Hiking Peaks of the Balkans

Skipping forward to 2023: Peaks of the Balkans Trail

It has been just over a year since I completed my Pyrenees (GR11) hike in 2022. A day full of emotions: proud that I did it, sadness that it was over, excitement about going home and meeting up with Antonio again, and above all a deep sense of fulfillment. I walked almost 900km through the mountains. From coast to coast. Alone.

A few days of relaxation in the coastal town of Cadaqués, a visit to the Dalí museum in Figueres (highly recommended!) and reconnecting to civilization (through netflix binges on the hotel wifi, drinking fancy iced coffees and browsing shops) marked the end of my trip.

After arriving back in The Netherlands (via train: Figueres – Paris – Amsterdam – Groningen) there was barely any time to decompress before being caught up in the swirl of daily life. Work. Friends. Family. Chores. Days blurring into weeks blurring into months. Autumn turning into winter turning into spring.

The Accursed Mountains

And here we are, one year later. I’m about to set out on on another trail: the Peaks of the Balkans Trail running through Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro in a mountain range with the rather ominous name The Accursed Mountains. So yeah, that sparks a lot of confidence. Total length is ~190km and I think it will take us 10 days to complete the full loop. A vacation and adventure together with Antonio is long overdue (he joined me for a short week last year, but our last proper vacation as a couple was in 2021!) so I’m super stoked to spend some time together in the mountains.

Cell phone service will be mostly non-existent in the mountains, but I’ll write short daily updates and post them whenever I have access to wifi (data roaming outside the EU is expensive!). Stay tuned!

Map showing the Peaks of the Balkans trail going through Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro
The official route of the Peaks of the Balkans trail

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