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Hiking trail recommended route Stage 1

High Scardus Trail Stage 01 Staro Selo - Mountain Hut Ljuboten

· 2 reviews · Hiking trail · North Macedonia
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High Scardus Trail Organization
  • High Scardus Trail Stage 01 Staro Selo - Mountain Hut Ljuboten: spectacular sunset at the hut.
    High Scardus Trail Stage 01 Staro Selo - Mountain Hut Ljuboten: spectacular sunset at the hut.
    Photo: Matthew Nelson, CC BY-ND, High Scardus Trail Organization
A quiet start to a long trail: the hut approach to the magnificently situated Mountain Hut Ljuboten as a short starting stage.


>>>> ATTENTION: Detailled informations on how to plan your trip, safety instructions, regulations for border crossing etc. are provided by the official website <<<<

Distance 6.4 km
2:45 h
732 m
0 m
1,621 m
889 m
Come to rest: This is the motto of the starting stage of the High Scardus Trail. The tranquillity of the tranquil village of Staro Selo at the start of the High Scardus Trail is catching. And there is no stress on the hike up to Mountain Hut Ljuboten: The hike is short, easy and leads almost continuously through shady forests until a fantastic view of the Tetovo lowlands opens up at Mountain Hut Ljuboten. Perfect to gather strength for the next stages of the High Scardus Trail, which will be strenuous enough. And perfect to get to know Macedonian hut life at this traditional refuge (one of the few of its kind in the Western Balkans)!


Author’s recommendation

Tip 1: There is no accommodation in Staro Selo. If you stay overnight at Hostel Kitka (in the neighbouring village of Vratnica), you have the possibility to reach the access path to the hut above Staro Selo via a marked hiking trail and thus save yourself a shuttle to Staro Selo (additional time expenditure about 45 min).

Tip 2: For those who are still not exhausted after this short stage, we recommend the ascent to the summit of Ljuboten (2,498 m), one of the most prominent and famous peaks of Sharr Planina (time required: about 4 hours hut - summit - hut).

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High Scardus Trail 
Update: June 13, 2022
Highest point
1,621 m
Lowest point
889 m
Best time of year

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Safety information

Attention strong schnapps at the hut :)


Staro Selo - by the info boards at the start of the gravel road to Mountain Hut Ljuboten at the top of the village. (888 m)
42.153196, 21.135031
42°09'11.5"N 21°08'06.1"E
34T 511156 4666794
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Mountain Hut Ljuboten

Turn-by-turn directions

The starting point of the entire High Scardus Trail (and thus also of this starting stage) is at the upper end of the small village of Staro Selo next to the information boards and hiking signs. Follow the road to the left (it soon becomes a gravel road) and hike slightly uphill until you reach a sharp bend to the right. Here a hiking trail branches off straight ahead, which shortens the gravel road and rejoins it further up. After this section of the trail, follow the gravel road again until you reach a fork. Take the gravel road straight ahead and soon after follow the signs "PD Ljuboten/Villa Ljuboten" to the right. A rough gravel road leads somewhat strenuously and steeply uphill in serpentines until another hiking trail (another shortcut of the road) branches off somewhat hidden in a left-hand bend. You hike uphill through beautiful forests until you reach the gravel road again and reach the edge of the forest - a breathtaking view of the Tetovo plain opens up. Now you can already see the huts: the first turn to the left leads to "Villa Ljuboten" and the second road to the left leads to Mountain Hut Ljuboten.

By the way, the Mountain Hut Ljuboten is a historic refuge from the beginnings of alpinistic activity in North Macedonia and has recently been renovated. Enjoy the Macedonian hut life high above the lowlands of Tetovo!

Public transport

The starting point of the tour can only be reached by taxi from Skopje or Tetovo (both connected to the public bus network).

By road

Staro Selo is a small village about 1 km above the old road (R1203) between Prishtina and Tetovo (about 5 km from the border Kosovo - North Macedonia).


There is no public parking. However, you can park on the gravel road about 500 m towards Mountain Hut Ljuboten and park there in a suitable spot.


42.153196, 21.135031
42°09'11.5"N 21°08'06.1"E
34T 511156 4666794
Show on Map
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike



  • Backpack approx. 30-40 liters with hip belt
  • Rain cover for the backpack
  • Telescopic poles


  • Trekking shoes at least category B (preferably ankle-high for the pathless passages)
  • Flipflops or similar for the accommodations
  • 2 pairs of hiking socks
  • underwear
  • hiking pants softshell or similar (wind- and water-repellent - the High Scardus Trail runs through alpine regions)
  • Hiking pants spare (also for accommodation)
  • Shorts
  • T-shirt quick drying
  • T-shirt fast drying spare (quantity depending on the length of the tour)
  • Top long first layer (e.g. Transtex-Sleeve) + replacement
  • Top long second layer (e.g. sleeve made of fleece or merino wool) + replacement
  • Softshell jacket or similar
  • Clothing for accommodation
  • rain jacket (hardshell jacket waterproof and breathable)
  • umbrella if necessary
  • Rain pants (hardshell pants waterproof and breathable)
  • Sun protection for the head (sun hat or cap)
  • Hat (can get cold even in summer!)

Hygiene/medication/personal items

  • small travel towel
  • personal hygiene items personal medicines (important medicines in addition to personal medicines are e.g. Imodium, charcoal tablets, Bepanthen and a painkiller like Ibuprofen or Parkemed)
  • Blister plaster
  • Pocket knife, small scissors
  • Sunglasses (tight-fitting with 100% UV protection and tint category 3)
  • Sunscreen (SPF at least 30, water/sweat resistant, broad spectrum protection, not older than 1 year)
  • Lip protection (SPF at least 20)
  • Outdoor first aid kitpossibly spare glasses
  • small LED headlamp
  • bivy sack (at least a very light one)
  • Handkerchiefspassport + copycredit card/cash (at many accommodations you can only pay with cash)
  • Border Crossing Permit
  • Small dictionaries


  • Travel documents printout
  • Orientation App (e.g. Outdooractive with Pro-Account, so you can save the map sections offline)
  • if necessary additional GPS-device
  • Cell phone (smartphone for orientation app) + charger
  • Powerbank for cell phone (not all accommodations have sockets)
  • if necessary power socket adapter

Food and drinks

  • Drinking bottles (depending on temperature and personal drinking needs 1,5-3 liters; the sources are shown in the map)
  • Food for the day (the respective shopping possibilities can be seen in the map)

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Questions and answers

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Thomas Staubitzer 
January 30, 2023 · Community
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When did you do this route? January 01, 2021
Rüdiger Mertz 
August 22, 2022 · Community
Einfacher Weg zum Warmwerden. Geht schön durch Wald. Die Mountain Hut ist nicht garantiert immer besetzt - bei uns war aber jemand da. Zur Hut gehören auch drei kleine Hütten, die sind sensationell. Die Hütte selbst ist noch nicht ganz fertig, alles im Aufbau. Schöner Platz, man könnte auch prima Zelten, es hat Wasser...
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6.4 km
2:45 h
732 m
Highest point
1,621 m
Lowest point
889 m
Linear route Multi-stage route Refreshment stops available Family-friendly


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