High Scardus Trail

Introduction
About the Trail

The High Scardus Trail is a transnational hiking trail with a total length of 495 km covering the border area of Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. The trail passes through six national parks, two in Northern Macedonia, one in Kosovo, and three in Albania. If you take into account the numerous connecting trails to the main trail, which start/lead to populated areas and serve as access or exit points of the trail, the High Scardus Trail can be seen as a system of interconnected trails. This is especially important for planning your own tour.

For the thru hike of the main trail in its entirety, from its starting point in the northeastern part of the Shari Mountains in Macedonia to its end the Prespa region in Albania, it takes about twenty hiking days, plus the occasional rest or swimming day. This is much longer than the average walking holiday, however, the network character of the path with a plethora of connecting links allows for the creation of tours and routes of different lengths, duration and difficulty levels, meeting the interest and need of different visitors from curious day walkers, long distance trekkers, peak baggers and mountain bikers.

About the Project

The mountain tourism product High Scardus Trail is a result of the project Future Prospects through Mountain Tourism, implemented by the Deutsche Gesselschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) over the course of 2017.

The project's aim was to improve the employment opportunities in the tourism sector in the border region between Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania by developing and promoting existing and new regional adventure tourism offers.

The development of the product included:

  • the marking and signposting of 33 hiking trails on five mountain massifs in the cross border region of Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia
  • identification, selection and inclusion of accommodation and catering facilities along the trail
  • as well as points of interest linked to the cultural and natural heritage of the region
  • the start-up and extension of existing small accommodation and catering businesses
  • a training program on rural tourism for over 170 representatives of the targeted communities
  • workshop to increase their knowledge and skills in service provision in the segments of catering, accommodation, small scale production, artisanship, and guiding
  • creation of a wide networks of different potential service providers, which serve to ensure quality tourism offer leading to income generation & employment opportunities.