This quick and easy hike in southeast Albania follows the road out of Korçë to the top of Maja Shëndëllisë and features a small church that overlooks the city.
This hike is mostly on a paved road so if you’re looking for a quick jaunt, but don’t want to do a lot of trail prep, this route is about as easy as it gets. We begin at the Cemetery of the Martyrs and take a short dirt path overland to a road that leads up to the summit.
Type of Hike: Paved road
Distance: 9 kilometers
Time: Around 2.5 hours roundtrip
Starting Point: https://goo.gl/maps/
Start at the Cemetery of the Martyrs on the eastern edge of Korçë. You’ll find a trail behind this WWII memorial that doesn’t remind me in any way of The Breakfast Club.
On the Hike
The trail starts with some small rolling hills. There’s not an established path, but the main road is nearby when you are ready to cut over.
About halfway up, the road begins to steepen. The shoulder is a bit narrow here so you will want to be aware of speeding cars. Drivers in the Balkans tend to have a more artistic interpretation when it comes to general traffic safety.
Looking to the west over Korçë, you can see some even larger peaks capped with snow from a recent storm. Definitely some ideas over there for future hikes.
The Korçë Plain is the largest lowland in southeastern Albania.
Near the summit and the end of the paved road are a few hotels with options for food. The most popular spot seems to be the restaurant/viewing platform at the Montrelux Resort.
At the top of Maja Shëndëllisë, you will reach Shën Ilia (Church of Saint Elijah). Like most Orthodox churches, it’s open if you want to take a peek inside. There’s also the Kryqi Moravë, a typical oversized mountain cross you’ll see around the Balkans.
The topography of this mountain range is really interesting and very different from the jagged peaks of the Accursed Mountains in the north of Albania. As you can see, the Morava Mountain Range is a series of dramatic peaks and canyons with limited vegetation. I see what looks like a few logging roads, but other than that, it appears to be quite deserted on maps with no villages.
Details, Details, Details
How to Get Here: Walk from the center of town. As I said, this is an easy one.
Supplies and Water: There are restaurants at the start, mid-way up, and at the top. I didn’t see any cafes, so if you are not looking for lunch, I recommend just bringing some snacks and having a meal back in town.
I wanted to do a much longer hike, but as you can see from the photos that the weather was not cooperating today and I made it home just before a rain/sleet storm. Hiking on a semi-busy road is never all that fun, but if you need to scratch that itch or just want to see some sweeping views of the Korçë Plain, you won’t regret it.