Rugova Canyon

I eventually had to admit defeat and gave up looking for my keys, I guess it really is ‘BMW Keyless Ride’ now. I was heading towards Peć in the very west of Kosovo near the border with Montenegro. The weather had cleared and the journey was pretty uneventful. The scenery is not overly exciting but the roads are quiet and well maintained. Arriving in Peć things change very quickly though.

The whole place seems to be in a state of chaos and I don’t know whether this is tourist season or it’s always like this but there are cars and people everywhere. To make things worse I don’t really have any idea which direction I should be going. I had set my satnav to take me to Peć, which it has done, but now I’m here; “Where now?”. I know I want to be heading west, there is nothing to the east and mountains to the west and zooming out my satnav shows the mountains, so that’s a start. But first I need an ATM to get some Euros.

After a few wrong turns and short blasts along busy dual carriageways with nowhere to do a u-turn I eventually find something resembling the centre of town. People and cars are everywhere and I am forced to park on the edge of a pedestrian area and join the short queue for the ATM. I am parked next to a taxi rank and a couple of friendly drivers nod a brief hello so I nod back and take the opportunity to ask for directions to Rugova.

Rugova Canyon is one of Europe’s longest and deepest canyons at 16 miles long. I soon hit the western edge of Peć and the traffic and people die away as I enter the canyon. The road quickly narrows becoming a steep valley with high rock walls on either side. Traffic is light with only the occasional tourist or construction lorry but the twisty nature of the road making overtaking very difficult.

Steep rock walls line both sides of the road

I was heading up the canyon with the intention of crossing over into Montenegro which I had heard was possible. But before long the road ran out and was replaced with a very rutted and muddy track disappearing off into the forest. I tentatively started along the track which got narrower and narrower until just two very deep 4x4 tracks remained. I couldn’t see an end to the track and not really knowing what to expect I turned around. Being alone and on a bike weighing over 14 tonne I didn’t want to risk dropping it out here in the middle of nowhere.

I had passed the Panorama Hotel about half way up the canyon so decided to ride back down and see about staying there the night. The hotel was either newly refurbished or newly built as there were piles of sand and bricks strategically dotted around. I booked the last single room but on showing me to it the manager/hotelier/guy in charge discovered all his mates where already occupying it. He apologised and I was already to leave when he suggested an apartment, at first he wanted to charge full price, which was double the single room rate, but after a bit of negotiation and me threatening to walk away I got it for only slightly more than the single room.

Beautiful canyon with some amazing views

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