Kolata / Kollata / Kolac forms part of the border between Montenegro and Albania as well as the northern boundary of Valbona Valley. Its broad peak and long spine-like ridge running to the east and including many sub peaks, give it a dramatic look.
Three main peaks form the wide summit, on which one can easily spend an hour leisurely walking around gazing at the surrounding summits.
Zla Kolata (Kollata e Keqe) is located on the border with Montenegro and with 2.534m it’s the country’s highest peak (while only number 16 in Albania), nearby stands slightly lower Dobra Kolata (Kollata e Mirë) at 2.528m.
The highest peak at 2.552m is located completely on Albanian soil, called Rodi e Kolates (Maja e Koljats) and despite the dramatic views into Valbona Valley not visited as often. It’s missing in several Wikipedia articles, on SummitPost and plenty more websites – it’s the Albanian Alps missing peak!
The mountain can be approached from Cerem and the center of Valbona (from Albania) or Vusanje/Vuthaj (located in Montenegro).
starting point / distance / initial height / walking time to the base of Kolata:
Cerem 8.8km / 1.190m / 4:15h
Vusanje 7.8km / 1.030m / 4:30h
Valbona 6.2km / 955m / 4:30h
Starting in Cerem or Valbona
This route starts from Cerem, visits Kolata and finishes in Valbona. For the route from Montenegro see the second route.
Date of this record:
The return walking time from the base to the two peaks is around 3:30h but can greatly shortened by visiting only Zla Kolata, which is what most hikers do – not knowing what they’re missing out on 🙂
The traverse pictured here takes an average walker 10:45h by calculation. You can organize a lift from your guesthouse in Valbona towards Cerem, the drive takes 45min up to 1h. People will also welcome you in their homes in Cerem.
The initial stretch over pastures and into the forest is difficult to follow as there are many small sheep trails but it turns shortly afterwards into a clearly visible path used by the inhabitants of the stan (summer pasture) further up.
Not long after crossing the border with Montenegro you will meet the marked trail from Vusanje that leads up to Double Pass (Dvojni Prevoj) at the foot of Zla and Dobra Kolata from where you can see three summits. On your way you pass Shpella Lieers where you can cool down on a hot day, usually snow piles up near its entrance. Camping is possible at the stans along the way, where you can find fresh water springs, and might get invited for a coffee, raki and fresh cheese or yoghurt drink by the shepherds.
Please note that this hike crosses through Montenegrin territory. While you might imagine that there are not many policemen around in the mountains enforcing this, and we don’t know of any case where hikers got in trouble for trespassing, it’s technically illegal to cross the border without obtaining a permit from the authorities prior to your hike, and we don’t recommend it.
Starting in Montenegro – Vusanje
This one way route starts from Vusanje in Montenegro and takes by calculation (for average fitness levels) 10:45h return, or around 6:30h to reach Maja e Kollata (one way). Add some more time if you wish to ascend Zla Kolata.
Date of this record:
about 6:45 hours up / 4 down
The mountain does actually not look very dramatic from the Montenegrin site, it’s best enjoyed from either lower Valbona Valley and even more beautiful arriving to Cerem from Markofsh or Doberdoll, for example as part of the Peaks of the Balkans route.
Please note that this hike crosses international borders. While you might imagine that there are not many policemen around in the mountains enforcing this, and we don’t know of any case where hikers got in trouble for trespassing, it’s technically illegal to cross the border without obtaining a permit from the authorities prior to your hike, and we don’t recommend it.