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Hiking trail recommended route

Morava circuit from Korça

· 2 reviews · Hiking trail · Korce
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  • Die prächtige Kathedrale von Korca
    Die prächtige Kathedrale von Korca
    Photo: Simon Reuter, Outdooractive Editors
m 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km
Panoramic circular trail through the beautiful nature of the Morava Mountains directly from Korça.
moderate
Distance 21.3 km
7:30 h
1,017 m
1,017 m
1,808 m
870 m
Just behind the pretty old town of Korça begins the mountain range of Malet i Moravës („Morava Mountains”), one of the most beautiful low mountain ranges in Albania. On mule tracks and old shepherds' paths, this long but easy circular hike leads through wild brooks, dense beech forests and over the panoramic ridge of Maja Cardhakut. Fantastic views over the Korça plateau, the Drenova National Park and the surrounding mountains are guaranteed. On the way down, we even take in the Morava Cross and the small pilgrimage church – two of the best-known landmarks of the region.

Author’s recommendation

When you reach the partisan cemetery, you can also follow the road to the left and at the next bend turn off onto a footpath to the south, which takes you to just behind the Korca brewery. There you can get delicious beer from the barrel and typical grilled dishes very cheaply and in a nice beer garden atmosphere.
Profile picture of Simon Reuter
Author
Simon Reuter 
Update: January 25, 2022
Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Maja Cardhakut, 1,808 m
Lowest point
Katedralja Ringjallja e Krishtit, 870 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Track types

Asphalt 29.12%Dirt road 27.34%Forested/wild trail 26.40%Path 17.12%
Asphalt
6.2 km
Dirt road
5.8 km
Forested/wild trail
5.6 km
Path
3.6 km
Show elevation profile

Safety information

Like Albania as a whole, the region around Korca is extremely safe for tourists; a lost wallet is more likely to be carried around half the town than helped by someone.

The greatest risk is posed by dogs and feral dogs; in the event of an encounter, stay calm and calmly make your way back. Never run away or make other frantic movements! In case of emergency, it helps to throw stones at the dogs.

Tips and hints

Due to its location on the edge of the high plateau, it is usually a few degrees cooler in the Morava Mountains than in the rest of the country, so the tour can definitely be done in high summer. At the same time, due to the exposed position, thunderstorms form frequently and quickly and the weather can change in a very short time – so be sure to check the weather forecast beforehand and pack appropriate clothing. Winters are very cold and snowy, which is why there are still large snowfields at high altitudes until April. Only the descent is suitable as a snowshoe tour.

Start

Katedralja Ringjallja e Krishtit (Korca Cathedral) (873 m)
Coordinates:
DD
40.615868, 20.780165
DMS
40°36'57.1"N 20°46'48.6"E
UTM
34T 481404 4496139
w3w 
///footsteps.saves.tailwind

Destination

Katedralja Ringjallja e Krishtit (Korca Cathedral)

Turn-by-turn directions

We start from the Cathedral of the Resurrection in a southerly direction and turn left at the roundabout. We follow the large road past the Museum of Medieval Art and the famous Korca Brewery to a roundabout at the end of the town. Keep half-left here and follow the road to Mborje. At a red monument from the Hoxha era, the village road branches off to the left. Follow this road until the asphalt road ends and a gravel road leads past the last houses. This eventually becomes a mule track that leads up into the small gorge between Maja e Shëndëllisë and Maja Qytetit. We follow the mountain stream Qytetit, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, for about two kilometres on a well-trodden donkey trail that is even marked in places. In the upper valley basin, the path branches out several times, we always keep to the right and reach a side valley with a small headwater. We follow it for a few metres before the narrowing path winds its way up the slope in the dense beech forest. Unfortunately, the path is overgrown in many places and you have to fight your way through deep holes again and again.

In the upper part, the path becomes much more pleasant, we soon reach a small plateau below a rocky ledge and enjoy the magnificent view. The pass is only a few metres away. There we meet the weathered road, which we follow to the summit plateau of Maja Cardhakut. The summit itself is hard to beat in terms of beauty, thanks to the military installation and the transmission masts, but about a hundred metres further north, a rocky cliff that is only slightly lower than the summit offers a good view and a substitute summit for an extensive break.

Leaving the newly built road directly into the valley on the left, we follow the old dust road northwards. On the right, a dilapidated bunker bears witness to the paranoia of the late Hoxha regime. We follow the road to the left around a hilltop until the road descends in two tight bends to a saddle, where a path branches off to the left. We follow this unfortunately unmarked footpath, first steeply down some serpentines, then flatly along below an imposing rock band, steadily descending to the southwest. At around 1,400m, we meet the new road again, which we follow through the narrowing valley below the Maja Pulemn. A short climb in the opposite direction after crossing the stream takes us into a pine forest, which suddenly opens up on a hilltop with a great view. Here we leave the road and turn left onto a footpath that leads under the power line to a sharp right-hand bend and finally down to the new hotel buildings at the car park of the Maja e Shëndëllisë. The small detour to the famous Morava Cross and the neighbouring pilgrimage chapel should definitely be made here. 

Back at the hotels, we turn onto the gravel road below the large hotel complex. A few metres later a narrow path disappears downhill past a heap of rubbish into the pine forest. This path directly descends the long asphalt road and meets the road again 150 metres below, which we only cross. Through a gap in the crash barrier we reach another footpath directly downhill. We also only cross the next asphalt road and walk down a small hill directly to the restaurants. On the right side of the road is a small footpath that is very pleasant to walk on, and finally leads straight down to the partisan cemetery with an impressive view over the town. There are many steps leading down another 50 metres and back to Korca. We simply walk straight ahead to the busy boulevard, which takes us back to the starting point of the tour.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Public-transport-friendly

Korca can be reached easily and regularly by bus from Tirana, Elbasan, Pogradec, Ohrid (MKD) and Kastoria (GRC). There are also daily connections from Berat and Sarande/Gjirokaster. Buses usually stop at the large roundabout in front of the bazaar. From there, simply walk past the new red observation tower and along the pedestrian zone to the cathedral (5 min).

Getting there

The tour starts at the cathedral in the middle of the old town.

Parking

Parking spaces in the old town are rare. Parking is good at the Korca Brewery or the Skenderbeu Stadium, for example.

Coordinates

DD
40.615868, 20.780165
DMS
40°36'57.1"N 20°46'48.6"E
UTM
34T 481404 4496139
w3w 
///footsteps.saves.tailwind
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Author’s map recommendations

Hiking and Cycling Map for Korça at 1:50.000, Huber Albania Bl. 7

Book recommendations for this region:

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Recommended maps for this region:

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Equipment

After rainfall, the paths are often muddy, especially on the ascent, so waterproof hiking boots are recommended. Sticks are helpful on the washed-out paths, but can also be stubborn in the dense beech forest.

Localization

Parts of this content were machine translated using German as the source language


Questions and answers

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Rating

5.0
(2)
Mau on Tour 
October 02, 2020 · Community
When did you do this route? October 01, 2020

Photos from others


Reviews
Difficulty
moderate
Distance
21.3 km
Duration
7:30 h
Ascent
1,017 m
Descent
1,017 m
Highest point
1,808 m
Lowest point
870 m
Public-transport-friendly Circular route Scenic Refreshment stops available Geological highlights Botanical highlights Summit route

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