Hiking the High Scardus Trail through the mountains of North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania © Rudolf Abraham

High Scardus Trail

Hiking the High Scardus Trail through the mountains of North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania

The High Scardus Trail is a long-distance hiking trail stretching over 300km through the spectacularly rugged and remote mountains of North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania. Having written a guidebook to the nearby Peaks of the Balkans Trail a few years ago, I’m happy to share that I’m now working on a guidebook to the High Scardus.

The High Scardus Trail kicks off in Shar Planina National Park, jumping back and forth across the border between North Macedonia and Kosovo, and then North Macedonia and Albania, on its way south with overnight stops in tiny mountain villages and summer pastures, and meandering through some of the most spectacularly wild and remote mountain scenery in Europe – including Mt Korab, at 2764m the highest peak in North Macedonia and Albania – to finish at the monastery of Sveti Naum, on the shores of Unesco-listed Lake Ohrid. The trail is divided into three sections, and takes 20 days to hike.

Cross-border hiking in the Balkans – North Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania

The High Scardus was developed as a way to encourage sustainable local tourism in these remote mountain areas, and like the Peaks of the Balkans Trail it was set up as a joint project between the German development agency GIZ, and local tour operators. Also as on the Peaks of the Balkans, you need to apply for cross-border permits before hiking the trail. It’s possible to do this yourself, however it’s more straightforward to get a local tour operator to do it for you – and they can also book accommodation and transfers (I can personally recommend Zbulo in Albania, Shar Outdoors in North Macedonia and SuperXplorers in Kosovo, all of which were instrumental in setting up the trail).

I have been visiting and hiking in the mountains of southeast Europe and the Balkans for over 20 years. If you’re interested in commissioning me for an article on the High Scardus Trail or photography from the region, please get in touch.

High Scardus Trail Photography


For photography from the High Scardus Trail in Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania please click here.