Day II & III- Peja Outdoor Tourism Festival

The Peja Outdoor Tourism Festival, held as part of the ‘Tourism for Future’ project, presented a variety of events aimed at promoting Peja’s tourism and cultural heritage. The festival’s objective, in line with the project’s goals, was to enhance the visibility and value of cross-regional tourism, cultural heritage, and the local economy. By promoting interconnected cultural heritage and economic achievements, the festival aimed to strengthen cross-border cooperation and highlight the importance of these elements for local economies. In partnership with the hotel industry, the festival displayed regional tourism and cultural heritage accomplishments through two cross-border tourism festivals, one in Peja and one in Kolasin. The Peja Outdoor Tourism Festival promoted numerous recreational activities, traditional food, and local products, encouraging cooperation and networking among stakeholders. 

Detailed Descriptions of Each Recreational Activity 

Peja Balcony 

The “Peja Balcony” hiking trail, revitalized and promoted by the “Peja Outdoor Tourism Festival,” offered a unique blend of accessibility and adventure. Organized by SH.B.A. Gjeravica, this moderate 6-hour hike started from the city center and connected with the popular Health Trail. Participants traversed the scenic paths of Horomoqat trail and enjoyed breathtaking views from the Peja Balcony. 

Mule’s Trail and Zip Line 

The historic “Mule’s Trail” hike, organized by SH.B.A. Gjeravica, was once used by locals to transport wood. The hike started from the city center, followed the Health Trail, and continued along the “Pine Tree” trail. Participants passed a small stream, enjoyed city views from a shelter, and followed a marked trail to Rugova Canyon, experiencing panoramic views of Lëvoshë village. The hike ended near the Zip-Line attraction, offering an additional thrill. 

Guri i Kuq Peak 

Participants joined the adventure to Guri i Kuq, the highest peak in Peja and the Rugova highlands, in the heart of the Accursed Mountains. Guided by Sh.B.A. Gjeravica, participants started from the Visitor Center and were transported to Milisevc village. The trail featured diverse flora and fauna and offered stunning views of Kosovo and the Western Balkans. 

Vjellaku Peak 

Participants explored the “Vjellaku Peak” trail, organized by the “Maja e Marjashit” association. This 13.3km hike offered stunning views of the Nemuna and Sharri Mountains, as well as Albania and Montenegro. Departing from the Tourist Information Center at 520m altitude, the route ascended to 2014m, passing through Maja e Zez hills and offering sights of Rugova Gorge, Guri Kuq Peak, and Peja.

Peklena Trail 

Participants joined the adventure on the “Shtegu i Peklenes” trail, newly marked and organized by the “Shijo edhe Ti” association. Starting from the Tourist Information Center, this hike promised 360° views of Shushica Canyon, Hasani Peak, and panoramic vistas of Peja. This activity offered a perfect mix of natural beauty and invigorating exercise, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.

Rock Climbing activities 

Climbing enthusiasts from different cities of the country eagerly participated in this exciting adventure. Rock-climbing, originating in the late 19th century and now recognized as an Olympic sport, has gained popularity in Kosovo, particularly in Peja’s Rugova Gorge. Throughout the festival, climbers of all ages received professional guidance from the “Marimangat e Pejës” association at sites like “Kilometer 5” and “Born.” 

Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata activities were among the most sought-after experiences at the festival. Limited to twenty participants per group due to the nature of the activity, these exhilarating adventures took place on both Saturday and Sunday. Hosted by the “Marimangat e Pejës” association, participants delved into the exciting world of Via Ferrata, exploring the via ferrata ‘Mat’ and via ferrata ‘ARI’ with professional guidance. These activities not only provided an adrenaline-filled experience but also offered a unique opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of Peja’s rugged landscapes. 

Speleology activities 

Speleology activities were one of the highlights of the festival, providing participants with the opportunity to explore the great Radac Cave. Hosted by the local speleology organization Aragonit-Speleo, these activities took place on both Saturday and Sunday, accommodating participants with different schedules. Approximately thirty caving adventurers were registered for both days. 

The cave’s complex formations and underground channels offered a unique hiking experience, revealing mesmerizing microclimatic conditions. Known as the ‘Sleeping Beauty Cave’ and open year-round for visits, it stands as a must-see destination in Peja, Kosovo, inviting visitors to uncover its hidden beauty and dig into its mysterious depths. 

Cycling activities 

Among all the festival activities, the cycling adventure stood out as the most demanding, attracting both adults and children alike. With a total of approximately 300 participants from various cycling events, it gathered significant interest. 

On Sunday, the biking adventure organized by SH.B.A. Gjeravica once again was a great success, offering around 150 participants a memorable journey through Peja’s charming villages. Starting in the city center, cyclists met experienced guides before setting off on their exploration. They enjoyed local delicacies in Qyshk and Bllagaje, followed by scenic rides through Nabergjan, Ozdrim, and Vitomerice. The trip concluded in Radafc, known for its natural wonders. Before heading back to Peja, everyone relaxed with a coffee break at Ujevara e Drinit resort. It was a fantastic blend of biking, good food, and discovering the beauty and warmth of Peja’s villages. 

Paragliding activities 

The paragliding activity was highly sought after by adrenaline seekers, though the number of participants was limited. Around 25 participants registered for the Saturday and Sunday sessions. 

AeroKlubi Peja provided breathtaking sky adventures, flying above Maja e Zeze with breathtaking panoramic views of Peja and the Dukagjini Plain. Experienced guides assessed the wind conditions each day to promise safety. Participants enjoyed an unforgettable experience, exploring Peja from a whole new perspective. 

Fishing activity 

The fishing activity at Karagaq Park, supported by Sh.P.S.R Trofta, turned out to be a quite exciting and educational event. Intended for fishing enthusiasts of all ages, the event welcomed around thirty experienced anglers and beginners to enjoy the serene beauty of nature. Families were especially encouraged to join, providing children with the opportunity to interact with association members and learn about the fascinating world of fishing. The itinerary included a morning gathering where participants met their guides, followed by hands-on fishing sessions throughout the day.

Kayaking activity 

The kayaking event hosted by Klubi i Kajakimit “Egër Peja” and the “Peja Kayak” association at the beautiful “Te Shara” location was a perfect mix of education and adventure for all ages. Around fifty participants were treated to firsthand demonstrations showcasing impressive kayaks and received educational sessions on kayaking basics and safety tips. When the water conditions were favorable, registered attendees had the thrilling opportunity to embark on an exciting rafting journey on a small section of the Lumbardh river. The event was further complemented by family-friendly activities, live music, delicious food, and refreshing drinks, creating a vibrant festival atmosphere. This special event offered a fantastic opportunity to explore the world of kayaking, making it a memorable day full of excitement, learning, and fun. 

Running activity 

The short trail run as part of the Peja Outdoor Tourism Festival was a refreshing and motivating experience. The six partivipants started from the city center, running towards Karagaq Park, then along the canal road to Horomoqa trail, and finally descending to Sharra. Despite the route not being marked, the run was well-coordinated with the group running together for those unfamiliar with the path. The entire run was completed within the 2-hour time limit. After the run, attendees gathered at Sharra for a break and engaging discussions about establishing a trail running club in Peja. This event was a beautiful journey of adventure and health, successfully kicking off a new chapter in Peja’s outdoor activities. 

Zip-line activity 

The zip lining activity at the Peja Outdoor Tourism Festival was an exciting highlight. Participants flied up 680 meters across the breathtaking Rugova Canyon, just four kilometers from the city center, enjoying stunning views of the canyon and river below. The activity, supported by “Marimangat e Pejës,” featured professionally trained staff ensuring a safe and unforgettable experience. This activity has taken place on Saturday after the “Mules trail” hike where around thirty participants partook into this activity and on Sunday as a separate activity, tickets were available at the Tourist Information Center, guiding about thirty-six participants to the adventure site in Rugova Canyon.  

Vespa Show Tour activity 

The Vespa Show Tour, organized by “Vespa Klub Peja” as part of the Peja Outdoor Tourism Festival, was an interesting and scenic adventure for all Vespa enthusiasts. The tour began from Soho Bar and took around forty participants on a picturesque ride through the beautiful Rugova Canyon, passing through the lovely villages of Stankaj, Bogë, Shkrel, Koshutan, Pepiq, and Reka e Allages. At Reka e Allages, participants enjoyed a delicious traditional lunch hosted by Guesthouse Ariu, providing an authentic taste of local cuisine. After this delightful break, the Vespa group returned to the city, concluding the tour at “Te Sharra” with music and drinks, celebrating a day filled with adventure and enjoyment. The event offered a unique opportunity to explore Peja’s stunning landscapes and vibrant culture on a Vespa. 

Musical Performances 

Music was an essential element of the “Peja Outdoor Tourism Festival,” elevating the overall experience for attendees throughout the event. 

The first two days of the festival presented musical performances in the lively city square. A LED stage was set up prominently in the city center, creating an atmosphere of excitement and energy. Local businesses offered a delightful array of beverages, drinks, and flavorsome food options from lovely cottages. High-quality sound systems, comfortable seating areas, and lighting ensured that attendees were fully immersed in the musical experience. The festival lineup included talented DJs, captivating local rock groups that left a lasting impression.