Hiking and swimming trip to Montenegro and Albania

  • August 30, 2014 · 5:00 AM
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A trip we've been all waiting for: Hike up the stunning Montenegrin mountains and swim in the Adriatic sea and the Skadar Lake. London European Club invites you to enjoy 8 days in Montenegro and Albania visiting a region that only a decade ago was accessed only by smugllers of weapons, cigarettes and all kinds of goods that could be smuggled on donkeys because no car could reach the rugged terrain. So before tourists flock let us enjoy the hospitality of the Balkans most unreachable mountain villages and the warmth of the end of summer swim in the Adriatic sea, which has an average temperature of 25 Centigrades in August.

After an early flight from London with Ryan Air flight [masked], 6:30am) to Podgorica, which is the modern capital of Montenegro we are going straight to Perast at the shore of the Adriatic sea. The difference between one of the busiest cities in Europe and this historic little town is striking, so we will use the weekend to just relax, swim and enjoy the good Montenegrin food. 

Perast lies beneath the hill of St. Elijah (873 m), on a cape that separates the Bay of Risano from that of Kotor, and overlooks the Verige strait, the narrowest part of the Bay of Kotor. 

Next day, we will go off to Kotor which is located in a secluded part of the Bay of Kotor. The old Mediterranian port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnY6pp0WNMA&feature=player_detailpage

 Together with the overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovchen, Kotor and its surrounding area form an impressive and picturesque Mediterranean landscape. These cliffs will be a part of our hiking expeditions, starting on Day 3. Both Kotor and the surrounding Bay are recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. To learn more about the region we are visiting please click on the clip below.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlbFQdeWjKs

On the third day of our trip we will be going up Lovchen mountain from sea level to 1400 meters above sea level. We are staying in a  cozy mountain hotel, which serves a most delicious breakfast of local cheeses , prosciutto and mountain honey.

We will then continue our hike across the mountains to reach the river Drina and take a boat that will take us to the the Skadar Lake so we can spend the night in a local B&B. After two days of hiking we will spend a leasurely day around the lake, swiming and exploring the national park before we cross over to  Albania. Below is a map of the area which we will be visiting.

Few Europeans already hiked the Montenegrin coastal mountains last August

The border between Montenegro and Albania passes across the Skadar lake. After a boat ride, we’ll start our hike in what is geologically known as “the Tail of the Alps” or the Albanian Alp Mountains. The video below is for ilustration only, we will not be using ropes or going rock climbing and you do not need special equipment to join this trip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwgfspKXaDE&feature=player_detailpage

After an early start and a full day of hiking we’ll spend the night at a private guesthouse in a village on the Albanian side of the border. Next day, after a half day hike, we drive back to the Montenegrin capital Podgorica, where we are staying overnight in the central part of town and have a farewell dinner. We have enough time to visit a market in the morning before we depart to London on Day 8 at 12:15 pm with a Rynair flight.  

Recommended flights from London Stansted to Podgorica

Rynair https://www.bookryanair.com/SkySales/booking.aspx?culture=en-gb&lc=en-gb#Select

Saturday, 30th of August London Stansted to Podgorica £61.99 Depart 6:30am

Sautday, 6th of September Podgorica to London Stansted £121.99 Depart 12:15pm

Cost of the trip - £490 which include:

Accomodation in 3 star hotels in Perast, Lovchen and Podgorica, B&Bs and guesthouses, depending on availability in villages.

Local transport from and to airport and between the places we are visiting and hiking to.

Guided hikes

All breakfasts are included as well as food that we will carry on the hikes. Dinner in the Albanian village is also included.

Flights and Travel insurance are not included in the price of the trip.

All other dinners are not included in the price.

If you want to join this trip please email Maja on [masked]

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  • Maja

    The lady from the Italian group that we met in Albania sent me this video which she made using Balkan music (Bregovic) over the backdrop of her photos from Montenegro
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTy1JfAiees&feature=youtu.be

    September 17

  • Henning

    Just bought perfectly ripe figs at M&S... What a disappointment... I wanna go back to Montenegro... :-(

    4 · September 16

    • Grae

      Imperfection = beauty :o)

      2 · September 16

    • Emmylou

      Foraged (stolen?) fruit = perfection

      3 · September 16

  • Lea B.

    Guys, thank you for joining us on this trip and contributing your awesomeness to such an amazing experience! It was nice meeting you, hope to see you soon! Thanks for the great photos too.

    September 13

  • Yelda K

    Thanks Maja and fellow intrepid LEC crew for creating and sharing this wonderful adventurous week. 5 stars!

    September 11

  • johan

    Hei all - just wanted to say many thanks for a great time in the balkans and thanks to all the people that came and made the trip memorable. In a bit of a bizarre way, my highlight was the day we got caught in torrential, monsoooon rain in the woods.. happy memories..

    2 · September 10

    • Emmylou

      If you include the subsequent warm up and re-humanisation then yep, totally!

      September 10

    • Maja

      Yes it feels good to ""survive"­ bad weather.

      September 11

  • Kuldip

    A really lovely bunch of people! Thanks Maja for making it so easy to explore new countries and cultures, and create a memorable trip.

    September 10

  • Tony

    Thanks very much Maya and Lea for organising a great holiday so well, filled with a superb and diverse combination of adventure, activity, relaxation, mountains, water, weather, interesting conversations, fun and happy times (plus a few unplanned challenges!)

    1 · September 9

  • Wanda

    Shockingly amazing and bad weather at the same time and we made it nevertheless. Very resiliant group and amazing hidden gems, Montenegro & Albania.
    Thank you for allowing us discover these!

    1 · September 8

  • Ewa

    Thank you Maja, thank you Guys ... Excellent time ... Great experience x

    September 8

  • Ewa

    Thank you Maja, thank you Guys ... Excellent time ... Great experience x

    1 · September 8

  • Mona

    An amazing adventure! A thank you to everyone for making it such a fun and memorable holiday - had such a wonderful time...Thank you Maja for bringing us all together!

    1 · September 7

  • Sarah

    What a brilliant holiday! I can't believe we did so much - beach, rivers, culture, spectacular scenery - amazing!
    Thank you Maja, it was a really special trip; already looking forward to the next one!! ( although I'm still not sure about that icy water!!)

    1 · September 7

  • Emmylou

    It was an amazing week... been lying in the sea today thinking over the many magical moments... the places and meals and above all the people who made it great! Thanks to everyone but especially Maja.

    1 · September 7

  • Anna P

    It couldn't be better. Thank you Maja.

    2 · September 7

    • Emmylou

      He he... we got the message! Totally agree, of course :)

      1 · September 7

  • Anna P

    It couldn't be better. Thank you Maja.

    September 7

  • Anna P

    It couldn't be better. Thank you Maja.

    September 7

  • Maja

    We stumbled upon two European gems, the raw beauty of Montenegro and Albania is stunning. My utmost gratitude to the Europeans who followed me on this adventure. Without you it would have been impossible to see all that we saw and to have such an amazing week.

    2 · September 7

  • Grae

    So memorable (in so many ways)

    2 · September 6

  • Sue N.

    Memorable trip, and fantastic time in Albania. Thanks Maja!

    1 · September 6

  • Emmylou

    Seems the security threat in the UK has been raised to severe... this may have an impact on airport security checks tomorrow, so be warned...

    1 · August 29, 2014

  • Emmylou

    Here's something to sweeten the pill of the early morning Stansted start... twin rooms for £35 on a Saver deal. Well worth it for a greedy sleeper like me :)

    http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/STAAIR/london-stansted-airport

    4 · July 10, 2014

    • Emmylou

      Or, more realistically, a nice early night.

      1 · July 29, 2014

    • Emmylou

      We're about to hit the bar in the premier inn... join us for the thrills!

      August 29, 2014

  • Emmylou

    Stansted people: as our flight is so early, we'll meet at the departure gate for the flight - so go ahead and get through security. If I have time to spare before the gate's announced I'll be in the Pret a Manger (after security). Please let me know of any problems on[masked] 783.

    I believe we'll all meet at Stansted apart from: Maja, Lea, Syb, Sue, Ana Penalver, Anna Paluch. Is that right?

    See you there - can't wait!

    August 28, 2014

    • Anna P

      Hi there,

      August 29, 2014

    • Anna P

      I'm staying at stansted hotel tonight, so will be joining you latest tomorrow morning, but let me know if you're going to catch up tonight too. See you soon. Anna

      August 29, 2014

  • Maja

    Guys it is so stunningly beautiful here, come prepared for lots of sunshine, extreme beauty, deep blue sea and rocky mountains. If someone has a Canon charger please bring it along.

    5 · August 28, 2014

    • Maja

      The temperature is around 30 degrees

      August 28, 2014

    • Sue N.

      Arrived in Dubrovnik today and have ticket for coach on Saturday to Kotor, looking forward to revisiting the old city tomorrow. Stunning flight down the coast.

      August 28, 2014

  • Henning

    I just realized that an exhibition that I want to see will close on Sep 7th. It's the "Making Colours" exhibition in the National Gallery (http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/making-colour). The only day left when I can go is Friday evening. Luckily the museum is open late. Does anybody want to join me before heading to the airport? I'll be at the National Galley around 6pm.

    August 26, 2014

    • Emmylou

      I think my packing will be too last minute for this!

      August 28, 2014

  • Tatyana

    Hi , I've just came back from Montenegro. It's amazing country! Such a history. You will enjoy it.

    1 · August 24, 2014

  • Maja

    Thank you all of those who came for the brief8ng this evening. I didn't hear from Yelda and Carlos, but everyone else was either there or had an excuse not to be. Emmylou is the point of contact for those of you travelling from Stansted on the 30th. See you all in Montenegro, please make sure you all get there.

    2 · August 19, 2014

    • Emmylou

      'Mama Emmy'!?! Mutter mutter grumble ;-)

      1 · August 20, 2014

    • Carlos L.

      Hi Maja, I'm afraid I missed the call for briefing at some point of my agitated life.

      August 20, 2014

  • Henning

    Wow, I realized just now how tiny Montenegro actually is. The coast is in walking distance from the airport and the lake where we will be staying on Wednesday is just 15k from the airport.

    August 19, 2014

    • Maja

      :-) Remember what I said about distances...kilometers can be deceiving.

      1 · August 19, 2014

  • Maja

    We are in Cafe Rouge across the road fro. Sheakspear's head.

    August 19, 2014

  • Emmylou

    The briefing meeting has moved a little further down Kingsway to Café Rouge.

    August 19, 2014

  • Anna P

    Hi guys,
    I am already starting my holidays on 22 of August, so want to prepare for our hike earlier.
    I was wondering, if someone who attended the hikes before could put together a list of things which we definitely should take with? I am sorry, if this question sounds silly, but I would like to be prepared than to trouble later the whole group because of lack of proper hiking boots or anything else.

    Do we actually need a visa to come to Albania and Montenegro? We are quite a few nationalities together and in some countries you can get a visa at the airport, but it some not.
    How much cash should we take, considering there are maybe not many ATM on the way and in which currency? I mean, is it easy to exchange EUR or GBP there or we should rather come with the local money?
    Thanks for your help and have a great weekend.
    Anna

    August 8, 2014

    • Wanda

      I checked mine ;)

      August 11, 2014

    • Lea B.

      Hi!
      About the visa, both Montenegro and Albania are not members of the EU, but EU passports don't need visa to enter. Holders of other passports should really check this out on their own.

      For everything else make sure you attend the brief meeting before the trip, once it's appointed.
      Glad to meet you soon,
      Lea

      August 11, 2014

  • Susana

    I really wish you a nice trip, Montenegro is amazing!! Enjoy

    August 11, 2014

  • Anna P

    Great, thanks Maja.

    August 11, 2014

  • Grae

    No good at v.early starts - think I'll overnight at airport

    July 30, 2014

  • Sue N.

    No I am going a couple of nights earlier flying to Dubrovnik and getting bus down to our first hotel.

    July 29, 2014

  • Maja

    Those of you who want a single room, please tell me now or stay silent ifyou happen to share with a snoorer (not that there are any snoorers on this trip :-)

    1 · July 15, 2014

  • Lakshmi

    If anyone is dropping out, let me know. This seems like an amazing trip

    June 7, 2014

  • Wanda

    [masked]

    May 7, 2014

  • Wanda

    If anyone decides to opt out please let me know!!! I'm too keen B-).

    May 7, 2014

  • Dul

    If someone cannot make it I'd be happy to take the spot. Cheers!

    April 22, 2014

  • Henning

    Just booked the flights. Will stay until Tuesday to add 3 days of scuba diving. Just in case anybody is interested in joining me, here's the link to the dive base... http://www.divemontenegro.com/

    April 3, 2014

    • Ana

      Oh, shame... just saw this, and have booked my flights already... well, I'll make do with Unterbacher See ;)

      April 16, 2014

    • Henning

      Of course, nothing can beat the Elbsee when it comes to diving :-)

      April 17, 2014

  • Ana

    Flights booked!! Yeah! Looking forward to it! I'll meet you on Sat lunch time in Perast, and will stay till Sun 3pm :)

    April 16, 2014

  • Sarah

    Me too! I'm already planning a fitness regime to ensure I'm in top form at the end of August!!

    1 · April 2, 2014

    • Maja

      Oh Henning, I just saw the solution and laughed so much, tears are rolling down my face. Well I know you are strong and I am sure someone else will volunteer if I can't walk,but please look at the terrain where we are hiking before you commit to it. I am flatteted by the idea though....

      April 13, 2014

    • Maja

      Flattered that is :-)

      April 13, 2014

  • Sybrand

    Booked my flights. As I am pretty allergic to anything related to Michael O'Leary I decided to depart a bit earlier on Friday afternoon with renown carrier Air Serbia. Flight back is Saturday morning 8:40, a few hours before Ryanair. It is actually a lot cheaper than Ryanair, even when considered including the extra night in Podgorica on the Friday. If any of you can take the Friday afternoon off, check this alternative:

    http://www.kayak.co.uk/flights/LON-TGD/2014-08-29/2014-09-06

    1 · April 8, 2014

  • Tony

    Flights booked! Looking forward to this interesting trip!

    2 · April 2, 2014

  • Anna

    What level of difficulty will the hiking be if it's not quite as in the video (ie no ropes etc) and roughly how many miles each day will you be doing or what fitness level is required?

    April 1, 2014

    • Maja

      You need to be fit to enjoy this trip. We will be doing up to 1500 meters height and up to 25km during the hiking days. The terrain is quite rugged and there is no alternative to walking in some of the sections.

      April 1, 2014

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