Situated in western Macedonia and southern Kosovo, there lies a wondrous place most readers will never have heard tell of. The Šar Mountains (Sharr) are some of the most remote and impassable peaks in the Balkans, in Europe in general in fact.
Rugged to the extreme, these mysterious mountains are dotted with alpine lakes, as well as local lore. Fabulous valleys, streams, and impenatrable cliffs meet the deep blue sky in this almost fairytale speck on our Earth. Noted for the valleys and especially the agricultrual products made there (like marvelous cheeses), the principle settlements of Tetovo and Gostivar, and the ski resort at Popova Sapka, “almost” transport a bit of urban atmosphere to these pristine mountains. You’ll not I said “almost”, for the literal “wildness” of this range cannot be mistaken.
Rich in water resources and biodiversity, backpackers and naturalists are the biggest tourism niche to partake of this gem destination. The place is so wild in fact, most visitors actually employ guides to show them the most interesting aspects, and the safest ones too. Yes, wild places do have their pitfalls, including the friendly looking bear below.
Whether you’re investigating the famed Illyrian Mountain Dog (one of the world’s oldest breeds) or seeking virgin extreme snowboarding territory high up (see below) Montenegro and the Šar Mountains are a rare jewel of a discovery, and one right next door. For the best images and info on these fabulous montains the reader can visit the links above or especially the Sar Mountains National Park site here, and the wonderful images of Ship Mountain from both sides here.
Video courtesy the thrill seekers of Teton Gravity Research.