Peaks of the Balkans – Backpacking through Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo

When I moved to Europe in 2018 I ended up with some unexpected extra time on my hands before starting my job in Belgium. I eventually spent that time hiking around Romania, but not before reading about a trail called the Peaks of the Balkans. A ~190km loop trail through the rural mountains at the intersection of Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo, it was one of the newer and more remote backpacking trails through Europe and it immediately captured my attention. For the next five years it would live in the back of my mind and I would revisit the idea each summer before delaying it to the next year for an ever shifting list of reasons (excuses). Finally, last year, I roped my cousin Dave into hiking it with me and he gave me the final push that I needed to sit down and plan it all out for real this time.

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El Teide & Christmas 2023 in Tenerife

For Christmas 2023 Bianca and I traveled to the Canary Islands and spent two weeks car camping around Tenerife, with a brief hop over to La Gomera. Dispersed camping is not allowed on the islands, but Tenerife has a great series of free public campgrounds to make up for it. We spent our two weeks there across of a mix of hiking, city visits, and beach days, with plenty of tasty food in the mix. We also went SCUBA diving for the first time which was a really amazing experience for both of us.

We put together a photo album covering our adventures there for these two weeks, and here I’ll write a bit more about the big hike that I did in the middle of our trip – El Teide.

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