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Via Dinarica, Via Dinarica trail, Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Natural Adventure Company | Self Guided Walking Holidays in Europe & Walking Tours in Europe

Self Guided Walking Holidays in Europe

Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Overview for Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Our Via Dinarica in Bosnia & Herzegovina walking holiday follows the Via Dinarica trail in western Herzegovina. The Via Dinarica is a mega trail that extends from Albania to Slovenia. The trail slices diagonally from southeast to northwest and traverses the largest karst field on earth. Plate tectonics have created a vertebrae-like limestone chain that has aligned itself over 1,000 kilometres through the heart of the western Balkans, some of its most beautiful parts being in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On the Via Dinarica trail, nature meets culture in enchanting ways. It is here that one can find the last remnants of traditional European highland lifestyles, and these still-thriving highland communities prove that no matter how remote you go, you’re never terribly far from an adventure or a hot, hearty meal shared with a friendly local.

During this trip, you will enjoy fantastic, diverse landscapes each day. It also includes several cultural and historical sites such as the mysterious Stećci medieval necropolises, now listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Throughout the seven days of hiking, you will circle the great Buško Lake, traverse Duvanjsko Polje, ascend into Blidinje Nature Park and descend to the town of Jablanica over Čvrsnica Mountain. The trip ends in the city of Mostar, famous for its ‘Old Bridge’ – a jewel of oriental architecture

Highlights


Itinerary for Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Day 1: Krka National Park / Capljina

If your arrival airport is Zadar: you will be welcomed by our driver and transferred to Krka National Park in Croatia (transfer included). Depending on arrival time, you can take an optional walk in the park and visit Lake Visovac or Roški waterfall. Later in the evening, one can enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant nearby. You will spend your first night in a small, charming guesthouse located close to the Krka National Park.

If your arrival airport is Dubrovnik: private transfer (not included) to Capljina or Ljubuski where you will spend your first night. Optional walk to the Kravia waterfall and back to the guesthouse.

  • Accommodation: a family-run guesthouse

Day 2: Buško Lake

After breakfast you’ll start the journey to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The drive will take approximately 1 h 30 min with the border crossing. Soon after crossing the border, you’ll begin today’s hike. You will start from the small village of Kazaginac towards Buško Lake – one of the largest accumulation lakes in Europe. This lake is flanked on the north and west by the high mountains of Kamešnica and Tušnica. The trail is actually a pilgrims’ route dedicated to Our Lady of Sinj and it takes you around the lake passing by the Franciscan monastery of St. Elijah. There are great views of the lake and surrounding mountains throughout the hike, while also providing insight into the rich past of this region. At the end of the hiking day, there is an opportunity to visit an ancient graveyard hidden in an old orchard and a stećci necropolis close by the hamlet of Naklo. From Naklo it’s an easy walk back to the hotel where one can spend the rest of the day swimming or even horseback riding (optional).

  • Walking for the day: 15 km, 5h ↑150m ↓50m
  • Accommodation: a family-run hotel

Day 3: Grabovička Mountain

Today’s hiking takes you to the other side of Grabovička Mountain. The early morning views over Buško Lake are breathtaking, but it is something else that makes this area particularly attractive. The area is dotted by many karst formations that have created a fascinating cave system, many of the caves can be explored only a short distance from the trail. You can see the remains of ancient mammoths and cave bears. You will also pass by many archaeological sites and the monument to the famous medieval rebel Mijat Tomić in his birthplace of Brišnik. The trail ends just after the large cave called The Cathedral in the village of Bukovica. On this night you’ll stay at a local guesthouse at the edge of Duvanjsko Polje.

  • Walking for the day: 20 km, 7h ↑400m ↓300m
  • Accommodation: a family-run guesthouse (Lovre or similar)

Day 4: Lib Mountain

This day begins with an easy walk through the field (an option is to get transferred to another side of the field and start hiking up straight away). The trail crosses Duvanjsko polje and comes to the village Omolje. From Omolje it climbs up to Orlov Kuk and Lib Mountain where it continues towards its north ridge. The north ridge of Lib leads to a site of the ancient Illyrian capital called Deliminium. You will continue hiking towards the summit of Svinjar enjoying great views on Vran and Čvrsnica mountains. Last part is descending to Svinjaca, a hamlet that is within the boundaries if Nature Park Blidinje. This is your end destination for the day. We will provide pick-up and transfer to your accommodation at the base of Vran Mountain.

  • Walking for the day: 19 km, 7-8h ↑1,100m ↓800m (shorter route with transfer: 15 km, 6h)
  • Accommodation: a mountain cabin (6 dormitory beds, cold running water, shared facilities)

Day 5: Vran Mountain

Day 5 takes you high into the mountains. After some steep hiking, you reach the ridge of the Vran Mountain. From here, one can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes for the entire of the day. The highest point is the summit of Veliki (Great) Vran at 2,074 m altitude. From Veliki Vran you will descend to Dugo Polje. The Dugo Polje necropolis, a UNESCO world heritage site, is right next to the trail just before today’s destination. You will spend a night at a charming mountain hotel offering great local specialities – e.g. roasted veal under the bell, lamb, boiled dried mutton with sauerkraut.

  • Walking for the day: 17 km, 7h ↑1,300m ↓1,350m
  • Accommodation: a family-run mountain hotel (Haiducke Vrleti)

Day 6: Čvrsnica Mountain

The sixth day starts with an easy hike across an alpine meadow. The first stop will be a spring close by the Franciscan monastery and church at Masna Luka. Visiting the monastery’s art gallery is an option. From the monastery, the trail goes through the forest of endemic munika pines and soon starts climbing along an old shepherd route up to Čvrsnica Mountain. At higher altitudes, there are alpine scrub habitats and large scree slopes below the peaks. Your aim is the ridge of the stunning Vilinac peak, which will reward you with great 360 degree views upon ascent. The descent is short and easy where one quickly reaches the Vilinac mountain lodge, where you will spend the night. Enjoy your dinner on the terrace with the view of Pločno and Pesti Brdo summits.

  • Walking for the day: 15 km, 7h ↑1,400m ↓600m
  • Accommodation: Vilinac mountain lodge (dormitory accommodation, shared facilities)

Day 7: Plasa Mountain and Mostar

Your last hiking day takes you to one of the trademarks of the Dinaric Alps – the glorious Hajdučka Vrata also known as Šuplja Vrata (Hollow door), probably the most popular spot for landscape photographers from the country and abroad. This rock phenomenon stands above the deep Diva Grabovica canyon which only adds to the overwhelming feeling of awe and amazement. Before reaching this site you will pass by a small lake that reflects the sky like a mountain mirror.

The trail continues over another summit above 2,000 m and soon after new views will open to the north. After reaching the tame mountain meadows at Plasa locality, you will be starting your descent towards the town of Jablanica. As the last kilometres before the town are following a local road, our driver will pick you up at the end of the trail in the woods. Today, you will have a  perfect hikers’ lunch, a world famous local speciality – lamb on a spit. Of course, you will have time to visit the Jablanica museum and the fallen bridge on the Neretva, most famous for the movie ‘Battle of Neretva’ starring Yul Brynner.

After lunch, you will be transferred to the city of Mostar where you have an opportunity to enjoy night walk over the magnificent Old Bridge, another UNESCO highlight of this region.

  • Walking for the day: 17 km, 6h ↑600m ↓1,200m
  • Accommodation: a3 or 4-star hotel in downtown Mostar (Pellegrino or similar)

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

Breakfast. You will leave early in the morning in order to catch your flight from Zadar or Dubrovnik airport. Airport transfer to Zadar is included; airport transfer to Dubrovnik available at an extra cost.

Hotels for Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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3 or 4-star hotels (two nights), family-run guesthouses (three nights) and mountain cabins (two nights). We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

  • Breakfast is included on all days (7 breakfasts);
  • Dinner is included on the 3rd, 4th and 6th day;
  • A la carte menus are available on 1st, 2nd, 5th and 7th day;
  • Lunch pack is included every day except arrival and departure days

Travel for Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Zadar. An alternative airport is Dubrovnik in Croatia, which is better connected to the UK. Please insert your preferred airport in the “To” field below to see the available flights from your location.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking. 

Transfers to/from Airports

If your arrival and departure airport is Zadar, the airport transfers are included in the trip cost. If you use Dubrovnik or another airport, you can either book a private transfer with us, or use public transport.

Baggage Transfers

Baggage transfers during all walks are included and your bags will be transferred by your current hotel (or by private transfer) to your next hotel.

Country Info

Timezone: GMT +2

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is located in the heart of the Dinaric Alps, which rise steadily across the country from northwest to southeast, appearing in both Bosnia – the central and northern region of the country – and Herzegovina, the entire southern region. A huge portion of the Via Dinarica extends through this country’s dramatically varying landscapes, including its characteristic karst fields, limestone mountains, lush valleys, primaeval forests, alpine fields, crystal-clear rivers and green mountain lakes. The Dinaric mountain range is the natural boundary between the Mediterranean and continental climates, and BiH encompasses more of both climates than any other country along the Via Dinarica.

Capital city – Sarajevo

Population – 3.8 million

Language – Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian

Currency – Convertible Mark (KM). We strongly advise taking adequate cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are not available outside of Mostar and Zadar.

Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50Hz, two-pin round plugs

Up-to-date travel advice on Bosnia and Herzegovina is available here.

Detailed up-to-date travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate to Strenuous

This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers (no high mountain experience required) and requires a solid level of fitness (read more about difficulty grades). You will walk on average 18 km or 6-7 hours per day, with an average daily elevation gain of 650 m.

Route Navigation

The trail section on the first day is marked by yellow-white stripes used for the pilgrims’ route marking. The rest of the trail is marked by red and white circles according to national rules and guidelines. The important junctions and trailheads are signposted. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available between May and October.

The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking

Weather

During the hiking season, the weather is normally pleasant and sunny. More rain is expected at the beginning and the end of the season, and it gets warmer during July and August. However, short cold waves and even snow during the summer is not unusual in the Dinaric Alps.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, route notes and maps
  • 5 nights in 3 or 4-star hotels and  guesthouses (private rooms with en-suite facilities)
  • 2 nights in mountain cabins (dormitory rooms, shared facilities)
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 6 lunch packs
  • 3 dinners
  • Airport transfers from/to Zadar airport
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel during walks
  • All car transfers on walking days where necessary
  • 24/7 assistance by phone

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  •  Where solo travellers or individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable as costs are not shared; single room accommodation is not possible in the mountain cabins

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers to/from airports other than Zadar
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned as ‘included’
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the program

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Krka National Park entrance fee on Day 1 – £10 pp

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • 4-star accommodation upgrade on 1st, 2nd and 7th night
  • An extra night in Mostar after the holiday
  • Guided cave tour on Day 3 (including transfer and equipment)
  • Guided city tour of Mostar on Day 7
  • 4×4 pickup (pick up at an accessible location along the trail and transfer to the next accessible accommodation)

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