Only twenty years ago, the Western Balkans, torn apart by wars, didn’t seem a likely place to go on a walking holiday at all, not mentioning a self guided one. The Via Dinarica project started in 2010 as a platform to develop a long-distance hiking trail along the backbone of the Dinaric Alps. The trail (still under development) now spans nearly 2,000 km, from Albania through Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia.

Utilising a network of old shepherd paths, trade routes, existing and newly developed hiking trails, it slices diagonally from southeast to northwest and traverses the largest karst field on earth.

Via Dinarica is becoming a real hikers’ paradise and we have developed several walking holidays that include its most beautiful sections, managing to tackle all logistical challenges for you, so that you can experience a truly unforgettable and hassle-free walking holiday along the Via Dinarica Trail.

Via Dinarica in Albania

The Via Dinarica sections in Albania offer some truly breath-taking scenery and a chance to experience the best of European hiking as it used to be through some of the last untamed natural locations and wilderness in Europe. Prokletije, also known as the Albanian Alps and the Accursed Mountains, is a mountain range, extending from northern Albania to Kosovo and eastern Montenegro. Its peak in Albania, Maja Jezercë at 2,694 m is the highest point, and the second highest peak in Albania and the highest in the entire Dinaric Alps. The southernmost glaciers in Europe were recently discovered in the Albanian part of the range.

From your starting point at historic Shkoder on Lake Skadar, you’ll have the chance to visit Rozafa Fortress. Your journey to the heart of the Accursed Mountains is an integral part of the Albanian Alps experience and includes a ride on the Koman Ferry (described as one of the world’s great boat journeys).

The tour offers the chance to visit two of the most spectacular valleys: Valbona and Theth National parks. Both are dominated by towering mountains and include a walk through the Valbona Pass, along an old mule trail with breath-taking panoramas of the Accursed mountains. There’s also hike to the Peja Pass in Theth with spectacular views of Mount Arapit, the “Albanian Matterhorn”, with its magnificent 800m sheer rock face. Included in the itinerary is a chance to visit the Albanian Blood Feud tower in Theth and the Blue Eye karst spring.

The Albanian Alps & Accursed Mountains hikes include rugged mountain terrain but also take you through beautiful mountain valleys, alpine meadows, and remote villages surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Albanian Alps.

Via Dinarica in Kosovo

Our Kosovo self-guided walking holiday which includes sections of the Via Dinarica Trail offers a unique opportunity to visit one of the last hidden treasures of Europe. Europe’s youngest country offers spectacular mountains, friendly people and rich history.

The Via Dinarica itinerary in Kosovo enables you to explore deeper into the hidden natural beauty of Kosovo with hikes in Rugova Gorge (part of Kosovo’s Accursed Mountains, Bjeshkët e Nemuna) and over mountain crests to the border of Kosovo and Montenegro.

The walking holiday includes a climb to the top of Mount Gjeravica (the highest mountain in Kosovo) where you will have magnificent views of Montenegro and Albania. The itinerary also includes short breaks in Prizren and Peja, two of the country’s oldest and most picturesque towns.

Via Dinarica in Montenegro

The Summits and Lakes of North Montenegro self-guided walking holiday features two of the most untouched natural environments in Europe, including the beautiful Biogradska Gora, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, one of the last three primeval rainforests in Europe and Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

There are also some invigorating hikes past mountain lakes and katuns (Shepherds huts) to Crna Glava, the summit of Mount Bjelasica. And there is a walk through the virgin beech forest of Biogradska Gora National Park, past 500-year-old trees and through the most impressive part of the park and the serene beauty of Biogradsko Lake.

The itinerary continues to the breath-taking scenery of Durmitor National Park, which includes the Tara Canyon (the longest in Europe). There are walks past Crno Jezero (Black Lake) and the Bear Summit Circuit to Previja Pass below Mehjed Peak with majestic views of Durmitor as well as beautiful Jablan Lake and the Three Lakes walk.

Via Dinarica in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Our Via Dinarica in Bosnia walking holiday follows the Via Dinarica trail in western Herzegovina. During this trip, you will enjoy fantastic, diverse landscapes each day. It also includes several cultural and historical sites such as the mysterious Stećci medieval necropolises, now listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Throughout the seven days of hiking, you will circle the great Buško Lake, traverse Duvanjsko Polje, ascend into Blidinje Nature Park and descend to the town of Jablanica over Čvrsnica Mountain. The trip ends in the city of Mostar, famous for its ‘Old Bridge’ – a jewel of oriental architecture.

Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia… Via Dinarica links regions of stunning natural beauty. But what is more important – it connects local communities along the trail and gives them hope for a better future, enabling them to earn their living from responsible tourism.

Article credit to: https://www.thenaturaladventure.com/walking-the-via-dinarica-trail/

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