Mary Chayka-Crawford Private Group Tour Via Dinarica Adventure: Bosnia to Montenegro 2023

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Explore the Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Montenegro, an area that is yet to be discovered by many hikers. National Geographic Traveler magazine has recognized the Via Dinarica mega-hiking trail and cultural corridor - an eight-country route that spans the Western Balkans - as one of its Best of the World” destinations for 2017”.

Come and explore Sutjeska & Durmitor National Parks: two stunning areas located at the heart of the Dinaric Alps. During the trip, you’ll ascend Maglić (2,386 m) and Bobotov Kuk (2,523m) – the highest peaks of Bosnia and Montenegro, raft the Tara river, a UNESCO-protected site and Europe’s deepest canyon, walk over the iconic Mostar Old bridge, another UNESCO site and visit Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital city, which hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. Sarajevo offers an ancient mix of European and Near Eastern culture and living history.

This will be a memorable 11 days of Balkans exploring.



  • September 20 - 30, 2023
Hiking & Rafting
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  • Visit Sarajevo, the Jerusalem of the Balkans
  • Hike in the great limestone Dinaric Alps and Via Dinarica trail - still undiscovered by tourists
  • Visit traditional villages in Bosnia, where residents still live “the old way”
  • Scale Maglic (2,386m) & Bobotov Kuk (2,523m), the highest peaks in the two countries
  • Rafting through the Tara Canyon, Europe’s deepest canyon
  • Emerald glacier lakes of Durmitor National Park, UNESCO heritage

20 September Sarajevo Arrival

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. During the day you’ll have a chance to meet the other members of our group.

In the afternoon we will have an organized walking tour of the major historical, cultural and war sites in the city that will help you to piece together it's complex and fascinating history.

In the evening we will enjoy a ‘welcome’ dinner at a local traditional restaurant and a more detailed trip briefing. Our hotel tonight is in the old Ottoman trading quarter of Sarajevo.

Dinner / Pension Kandilj, Sarajevo, Bosnia

21 September Olympic Mountain Bjelasnica Ascent (2,067m)

Today we make an ascent of Bjelasnica (2,067m), the highest peak in the area. We start our hike by taking a winding mountain road from Grkarica and entering a thick forest of conifers which will line the trail throughout our route over Igman. This area has an interesting microclimate caused by the particular relief of the area, e.g. natural sinkholes, mountains and vegetation. We climb gently with the Vlahinja Ridge always in sight to reach a makeshift mountain hut tucked away below the main ridge. Depending on conditions, from here there are two different routes up to the summit, where we find an old Austro-Hungarian weather station and astounding views of the highest mountains in the area - the Bjelasnica, Prenj, Cvrsnica, Vranica, Visocica and Treskavica mountains, and over to Sarajevo.

From here we descend down by other, Southern, green grassy slopes toward Umoljani Highland village, for a delicious homemade dinner. This tiny village will be our base for the following two nights.

Moderate walk / 5-6hrs walk / Total ascent-descent: +820m -830m /11km
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Pension Umoljani, Umoljani village, Bosnia

22 September Lukomir Highland Village Hike

Today we have a walk in the Bjelasnica mountains, home of the 1984 Winter Olympics. From the traditional style Bosnian Mosque in the village of Umoljani, we walk to the seven watermills and the beautiful source used for centuries as energy to grind wheat into flour. We hug the ridge until the peak of Rakitnica opens up before us, then continue to the Cascades of Studeni Potok. Here, at certain times of the year, the stream falls 400m into the Rakitnica canyon below. Walking upstream we hit Studeni Fields and the serpent-like formations of Studeni Stream. From here we continue to Lukomir, Bosnia's highest village at 1,469m, with its ancient “stecci” (mediaeval tombstones) where villagers still follow a traditional way of life. On the edge of the village, there is a fabulous view of Rakitnica canyon, Obalj and Visocica.

After a simple, but tasty homemade lunch, we take a circular route back to our start point, the village of Umoljani.

Moderate walk / 6-7hrs walk / Total ascent-descent: +950m -950m / 16km
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Pension Umoljani, Umoljani village, Bosnia

23 September Sutjeska National Park Arrival

In the morning we transfer to our hotel in Sutjeska National Park, before continuing to the tranquil lake of Donje Bare. Today we walk through a beech forest and open mountainous terrain to the summit of Ugljesin Peak (1,858m), for one of the best panoramic views of the Zelengora peaks and the rock-face wall of Volujak. We continue the stunning circuit back to Gornje Bare lake via the Tovarnica ridge (1.5 hours) with Bosnia’s highest peaks a constant companion on the horizon. We will be transferred back to the hotel in Tjentiste valley, before an early dinner.

Moderate walk / 4-5hrs walk / Total ascent-descent: +550m -625m / 9km
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Hotel Mladost – Tjentiste, Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia

24 September Maglic (2,386m) Ascent

We transfer to Lokva Derneciste (approx. 1 hour) and head for Bosnia’s highest peak, Maglic Mountain (2,386m), through the forest and open mountainous terrain. The ascent itself will take approximately 3-4 hours over fairly well-maintained mountain trails with steep cliffs and is by far the most demanding part of today’s trek. Please note it is not recommended for anyone suffering from vertigo. Each step takes us further above the surrounding peaks until we reach the summit. 

Here we have lunch and enjoy wonderful views over Montenegro and of our next stop, the emerald green waters of Trnovacko Lake. After descending to the lake in the afternoon we head for Prijevor where we meet our transfer to the hotel in Tjentiste.

Challenging walk / 8-9hrs walk / Total ascent-descent: +1,350m -1,300m / 15km
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Hotel Mladost, Tjentiste, Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia

25 September Tara River Rafting

The Tara is one of the four beautiful whitewater rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina that offer professionally guided rafting tours. Tara river ranks among Europe’s best for classes II-IV. This Tara River Rafting Tour will pleasantly surprise you with its stunning wilderness and unforgettable landscapes. A jewel amongst the world’s natural heritage spots, the Tara River boasts the deepest canyon in Europe. The river follows the natural border between Bosnia & Montenegro most of the time. Near the end of the rafting, we enter Bosnia & Herzegovina. The 1,300-meter canyon has created some of the best rafting and kayaking in Europe. We’ll enjoy an early dinner on the Tara River. Tonight we stay at simple wooden bungalows next to the river, enjoying the sound of water and campfire.

II-IV class rapids / 3-4 hours of Rafting
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Bungalows at Highlander Camp, Tara river, Bosnia

26 September Durmitor National Park

The next part of our trip in Montenegro will start 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 next to Crno lake again, for a last sunset picture opportunity.

Moderate walk / 4-5hrs walk / Total ascent-descent: +450m -450m / 10km
Breakfast / Hotel Zabljak, Zabljak, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

27 September The Kalica Glacier Valley

Today’s hike takes us to one of the most beautiful valleys of Durmitor mountain, Velika Kalica valley. We will start our hike straight from our Hotel in the direction of Crno (Black) lake, first through pine and spruce forest, until we get above the treeline. Gradual ascent will take us to Kalica valley, the valley surrounded by “giants”, such are Savin Kuk, Sljeme and Medjed peaks. Once we reach the Velika Previja pass (2,145m), we can decide if we want to take the optional half-hour ascent to nearby Medjed peak (2,287m). From the pass, we descend into Lokvice valley and circularly get back to the Black lake again, before reaching our Hotel.  

Challenging walk / 6-7hrs walk / Total ascent-descent: +1,050m -1,050m / 13km
Breakfast / Hotel Zabljak, Zabljak, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

28 September Bobotov Kuk (2,523m) Ascent

Our last day of hiking ends with another high point: a climb of Bobotov Kuk (2,523m), Montenegro’s highest peak. Starting relatively high, on Sedlo (1,900m), 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 back via Zeleni vir. 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.

Challenging walk / 6-7hrs walk / Total ascent-descent: +950m -1,125m / 10km
Breakfast / Hotel Zabljak, Zabljak, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

29 September Savin Kuk summit (2,313m)

Today we’ll get an earlier start, and embark on a scenic and vigorous hike up to the Savin Kuk (2,313m), one of the most beautiful and most photographed peaks of Durmitor Park. Today’s there-and-back hike will reward us with breathtaking views.
After the hike, we will take a 2 hours transfer to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro.

Moderate walk / 4-5hrs walk / Total ascent-descent: +820m -820m / 8km
Breakfast, Dinner / Hotel Crnogorska Kuca, Podgorica, Montenegro

30 September Podgorica Departure

Transfer to Podgorica Airport (30min) will be provided for your homeward-bound flight.


Fact File

What’s Included: Leader/Support staff: Fully-equipped and experienced English-speaking Tour Leader; Costs for American Leader, such as accommodation, meals according to itinerary and all entrance fees; All in-country transport with A/C 20 seats Iveco MiniVan; Accommodations as noted in the itinerary; Meals as noted in the itinerary, Breakfast (10x), Lunch (5x), Dinner (7x); Sarajevo Walking City tour (with all entrance fees); Tara Rafting fees (including all safety gear); Sutjeska & Durmitor National Park entrance fees; VAT.

What’s NOT Included: International airfare; Meals not noted on itinerary; Travel insurance; Optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff; All items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).