day and head up to Jezerca, the highest peak of the mountain range (2,694m). It’s a steep climb, but it’s worth it, with expansive views across the Albanian Alps and a breathtaking sense of accomplishment.
After no doubt taking loads of photos, we descend to our accommodation.
Today’s trek is even longer than yesterday’s, so we make sure to fuel up with a big breakfast. Then we start climbing to Valbona Pass (1,811m). Our route takes us up steep sections, passing pretty streams and wild meadows that distract us from our aching legs.
But the best view awaits at the peak. When we finally reach it, we’re thankful for the gruelling climb. From here, we look across an endless valley, sweeping between the rocky mountains, with lush vegetation giving way to bare mountain peaks.
We enjoy a picnic lunch with an unbeatable view, before descending through the beech forest back to civilization, where we find our accommodation and settle down for a well-deserved rest.
Today, we set off after breakfast through the neighbourhood and across the river to a forest trail. Now, we face a gruelling climb, ascending approx. 1,000m through the mountains.
At last, our forest path emerges onto a massive plain, which looks somewhat out of place in the middle of the mountains. This is the perfect place to take a well-deserved break before making our way back down the forest to our accommodation in Theth.
Now it’s time to explore the heart of the Albanian Alps. After breakfast, we wander through the village, passing the charming gardens and visiting the historic church, which looks like something out of Rapunzel.
Trekking on, we reach the fascinating Lock-in Tower of Theth (Nikoll Koçeku), which once imprisoned for committing serious crimes against the traditional 15th Century laws.
We spend time immersing ourselves in the incredible local history before we climb up to a stunning waterfall, and a 50m deep canyon. We take another break here to enjoy the views over lunch and then finish our day’s trek following a bridle path to our local accommodation.
We’ve made it to our final day of trekking! Having admired the canyon yesterday, we’re raring to explore it some more.
After breakfast, we hike through the canyon to Blue Eye, a paradise on Earth. A natural spring flows into a clear blue pool of icy water amidst rugged rocks. Not only does Blue Eye treat us an entrancing view, but it also gives us a chance to watch out for butterflies enjoying the natural paradise.
After a beautiful break, we walk back to our accommodation for lunch and then transfer to Shkodër. Here, we toast our success over a fantastic celebration dinner and settle down at a hotel in the city.
Today after breakfast, we bid goodbye to the Albanian Alps and head to the airport for our flight back to the UK. Here we part ways for our respective homes, still revelling in an unforgettable sense of achievement.
Pay the registration fee (£299) and challenge costs (£1,799) + airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £275).
Pay the balance
Pay your registration fee (£299) and airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £275), and fundraise £3,598 or more for your chosen charity.
Minimum sponsorship target
Our charity trek in Albania is not about living in the gym. Loads of people who sign up for our non-competitive charity challenges have low levels of fitness when they register. The point is to train, do your best, and reach your fitness goal while making a big difference for the charity that means the most to you.
That said, we strongly recommend you train for Trek Albania. We'll face long days of trekking, encounter steep climbs and tackle a lot of uneven terrains. Please invest in a pair of quality hiking boots with ankle support to wear during your training and on your trek in Albania, as these are essential for walking on uneven terrain. We also recommend incorporating hills in your training walks.
Our supportive challenge guides and community spirit will help you conquer the trek of a lifetime. You're also likely to improve your mental health and well-being.
Once you register for Trek Albania 2023, we'll send you a realistic training plan. This builds up gradually over time so you'll be ready and raring to go by the time we depart for Albania. You can also check out our top trekking tips here and our indoor training ideas for the days you don't feel like facing the weather!
Everyone who is 18 years old or over by the departure date is more than welcome to join Trek Albania 2023. We'll have adults of all ages taking part to achieve something awesome for charity — one of the many things that make our charity challenges so special
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own. Our challenges around the world are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and lifelong friendships made, as our groups take on these incredible feats together.
Once you've signed up, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for our trek in Albania. Please use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow trekkers on your training and fundraising.
You may also want to reach out to the other participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.
The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your trekking challenge for charity and we will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself.
Once you have registered, we will send you a Welcome Pack with everything you need to know about your challenge, including the itinerary, an example insurance policy, details about our challenge destination in the Albanian Alps and the weather we can expect on our trek, the structure of an average trekking day, a full kit list, and a realistic training plan to help you get fit for the challenge. The training programme builds up gradually as the trek gets closer.
We'll also send you regular updates in the lead-up to the adventure, with more important details and seasonal fundraising ideas. During the trek, we'll have a UK doctor with expedition medicine training accompanying the group at all times, along with a team of outdoor remote first-aid trained challenge guides.
Your non-refundable registration fee of £299 per person is used to administer the challenge.
Your challenge costs of £1,799 (ie. 50% of the fundraising target if you choose the Sponsorship option) cover:
You will need a pair of quality walking boots with ankle support — these are essential for trekking on uneven terrain. Please also bring a 2-litre water bottle.
We'll supply you with a full kit list for your overseas trekking challenge well before we leave for Albania.
In addition to paying your registration fee (£299) and either self-funding your challenge costs (£1,799) or fundraising the minimum sponsorship target (£3,598), you'll need to budget for your:
Yes of course! If you would like to extend your stay in Albania, please let us know at least 17 weeks before our departure date and we can arrange this for you.
Our Dream Challenges are renowned for their camaraderie, but we find that the strongest bonds are formed in smaller groups. We'll travel in a group of around 20-30 people and you're likely to make friends for life!
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Please arrange your insurance as soon as you can after you sign up to ensure you have coverage for your booking as well as the challenge.
In your Welcome Pack, you will receive information about an insurance provider that specialises in our type of overseas challenges and also covers you for cancellation due to medically-diagnosed COVID-19.
You can, however, take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity trek in Albania. Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate coverage for your challenge.
Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate coverage for your charity trek.
You will need to arrange your tourist visa for Albania. We will send you details on how to apply as our overseas challenge gets closer.
As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.
We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website here, to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.
NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home