Europe

The Three Peaks hike in Prokletije National Park

They always say to keep the best for last, but when you’re going on a roadtip, you’ll never know when the best is coming. It’s depending on so many factors, many of which you don’t have control over, such as the weather for example. But on our trip through Montenegro we got lucky. Each day it got better and better, until it climaxed on our last stop; the Prokletije National Park.

This part of the country is often overlooked as it’s a little less accessible then the Durmitor National Park or the coastline of Montenegro. But in my opinion, it’s the most authentic and most beautiful place. I’d brave the many potholes along the way over there all over again for some extra time in that area.

We arrived late afternoon at our hotel for the next two nights; Eko Katun ROSI – Old Tower in Vusanje. Surrounded by the beautiful mountains we just took a seat outside our cabin and enjoyed a drink in this amazing scenery. Nothing beats these moments.

Online I hadn’t been able to find a lot of information on hiking routes in the area. Of course you have the famous ‘Peaks of the Balkan’ -trek but we sadly didn’t have time to cover that +100km trail. Other trails didn’t seem that much advertised. Our host was very helpful however and guided us towards the Three Peaks Hike, departing from the Grebaje Valley. While this hike made my heart beat a whole lot faster, my legs were still aching from the activity the past couple of days. I was a little bit afraid to put more strain on it with the accident I had had before departure as well, so the next morning, I decided that it might just be a little too much and figured we’d find another trail with less altimeters.

But then only after fifteen minutes and some stumbling around without purpose, we turned the car around and I told my legs to just suck it up. I was here now and it seemed like nothing would be like that Three Peaks Hike.

Arriving in the Grebaje Valley to the view you can see above here only encouraged me further to just try. Maybe we didn’t have to do the whole trail. We could just climb to the first peak and then come back down. A little bit of compromise.

The first few kilometers are your usual mountain-hike trail; through the woods up to the three line. A necessary pain. I had read a lot about Montenegro’s bad marking of the trails, but for this trail that wasn’t the case. That is if you pay enough attention. We missed one marking, when you go off the main path to the left instead of further up. When we realized we were going the wrong way and returned it was quite obvious where we had gone wrong. We just hadn’t been paying enough attention.

Once you then make it past the three line, it becomes magical. First you stumble through some beautiful, lush meadows before you hit the first peak; Volušnica. What. a. VIEW!

I was in awe. The entire mountain range in front us of took my breath away. While every step had somewhat hurt to make it there, it was worth it all. So much so that just returning suddenly felt like a really bad idea. I mean, from there on, the altimeters to the next peak weren’t that bad. One more wouldn’t hurt right? So we continued, and as the sun moved, the peaks became only clearer and my heart soared.

Once we’d reached the next peak, I should have known that we weren’t going to turn back. We were going to hike the whole thing because it was just too beautiful to pass on. My next goal was to make it to the border with Albania. The Three Peaks Hike does go a bit over Albanian territory. It’s only a few hundred meters but I find a whole lot excitement in being with one foot in one country and the other in another. Some call it childish, I call it cool.

Third peak and last so it was time to say goodbye to the mountain range we’d been admiring the last couple of hours. It actually pained my heart. But we still had some distance to cover to make it back to the car and I didn’t want to be stuck in a dark forest and painful legs. So off we went.

After five hours of hiking and ten kilometers with one thousand altimeters, we arrived back at our car. My legs were very grateful that it was over, but I didn’t regret it one single bit. For those views I’d do it all over again. It truly was a magnificent hike and I’m still overwhelmed with gratitude and happiness whenever I think about that day.

It was our last full day in Montenegro, and definitely a highlight of our trip. I urge you all to head to the Prokletije Mountains when you’re traveling through Montenegro. It’s so worth it!

♥ Ellen

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