See what's happening at the High Scardus Trail and Destination!
High Scardus Trail on National Geographic
The world's leading travel magazine, the National Geographic Traveller dedicates a major feature to the High Scardus Trail in its latest issue!
When National Geographic dedicates a multi-page tribute to a trail, it can be compared to a knighthood. Even more so, if the contribution reports so well-founded about "Europe's last wilderness" in the Western Balkans. But that is what one is used to from National Geographic in terms of quality!
Author Siobhan Warwicker also skillfully provides a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges involved in creating this fascinating long-distance trail, for example. Her words are perfectly complemented by the photos of Matthew Nelson, who now knows the Western Balkans like the back of his hand. Both are to be thanked, as is National Geographic for their courage in offering this stage to a new long-distance hiking project.
For the entire High Scardus Trail team, the local experts, the German Society for International Cooperation and the PPP partner, the Trail Angels, the publication in the National Geographic Traveller is a great motivation. And for the Trail itself certainly a turbo for further development!
Here is the Link: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/high-scardus-hiking-trail-west-balkans
High Scardus Trail Hiking Season 2023
The High Scardus Trail hiking season can begin!The team of the High Scardus Trail was very active the last weeks to develop attractive offers for the High Scardus Trail.
Together with the lead partner Trail Angels, an intensive qualification program was carried out and new products for the High Scardus Trail were developed. And the result is impressive!
In addition to the Trail Angels Explorer Gates in June and September (this program is just being released), there are now great hiking opportunities in all sections of the High Scardus Trail. These are all run by local tour operators who have been certified as "Official Partners" as part of the High Scardus Trail project. Especially interesting: there are packages for individual hiking as well as for group tours. We wish you a lot of fun while browsing.
Unique! With the online trip planner at the online trail info & booking system Bookyourtrail® of the lead partner Trail Angels you can now plan and book your individual hiking trip on the High Scardus Trail! The implementation of your desired trip is again the responsibility of certified and quality-checked partners on site.
So, let yourself be inspired and discover the fascinating High Scardus Trail! Awarded as "Best Tourism Project in Europe" at the "International Tourism Awards".
Trail Angels High Scardus Trail Explorer Tour 2023
Places still available!
The Explorer Tours of our official project partner Trail Angels already enjoy a legendary reputation. Why not combine a breathtaking trekking experience with unique insights into the fascinating world along the respective trail. After the great success of the Explorer Tour in autumn 2022, a new, even more attractive program has now been designed, opening up the most spectacular sections of the award-winning High Scardus Trail in all three countries - Albania, Kosovo and Northern Macedonia. The Explorer Tour will be accompanied by selected and competent local guides, who are also actively involved in the development of the High Scardus Trail, and by Stefan Lieb-Lind, IVBV mountain and ski guide, Balkan expert and Chief Trail Scout with the Trail Angels. Places are still available for the Explorer Tour in June 2023 - if you want to get excited about this tour, you can find out more details HERE.The High Scardus Trail Organization is already looking forward to welcoming you on this fascinating journey of discovery on the High Scardus Trail!
Photo: Matthew Nelson, CC BY-ND, High Scardus Trail Organization
High Scardus Trail Workshop Ohrid
Inspired by the award "Best European Tourism Project" at the International Tourism Awards in London, the next important steps for the High Scardus Trail project were set during a two-day workshop in Ohrid (North Macedonia).The first day was dedicated to organizational development in order to achieve the common goal of making the High Scardus Trail the best long-distance hiking trail in the Balkans in the near future. On the second day, with the intensive cooperation of the local tour operators, the conditions for the establishment of a High Scardus Trail booking center were created.ATTENTION! The new bookable offers for the High Scardus Trail will be released on this website soon.The High Scardus Trail project is a Public-Private-Partnership of the Austrian company Trail Angels together with GIZ (tender) and with increasing involvement of local decision makers in the shape of the HSTWG.
The joint team of Trail Angels, GIZ and local tour operators worked intensively on the future of this outstanding long-distance trail. This time even hybrid. Photo: High Scardus Trail, High Scardus Trail Organization
High Scardus Trail is the best European Tourism Project 2022
WOW - time to celebrate!
Our trail wins one of the most prestigious tourism awards!
At the World Travel Market London (with ITB Berlin the biggest tourism fair in the world) the High Scardus Trail was awarded "Best European Project"! This award is given by the renowned British Guild of Travel Writers.
Trail Angel Lisa Pirkebner represented the development team of the Trail Angels in a worthy manner and together with Ricardo Fahrig (representative of the High Scardus Region) received the award in London.
The High Scardus Trail is a tri-national long distance hiking trail (Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia) in the Western Balkans and is developed by the Trail Angels, together with the GIZ, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and a regional working group in a business partnership to a lighthouse project for sustainable tourism.
We are really proud of this award and will keep on developing this region to a leading green and sustainable tourism region.
Award ceremony at the World Travel Market London Photo: British Guild of Travel Writers, British Guild of Travel Writers
What the first hikers say!
We are really overwhelmed that the High Scardus Trail has already aroused so much interest in the long-distance hiking community this year. We are happy to share here the first travel reports from trekkers who have already hiked the trail. We will also keep this blog updated with new reports!
ATTENTION: All trip reports are from experienced trekkers, who were self-organized, partly with their own tent on the road. We are working intensively on the further development of the trail and recommend less experienced trekkers to wait for the hiking offers of the High Scardus Trails booking center for the season 2023.
One of the best long distance hikes you can do in Europe. It is remote, but not risky, in the mountains you hardly meet a person and you have the wonderful nature for yourself. It is incredibly quiet! And the friendliness of the people is sensational anyway. The trail system and the markers come and go. It can't be compared to trails in Central Europe or the USA, but the GPX files on www.high-scardus-trail.com are very reliable and should be sufficient for experienced, independent trekkers.
Very beautiful, panoramic trail. Walking for a long time at an altitude of around 2.000m along the Sharri Mountains, offering nice views
Rough and pristine - and unabashedly beautiful: these are the words that first come to mind about the High Scardus Trail. A long-distance hiking trail that is one of my personal top 3. And as a state-certified mountain and ski guide, I know many trails. The overall package of gorgeous mountain scenery and incredible hospitality (you can really cut yourself off from that) makes it a profound experience that will stay with me for a long time. And one can easily overlook when the wayfinding is difficult due to missing markings or the search for accommodation is difficult - with the data from www.high-scardus-trail.com an experienced hiker (but only this!) However, copes well. The trail is, after all, brand new and often leads through largely undeveloped tourist territory. This is exactly what we were looking for and what we found. Conclusion: Mission accomplished!
As an experienced trekker who has been hiking the world's long-distance trails for almost four decades, I was particularly fascinated by the High Scardus Trail, not only for its scenic beauty, but also for the hospitality of the people we met along the trail. I therefore traveled to the region for the second time within a year.
For me, the High Scardus Trail is one of the three best long-distance trails I've ever been on. And I have hiked many, from the Alps to the USA to the Himalayas. The infrastructure, of course, needs to be improved to open up this grandiose hiking experience to less experienced trekkers, but the stages I've hiked (from Radomire south) stand out for their breathtaking beauty and variety. With an almost beguiling finale at Mount Magaro between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa.
Wanderer Rüdiger Mertz und sein Zelt in atemberaubender Kulisse Photo: Rüdiger Mertz, CC BY-ND, Rüdiger Mertz
High Scardus Trail Social Media
In addition to the official website about the High Scardus Trail, the official social media channels on Facebook and Instagram have now been activated:
Together with our local partners, we want to use the two channels to report on current developments, new offers and the current project status of the PPP with the Trail Angels and GIZ. So if you want to know the latest information about this outstanding long-distance hiking trail, you are invited to follow High Scardus Trail on Facebook and Instagram, share its posts or even tag your own hiking experiences with @highscardustrail.official.
We're looking forward to lots of social media activity under High Scardus Trail Official.
High Scardus Trail Explorer Tour
The project partners Trail Angels and GIZ are pleased to announce that the Explorer Tour on the High Scardus Trail (from 7 to 17 September 2022) is now fully booked.
The Explorer Tour is run by the Trail Angels in close cooperation with local tour operators and guides and will allow international travellers to experience selected sections of the High Scardus Trail. The group will be accompanied by the Trail Angels' Trail & Western Balkans expert, Stefan Lieb-Lind (IVBV Mountain & Ski Guide).
Explorer tours are a special travel format developed by the Trail Angels to explore and test new hiking routes and hiking products. Because of the experimental nature of the trip, it appeals to adventurous and curious guests who also have patience, tolerance and a sense of humour, and are inspired to actively contribute to the design of the final travel product.
As the interest for exploration tours in 2023 is already very high, new Explorer Tour dates for the High Scardus Trail will be announced here as soon as possible. We are already looking forward to your interest!
Attention: if you want to be informed directly about the High Scardus Trail journeys in 2023, just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: G.Mussnig/Trail Angels GmbH, High Scardus Trail Organization
High Scardus Trail Stakeholder Workshop Tirana
Tirana, 08 - 09 June 2022
On 8 and 9 June, with the kind organisational support of GIZ Albania, a two-day workshop for the further development of the High Scardus Trail took place at the new headquarters of GIZ Albania in Tirana. In total, the Trail Angels and GIZ welcomed 15 participants from all three project countries (KOS; MKD; ALB) and from different sectors. At the beginning of the workshop, the Albanian Deputy Minister for Tourism and Environmental Protection Vilma Bello informed herself about the goals and status quo of this lighthouse project, which is so important for Albania. The aim of the workshop was to jointly create the prerequisites for the future organisational structure and for enquiry and booking management and to set binding milestones for their implementation. In particular, this is to ensure autonomous management and design of the High Scardus Trail and to take the first step towards a trinational destination for sustainable mountain tourism.
In this way, this still unknown but immensely impressive mountain region is to be made accessible for sustainable tourism and the highest possible added value for the local population is to be ensured.
The meeting concluded with a meeting with the recognised foundation PONT (Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust) to discuss possibilities for future cooperation, especially between protected areas and sustainable tourism.
One of the next big activities within the project is the very special Explorer Tour from 7 - 17 September, for which there are still a few remaining places. More information: Explorer Tour
Photo: High Scardus Trail, High Scardus Trail Organization
High Scardus Trail Explorer Tour
Obervellach, March 30, 2022
The interest in the High Scardus Trail is already very high! In order to give long-distance hikers who like to take on the role of pioneers the opportunity to hike the High Scardus Trail this year, the Trail Angels have announced a first "Explorer Tour".
The Explorer Tour will take place from 07 to 17 September 2022 and will combine the most attractive stages of this long-distance trail, which is so grandiose in its entirety, with interesting insights into the great myths and challenges of this still unknown destination.
This tour will be accompanied by Trail Angel Stefan Lieb-Lind, an IVBV mountain and ski guide, who is also an excellent connoisseur of the Western Balkans and coordinator of the PPP project "High Scardus Trail 2.0".
The interest in this unique trekking trip is already high. So inform yourself and book now!
Explorer Tour High Scardus Trail
Explore the unique wilderness of the Balkan Mountains Photo: Matthew Nelson, CC BY-ND
Official website of the High Scardus Trail online!
Obervellach, March 30, 2022
Every major long-distance hiking trail needs an official website as a central information and communication channel. A mandatory task, which could now also be fulfilled for the High Scardus Trail: The "Official Website for the High Scardus Trail" is online!
The website was developed as part of the PPP project "High Scardus Trail 2.0" by the Trail Angels in close technical cooperation with Outdooractive and supported by the many experts from the region with their expertise.
The task now is to continuously expand the web portal and further develop it into the central information hub for the entire destination and to add additional functions (e.g. online bookability) at the given times. At the end of the PPP project in autumn 2023, the web portal will be handed over to the future High Scardus Trail Destination Management Organization for long-term and independent management.
We hope you enjoy browsing through the website and that many hiking enthusiasts will be inspired to visit the destination!
Photo: High Scardus Trail, High Scardus Trail Organization
High Scardus Trail Stakeholder Workshop
Prizren, 01-02 March 2022
In the end it worked out: Due to the rampant omicron wave, the stakeholder workshop had to be postponed from January to March, but thanks to the support of the GIZ team, this so important workshop could be held in Prizren in early March.
The invitation to the workshop was accepted by more than 30 stakeholders actively working on the High Scardus Trail project from all three countries Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia. The workshop was conducted by the Trail Angels, who are responsible for the PPP project "High Scardus Trail 2.0" and this in collaboration with the dedicated team of Outdooractive®, which has launched another PPP project in the destination.
The results of the workshop can be seen:
- Presentation of the comprehensive touristic database for the High Scardus Trail (based on Outdooractive), which has been developed in the meantime.
- Development of an action plan for the elimination of infrastructural deficiencies on the High Scardus Trail
- Specification of the future product architecture for the High Scardus Trail
- Training session of Outdooractive for the autonomous input of further tours into the online mapping system.
Now it is time to tackle the above-mentioned action plan on site, while the Trail Angels will devote themselves to the challenges of organizational development, design of regional booking center and concretization of product development.
The next working visit of the Trail Angels to the region is then planned for beginning of June 2022.
Happy faces after two days of intensive work! Photo: Simon Reuter, CC BY-ND, Outdooractive