Hiking guide by "Hiking South Albania"


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FATMAP difficulty grade



Buretos summit is perhaps somewhat neglected by ambitious hikers.

This might be because it happens to be a little less high than mighty Cajupi Mountain, or even nearby Nemercka or Papingut.

1759 Meter do not seem to be very high, but remember that the Drinos Valley lies at an altitude of 200 Meter only.

So Mountain Bureto cannot be overlooked, and it is right in your face (on your left side) when travelling from Gjirokaster to Kakavije or Greece.

We had to check several maps for the spelling, as we did not want to appear to have climbed something as high as a Mexican hamburger.

The summit is also called Arkovale on the AlbInfo map.

We had eyed Mali i Buretos many times before, but then seemed to always have more pressing - and higher - things to do.

The last week in November 2013, with the first snow just fallen but plenty of sunshine in the weather forecast, seemed to be just right.

We selected a sort of diretissima, along a barely visible path, right up in a straight line from Libohove town to the summit ridge at 1500 Meter.

Inspection from the valley below, in the evening light, seemed to indicate that we would not yet have (much) snow until the ridge.

The path may have been maintained many years ago, when the military installations near the summit were still serviced.

Now, the path is difficult to make out at times, and even more difficult when there is snow cover.

The terrain is very steep, and the trail is exposed for long stretches.

We do not recommend it for novices, and certainly not for a descent.

Good orientation is very important as missing the trail may get you very quickly into very uncomfortable terrain.

We lost the trail once, but found it again with our GPS.

Once you reach the ridge, you can relax.

It is still more than 250 Meter elevation gain to the summit, but there is no exposure and you can choose your way.

The views from the summit, especially on a cold but beautiful sunny day, were nothing less than astounding, across the Drinos Valley with Gjirokaster and the Free State of Lazarat, towards Kendervices, Cajupi, Nemercke, Smolikas and Tymfi, Mourgana and Korfu Island.

Of course, days at the end of November are very short.

Since we had no appetite to return the way we came, we decided to take the old military road down to Labove e Siperme.

The road is no longer in use, and those with 4WD ambitions do not need to even try: the road is blocked by rockfall in many places.

But is makes for a stress-free descent.

If you plan to do likewise, you should arrange for transport to pick you up in Labove e Siperme or Labove e Poshtme (better known as Labove e Kryqit).

During summer, when there is longer daylight, you might be able to pay a visit to St.

Mary's Church.