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Hidden Gems
Via Dinarica in Bosnia: Peaks and Villages of Bjelasnica Mountain  The Natural Adventure Company

Via Dinarica in Bosnia (Self Guided)

Overview

Located 20 min drive away from Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bjelasnica mountain range is a place full of wild natural beauty and authentic villages, yet to be discovered by many hikers looking for a pure mountain adventure off the beaten track. Hosting the 1984 Winter Olympics and being a battleground during the siege of Sarajevo, Bjelasnica is also a place full of history that will tell you a lot about life in the Balkans, adding a touch of cultural exploration to your journey. To make your travel experience even richer, you will be able also to explore Sarajevo, one of the most historic and culturally diverse cities on the Balkans.

This is a self guided walking tour, most suited for experienced travellers looking for an authentic adventure in one of the last wild corners of Europe. The itinerary will take you through spectacular limestone peaks, glacial lakes, amazing views, colourful wildflowers, medieval villages, and welcoming local culture. You will spend one of the evenings in a mountain hut, completely immersing yourself into the peace and quiet of the mountain.

Highlights

  • Explore the cultural riches of Sarajevo
  • Discover the Via Dinarica trail  
  • Untouched Mountain settlements, canyons & summits  
  • Enjoy old shepherd lifestyle as it was once was

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Sarajevo

Arrival in Sarajevo on your own. Depending on the time of your arrival, you will have the rest of the day for exploring the cultural riches of this historical city.

Day 2: Hike the Old War Routes at Igman Mountain | 11 km

Transfer to the bottom of Igman mountain and hike over old war route to the Bjelasnica Ski resort. The area became prominent in 1984 when it hosted the Winter Olympics, and a lot of the facilities and hotels date to that period. Because of its strategic location, it was also a key battleground during the Bosnian War (1992–95). Dinner and overnight are at a comfortable hotel.

  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hrs, ↑750 m, 11km
  • Accommodation: Hotel Bjelasnica (Bjelasnica Ski resort)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Ascent of Bjelasnica Highest Peak | 13 km

Day of crossing the Bjelasnica mountain plateau with an ascent to the Observatory, highest Bjelasnica peak (2,067 m). The history of the Observatory dates back to 1878, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire occupied Bosnia, and installed almost immediately the first meteorological station on the summit, creating the first meteorological station in the whole area of the Balkans. The observatory is still there and has been repaired of the damage sustained during the last war, and still functions as an important chain-link in the meteorological survey of the Balkans. Your hike continues towards the Stanari mountain hut, where you will have dinner and stay for overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 6-7 hrs, ↑850 m, 13 km
  • Accommodation: Mountain Hut Stanari (Bjelašnica Mountain)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

As the overnight will be in a hut, mind that you will have to carry a backpack with overnight gear, a sleeping bag, and the packed lunch. Your main luggage will join you at the next accommodation tomorrow.

Day 4: Crossing the Greda Pass to Umoljani Village | 12 km

Today you are leaving Stanari hut and continue over Bjelasnica ridge, towards Ljeljen peak (1938 m) and Greda Pass to your final goal for the day, Umoljani village. Along the way, you will enjoy some pristine meadows filled with yellow and purple flowers so characteristic of the summer, as well as marvel amazing views of Bjelasnica’s highest peaks: Treskavica, Visocica, Zelengora and Jahorina mountains.

  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hrs, ↑550 m, 12 km
  • Accommodation: Pension Umoljani (Umoljani Village)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Circular Village To Village Hike | 15 km

Today’s hike has it all, amazing scenery, old water mills, stunning views of the Rakitnica canyon and great hiking. Depending on your route choice, you will enjoy a full day of walking in the Bjelasnica Mountains, possibly ascending Obalj peak (1,896 m) and visiting Lukomir, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s highest village (1,469 m).

  • Walking for the day (option 1): 6-7 hrs walk, 250 m, 15 km
  • Walking for the day (option 2): 7-8 hrs walk, 550 m, 15 km
  • Accommodation: Pension Umoljani (Umoljani Village)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Glimpse of Visocica Mountain | 13 km

Hike across one of the most exciting rides in the area with stunning views of the opposite side of Rakitnica canyon. At the end of the hike, a transfer will take you to Sarajevo, where you will be able to have an evening of rest and reflect on your hiking adventure.

  • Moderate walk (option 1): 5 – 6 hrs, ↑500 m, 12 km
  • Challenging walk (option 2): 6 – 7 hrs, ↑850 m, 13 km
  • Accommodation: Pension Kandilj (Sarajevo, Bosnia)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Departure

Depending on your departure time, you will be transferred to the Sarajevo International Airport.

  • Meals included: Breakfast

What to Expect

Accommodation

In Sarajevo, you will be accommodated in a cosy B&B (private rooms, en-suite facilities), located in the central Oriental part of the city. One of the evenings will be spent in a comfortable hotel in Bjelasnica Ski resort (private rooms, en-suite facilities). You will spend one night in a mountain hut (dorm rooms, shared facilities). Please note that you will need a sleeping bag or sheets for the overnight at Mountain Hut Stanari (it is possible to rent one upon request). In Umoljani Village, you will be accommodated in a local pension (private rooms, en-suite facilities). We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Show our default accommodations for this trip

Accommodations 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

Meal plan, as listed in the itinerary: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunch packs and 3 dinners (in Sarajevo you have plenty of restaurant options to choose from)

Difficulty & terrain

We rate the difficulty of this trip as moderate, with an average walking time of 7 – 8 hours per day, so to enjoy the walking part of the tour you should have previous experience and be in a good physical shape (read more about difficulty grades).

When to go

Departures for this trip are available from June till September. The tour is self guided so you can depart at any day during the active season. 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 some snow during the summer is not unusual in the Dinaric Alps.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Recommended arrival/departure airport: Sarajevo

Inclusions

Included

  • Transportation during the entire trip with 4+1 Jeep or 8+1 minivan (including arrival/departure airport transfers) to the starting/ending points of the walks
  • Luggage transfers (except on day 3 to Stanari Mountain Hut)
  • Accommodation for 6 nights (as described in the itinerary)
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunch packs and 3 dinners
  • Information package including detailed route description with corresponding maps of Bjelasnica & Igman (scale: 1:50 000) and directions for self guided walks with GPS tracks for each day
  • 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Sleeping bag or walking poles rental (10 EUR per trip, paid locally)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement for members of a group (only possible in Sarajevo and Bjelasnica Ski resort)
  • Extra nights in Sarajevo

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