back to Albania site    back to hikes and climbs   back to Locations and Travel

To Maja e Poplukshiking, via Gropa e Bukurahiking

Summary: Nobody seems to know Maja e Popluks. This is so because Maja e Jezerce is right next to it, and all eyes and attention seems to be on the highest summit entirely  in Albania. Would Maja e Popluks stand alone, it would be an extraordinary mountain (2569 Meter), with excellent views to most peaks of the Albania Alps and beyond. As it is, it offers also the most impressive views of Jezerce itself. Because of its height, most visitors would find it difficult to climb it in one day from Thethi, and also we decided to spend the night at Gropa e Bukura (the beautiful hole).

To Gropa e Bukura:

Maximum altitude: 1783 meter
Minimum altitude: 772 meter
Cumulative height: 1032 meter
Cumulative length: 8.86 kilometers
Difficulty moderate
Time: about 4 hours
Date of this record July 2011
Download GPS info: Gropa e Bukura

To Maja e Popluks:

Maximum altitude: 2569 meter
Minimum altitude: 1762 meter
Cumulative height: 821  meter
Cumulative length: 6.23 kilometers, roundtrip
Difficulty difficult
Time: about 6 hours
Date of this record July 2011
Download GPS info: Popluks

General location and approach: The hike(s) start at Thethi, which is worth a longer stay. Thethi has become a "boom" tourist destination, and every Lonely-Planet readers seems to make it here. There are many local inns that offer multi-bed rooms and full board. The usual approach is from Kolplik (between Shkodra and the border to Montenegro). There is a tramac road up to Boge, for the remaining stretch a high-clearance vehicle is advisable. It is also possible to hike from Boge to Thethi.

Other Information: We took a mule to carry camping equipment to Gropat e Bukura, especially as we are were planning to stay several nights on the mountain. It should not bee too difficult to find a mule and his owner on short notice. It certainly provides for a different experience. Gropa e Bukura is the ideal base to climb Maja e Jezerce and Maje e Popluks

Gropat e Bukura consists of two depressions, the first (when coming from Qafe e Pejes) being the larger and deeper. Sheperds stay here during summer, and may sell cheese and bread. There is a spring nearby. The preferred camping site is 10 minutes higher further on, very flat, grassy, quiet and much fewer stinging nessels - though you have to walk back to the other Gropa to get your water. Take enough bottles or containers so you don't have to go too often. There is poor telephone coverage in the depressions, but climbing higher (or back) will solve the issue.

The main difficulty when climbing Maja e Popluks is route-finding. We climbed in July, and had to cross a few snowfields, so poles or an ice axe would come handy. The summit of Popluks is not visible until having hiked for an hour or more, until then one only sees false summits. We took a slighty different route back, but either should be fine. Summitpost.org offers a third route, perhaps a little easier but longer.

GPS and trailmaps: The map and trailinformation is generated by www.wikiloc.org, based on GPS information collected from the actual hike. Waypoints can be downloaded to a GPS device from Wikiloc. If necessary, use GPSBabel to convert GPS data to different formats. For more hike descriptions by Palmtreetreeproduction, browse this website or visit Wikiloc and search for "Palmtreeproduction". You may also find nearby trails from other authors.

Google Earth: You may also view the trail in 3D by clicking "view in Google Earth" when on Wikiloc. You need to have Google Earth installed on your computer.

Images: Click the full screenbutton at the end of the page to view the slides in full screen