Hiking the Via Dinarica

Overview

On this multi-country trek on one of Europe's least-explored mountain ranges, the Dinaric Alps, discover rich cultures and spellbinding landscapes of the Western Balkans. From Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana, across Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and down to Albania - the 1,200-mile-long Via Dinarica is every hiker's dream come true. Raft whitewater rapids down Europe's largest canyon, marvel at old-growth forests and glacier-fed lakes, dip into the royal-blue Adriatic Sea, and tour Sarajevo's nostalgic old town. On this epic three-week adventure, the most challenging part is bidding farewell to the beautiful Balkans.

  • Summit some of the Dinaric Alps' highest peaks and explore six Balkan national parks over 22 days

  • Raft down the deepest canyon in Europe, on Tara River's class II-IV whitewater rapids

  • Journey to isolated highland villages across the Balkans, like Lukomir in Bosnia and Valbona in Albania

  • Arrive: Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Depart: Tirana, Albania
  • Duration: 22 Days
  • Group Size: 4-15 Guests
  • Minimum Age: 18 Years Old

Itinerary

  • Day01

    Arrive at Ljubljana & Transfer to Bled

    Arrive to Ljubljana airport and meet your MT Sobek trip leader outside of customs and immigration area, to escort you to the hotel in the charming lakeside town of Bled. At the welcome dinner this evening, meet the rest of the group.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Savica
    • Transportation: 1-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Dinner
  • Day02

    Explore Triglav National Park, Hike to Sija Peak & Visit Bled Castle

    This morning, take a panoramic cable car ride to Vogel mountain, situated above Lake Bohinj in Triglav National Park. Upon arrival at 4,921 feet, hike to Sija peak (6,170') and have a picnic lunch. Along the way, take in the beautiful colors and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, the hills around Bohinj, and especially Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak and the symbol of the park. In the afternoon, return to Bled, for a walk along the lake and a visit to its iconic medieval castle, the oldest castle in Slovenia.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Savica
    • Activity: 4-5 hours/5 miles moderate hiking with 1,246' elevation gain & 1,476' elevation loss
    • Transportation: 45-minutes private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day03

    Hike Risnjak National Park in Croatia

    Depart this morning to Risnjak National Park on Croatia's northern border with Slovenia, the northernmost of Croatia's eight national parks. Covering more than 24 square miles, it provides habitat for more than 1,000 different plants, as well as wolves, bears, and lynx. Hike across its undulating forested terrain to Schlosser's mountain hut at the base of Veliki Risnjak peak (5,013'). If you have energy to spare, hike up to Veliki Risnjak for stunning 360-degree views. In the afternoon, transfer to the small pretty town of Fuzine, known for great walking and cycling.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Bitoraj
    • Activity: 6 hours/10.5 miles hiking with 2,820' elevation gain & 1,575' elevation loss
    • Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day04

    Hike the Premuzic Trail in Northern Velebit National Park

    Depart early for Northern Velebit National Park, one of the most beautiful areas of the Croatian Dinaric Alps. Start the hike near the Zavizan mountain hut, the highest meteorological station in Croatia. After a half-hour walk, embark on the famous Premuzic trail, a 35.5-mile-long route that follows the main ridge of Velebit mountain. While hiking this first stage of the trail, pass through Rozanski Kukovi, a nature reserve that protects many endemic and rare plant species, as well as rich fauna, including the three big predators of Croatia: bears, wolves, and lynx.

    • Accommodation: Alan Mountain Hut
    • Activity: 6-7 hours/10 miles hiking with 2,800' elevation gain & 1,280' elevation loss
    • Transportation: 3.5-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day05

    Marvel at the Limestone Peaks of Central Velebit

    After a mountaineering breakfast, embark on the last section of the Premuzic trail. Hike among the Dabarski Kukovi - high limestone rock towers overlooking the green valleys of Central Velebit - and head up to the Visibaba, a highland plateau with stellar views of the islands dotted along the Adriatic coast. After completing this rocky circular adventure, transfer to Starigrad Paklenica, a town situated on the Adriatic coast. Drive along the well-known Adriatic Magistrala, a scenic road that winds along the Croatian coast and offers dazzling coastal vistas.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Vicko
    • Activity: 4-5 hours/5 miles hiking with 1,476' elevation gain & 1,148' elevation loss
    • Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day06

    Explore Paklenica National Park

    Wake up to the sounds of seagulls and salty winds coming from the Adriatic. The village of Starigrad is the gateway to Paklenica National Park, a hiking and rock-climbing paradise wedged between two narrow gorges. Explore the bigger of the two gorges, with steep climbing walls, rocky peaks, well-maintained trails, and stunning views down the gorge. Rest at the main hut in the center of the park, cool off, replenish your water bottle, and follow the Paklenica river back down to the coast for a well-deserved dip in the Adriatic.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Vicko
    • Activity: 5-6 hours/8.5 miles hiking with 2,444' elevation gain & 2,460' elevation loss
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day07

    Tour Mostar & Reach Blidinje Nature Park

    Wake up early and transfer to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the beautiful city of Mostar. Tour the old city and see its famed old bridge. The bridge is locally known as Stari Most, and the town was named after the bridge keepers, or "mostari." After a tasty lunch on the banks of the Neretva river, head out towards Blidinje Nature Park, from where you continue the Bosnian part of the Via Dinarica adventure.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Hajducke Vrleti
    • Transportation: 6-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day08

    Hike to Hajducka Vrata and Drinaca Peak

    Start the Bosnian part of the Via Dinarica adventure with Blidinje Nature Park, where the hike begins over Cvrsnica mountain. The first part is a very gentle ascent through a thick beech forest. As the elevation rises, climb above the tree line and east toward Drinjaca (6,686') and Hajducka Vrata, a stunning natural arch typical for karst and limestone. After lunch, head back part of the way to the top of Vilinac peak (6,950'), before continuing back down to Blidinje for some delicious traditional pine liqueur and hearty highland village fare.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Hajducke Vrleti
    • Activity: 6-8 hours/9.5 miles hiking with 2,460' elevation gain & 2,953' elevation loss
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day09

    Discover the Highland Village of Lukomir

    Transfer to the village of Umoljani, located on the mountain of Bjelasnica that hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. From the traditional-style mosque, walk to the seven watermills, and continue to the Studeni Potok cascades. Walk upstream, see the serpent-like formations of Studeni Stream, and continue uphill to Obalj peak (6,220'). From here, take in spectacular views of Rakitnica canyon and Lukomir, Bosnia's highest village (at 4,820'), with ancient medieval tombstones and a traditional way of life. Descend back for a tasty homemade dinner and transfer to Babin Do, the mountain's main ski resort.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Bjelasnica
    • Activity: 4-5 hours/5.5 miles hiking with 1,970' elevation gain & 1,706' elevation loss
    • Transportation: 3.5-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day10

    Hike the Wild Visocica Massif

    Today explore the wild Visocica massif, with pointed peaks and narrow valleys, and bordered by rivers on all sides. Start by winding through the Bjelasnica backroads before hitting the Rakitnica River and crossing over towards Tusila village (3,937'). Hike up through open meadows and thick beech forest to the summit of Vito (6,430'), and enjoy a lunch paired with panoramic views. Then follow a narrow ridge to Drstva peak (5,932') and descend to meet the vehicle and transfer to Sarajevo, the nation's capital. Enjoy dinner in the old town this evening.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Europe
    • Activity: 7-8 hours/7.5 miles hike with 2,790' elevation gain & 2,707' elevation loss
    • Transportation: 2.5-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day11

    See the Sights of Sarajevo

    Spend the day exploring the vibrant city of Sarajevo for a glimpse into its turbulent past that spanned empires - from the Ottoman Turks to the Austro-Hungarians. More recently, the city was host to the 1984 Winter Olympics and then made the news in the 1990s during the siege by Serb forces. Tour the ancient Ottoman quarter called Bascarsija, with its stone-flagged alleys and red-roofed houses sitting amongst minarets, as well as major historical and cultural sites. After lunch, explore on your own. In the late afternoon, transfer to the Sutjeska National Park.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Mladost
    • Activity: 2 hour city walking tour
    • Transportation: 2-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day12

    Explore Sutjeska National Park

    In the morning, transfer to Sutjeska National Park, before continuing to the tranquil lake of Donje Bare. After lunch, hike through a beech forest and open mountainous terrain to the summit of Ugljesin (6,096'), for one of the best panoramic views of the Zelengora peaks and the rock face wall of Volujak. Continue the stunning circuit back to Gornje Bare lake via the Tovarnica ridge, with Bosnia's highest peaks a constant companion on the horizon. Then transfer back to the hotel in the Tjentiste valley, before an early dinner.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Mladost
    • Activity: 4-5 hours/5.5 miles hiking with 1,640' elevation gain & 2,018' elevation loss
    • Transportation: 2-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day13

    Summit Maglic Mountain

    Today drive to Perucica, an old-growth spruce and beech forest teeming with wildlife. Briefly stop at Dragos Sedlo to take in splendid forest views and the Skakavac waterfall, then split into two groups: one will tackle the strenuous 4-hour trek up to Maglic summit (7,828'), the highest and mightiest one in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the other will do the moderate 2-hour hike to Trnovacko lake (4,921'). Meet up at Trnovacko, a glacier lake in the middle of a huge amphitheater of rocky peaks, and transfer back to the hotel.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Mladost
    • Activity: 9 hours/8.5 miles hiking with 4,265' elevation gain & either 3,937' elevation loss to Maglic or 1,509' elevation loss to Trnovacko lake
    • Transportation: 2-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day14

    Raft the Tara River & Head to Durmitor National Park

    Rest your legs but get some thrills on today's rafting adventure through the deepest river canyon in Europe. After leaving the hotel, sit back and enjoy the spectacular views along the Drina river, until the place where the Piva and Tara canyons join. There, put in for a rafting journey on the Tara, which sits more than 3,000 feet down in the canyon with stunning wilderness all around. After enjoying an early dinner along the river, continue on to the town of Zabljak on the edge of Durmitor National Park in Montenegro.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Soa
    • Activity: 3-4 hours rafting Class II-IV rapids
    • Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day15

    Ascend Prutas Peak in Durmitor National Park

    Today ascend the sloping deep-green Prutas peak, with the most stunning views of other Durmitor sights, like the Soa Nebeska wall, the amazing Skrcka Lakes valley, and the stunning Susica canyon. After a short drive to Dobri Do (5,577'), begin climbing a grassy slope toward Skrcko Zdrijelo Pass (6,935'), and then follow a rocky path with magnificent views of the massive Bobotov Kuk. Shortly after reaching the peak, have lunch paired with breathtaking views. After the 5-hour hike, arrive back in Zabljak in time for dinner.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Soa
    • Activity: 5-6 hours/5 miles hiking with 2,460' elevation gain & 2,480 elevation loss
    • Transportation: 30-minute private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day16

    Climb Bobotov Kuk, Montenegro's Highest Summit

    Today, climb Montenegro's highest peak, Bobotov Kuk (8,277'). Starting relatively high at 6,230 feet, hike up the grassy slope of Surutka toward Zupci, a magnificent massif with 14 sharp, rocky "teeth." After circling Zupci, arrive at the glacial lake Zeleni Vir and begin a steep, rocky ascent toward Bobotov Kuk. The views expand with every step until the summit - with vistas all the way to the Adriatic on a clear day. Enjoy lunch here, and then descend via the Mlijecni Do, to take a short ride back to Zabljak for a well¬-deserved rest.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Soa
    • Activity: 6-7 hours/7.5 miles hiking with 2,130' elevation gain & 3,035' elevation loss
    • Transportation: 30-minute private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day17

    Journey to Theth Village in Albania's Accursed Mountains

    Today say goodbye to Montenegro and cross over into Albania. Make a lunch stop in the town of Shkodar and continue to the remote village of Theth in the namesake national park. Stroll around the village and learn about some of the ancient customs that reign these communities on the edge of the Albanian Alps - known by some as the Accursed Mountains. (Don't let the name fool you; the range is known for its stunning, unspoiled beauty.) Have dinner and overnight at a family-run guesthouse in Theth.

    • Accommodation: Villa Gjecaj
    • Transportation: 7-hour private van transfer (with breaks)
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day18

    Hike from Theth to Valbona, Crossing the Valbona Pass

    Today load the luggage on horses and hike from Theth to Valbona along an old mule trail that is the only direct connection between the two valleys. This scenic but challenging hike begins in the Valley of Theth (2,460') then climbs steeply upward through beech woods and grassy meadows towards Valbona Pass (5,770'). At the top, enjoy a picnic lunch and breathtaking views of both Theth and Valbona National Parks. Today's alternative is a full-day transfer that includes a ferry boat ride over the blue waters of Komani lake, followed by a short walk around Valbona.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Rilindja
    • Activity: 8 hours/11 miles hiking with 4,050' elevation gain & 4,265' elevation loss or alternative full-day transfer
    • Transportation: Alternative: 5.5-hour private van transfer & 2.5 hour ferry ride
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day19

    Climb the Maja Rosit Pass

    This morning, start the hike directly from the guesthouse, passing through dry river beds and climbing through forests of beech and pine. Frequently used by the villages bringing their sheep and cows to higher pastures, the trail winds up through grassy open terrain to a lonely shepherds' hut. Enjoy a cold drink here before pushing on to the Maja Rosit pass (6,690') that separates Albania from Montenegro. After a hearty picnic lunch of highland cheese and local beer, head back down the same way, through the hamlet of Kukaj and on to Valbona.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Rilindja
    • Activity: 5-6 hours/7 miles hiking with 2,625' elevation gain & 2,460' elevation loss
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day20

    Visit the Monastery of Decan & Head to Prizren

    This morning, drive to the lower valley to visit one of Kosovo's beautiful Orthodox monasteries, the 14th-century St. Nicholas Monastery of Decan. Then continue on to the historic city of Prizren, to spend the evening in an Ottoman-style neighborhood and enjoy dinner in a traditional restaurant.

    • Accommodation: Hotel Prizreni
    • Transportation: 2.5-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day21

    Take In the Highlights of Tirana

    After a morning departure from Prizren, drive through the Albanian hinterland and arrive to Tirana, the capital of Albania. After checking into the hotel, head out on a tour of this charming, cosmopolitan city, visiting the Skenderbey square, the old mosque, and the vibrant Blloku neighborhood packed with cafes, restaurants and boutiques. Enjoy a farewell dinner in one of these restaurants before returning to the hotel.

    • Accommodation: Sar'otel
    • Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day22

    Depart from Tirana

    After breakfast, have a 30-minute transfer to Tirana International Airport.

    • Transportation: 30-minute private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast
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Upcoming Departures

  • AvailableJun 30 - Jul 21, 2019
  • AvailableSep 02 - 23, 2019
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From: $7,995.00 What's Included?
22 Days
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Samantha Bromberg

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Hiking the Via Dinarica Map

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Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

The only North American company to take you on this six country adventure, from Slovenia to Albania trek in the Western Balkans.

Reason #02

Follow local expert guides as explore six national parks in six Western Balkan countries, and summit some of the Balkan's highest peaks.

Reason #03

On top of incredibly scenic treks, hikers get to explore historical cities such as Mostar, Sarajevo, and Tirana, and remote highland villages.

Meet Our Guides

Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.

What To Expect

  • Activities

    Challenging hikes on one of Europe's newest mountain trails, tours of historical cities and towns, visits to national parks, and stops in remote highland villages.

  • Lodging

    Lodgings run the gamut from modern mountain resorts, old historic city hotels, family-run guesthouses, cozy B&Bs, and basic mountain huts.

  • Climate

    The mornings are cool but it warms during the day before coolng off again in the evening.

FAQ

  • Who will meet me on arrival?

    An MT Sobek representative will meet you at the Ljubljana Jože Pucnik Airport (LJU) between 1:00 - 1:30pm outside of Customs. We will then transfer 1 hour by minibus to Bled.

  • Will this Balkans adventure be similar to the Alps of Switzerland?

    Only with regards to challenge. The tourism infrastructure is developing rapidly in the Balkans, but is not yet as developed as in Western Europe. Come expecting fewer luxuries and amenities.

  • What can I expect in the way of accommodations?

    We've booked the best possible accommodations in the towns and villages where we will stay. In the Balkans, "best possible" is often a lower standard than you might be used to. This itinerary was designed for the adventurer who does not mind basic accommodations in exchange for off-the-beaten-path fun.

  • Do I need hiking boots for this trip?

    Yes. You will need to wear high-ankle, all weather hiking boots for this trip.

  • What food can I expect in the Balkans?

    Healthy, locally-sourced, organic meals that include meats (red meat and poultry), fish and seafood, and an abundance of produce, all seasoned with local herbs and olive oil. Nearly all diets can be accommodated.

  • What is the religious make-up of the Balkans population?

    The Balkans are a melting pot of Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Roman Catholic Christianity.

Dates & Pricing

Pricing Dates

Scheduled Dates

  • Available
    Jun 30 - Jul 21, 2019
  • Available
    Sep 02 - 23, 2019

Customize Your Trip

Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!

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2019
$7,995.00 Price per person

Additional Cost

  • $900.00 Single Supplement

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • 1 glass of wine or beer at dinner
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All necessary rafting gear
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation
  • Arrival and departure day group airport transfers

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Airport transfers if arriving outside of the group transfer
  • Optional travel protection

Testimonials

  • "I have traveled extensively around the world. The experience with MT Sobek was by far the best I have ever had. Thank you for such excellence."

    Marianne W.

    MT Sobek Guest

  • "Traveling with MT Sobek is like gaining a new set of close friends that have shared an incredible experience together."

    Mark N.

    MT Sobek Guest

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