There is a Norwegian saying: there is no bad weather there is only inappropriate clothing. This can be the answer to the question Peaks of the Balkans when to go. However the question here is when is the best time to go to enjoy best weather and to have a hike that is not an adventurous challenge.
We at the Balkan Natural Adventure are usually the first one to start the season with a group in April. However these tours do not usually include the full trip so we keep the part from Cerrem to Milishevc out because there is more snow and the guest houses are not open. So we cut the trail and making the trail 5 to 8 days instead of 10 days.
May is more or less the same but with weather improving and the croucous flowers blooming in next to the snow patches adding to the trip. Both in April and May Peaks of the Balkans can be done and you may need snowshoes at some sections and you need to be string as the days are shorter so you can not afford to be in the mountains more than 8 hours.
The real “season” starts in June and continues till September with every month offering its own features. October is the last moth of the year when you can find all the guest houses open and it can be a very enjoyable trip, minding that the day becomes shorter and there is increase of risk of long periods of rain.
Peaks of the Balkans in June
June since 2015 has started to become a wetter month with varying temperatures which in some places can go as low as 5 degrees. However it stays a very good month for Peaks of the Balkans with some showers from time to time and with almost no very warm days. The days are long and the trail is almost empty. The season is in its beginning and the hosts will be in a better mood to welcome you as an omen of a good season.
Peaks of the Balkans in July
July is the most popular month for the peaks of the Balkans. The vacation period is in full swing and the risk of rainy days is over. The summer flowers are all out giving the view of very rich meadows. Everything is in full swing so all guest houses are working and the services are available. The downside of July is that if you do not book in advance you may be stuck to the worst accommodation or left to sleep outdoors. Additionally if you have not booked before you may have to pay more expensive accommodation.
Peaks of the Balkans in August
Contrary to some belief that August will be full, this is not the busiest month. The temperatures are the same with July and in some countries the school holiday is at its end. In terms of number of people this month is as busy as July, and as warm as July. Probably these two month can be treated as one.
Peaks of the Balkans in September
September will be less busy and the temperatures will start to go down but so will the duration of the day. The risk of rain starts to increase and there is the possibility of thunderstorm. Nature starts preparing for the winter and the colours start changing, there will be less flowers but more colours. Guest houses are all still open and some may need to put the heating on as night temperatures can fall under zero.
Peaks of the Balkans October
October may be the last month when you can do the full trail with all the guest houses open. It is thus the latest dates that would be included in the season. On the bad side the risk of rain increases, the days are shorter, however in the positive side you will get the unique autumn nature, trails only for yourself and potentially better prices. Balkan Natural Adventure has organised several groups in October and most of them had a nice time, however there are instances when the tour had to be cancelled due to several days in a row of heavy rain. During these months the company gives options for free cancellation and alternative programmes in South Albania.
Peaks of the Balkans in November to April
These are atypical times for Peaks of the Balkans trail. However these are months that this region is no go. There are very nice parts for ski touring and snowshoeing and places Like Plav, Valbona and Theth are open all year around. There are proper guides and possibility to rent equipment in the region for special tours. The whole trail during this time is possible but one would need to be strong and prepare to use some of the accommodation with no services there, which would include transfer of food. As an adventure company we would look forward to offering these services.
There is no rules when is the best time. However the reccomendation is June to October. Earlier than June the timing is good however some of the guest houses may not be open, so shorter versions possible. Balkan Natural Adventure are the company that does the earliest hikes in Peaks of the Balkans.
Written by: Virtyt Gacaferri
Balkan Natural Adventure