Sharr Mountains National Park

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Things to do


Date of travel

September, 2019

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Having based ourselves in “Prizren”: for five days at the “Hotel Kaçinari”:, we could then enjoy various days out. We had visited memorials relating to the various wars Kosovo was involved in and monasteries with wonderful frescoes, in contrast, our final day was spent in the Sharr Mountains National Park. It’s Kosovo’s largest national park, straddling the border with North Macedonia, and is one of the highest mountain ranges on the Balkan peninsular.

The 40-minute drive took us south of Prizren, in a direction we’d not travelled in. Having passed the Hydro-electric Museum, the scenery through the Zhupa Valley was stunning, with the steep sided Lumbardhi Gorge, and the twisting mountain road following the bubbling river.

At 9.45am on a Saturday, there were only a few vehicles in the car park at Prevallë, but several market stalls, set out with fruit, vegetables and local honey indicated customers were expected. We set off not knowing what to expect, as our itinerary suggested ‘take a short hike in the park, or a longer one if you want’. We walked up past a sign saying ski lift, although there was no sign of one, and up quite a steep hill. At the top, we found you could drive round it and there were people camping. Sadly, there was a lot of rubbish but maybe that was due to the lack of waste bins. Having got up and over, we continued climbing up a variety of paths: roadway, stony, rocky, or very grassy nearer the top. Apart from the stunning views, there was little to see apart from a very derelict building which may have been a shepherds hut.

Our driver, Edmond, did his usual loping ahead and it wasn’t clear how far we were going (until it turned out to be the very top). The going got quite hard and even though we had our hiking poles which were invaluable, I still had to keep stopping for a blow, but we virtually made it. Every time we thought we were almost there another section came into view. We let Edmond complete our climb alone.

We decided to call it a day at 11.30am and turned around just as a couple of hikers were approaching from the top. One of them turned out to be from Leeds and was walking with his local friend who had a plastic bag to collect rubbish as he walked. Whilst this was scarcer at the top, we both thought he would meet his match when he got to the campsite.

Nearing the bottom, Edmond said he would leap onwards and get the car and wait near the camp site to cut off a considerable chunk of walking: I was eternally grateful. I was even more pleased when we stopped at the Hotel Krojet and had a reviving coffee and Raki.

On the return journey, we stopped firstly to photograph us in front of the mountain we’d climbed and second at the ruins at the Monastery of Archangels with its iconic Ottoman bridge.

Helen Jackson

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