The Via Dinarica is a mega-hiking trail, which extends from Slovenia to Albania and reveals the stunning wilderness and rich culture of the Dinaric Alps, an area that is still relatively undiscovered by hikers all around the world.
It’s a 1,200-mile route that stretches through seven countries on the Balkan Peninsula and consists of a White, Green and Blue trail. For now, only the White trail is completely defined and follows the highest peaks of the Dinaric Alps.
All the trails are well-maintained and easy to follow, so you can hike independently, but the knowledge, stories and local legends told by the local guides will enhance your trip immeasurably.
Some of the trails are more remote than others, but all the sections of Via Dinarica White Trail listed below offer comfortable mountain huts, cabins and boarding houses run by local families. Please note that you need to check that the mountain huts and cabins open on the days you want to stay in advance.
Here is a list of the must-do sections of the Via Dinarica White trail in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bjelasnica Mountain: Hike to Lukomir, Bosnia’s Highest and Most Isolated Village
This gorgeous Olympic mountain is a very popular ski resort, but also a paradise for hikers because of its remote areas, which are home to the small traditional highland villages, vast grasslands, creeks, beautiful cliffs and canyons. A place of well-preserved nature, folk tales and legends.
The starting point of the hike is Umoljani Village, which is approximately half an hour of drive away from the ski resort Babin Do or around 1 hour and 15 minutes from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital. It’s possible to stay overnight in a cosy boarding house run by a local family and try different types of pies that are a speciality in this area.
From the entrance to the village the path goes along the slopes of Orlovac hill and passes seven small watermills which have been used for centuries to make flour, but today they are restored as a tourist attraction. Sometimes, even used as a shelter for hikers. The stream of cold mountain water goes over the trail and runs down the hill beside the watermills. As the source is just along the path this is a perfect place to fill up your bottles with clean mountain water that does not dry even during very hot summer days.
This trail will take you across the most scenic landscape of Bjelasnica mountain. After passing the watermills, the path slowly ascends to the Orlovac’s other side and valley of the Cold Creek, giving you great views of the surrounding mountains the whole way.
One of the deepest canyons in Europe will soon open in front of you. The river Rakitnica has created a 26km long and inaccessible canyon that stretches between two mountains – Bjelasnica and Visocica and plunges 1000 metres.
A little further trail is exiting on the valley of Cold Creek. This narrow creek snakes through the vast valley tucked between high hills and creating small cascades which tumble 400 metres into the canyon. In the spring the creek is rich with water but, during the very hot summer seasons Cold Creek unfortunately totally dries up.
The rest of the path to Lukomir goes along the canyon, overlooking the ridges and highest peaks of Mount Visocica the entire way. If you’re lucky you might see some of the seasonal waterfalls dropping from the Visocica’s high cliffs into Rakitnica river.
This highland village is situated on the end of Long Field above the deep Rakitnica Canyon. Its few residents are still living traditionally; growing vegetables, taking sheep to pasture, making sheep’s cheese, milk and hand-knitting socks, gloves and vests. After the hike, treat yourself with great homemade pies and hand-knitted souvenirs.
Across the Ridge of Visosčica Mountain
On the other side of the wild Rakitnica canyon, just across Bjelasnica, rises Visocica Mountain. The White trail of the Via Dinarica goes across Kaoca ridge of Visocica, providing spectacular views of Lukomir village and the canyon from above.
The path is very narrow, so you’ll need to walk in single file, but it’s safe enough that you don’t need any special equipment.
The hike itself is a fulfilling journey over a couple of smaller peaks to the end of ridge and Vito Peak at an altitude of 1960 metres. Take a break and enjoy the view of the vast pastures behind you and the huge natural amphitheatre that opens beneath you. Continue the circuit back via the amphitheatre to Tusila Valley.
As well as on Bjelasnica, pie is also very popular speciality on Visocica. In Tusila Valley there is very comfortable hut and great small restaurant with few rooms to stay overnight, run by local family.
Sutjeska National Park
The oldest and biggest national park in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here, the Via Dinarica trail takes you across remote mountain ranges and along beautiful glacial lakes. It holds the largest areas of wilderness and gems of nature in Bosnia and Herzegovina – a must-see if visiting the country.
The national park offers only one modest hotel, situated in Tjentiste Valley, near the main road. But, for those who are more interested in isolated and peaceful accommodation, there are numerous cabins in the mountains that are possible to rent.
Zelengora Mountain: Donje Bare Lake & Uglješin Peak
Zelengora is covered with vast grasslands and glacial lakes called ‘mountain eyes ‘. Its name translated into English means ‘Green Mountain’.
The starting point of the hike is by Donje Bare Lake, which is surrounded by dense forest. Hidden between the trees is a small wooden cabin perfect for hikers looking to spend more time here.
From the lake path follow the gravel road through the forest to the grassland – from here you can see the rest of your hike open before you. However this trail is not for the faint-hearted, the ascent is steep and narrow.
Ugljesin Peak (1858m) is the highest in the area and offers a spectacular 360 panoramic viewpoint.
The trail continues further across Tovarnica ridge, it then circles back to Donje Bare Lake and takes approximately 4-5 hours of moderate walking.
Maglić Mountain: Hike to Bosnia’s Highest Peak & Trnovačko Lake
After a transfer to Lokve Derneciste, the starting point for this hike, the trail leads through forest and over green meadows to the foothills of Maglic Mountain (2386m).
From there you will get a perfect view of the terrain you need to traverse to conquer Bosnia and Herzegovina’s highest peak. The ascent begins with few sections of via ferrata to help you with the steeper parts of the cliff. But it’s not a particularly challenging ascent if you have a good head for heights.
When you finally get up to the main ridge you can see the peak in front of you. Maglic is situated just beside the border with Montenegro and you actually enter into Montenegro by foot while crossing the ridge on your way to Trnovacko Lake.
Translated into English Maglic means Misty Mountain and very often it lives up to its name even during summer. From the top, it’s possible to see all the way to the high Montenegrin mountains and the Adriatic Sea.
The views from the ridge traverse towards Trnovacko Lake are stunning. Beneath you are the foothills of Maglic, the rock-face wall of Trnovacki Durmitor and Volujak and the glacial lake of Trnovacko.
The path down the Maglic’s slopes is covered with scree. It’s a tricky 600m descent down with plenty of zig-zagging, but a slow walk and walking poles will make it far less demanding. A swim in the emerald green lake is a well-earned reward after quite a challenging day of hiking.
Beside the lake, there is a small camp and the flag of Montenegro, proof you really did step into another country.
The rest of the path to Prijevor saddle, your final destination, is mostly downhill or flat with only short sections of uphill.
You will get a good view of Perucica primaeval forest before you drive back to Tjentiste for a well-deserved rest after hiking approximately 9 hours.
Čvrsnica Mountain: Veliki Vilinac Peak and Hajdučka Vrata Natural Arch
Mount Čvrsnica rises above the valley of Dugo Polje in Blidinje Nature Park. The Park is located in the south-eastern part of the country or in the northern part of the region known as Herzegovina. It’s home to a stunning landscape of endemic animals and plants, lake, canyons, caves, rivers and creeks, as well as medieval gravestones – a reminder of the rich human history in this area.
The hike starts from the valley through the forest park of Muvarnica and gently ascends. The terrain is a mixture of meadows with low coniferous trees and rocks.
Hajdučka Vrata is a 4-metre wide arch and a true masterpiece of the nature situated on the cliff at around 2000 metres. The gate to nature’s paradise! It offers a perfect view over the picturesque Diva Grabovice Valley surrounded by the huge steep cliffs.
On your way to this natural phenomenon, you will pass by Crevnjak Lake, a small glacial lake, located just 15 minutes from Hajducka Vrata.
After around 1 hour of walking from the arch, you will arrive on the main ridge towards Veliki Vilinac Peak. From here you will see the mountain hut Vilinac, located on the edge of the southern slopes of Veliki Vilinac, above the valley of Diva Grabovica. It’s the highest hut in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1961m).
You will also see the magnificent Veliki Kuk rock rising from the valley, the highest climbing rock in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkans. From the hut, it’s possible to hike to Veliki Vilinac Peak (2118m) in just 30 minutes at a relatively slow pace, and definitely worth the extra effort for the view of the Bosnian mountains alone.