A visit to area of the Accursed Mountains will enchant you in so many ways. Spectacular mountain scenery, exciting ascents and other gorgeous hiking routes are available to people of all ages, skills and stamina.
There are many historical landmarks and charming old settlements one can explore. This is one of the most diverse regions in Europe in a cultural and historical sense. It is a meeting point of many cultures and religions: Orthodox, Muslim and Catholic.
We have created this four-day plan to present you some of the best-kept secrets of this cross border area between Montenegro and Kosovo.
Arrival in Plav in afternoon hours
Visit to the Redžepagić Kula
The Redžepagić Kula is national cultural monument. It is one of the most painted old buildings in Montenegro. It represents a beautiful example of traditional local architecture and housing. Well-preserved artefacts vividly display local residents past lifestyle.
Visit Botanical Garden Velemun
Botanical garden Velemun was founded in 1993 on the local landfill. Today, it is a small and vivid oasis filled with autochthonous plants. In total, there are over 350 plants, which is 12% of total plants types in Montenegro. Its passionate founder and owner collects, maintains, displays and labels plants with much love and care. He brought most of the plants from the surrounding mountains.
Walk around Lake Plav
Lake Plav is the biggest glacial lake in Montenegro. With the inflows of nearby springs and rivers, its fresh waters are changing every four days. In summer, swimming and variety of other water sports (kayak, boats, and paddleboats) are possible. Its beautiful scenery attracts visitors in all seasons. The lake is also a great spot for birdwatching. One can observe species specific for the region, such as mallard, pochard, coot, moorhen, great crested grebe, little grebe, grey heron, cormorant.
The lake hosted the European championship in sport fishing.
You can go for traditional dinner in the Savić household in village Pepić underneath Visitor mountain, 7 km from Lake Plav. The household produces its own tasty cheese, honey, jam and other local specialties.
Blueberries and the Accursed Mountains
It is known that the Accursed Mountains is one of the largest natural plantation of blueberries in the world.
To honour blueberries, events are organised throughout the cross border region. During July, the famous festival Days of Blueberries is organised.
Arrival to Grebaje Valley
Grebaje Valley is fairy-tail like Alpine valley, one of the most famous landscapes of the Prokletije National Park. A walk across the valley reveals several wonders of nature, as „Hollow Door“; rocky formation known as „Cat kissing a kitten“, and an eternal glacier.
In the National Park info centre, one can rent bicycles for a picturesque ride from Grebaje to Ropojana valley. Green nuances of the landscape are eye pleasing. The valley is surrounded by grey mountains reaching height to the sky.
In surrounding villages, there are several villager households where one can stop and dine tasty, traditional dishes. Household Bojović in Grnčar village is one of them, where you can try traditional dishes and a local specialty carrot jam.
The Grebaje valley is an excellent starting point for several mountain routes in the vicinity. For example, a magnificent well „Oko skakavica“, the largest well in the Accursed Mountains.
Volušnica trail is also an attractive option. One of the most known mountain routes in Montenegro. History lovers will enjoy searching for tombstones near the abandoned summer grazing of Volušnica. This ancient engraving depicts a struggle of man and woman with a wolf attacking their child. Archaeologists estimate it dates back to the Neolithic period.
Nature lovers might be particularly interested in a walk to Kotlova and to the lowest glacier in Montenegro. There, some endemic plants like Wulfenia blecicii can be seen.
A great place to stay in Grebaje valley is katun Maja Karanfil. Katun has accommodation and a restaurant serving traditional cuisine with a unique amphitheatre of the Accursed Mountains summits.
Evening relaxation in Grebaje valley. The valley is an ideal place for slow evening stroll, jogging or meditation.
Departure for Kosovo
Prior to border crossing, make a pause and have a cup of coffee in the old town of Rožaje in Montenegro. We recommend, if time allows, a short walk to the nearby mountain Hajle known for its beautiful, flowery meadows.
Visit to Dečani Monastery
Monastery Visoki Dečani is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and is one of the most amazing cultural attractions in cross-border area between Kosovo and Montenegro. It was founded in the first half of the 14th Century by Stefan Dečanski. Admirable high and decorated monastery walls, including other treasuries, are quite impressive.
“Kullahopping” is another unique experience one can try in Deçani. It relates to visiting kulas, traditional tower houses, in villages Drenoc and Isniq. Some kulas are specialized for certin activity, such as Mill kula or Osdautaj kula in Isniq.
The Osdautaj kula also offers accommodation and features a small museum of traditional costumes and agricultural tools. There, you can meet one of the last artisans, preserving unique local weaving tradition.
If you are a fan of historical artefacts, we recommend visit to the Kastrioti Ethno Museum in Deçani. For over 20 years, the passionate owner of this simple museum has been collecting precious historical pieces. Altogether, more than 1,000 objects are displayed, including a 5,000 years-old ancient stone artefact of a special value.
Lunch in Drenovci kula
Short walking through mountains surrounding Deçan, starting from Bjeshkë e Belegut.
Bjeshka e Belegut is 24 km away from Deçan, but is worth visiting. From there, you can walk to Krshi Bletea or even Maja e Madhe and enjoy the scenery.
This walking tour takes 2 to 3 hours. During summer, you can sleep over in one of the simple cabins in the mountain. Generous and kind shepherd families will provide you with a delicious organic meal. Unforgettable!
Visit of Peja major attractions
Peja offers variety of attractions for culture and nature lovers.
Culture enthusiasts might want to start the day by:
- Visiting regional ethnographic museum, a renovated and reallocated home of Tahir Beg in Peja, one of the most beautiful medieval houses in the city.
- Visiting Haxhi Zeka Mill – the mill was the tallest building in Peja when it was built. It was the first mill in Kosovo and in the wider region, which had the most advanced electrical technology brought in from Austria. The mill initially used water for its power source, but soon switched to electricity.
- Meetings with local masters of traditional crafts.
Meeting a handicraft master who still makes traditional plis (a traditional Albanian hat) is a unique experience. The plis is a white woollen hat traditionally worn in Kosovo. Wearing this hat requires special care – it must be kept white at all times! The height of the hat varies region to region and is part of the traditional local costume. It is believed that the style originates from a similar one worn by the Illyrians.
Filigree masters – there is only a handful of artisans who maintain a centuries-old tradition of handmade filigree jewellery alive in Peja in Kosovo. Artisans spend hours curling fine silver threads into sophisticated necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets. Kosovo is one of rare places in Europe where this delicate lace-like kind of jewellery making tradition still exists. In the past, the area had its own silver mines and artisans had plenty of raw material to work with. Now, it is mainly imported, but filigree still holds special place in traditional wedding ceremonies.
If you are more of a nature lover or adventurer, you might want to spend the morning in the Rugova valley.
Rugova Canyon is a place of great natural beauty. It is considered as one of Europe’s longest and deepest canyons, reaching a depth up to 1,000 meters. The canyon has been declared a protected monument of natural heritage due to its geological, speleological and botanical values. With numerous hiking possibilities, with amazing “Tibetan Bridge” (41 m of length and 60 m of height), a spectacular zip line and via ferrata, it is also one of the best destinations in Kosovo for nature lovers and adventurers. Visit tourist centre in Pejë for more information.
Departure to Gjakovë
A short drive through the Dukagjin/Metohija plain will take you to Gjakovë. The plain covers 35% of Kosovo’s total area. Several small rivers flowing along the valley provide water for irrigation. In combination with mild Mediterranean climate, this fertile land provides excellent conditions for wine making, growing of vegetables, chestnut and almond trees. Fruit orchards also adorn the area.
Recent world events related to coronavirus reminded us of the exceptional value of local food supply. At Jupa’s Restaurant, they will bring all local flavours to your table.
Walk through the Gjakovë old town
You can start exploring the town by visiting its major cultural attractions, such as: the Tabaku Bridge and the Hadumi mosque complex, including its rich library.
Gjakovë old town is a great place for socializing. Either for a morning coffee, lunch or late-night stroll, the old town never disappoints. Locals are famous for their unique sense of humour. Stand-up Comedy Festival is taking place here in summer. Though it may be small, town Gjakovë knows how to make an impression.
Accommodation in the hotel Carshia e Jupave Inn
Hotel Carshia e Jupave is situated in the very centre of old town with magical mixture of old and new. Hotel has kept local, traditional character with a breath of warm modern design. This exclusive hotel is a perfect combination of art and design: not only in its interior adorned by precious works of art, but also its location so close to the heart of historically significant part of town.