In the antiques the mountain was known by the name Scardus and it was considered the central mountain range of the Balkans, spreading from the Adriatic sea to the Black sea, having Ljuboten peak as one of the highest in the Balkans. This tour offers a gradual hike to Ljuboten peak, where the entire route to the peak is split on 2 parts: from the foothill to the mountain hut Ljuboten, and from there to Ljuboten peak and back to the hut. The last day descend can be on the same trail down to the foothill. However, in this tour we suggest a longer hike for the third day (16km) which traverses the eastern side of Ljuboten peak – it travels by Livadicko glacial lake and offers fantastic views of the peak Ljuboten, the entire ridge of Sharr mountains and of Polog valley. This trail will lead you down to the lovely village of Belovishte – to a restaurant with a swimming pool for a well-deserved refreshment after the hike.
DAY 1: SKOPJE – MOUNTAIN HUT LJUBOTEN (1.630m)
Mountain hut Ljuboten dates from 1931 and it’s the oldest active hut in North Macedonia. It is located immediately above the tree-line at an altitude of 1630 m. and it will take you about 2 – 2,5 hours to reach it from the village Staro Selo. At the beginning of your hike, after the village church there is a tapped spring where you can get your water. As soon as you leave the village at 900m asl a chestnut forest – a rare sight in Shara mountain – begins. Following the main jeep road – here and there – the markings will lead you to several single-track shortcuts – you will be accompanied by a chorus of bird singing. Occasionally, the cold breeze from Ljuboten peak will remind you of the glimpses of this summit through the beech-wood crowns all the way to the mountain hut. Overnight in villa Ljuboten, below the mountain hut.
Hike: 6,3 km / 982m D+
Total drive: 1hour / 25km
DAY 2: PEAK LJUBOTEN
Ljuboten peak is a significant summit on Sharr Mountain range with a pyramidal shape dominating the far background when seen from Skopje valley. Hence, it is not a coincidence that it is one of the symbols of the city represented on its coat of arms. The hike is 4km long one way (7,8km return) with 870 meters of climbing and it usually takes around 4- 5 hours of hiking. As you start hiking from the mountain hut the trail takes you immediately into the sub-alpine zone of Sharr Mountain, consisting of rock scree, pastures and occasional alpine bushes. The route follows the northeastern arm of the summit, and as it gets near the top it offers a real experience of hiking a typical alpine ridge. The sights during the hike are amazing: mount Skopska Crna Gora and Vodno in the east, south-east is the Jakupica central massif with Solunska Glava peak, below the Polog valley. Southern views open the whole Shara ridgeline with dozen of peaks looming above 2500m asl. West are the Kosovo and Albanian mountains and up north – as a contrast to everything described before is Kosovo plain. The descend from the peak is on the same trail back to the mountain hut. Overnight in the same villa.
Hike: 7,8 km / 888m D+, 888m D-
DAY 3: LJUBOTEN HUT TO VILLAGE BELOVISHTE
Today you will be hiking on the route that traverses the eastern side of Ljuboten peak, passing by Kozja Stena (goat’s rock) – a notable rocky landmark amidst the steep slope seen even from Skopje. You will be walking on a rocky path among many small and large boulders - minding your step is crucial here even though your sight is always being “stolen” by Ljuboten peak above you, Shara ridgeline to your left and Polog valley below you. Once you get on the ridgeline, you will see Livadicko Lake, one of the most beautiful and deepest glacial lakes in Sharr Mountain range, situated in a rocky cirque at 2137 meters. If you continue along the ridge you will reach Livadica Peak. Our trail leads you down across the green pastures and beech-wood and chestnuts mixed forest (a rarity in Shara). Once you hear the roaring sound of several creeks and rivers you are close to Belovishte - the finishing point of this wonderful hike. At the local restaurant you can award yourself with a trout for lunch and well-deserved swim at the swimming pool in the shadows of chestnut trees.
Hike: 15,7km / 945m D+, 1.708m D-
179 € + 60 € local supplement / per person
Price is valid for min 2 participants sharing double room
INCLUDED IN PRICE:
- Accommodation in vila Ljuboten based on 2 participants sharing double room (shared facilities)
- Meals: 2 x breakfast
- Detailed hiking visual route descriptions and maps
- Mobile app with uploaded tracks with visual descriptions and locator
- Local safety information and contacts
- Stand-by support (cell phone and contact person)
- Organization and logistic by Macedonia Travel
NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE:
OPTIONS & SUPPLEMENTS:
- Supplement for single room accommodation: 38 €
- Supplement for half board (2 x dinner): 29 € / per person / drinks excluded. Vegetarian and vegan meals available on request
- Supplement for full board (2 x lunchbox, 2 x dinner): 52 € / per person / drinks excluded. Vegetarian and vegan meals available on request
- Private arrival / departure transfers available on request
- Extra night before or after the tour
-In Skopje: 3* hotel: from 26 € / per person sharing double room; Single supplement from 15 €; 4* hotel: from 40 € / per person sharing double room; Single supplement from 20 €
-In mountain hut “Ljuboten” : from 15 €/ dorm accommodation
-In villa “Ljuboten” (shared facilities): from 15 €/ per person sharing double room. Single supplement: from 10 €.
-In guesthouse 3km from Belovishte village (shared facilities): from 20 €/ per person sharing double room. Single supplement: 7 €. Transport to the guesthouse is complimentary.
- Rent of Global Positioning System (GPS) console: 45 €
By bus and van from Skopje:
Buses start from Skopje Central Bus Station
to the van stop
in Tetovo. From here there is regular van service to village Staro Selo where your hike starts. Price: 10 €
By bus & van from village Belovishte to Skopje:
Local vans operate from village Belovishte to Tetovo Bus Station regularly.
Buses to Skopje start from Tetovo Bus Station
to Skopje Central Bus Station
. Taxi / private transfer from Skopje:
Available on request