Trail Run Albania | Run the Accursed Mountains
Sat 11th September 2021 - Sat 18th September 2021
We are taking bookings for departures into 2021 and beyond into 2022, but understand anyone considering travel will likely have additional concerns and questions.
During uncertain times, flexibility and confidence can be invaluable, and we understand you might be apprehensive when it comes to booking a trail running adventure right now.
So, we wanted to outline our assurances for all new and existing bookings:
FULLY REFUNDABLE DEPOSITS - On all new bookings. For all new bookings we have now included a six-week cooling off period which begins after the day your book with us. What that means is that your initial deposit is fully-refundable in the event that you change your mind, no questions asked.
Once the six-week cooling off period has ended your deposit payment then comes in line with our existing terms and conditions which states that deposit payments made are non-refundable in the event of cancellation by yourself.
FLEXIBLE CHANGES - For all bookings, we’re allowing you to flexibly change to any other future departure (dependent on availability) using existing monies paid as credit. We are also reducing the number of days’ notice we ask for before your departure for you to make changes, down from 90 days to 45 days. This means you can change your trip, for any reason, up to 45 days before your scheduled departure date. No hassle, no questions asked and no charge. If you choose to amend your booking, you can select any new destination or departure date.
FINANCIAL PROTECTION - All customers booking with Pure Trails Adventure are fully financial protected in the unlikely event of financial failure by the company. When you book your adventure with us you are covered by the Travel Regulation Insolvency Protection. What that means is that your holiday with us is financially safe, secure and water tight with 100% protection and no additional cost.
TRIP POSTPONEMENT - As a travel company based in the UK, we follow The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). If they advise against ‘all but essential travel’ or ‘all travel’ to a destination, we’ll postpone or amend itineraries in accordance with this advice. If your running adventure is affected as a result of these changes, one of our team will contact you directly. If we need to postpone your trip for any other reason, we’ll be in touch with you as soon as we can.
Please, rest assured, though – if your trip is postponed, for any reason, you will still get the running adventure you paid for, on a date that suits you and this will remain 100% financially protected.
Deposit for One Person£300.00
Final Balance of £995 Due 12 Weeks Before Departure
Deposit for One Person£300.00
Final Balance of £995 Due 12 Weeks Before Departure
7 Nights accommodation in boutique hotels in Tirana & mountain guesthouses on the trail
Fully-supported trail running trip
Full board throughout the trip
1 : 4 Guides to Runners Ratio
Explore empty trails in one of Europe’s best kept secrets
Running through the outstanding Albanian Alps
See a traditional way of life unchanged for centuries
Relax on the Mediterranean beaches of Durres to chill at the end
Experience a fully-supported adventure travelling only with light-packs
DAY 1 - Arrive into Tirana
Welcome to Tirana!
Capital of Albania and what a surprise place to visit. Surrounded by mountainous scenery and packed full of cultural wonder.
We pick you up in the arrivals area of the airport (you won’t miss us!) and whisk you to our hotel in the central part of the city by private air-conditioned minibus. Check-in with sometime to relax and get your bearings after the flight.
We will all catch up and get to meet your fellow Pure Trail runners, as well as our trail guides for a briefing of the adventure that lies ahead for us.
Then it’s off out into Tirana to explore by foot to stretch our legs and see what this mysterious city has to offer.
Day 2 - To the Albanian Alps
After an early breakfast and final kit check, we’ll catch our mini-bus as we travel to the north of the country, our final destination being the Albanian Alps.
Our route will take us via Shkodra city where we’ll get some cultural immersion into ancient Albania. We’ll visit the old castle located in front of the city and also check out some of the city sights before heading onward to the village of Vermosh, one of the countries northern-most villages.
Arriving in the mountains, we check into our village accommodation, explore the surrounding area and feast on some delicious Albanian cuisine.
Day 3 - Hit the trail
(approx. 20km of trail running)
We start with a short transfer to the trail head at Lepushe. The countryside here is magnificent, we’ll start running through beech woodland and past fresh springs, reaching the vast open pasture of Koprisht.
From here we head up to The Ridge of Berizhdol which is a panoramic wonder to traverse along.
The running is largely on soft grass, surrounded by mighty views of the north western faces of the Accursed Mountains.
Day 4 - Onward to Vuthaj
(approx. 19km of trail running)
Today we pick up the trails as we travel along a fine beech forest trail until we reach the narrow alpine valley of Gerbaja, which is surrounded by sheer slopes and jagged peaks.
We head onwards to Vuthaj we where have time to explore before checking into your guest house for the evening.
Day 5 - The heart of the Albanian Alps
(approx. 21km of trail running)
We load our luggage on horses this morning as they go on ahead of us to our guesthouse for the evening.
Today we will begin our long run as we reach the valley of Thethi which is in the heart of the Albanian Alps.
The trail is sided by the spectacular massif of the Lango-Karanfil peaks to our right, while Jezerca (2,694m), the highest mountain in Albania dominates to our left.
Day 6 - Theth - Valbona
(approx. 18km of trail running)
We leave the Valley of Theth behind us today as we start climbing towards the Pass of Valbona, reaching our next valley, Valbona.
The trail is beautiful and remains one of the countries iconic routes for walkers and trail enthusiasts alike, it is also the only direct way into the Valley of Valbona.
Arriving in this outstanding place, we check into our guesthouse with the evening to soak up the views.
Relax in the evening with an Albanian feast served with local beers and wine to crown our trail running journey.
Day 7 - Journey to Durres
We check out of our village guest house today with breakfast overlooking the magnificent Albanian mountains for one final time.
Our group transfer will then take us to the coastal city of Durres - rich in ancient roman history and blissful sandy beaches.
We’ll check into our hotel first, with the afternoon to see the ruins of a roman Colosseum, a touch of shopping before heading to the beach to relax.
Day 8 - Homeward Bound
It’s time to pack up and bid farewell to your new found trail running friends and our local team.
Private transfers are arranged for you back to Tirana International Airport in time to connect with your onward flight back home.
Plaza Hotel, Tirana
One of the newest hotels in Tirana, the Plaza is a beautiful hotel located in the heart of downtown district of the city.
Big, spacious rooms, contemporary design and it’s ease of access for getting about and exploring are just a few of the reasons why we love staying at this hotel.
Travelling in remote parts of Albania means we will make the most of staying in cosy, but simple village guesthouses.
Alpine-style, surrounded by meadows with cows grazing, the gentle sounds of streams trickling past and panoramic views of the Accursed Mountains from every room.
Clean and very charming, the guesthouses will form the backbone of accommodation for the trip. All of which serve up ample amounts of delicious Albanian cuisine.
We specialise in arranging excellent trail running holidays, but do not book International flights. As there is a great variety of value flights departing from all over the world to Tirana International Airport (TIA).
We will discuss with you about our trusted and recommended ways to book international flights through excellent ATOL protected partners who offer great value, ease of service and flight protection.
British citizens can enter and remain in Albania for a maximum of 90 days in every 6-month period without a visa.
Being a group of max. 12 runners with a mixture of ages and running abilities we may decide to split into flexible groups, all of which will be supported by our Albanian running guides who will travel with us on the trip.
By splitting the group will allow us all to move more fluidly, allowing all team members to run at their own comfortable pace, without feeling pressured.
Trail running in Albania is an absolute treat. The country is still well off the beaten path with very few travellers making it into the Albanian alps
We expect the trails to be empty, travelling through beech forests, lush meadows and open pastures. For the most part we will be running on the soft grass of the entry valleys. All of the time being surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Accursed Mountain ranges.
At times we will cross over from one valley to the next, climbing stepper paths with boulder and dry rock sections. Our maximum altitude will reach around 1,500m.
Our large luggage will be transported by pack mules on the days we do not have access to a vehicle.
Albania enjoys a Mediterranean climate and throughout the spring and early autumn we can expect temperatures to sit in the early to mid 20 degrees C. The mountain air is refreshingly cool on clear days, but temperatures can drop a touch to the high teens (C) at night. The conditions are absolutely perfect for trail running.
How far do I need to be able to run?
Our trips are designed for people of all running abilities. Fast or slow, it doesn’t matter as we look to deliver flexible daily runs on all of our trips.
A typical daily distance on our trips would be somewhere between 6km - 15km per day, depending on the trip this could be a longer daily distance of up to 15 - 20km. Our longest days do not go much higher than this. Our daily distances are also dictated by the terrain we run on, sometimes we cross mountain passes which take a bit of time to walk over which naturally takes longer to cover the distances.
Most importantly though, these are journeys rather than races and our group trips are managed accordingly to individuals running requirements, splitting the group if necessary if the desire is to run slower or faster. If you wish to run longer, we can easily extend this for you.
What type of terrain will we run on?
We prefer to travel on beautiful, empty trails to places which are reasonably off the beaten path.
As a result, of our destination choices, there is a range of terrains which we run upon. You can expect everything from beech forests, lush meadows, open pastures and soft grass in entry valleys.
We also do a lot of running in the mountains, being surrounded by lofty peaks. As a result some of our days include walking or running if steep mountain passes as we traverse from one valley to the next. As we go higher we expect the terrain to become dryer as we move over cobbles, stones and boulder sections.
Occasionally, we run at altitudes higher than 2,500m, but typically our ascent will not go over 1,500m.
What type of accommodation do you use?
We prefer to stay in characterful, boutique hotels and lodges which offer personality, rather than staying in larger resorts.
Location is key as it’s nice to get out and explore rather than be bused in to go sightseeing or shopping.
When we are out on the trail we will make the most of staying in cosy, simpler village guesthouses. Often these are alpine-style, surrounded by meadows with cows grazing, the gentle sounds of streams trickling past and panoramic views from every room.
Delicious and varied local meals are also a guarantee. Expect big plates of mozzarella, salads, olives, cured meats and lashings of local beer and wine at the end of well-earned day on the trail.
What happens to my luggage?
All of our trail running groups are fully-supported which means that you are only required to travel with a light pack, allowing us to travel more fluidly and giving the chance to focus on enjoying the experience in the process.
On our European trail running adventures, our large luggage will be transported ahead of us each morning by mini-van and will be left waiting for us in our rooms for our arrival later that day.
In destinations such as the Himalayas and the Albanian Alps, our large luggage will be transported ahead of us via yak, mule or porter. For such trips, we recommend bringing softer duffel bags which are easier to transport. A typical example will see our large luggage being transport several hours ahead of the groups’ departure where you will be reunited with your luggage at the end of the day.
Is it all running the entire trip?
Whilst these are trail running holidays with daily runs included, it’s a holiday after all and we feel it’s important to make the most of cultural interaction with sightseeing included alongside the running.
We combine our breathtaking routes with cultural gems which are carefully crafted to give you unique travel experiences whilst exploring the trail.
At the same time though we are flexible. If on a day you are feeling a bit tired and would prefer to explore an ancient Roman ruin rather than run through a mountain valley, we’ll make it happen for you.
What if I am a solo traveller?
No problem, a majority of people who join our trips are solo travellers. We don’t charge for single supplements as we think it’s unfair to penalise single travellers.
All of our trips are set up for twin or double rooms which works well when we stay in smaller boutique lodging. If you feel strongly about having your own room, please tell us in advance so we can make this arrangement for you without complication.
What is included in the cost of the trip?
We include just about everything so you can focus on trail running in extraordinary places. All transfers, trail running, guiding, accommodation, meals and cultural experiences are included.
The only additional costs you need to cover are for individual souvenirs, snacks, and beverages outside of what we offer. For example, if you fancy a local beer from a cafe partway through the day.
Do I arrange my own international flights?
Yes. We specialise in arranging excellent land-only arrangements with our ground team and do not book international flights. As there is a great variety of value flights departing from all over the world to the range of destinations we work in.
Throughout your booking process, we will discuss our trusted and recommended ways to book international flights through excellent ATOL protected partners who offer great value, ease of service and flight protection.
Let us know your arrival and departure details in advance and we will take care of everything else from the moment your land.
What type of food do we eat on the trip?
Part of the joy of travelling to the destinations we visit is the local cuisine. Fresh eggs, salads, cured meats, fish, olives, curries, and rice dishes…the list is endless. We want you to experience the local culture at it’s best, which certainly involves diving into the huge diversity of delicious dishes we will find everywhere we visit.
In Nepal, we will eat tasty Dhal Bhat curries served with poppadoms, local vegetables, and steamed dumplings. In the Mediterranean fresh, vibrant salads will be delivered for lunch while in the evening we eat moussakas, paellas and other wonders which are complimented for great wines and beers.
What do I need to pack?
Certainly your trail running shoes!
As each of our trips climates and terrains vary we will send out a trip specific adventure pack which will cover the types of kit and clothing required. We send this in advance so that there is time for you to purchase anything you do not already own.
What about dietary requirements?
No problem, we can take care of anything and everything. All destinations we deal with are used to catering with a variety of dietary requirements. Please inform us in advance and we will ensure this is taken care of for you.
What’s the payment schedule for your trips?
A deposit payment of £300 confirms your spot on the trip. Then there is nothing else to pay until your final balance is due 12 weeks before departure. Terms and conditions apply to payments and we will make you aware of these when signing up to one of our adventures.
In some circumstances we may need to a larger deposit or an interim deposit, but not without telling you first. Our trip details will be clearly explained before signing up.
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