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Hiking trail recommended route Stage 17

High Scardus Trail Stage 17 Jablanica - Stebleve

· 2 reviews · Hiking trail · Albania
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High Scardus Trail Organization
  • In the mystical Jablanica Mountains: Stage 17 on the High Scardus Trail crosses this fascinating mountain range through dense forests over a "Green Pass" from North Macedonia to Albania
    In the mystical Jablanica Mountains: Stage 17 on the High Scardus Trail crosses this fascinating mountain range through dense forests over a "Green Pass" from North Macedonia to Albania
    Photo: Trail Angels/ G.Mussnig, CC BY-ND, High Scardus Trail Organization
A truly green stage: through the mystical forests of the Jablanica Mountains over the "Green Pass" from North Macedonia to Albania, to the mountain village of Stebleve


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

Distance 12.3 km
5:00 h
446 m
396 m
1,415 m
970 m
Stage 17 of the High Scardus Trail is one of the less alpine day hikes, as the route mainly winds through dense forests and barely exceeds 1,500 meters in altitude at the "Green Pass", the crossing from North Macedonia to Albania. Who now believes that this stage would therefore be less attractive, is very much mistaken! Starting from the vital mountain village of Jablanica, the trail follows an old trade route, which essentially follows the untouched and densely forested valley of the Jablanica River. A mystical hiking experience that is heightened at the halfway point, in the completely abandoned settlement oasis of Lakaica - a truly "Lost Place". Even the short stretch of forest road that is followed after Lakaica cannot diminish the character of a fairy-tale hike, because at the "Green Pass" we are again immersed in dark forests. The day's destination is the charming Albanian mountain village of Stebleve, situated above a deeply cut valley.


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High Scardus Trail 
Update: June 13, 2022
Highest point
1,415 m
Lowest point
970 m
Best time of year

Track types

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Safety information

Attention: The stage is currently not well marked in some places, which in combination with difficult to see sections of the trail and little detailed maps can lead to serious orientation problems in some places. Currently we strongly recommend to hike the trail only with a local guide. If you still want to hike on your own, great experience with GPS devices or the use of map apps (including the possibility of offline storage of maps; Outdooractive app recommended) is necessary!

Attention: For crossing the North Macedonian-Albanian border (green border) a border permit is necessary!


Jablanica (1,120 m)
41.319943, 20.573183
41°19'11.8"N 20°34'23.5"E
34T 464278 4574362
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Stebleve close to Villa Mersin

Turn-by-turn directions

The starting point is the North Macedonian mountain village of Jablanica. It is a rather lively scattered settlement consisting of a Christian and a Muslim part. First you follow the mountain road down to the valley bottom with the Jablanica river. Then you follow this road up the valley. There is also an old beautiful trade route that crosses the mountain slopes directly from Jablanica and enters the Jablanica valley, but it is not marked at the moment. After about an hour you turn from the road in the Jablanica valley a forest road to the right in the walking direction and leads to a beautiful Orthodox chapel with a spring. From here the actual hiking trail begins. The trail then leads slightly uphill into the Jablanica valley, which is absolutely natural and densely forested. The hike is quite easy and beautiful compared to the mountain stages before. The Jablanica valley knows how to inspire with its rustic mountain forests. After about two hours (from the chapel) you will reach the completely deserted little village of Lakaica. However, this village represents a good resting place with a suitable spring. Lakaica is like an oasis in the middle of the jungle, but here, coming down from a mountain pass, a forest road opens into the valley, which you now follow. The forest road continues to the west, always slightly ascending, until just before the state border you leave the forest road and join a hiking trail. This hiking trail leads over the gentle Green Pass (1420m) past a border station, which is sometimes manned, from North Macedonia over to Albania. On the Albanian side, the trail first descends gently through dense beech forest. Later, you enter open terrain and have a beautiful view over the mountainous country on the Albanian side. A striking feature here is an old military barracks, where you reach a gravel road. Follow this gravel road south until you reach a large information board with the inscription "Stebleve", our destination for today's stage. Now you follow a small steep gravel road down to the fascinating Albanian mountain village of Stebleve. This village has been affected by massive migration, but is beautifully situated and has retained its unique character. The only accommodation is a nice little guesthouse located on the main road from Stebleve. Altitude is about 1150m.

By road

From Ohrid, first drive west to the neighboring village of Struga. Here, at a large crossroads, the road R1201 branches off to the right in the direction of Debar. After about 9 km from the crossroads, a small road branches off to the left towards Labuništa. Follow the road until just before Labuništa. Here you turn right onto the road to Boroec, drive through the village and continue along the small road until you reach Jablanica.


At a suitable place in the village.


41.319943, 20.573183
41°19'11.8"N 20°34'23.5"E
34T 464278 4574362
Show on Map
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendations for this region:

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  • 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)

Questions and answers

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Sophie Grandclaude
September 14, 2022 · Community
Le départ du balisage GPS n'est pas très bon.. Il nous a conduit dans les broussailles.. Nous avons retrouvé un gros chemin juste avant la chapelle. Ensuite beau chemin jusqu'au petit village presque abandonné ... sous la pluie pour nous. Nous avons poursuivi jusqu'à un large chemin pour en récupérer un plus étroit pour passer la frontière et rejoindre ensuite Stebleve. Là l'hébergement, trouvé sur airbnb (villa Mersin) était fermé et non réservable. Nous avons trouvé refuge chez un habitant de passage dans sa maison de campagne!
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When did you do this route? August 29, 2022
Rüdiger Mertz 
August 23, 2022 · Community
Achtung: aus unserer Sicht passen Wegbeschreibung und gpx-File nicht ganz zusammen. Der File beschreibt eine der Traversen entlang des Hangs, nicht den Weg runter zur Straße in den Talgrund, wie der Text suggeriert. Die Traverse ist gut und spart Zeit, anfangs ist sie allerdings ziemlich zugemüllt und dann später etwas überwachsen (mit Dornen!). Auf der Traverse gibt es viele Wege und Abzweigungen, also engmaschig kontrollieren, sonst muss man noch mal durchs Dornengebüsch zurück ;-). Die weitere Wegführung ist dann sehr hübsch und äußerst relaxt für die Verhältnisse des Trails. Mit Zelt muss man auch gar nicht runter nach Stebleve, sondern kann dort zelten, wo es am nächsten Tag weitergeht. Für Wasser dann einfach ein bisschen in den Weg des nächsten Tages rein, nach ca. 500 Metern hört ihr dann schon rechter Hand den Wildbach plätschern...
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12.3 km
5:00 h
446 m
396 m
Highest point
1,415 m
Lowest point
970 m
Linear route Multi-stage route Insider tip


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