The Peak of the Balkans Trail did not have any hotels or ski lifts, unlike other of Europe’s more well-known alpine locations. It was as if you were entering a secret space at the back of the closet that the rest of the world had missed.

The Albanian Alps, which extend from northern Albania into southern Kosovo and northeastern Montenegro, are better known by their regional names, Bjeshkët e Nëmuna and Prokletije, both of which translate to “The Accursed Mountains.” However, it’s still unclear how these jagged limestone slopes came to bear such a peculiar name. According to local folklore, the devil escaped from hell and created the jagged glacial caverns. Some people believe that the alps received their name from a woman who cursed the mountains when she and her children couldn’t find any water while traveling through them on a hot day. Others claim that Slavic warriors gave the mountains their names because it was challenging for them to march across them. The mysterious history of the peaks serves as a kind of symbol for Albania as a whole.

Albania has long been referred to as “Europe’s enigma” by travel writers and book authors. However, this frequently misunderstood country is using slow travel as a method to let people in and teach them something about how a place can heal and develop.