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Hidden Gems
Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Montenegro

Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Montenegro

Overview

Explore the hidden gems of the Balkans on the Via Dinarica section in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. This adventure will take you through the Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks: two stunning areas located at the heart of Dinaric Alps. You will start the tour in Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital city, which hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics, one of the most culturally diverse and historical places on the Balkans. During the active part of the itinerary you’ll ascend Maglic (2386 m) – the highest peak of Bosnia, raft the Tara river, a UNESCO protected site and Europe’s deepest canyon, and discover many glacier lakes, amazing views, colourful wildflowers, medieval villages and welcoming local culture.

This is a small group tour, on which you will share the experience with other passionate travellers and be accompanied by a local guide who will give you the best insights into the places you visit. As you will be exploring some remote places, mind that one night is spent in a bungalow in a rafting camp and one in a mountain hut in dorm rooms with shared facilities.

Highlights

  • Sarajevo, one of the most historical and culturally diverse Balkan cities
  • Maglic (2386m), the highest peak in Bosnia
  • Rafting through the Tara Canyon, Europe’s deepest canyon
  • Emerald glacier lakes of Durmitor National Park, UNESCO heritage

Show map

*This map is only for general reference; detailed route maps will be provided in your pre-departure package.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Sarajevo

Arrive in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Your trip leader will welcome you outside of the customs and immigration area at the airport, and take you to your hotel in the oriental quarter of Sarajevo. In the afternoon, there will be an organized tour of the major historical, cultural and war sites in the city that will help you to piece together its complex and fascinating history. In the evening you will enjoy a welcome dinner and trip briefing.

Day 2: Hike to Donje Bare Lake & Ugljesin Peak | 9 km

In the morning you will be transferred to your hotel in Sutjeska National Park, before continuing to the tranquil lake of Donje Bare. After lunch, you will walk through a beech forest and open mountainous terrain to the summit of Ugljesin Peak (1858 m), for one of the best panoramic views of the Zelengora peaks and the rock-face wall of Volujak. You continue the stunning circuit back to Gornje Bare lake via the Tovarnica ridge (1.5 hours) with Bosnia’s highest peaks a constant companion on the horizon. We will be transferred back to the hotel in Tjentiste valley, before an early dinner.

  • Walking for the day: 9 km, 4-5 hrs, ↑↓400 m
  • Hotel Mladost (Sutjeska National Park, BiH)
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Ascent of Maglic, Bosnia’s Highest Peak | 14 km

A transfer will take you to Lokva Derneciste (approx. 1 hour), from where you will head for Bosnia’s highest peak, Maglić Mountain (2386 m), through the forest and open mountainous terrain. The ascent itself will take approximately four hours over fairly well-maintained mountain trails on steep cliffs and is by far the most demanding part of the trek. Please note the route is exposed, and it is not recommended for anyone suffering from vertigo. Each step takes you further above the surrounding peaks until you reach the summit, where you will have lunch and enjoy wonderful views over Montenegro and of our next stop, the emerald green waters of Trnovacko Lake. After descending to the lake in the afternoon, you head for Prijevor where a transfer takes you to your hotel in Tjentiste.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 9 hrs, ↑↓700 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Mladost (Sutjeska National Park, BiH)
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Tara Rafting

The Tara is one of the most beautiful whitewater rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina that offers some of the best rafting experiences in Europe, and it will surprise you with its stunning wilderness and beauty. A jewel amongst the world’s natural heritage spots, the Tara boasts one of the deepest canyons in Europe. She follows the natural border between Bosnia and Montenegro most of the time. After the professionally guided rafting trip starting in Montenegro, you will enjoy an early dinner on the Tara River banks in Bosnia. Tonight you stay at simple wooden bungalows next to the river, enjoying the sound of water and campfire.

  • Daily activity: 3-4 hours of rafting, II-IV class rapids
  • Accommodation: Bungalows at Highlander Camp (Tara river, BiH)
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Hike to Crkvicko Polje and Sokolina Plateau | 19 km

After a short transfer from the rafting camp to the Montenegro side and Mratinje dam (220 metres high, making it one of the highest in Europe) you’ll start today’s hike. The hike takes you uphill for about two hours after which you come out on the plateau and continue over it, with a great view on the surrounding mountains. You end the day on the edge of Tara canyon at Sokolina guesthouse, with amazing views of the Durmitor massif and the Tara river, where you rafted the day before.

  • Walking for the day: 19 km, 6-7 hrs, ↑↓600 m
  • Accommodation: Local Guesthouse (Durmitor National Park, Montenegro)
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: From Nedajno Village to Susicko and Skrcko Lakes | 9 km

Today’s hike continues onwards to Skrka mountain hut via the Susicko lake and Skakala waterfall, starting from the village of Nedajno. The route is 9 km long, with rocky, mountain terrain descending to a plateau and forested trails, among stunning peaks surrounding you from all sides.

  • Walking for the day: 9 km, 4-5 hrs, ↑↓550 m
  • Accommodation: Mountain Hut Skrka (Durmitor National Park, Montenegro)
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

As the overnight will be in a hut that is not accessible by cars, mind that you will have to carry a backpack with the overnight gear, a sleeping bag, packed lunch and part of the evening food.

Day 7: From Skrcko Lake to Botun Pass, Descent to Zabljak | 14 km

Depart after an early breakfast. Today’s hike will take approximately eight hours via the Botun pass, descending straight to Zabljak, a resort town located in the heart of Durmitor National Park. Part of the trail is scree with exposed and steep or narrow paths in some areas.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 8 hrs, ↑↓1000 m
  • Accommodation: Pension Javorovaca, Zabljak (Durmitor National Park, Montenegro)
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast, a transfer will take you to Podgorica Airport (2.5 hrs) for your departure flight.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

What to Expect

Accommodation

Most accommodations are small family-run hotels and B&Bs with ensuite facilities. One night is spent in a bungalow in a rafting camp (private rooms with shared facilities), and one night is in a mountain hut (in dorm rooms with shared facilities). Please note that you will need a sleeping bag or sheets for the overnight at Mountain Hut Skrka (it is possible to rent one). 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.

Show the default hotels for this trip

Please mind that the default accommodations are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

The tour package includes full-board meal plan: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches (mostly picnics), and 7 dinners (as listed in the itinerary).

Difficulty & terrain

We rate the difficulty of this trip as moderate to strenuous, with a maximum walking distance per day of 19 km, and daily elevation of up to 900 m. You should be in good physical shape and be able to walk for 7-8 hours, to enjoy the walking part of the tour (read more about difficulty grades). The paths are not technically challenging, still have in mind that there are some exposed sections which are not suitable with people with vertigo.

When to go

Departures for this trip are available in May, June, July, August and September; please click the Book Now button for the exact dates. 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.

Getting there

View country info and up-to-date travel advice, here for Bosnia & Herzegovina, and here for Montenegro

Recommended arrival airport: Sarajevo
Recommended departure airport: Podgorica

Inclusions

Included

  • Transportation during the entire trip with 8+1 minivan or 20+1 minibus (including airport transfers)
  • English speaking tour leader/guide
  • 5 nights in twin/double rooms with ensuite facilities
  • 1 night in а bungalow in a rafting camp, shared facilities
  • 1 night in a mountain hut in dorm rooms, shared facilities
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Sarajevo city walking tour (with all entrance fees where needed)
  • Tara rafting with all fees and safety equipment
  • All local fees for Durmitor & Sutjeska National Parks

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Tips for the tour leader and local staff
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement for members of a group (not possible in the mountain hut)
  • Extra nights in Split and Sarajevo
  • Sleeping bag or walking poles rental (10 EUR per trip, paid locally)

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