Mount Korab, Macedonia’s highest peak (24 km)

Golem Korab peak
Golem Korab peak

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This hike is about 24 km with 1550 m ascent/descent. The peak is at 2764 m.

You can shorten it with about 4 km and 150 m ascent if you drive all the way up to the border police station.

To get to the start by car, cross the bridge direction Nichpur when you are driving on the main road through Mavrovo National Park. This bridge is between the villages Vrbjani and Mavrovo Anovi. From the bridge to the point where we started it is about 12 km, if you drive up to the border police station it is 14 km. Be warned: this road is not asphalted and not in very good condition, but do-able with a normal car if you are persistent enough. If you have a rental, make sure you have one with a high front or even better get a 4×4. Calculate about 45 minutes for these 12 km!

Because we were not sure about the condition of the last part of the road to the border police station, we parked the car at the junction where the road to Korab starts to go uphill. Retrospectively, this part was not worse than the rest of the road and we could have saved ourselves walking the extra 4 km.

Hike to Golem Korab peak forest
Hike to Korab peak

People used to have to get permission from the border police to do this hike because it borders Albania, but that is not necessary anymore. When we arrived at the border police station, there was nobody around. On our way back there was an officer sitting outside.

The hike to Korab starts with a short hike through forest. After that, there’s no shadow anymore. The hike itself is not very difficult and does not involve any rock-climbing whatsoever. However, it is a quite demanding walk due to the length of the uphill walking (11-12 km) and height difference (1550 m). The complete hike took us about 11 hours, including numerous breaks.

About 2 km from the border police station there is a sheep farm. The first 7 km are basically only uphill, after that 2 km of relatively flat terrain, followed by another 2 km of relentless climbing.

Hike to Golem Korab
Hike to Golem Korab

The views along the way are magnificent and only get better when you approach the peak. Just below the peak there still was a small patch of ice (we did this mid August 2016). The sun was shining and it was not cold at all (and otherwise the climbing would keep you warm).

We encountered a few herds of sheep, with the obligatory enormous dogs. You always have to be careful with these dogs and try to seek contact with the shepherd so he can call of his dogs. None of the shepherds that we met spoke Macedonian, they were all Albanian. One of them even walked a while with us on our way back, in order to make sure that the dogs would leave us alone.

The trail was recently marked with the international red/white marking, and the GPS -recorded track below is basically following the official route.

Hike to Korab peak ice patch
Hike to Korab

The only disadvantage of this hike is the bad condition of the road to the starting point. You can avoid this drive by joining the yearly climbing of Korab organized by the Korab Mountain club in the weekend closest to Independence Day (September 8th). They will take you to the starting point with buses.

It was a great experience to finally climb Macedonia’s highest mountain and this hike gets 5 out of 5 stars!

You can view and download the GPS track of this hike here:

Hike to Korab peak in Mavrovo National Park GPS map
Hike to Korab peak in Mavrovo National Park