Hike the less-frequented Dinaric Alps with MTS, the first North American adventure travel company to open its doors to Bosnia
The Dinaric Alps are a sight to behold and possibly Europe’s best-kept secret. This range of stunning limestone peaks, spanning some 400 miles and six countries along the Adriatic Sea, harbors abundant, verdant valleys, primeval forests, clear rivers, and pristine lakes. We were the first North American travel company to offer hiking trips to Bosnia and Montenegro, earning us the title, “the vanguard of American tour companies,” by The New York Times. On this challenging hike through the Dineric Alps, you’ll open your eyes to a Europe that’s entirely off the beaten path, while learning about the region’s turbulent past, vibrant cultures, and spectacular national parks. This is an ideal adventure for the Europhile who thinks they’ve seen it all!
7 days moderate-strenuous hiking, 1 day easy whitewater rafting, 1 day cultural touring
- Experience insider’s access with MTS, the first North American travel company to open doors to Bosnia and Montenegro
- Witness east meets west, ancient (Silk Road) and modern history (Sarajevo and former Yugoslavia), and today’s resilient citizens
- Hike amid lush valleys, forests and peaks of Sutjeska, and Durmitor National Parks, and raft the Tara River, Europe’s deepest canyon--all untouched by mass tourism
Duration: 10 days Start Location: Sarajevo End Location: SarajevoDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Sarajevo
Arrive in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Your trip leader will meet you outside of the customs and immigration area at the airport. He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to our hotel. At lunch, you’ll have a chance to meet the other members of our group. Lunch is followed by a tour of the major historical and cultural sites of the town. In the evening we will enjoy a “welcome” dinner and trip briefing. Our hotel tonight is in the old oriental trading quarter of Sarajevo.
Day 2 : Remote Highland Villages of Lukomir and Umoljani
We'll head southwest of Sarajevo to spend the day hiking in the Bjelasnica mountains, where green pastures and evergreen trees are broken up by streams and perched limestone rocks. Popular as a ski resort in the wintertime, the Bjelasnica mountains were also home to the 1984 Olympics. We'll start in Umoljani, a small mountain village, heading past seven water mills used for centuries as the energy source for grinding wheat into flour. Our trail will hug a gorgeous ridge trail that hovers over the 16-mile-long Rakitnica River Canyon, one of the deepest gorges in Europe. The view will open up for an impressive view of the river below, and we'll head uphill to be generously rewarded with the Cascades of Studeni Potok—falling gracefully over 1,300 feet (dependent on the time of year) to the canyon below. Home to bears, wolves, wild boar, pine martens, and wild goats, this section of the Dinaric Alps remains pristine and unspoiled. We'll arrive at Lukomir, the highest and most isolated village in Bosnia and Herzegovina (4,908'), where traditional semi-nomadic villagers wear the occasional turban and fez, and houses are topped with cherry-wood tiles. We'll head through a stunning mountain valley and deep canyons on our way back to Sarajevo.
Day 3 : Sutjeska National Park
Today we’ll transfer to Sutjeska National Park and to the tranquil lake of Donje Bare where we’ll walk through beech forests and open mountainous terrain on our way up to the summit of Ugljesin Peak (6,095’). After a picnic lunch, we’ll continue by way of the picturesque Tovarnica Ridge, to the saddle, with its unobstructed views of the vast and magnificent Sutjeska Valley, Perucica mediaeval forest, and Volujak’s rock face barrier. We’ll then return via Gornje Bare Lake, completing this fantastic circuit. Tonight, we’ll enjoy an early dinner before transferring to our hotel in Tjentiste. (6 hours hiking.)
Day 4 : Sutjeska National Park and Mount Maglic
We rise early for one of the high points (literally) of this trip—our climb of 7,828-foot Maglic, Bosnia’s highest peak. Following a 1½-hour transfer to remote Lokva Derneciste, we begin our walk through forests and open, mountainous terrain. The demanding hike over goat herder trails takes approximately four hours and is one of the toughest walks on this whole trip. But it’s worth the challenge. With each step, we gain elevation above the surrounding peaks in Sutjeska National Park, until at last we arrive at the summit of Maglic. At the top we’ll enjoy a lunch with breathtaking views—from here we can see into Montenegro, where we head tomorrow. Our more immediate destination, the emerald green Trnovoacko Lake, is also visible. Leaving the summit, we descend for 2½ hours to the lake, where you can take a refreshing break in its cool waters while enjoying the view of the summit you just climbed. From here, we hike to Prijevor and then transfer to a hotel in Tjentiste. (Approximately 9 hours of hiking.)
Day 5 : Sutjeska River and Valley – On to Montenegro
After breakfast, we'll transfer transfer to Durmitor National Park in Montenegro, via Lake Pivsko and the Highlands of Durmitor. Upon arriving in the town of Zabljak, we'll settle into our hotel, and then ease into the next part of our trip with a gentle walk through pine and beech forests in Durmitor National Park. This breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its glacial formation, which left a landscape of underground streams and deep river canyons, including the Tara River canyon—the deepest gorge in Europe. Our destination is the glacial lake Crno, Durmitor’s largest. From here, we have a clear view of Medjed (“Bear”), one of Durmitor’s many peaks. At the source of the Mlinski Potok is another hidden “mountain eye” (as the locals call these lakes), Zminje Jezero, or “Snake Lake.” Nestled deep in a quiet forest, you may start to feel contemplative in this serene spot. On our return to Zabljak, we pass through the traditional village of Bosaca. (Approximately 3 hours of hiking.)
Day 6 : Durmitor National Park and Crno and Barno Lakes
Today we’ll get an earlier start, and embark on a scenic and vigorous hike up to the top of Savin Kuk (7,586’), one of the most beautiful and most photographed peaks of Durmitor. Today's there-and-back hike will reward us with breathtaking views. (Approximately 6 hours of hiking, 1,800-feet ascent, and 5.5 miles.)
Day 7 : Durmitor National Park and the Beautiful Limestone Peaks
Softly sloping, deeply green, and named for its fascinating oblique prutovi (wands), Prutas Peak is an amazing site—and our destination for today. If there were a beauty pageant for peaks that included a talent show category for “climbability,” Prutas would certainly win. Not only is it a nice mountain to climb and a beautiful peak to look at, it provides the best view of Durmitor’s other pageant contestants: the Soa Nebeska Wall, the amazing Skrcka Lakes Valley, and the stunning Susica Canyon. After a short, half-hour drive to Dobri Do (5,577'), we begin climbing a grassy slope toward Skrcko Zdrijelo Pass (6,935'). From here, we follow a rocky path with magnificent views of the massive Bobotov Kuk Wall (our goal for tomorrow). Shortly, we reach the peak for a lunch with breathtaking views. After our 5-hour round-trip hike, we arrive back in Zabljak in time for dinner. (Approximately 5 hours of hiking.)
Day 8 : Durmitor National Park and Bobotov Kuk
Our last day of hiking ends with another high point: a climb of 8,277-foot Bobotov Kuk, Montenegro’s highest peak. Starting relatively high, on Sedlo (6,256'), we hike over the grassy slope of Surutka toward Zupci (“Teeth”), a magnificent massif with 14 sharp rocky “teeth”—a trademark of Durmitor. After circling the “teeth,” we arrive at the glacial Zeleni Vir Lake, the highest in Durmitor, and then begin a steep ascent toward Bobotov Kuk. With every step, the views expand, until we reach the top of Bobotov Kuk—and of Montenegro. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Adriatic Sea from this vantage point. We enjoy lunch here, and then descend via the Velika Previja pass. This part of the trip is easy and we hike over grassy meadows, followed by a short ride back to Zabljak for a well-deserved rest. (Approximately 6 – 7 hours of hiking.)
Day 9 : Return to Sarajevo
We give our legs a break today and soak up the views on a long transfer (5 hours) back to Sarajevo. Leaving Durmitor National Park, we'll drive through the deep canyon of the Piva River, and into Tara Canyon. Aside from being the largest canyon in Europe, the Tara River also offers excellent whitewater rafting, which we will stop to take advantage of! Following the border with Montenegro, the Tara River runs 87 miles of class II-IV rapids, sitting 4,000 feet down in the canyon, with stunning wilderness all around. Depending on the level of the water, our rafting trip will last 3 – 5 hours. We'll enjoy an early dinner on the Tara River before finishing our trip to Sarajevo.
Day 10 : Depart
A transfer to the airport will be provided for your homeward-bound flight.
DATES: Best time to go: July - August Departures: Jul 5 - 14, 2015 Aug 23, 2015 - Sep 1, 2015
Hotel AdaSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
In the heart of the old city, a 5 minutes walk from Bašcaršija will take you to Ada Hotel, a new hotel with a beautiful view of Sarajevo. Ada Hotel offers comfort, peace and intimacy of home. If you are in Sarajevo for business or tourism, you will enjoy comfort of the hotel and kindness of staff.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Samer is originally from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and lived through the Siege of Sarajevo. Sarajevo continues to be his home to this day. He is a Certified mountain guide by Mountaineering Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina and UIAA standards (Official International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, partner of International Olympic Committee), and has a degree in Sociology. He has been guiding this trip for MTS since 2007. Samer says, “In year 2000 was my first touch with magical world of the mountains. My passion for the mountains and the rigours of the outdoors, combined with the warm-heartedness of the local people, left an indelible impression on me. It will be my great pleasure to show you this part of the world and area which takes special place in my heart – the Dinaric Alps."
Having jumped into the outdoors at the age of seven - and never gotten out of it, Lorenc became more than passionate about (and fell in love with) the natural environment and pristine wilderness in what was then known as Yugoslavia. He soon discovered his other joy in life, that of sharing the beauty of the region with all those visiting his little corner of the globe - a place rich in culture, history and gorgeous nature. Lorenc is a Certified Mountain Guide and Ranger for the BiH Mountain Association, and a member of a Mountain Rescue Team, and has been leading MTS trips for Bosnia and Herzegovina for since 2007. When not leading trips, Lorenc is responsible for the development of new outdoor adventure itineraries, and training tour leaders and mountain guides in Bosnia. His other interests include transcendental meditation, nutrition and the environment, and he received his degree from the Maharishi European Research University, Switzerland in the Science of Creative Intelligence.