A narrow winding road through Rugova Gorge

In the region of Rugova in Kosovo, beyond the town of Peja, there’s a narrow pass that enters one of the most spectacular areas in the Balkans: the Rugova Gorge, where granite walls vault 609 meters (2,000 feet) above the Drini River.

Rugova Gorge road

Where is Rugova Gorge?

The gorges are located in the far western corner of the country, near the border of Montenegro, in the central area of Rugova Mountains.

When was the road through Rugova gorges built?

The first road through the gorges was constructed and opened in 1925. On this road, the Serbian Army during the withdrawal over rugged Albanian mountains in 1915 was throwing its guns to prevent Austrians and Bulgarians from taking them and continued its journey towards coldness and hunger.

Can you drive through Rugova Canyon?

The gorge is traversed by the infamous M9 road. It’s totally paved. The road takes startling hairpin turns and plunges into hand-made tunnels to reemerge beneath vistas of soaring peaks and alluring caves.

How long is the road to Rugova Canyon?

The Rugova Canyon Road is 22km (13 miles) long, running east-west from Peja (or Peć, as it is known to Serbs), on the eastern section of the Accursed Mountains to Kuqishtë, a small village near the Montenegro border, on the way to Cakor Pass.

Is the Rugova Canyon Road difficult?

The road through the gorges is pretty narrow in parts, and passing cars and trucks is problematic as they approach. In winter, the road is covered with ice and snow. The lumber trucks approach periodically and are tough to pass. Some parts are carved into the side of a granite wall and are basically up against a wall and the edge. A couple of tunnels are very narrow and there is only room for one vehicle.

Navigating Risks: Staying on Guard for Mines Along the Roadside

It’s highly recommended to stay always on the road because the zone is very dangerous offside the path. The whole area was a frontline during the war, and the authorities have posted several signs along the road, warning of the danger of mines.

How long does it take to drive the Rugova Canyon Road?

To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 45 and 60 minutes. The zone offers great opportunities for hikers, rock-climbers, and cave explorers. The views are stunning, especially during rainstorms, with big waterfalls. You can see granite walls on either side rising up and a drop-off below into a gulley, and there appears to be a river. You can also see short tunnels carved out of the mountains.
Pic: Arian Sheremeti