Balkan Hiking Tour – Serbia, BiH and Croatia

Balkan Hiking Tour – Serbia, BiH and Croatia

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Escorted Balkan Hiking Tour – Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia

Departure 17 – 31 AUG 2018

physical activity – hard

Joint Balkan hike – regional tourist product which includes the best hiking trails and sites in those 3 Balkan countries : Tara National Park, Sargan Train, Old Visegrad Bridge, Sutjeska National Park, Maglic Mountain, Trnovacko Lake, Sarajevo, Trebevic Mountain, Bjelasnica Mountain, Lukomir village, Cvrsnica Mountain, Mostar, Kokorici settlement, Velebit Mt, Paklenica National Park and Zadar operated by the Balkan incoming travel agencies/tour operators for the South-east Europe : Panacomp Wonderland Travel Serbia + Green Visions Bosnia and Herzegovina + Svijet putovanja Travel Croatia

Day 1 : Belgrade – Tara National Park/Mountain

Arrival to Belgrade Airport and meeting with professional guide. Drive by bus to the Tara Mountain/National Park, a part of Stari Vlah historic and geographical region in Southwestern Serbia, also of the inner Dinaric Alps ranges, along the hilly terrains of central Serbia, called Sumadija, thanks to abundance of forests, meadows and rural settlements. Accommodation in the boarding house within the Mokra Gora Nature Park/Iver Ski Center. Traditional dinner, overnight.

Day 2 Tara National Park hike

After breakfast full day walk along the Tara National Park protected area for total of 19 km, through the pine forests and meadows, at the altitudes between 1065 m and 1544 m, visiting four breathtaking observation points – Zborište (1544 m, the highest peak of Tara Mountain), Zaovine Lake, Ljuto Polje, Iver and Zmajevac, from where spreads magnificent vistas of the West Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina mountain peaks. The hike along Tara Mt climbing uphill gradually includes visits of the old log churches, Iver Ski center, mountain springs and tiny picturesque villages featuring well preserved tradition and rural lifestyle, with rustic lunch. Late afternoon return to hotel, dinner, overnight. Challenging /8-9 hrs walk / 450Δh / 19Km.

Day 3 Tara – Visegrad – Sutjeska National Park

After breakfast tour of the Mecavnik Wooden Town, a Film Academy and traditional settlement established by famous Film Director Emir Kusturica. 2,5 Sargan train ride along the beautiful slopes of the Tara and Sargan Mountains. 8 km walk to the Skakavac Waterfalls while enjoying multiple benefits of protected nature landscapes. Outdoor lunch. Departure to Bosnia and Herzegovina with break at Visegrad for tour of the Old Visegrad Bridge, an UNESCO cultural heritage site. Evening arrival to the Sutjeska National Park and accommodation in Mladost Hotel in Tjentiste. Dinner, overnight.

Day 4: Zelengora Mountain & Ugljesin peak (1.858m)

After breakfast 1 hour transfer to the tranquil lake of Donje Bare. From here 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 Mt peaks and the rock face wall of Volujak Mt. We continue the stunning circuit back to Gornje Bare lake via the Tovamica ridge (1.5 hour). The views of Bosnia’s highest peaks are constantly in front of us. Early evening transfer back to the Tjentiste hotel. Moderate walk /4-5hrs walk / 350Δh / 9Km. Hotel Mladost, Tjentiste (L, D)

Day 5 : Maglić ascent (2386m), Highest Peak of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sutjeska NP

Transfer (approx 1½ hours) to Lokva Derneciste from where we start our walk through forest and open mountainous terrain. The serious ascent to Maglic Mountain (2386 m) will take us approximately 4 hours over poorly maintained mountain trails with steep cliffs and is by far the most demanding and serious part of today’s hike. (Please note that this part of the trip is not for those afraid of heights!). With each step we slowly rise above the surrounding peaks scattered around the Sutjeska National Park, until at last we reach Maglic, Bosnia’s highest peak. Just the place to have our lunch with its stunning views of Montenegro and our next destination deep below with its emerald green water – the Trnovacko Lake. Lunch en route. From the lake we hike back to Prijevor for a transfer to Sarajevo, which makes also long and demanding walk. Demanding 9hrs walk/ 1000Δh / 10 or 14km. Hotel Mladost, Sutjeska (HB)

Day 6 : Trebevic (1.629m) and the Olympic bobsleigh track

After breakfast drive to Sarajevo – favorite Bosnia and Herzegovina destination with a chance to see Sarajevo on a beautiful summer’s day from Trebevic, recommended to those interested in a long hike through pine wood forests. We take a 30 min drive via the back road to Jahorina via Vraca to Brus, where we park our vehicle and start our 500 meters ascend to the peak of Trebevic Mt (1,629 meters). Our walk takes us along a long and winding mountain trail. Although we will be traveling most of the way through pine and spruce covered forests you will be treated occasionally to beautiful views of Romanija and Bukovik Mountains. Unfortunately, all mountain huts were destroyed during the war and their bleak skeletons only stand as a reminder of what was a truly beautiful hiking area.

Before the war all generations from Sarajevo would visit this area using the gondola lifts from Bistrik up to the start of the Olympic bob sleigh piste. Not much is left of the bob sleigh piste. The area around is equally unsuitable for hiking due to the front-line running through the area and is best to be avoided all together. Our hike will start well behind the front lines and thus completely free of land mines. 15 minutes before reaching the top the trail leads us to a beautiful mountain hut named after a Partisan hero Mr. Vaso Miskin – Crni. The area is of particular interest because of a 70+ year old botanical garden – Alpinetum, with rare endemic plant life from the Former Yugoslavian region. Then we arrive at the top and if the weather permits you will stand at the center of a green universe and see Sarajevo, all immediate surrounding towns and villages, Bukovik, Romanija, Jahorina, Ravna, Treskavica, Lelija, Visocica, Bjelasnica, Cvrsnica, Vran Bitovnja, Zec, Vranica, Vlasic, Ravan, Zvijezda and Ozren mountains. Having soaked in the sights we descend down to the 1984 Olympic Bob sleighing track. Accommodation Hotel Kandilj, Sarajevo. Sarajevo city tour. Free evening, overnight. Accommodation: Hotel Kandilj, Sarajevo; Meals: B, L. Moderate / 4 to 5 hrs walk / 500Δh / 9Km.

Day 7: Lukomir village and Obalj peak (1.896 m)

After breakfast transfer to Bjelasnica Mountain /1,5 hrs/. Full day walk in the Bjelasnica mountains (home of the 1984 winter Olympics) ascending Obalj peak (1896m) and visiting Lukomir, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s highest village (1469m). From Umoljani we will start ascendt toward Obalj ridge and slowly and gradually we will rise above Studeni Potok. The views will start to open in front of us. Mountains Treskavica and Visocica will offer us fantastic and breathtaking scenes. Once when we catch the ridge of Obalj we will slowly continue by the ridge which is very wide so no fear for anybody. From the peak we’ll see Lukomir village below us where we will descend from the top. Lukomir is Bosnia’s highest village at 1,469 meters, with its ancient stecci (medieval tombstones) where villagers stick to the “old way” of doing things. Traditional dress, the occasional turban and fez are still worn and go hand in hand with the more contemporary bliss’s of everyday life, electricity and running water. On the edge of the village you will be treated by a rare view of Rakitnica River Canyon, Obalj and Visocica. You have arrived at the end of the world. From the Lukomir village on a way back we hike along Obalj’s side. All along, you will be treated by sweet and cool breezes coming off of Visocica and Treskavica. En route, we’ll find quite a few sources where we can drink our fill. Close to Umoljani we will pass cascades of Studeni Potok, at certain times of the year, the stream falls 400 meters into the Rakitnica canyon below. Nearby Umoljani we will see seven water mills and the beautiful source used or centuries as energy to grind wheat into flour. From the water mills we walk down to Umoljani zig zagging along cultivated fields. Accommodation: Private B&B in Umoljani village; Moderate walk / 5-6hrs walk / 700Δh / 9Km.

Day 8 : The valley of Diva Grabovica and King Karadjordjevic’s hunting grounds

Today we travel to Mostar, but before we get there turn off in the the Diva Grabovica mountain valley, nested in the extraordinarily attractive environment in the heart of the Cvrsnica Mountain (2228 m), right at the place where the Mediterranean meets the rough alpine climate. The drive from Sarajevo takes a bit less than two hours. This is a great tour climbing through the ancient forests of Cvrsnica Mountain to Zljeb…all the while trekking on King Karadjordjevic’s old hunting trails. A hunting hut was built near the top for the King because he was so fancied the rich wildlife the area had to offer. He ‘s dead now, but his trail is very much alive and we’ve been using it for years. We’ll hike through closed beech-tree forests starting from the amazing valley of Diva Grabovica. It’s a fairly sharp and demanding climb at times but truly stunning and refreshing. The trail head leads us to several natural springs, so water is „nema problema”. Do bring a water bottle to fill for our final ascent though. We’ll climb the steep up for 2.5 hours before reaching our destination. We’ll do our famous lunch on a perch overlooking the largest rock face on the Balkan Peninsula at over 1,000 meters. The peaks of Cvrsnica tower around us in every direction from this point. Mali and Veliki Medved sprout out in front, rock walls to our right, and the rocky peaks of Cvrsnica Mt highest points just behind us. This will be a great day featuring spectacular views a refreshing hike fit for a king and queen… At the end of the day we transfer to Mostar (45 min). Free evening, overnight. Accommodation: Hotel Villa Milas /or similar/, Mostar; Meals: B,L. Moderate walk / 5hrs walk / 600Δh / 15Km.

Day 9: Ethno Village of Kokorici-Vrgorac-Ilica Glavica-Maskara

After breakfast 1 hours Mostar city tour, visiting most interesting highlights. 2h transfer from Mostar to Croatia, arrival to the Etno village Kokorići near Vrgorac – the birthplace of Hasanaginica (epic heroine from famous folk ballad). We will have an accommodation in her birth house. The Kokorici village is also famous for its ethnographic collection with more than 250 exhibits. Surrounding ambiance with beautiful stone architecture is suitable for gatherings accompanied with performances of local “gusla” players and “ganga” singers. They sing about history and legends of this amazing village. Accommodation in ethno houses is followed by a short break. The lunch will be as authentic as it can be, with almost forgotten national delicacies. In the afternoon, around 04:00 PM (departure from Vrgorac) we will start our first Croatian walking tour – ascent towards “Ilića glavica” and visit to the deserted village. Then, we will climb on “Maskara” with its stunning views of surrounding area, after we will continue climbing to reach ancient “Gradina”. There is a possibility to see remains of Turkish and Venetian fortresses. In this mountainous tour we will conquer the natural and historic beauty of the Vrgorac area, in search for the lost time behind ancient walls, the silent witnesses to the turbulent history of this region. Dinner, overnight in Kokorici settlement.

Day 10 Biokovi : Peak Turije – Lozovac – Ljubovic – St. Jure – Očeski – Milići

9 hours walk, altitude difference 1000 meters. Departure is immediately after breakfast, short transfer by bus (approx. 20 minutes) to the Peak Turije (700m). From there we will continue on foot towards “Lozovac” and “Ljubovići” water spring and after we will continue to the summit of St. Jure (1762 m). Standing there, on this beautiful spot, we will be enchanted by the stunning view on the Adriatic Sea in its full glory. At the summit we will take a break for lunch, relaxation and further enjoyment in this panoramic view. From St. Jura we continue our hike towards spring “Očeska” and further to “Milići” for a transfer back to “Kokorići”. The route is long and demanding especially during the first part (St. Jura). Dinner, overnight in Kokorici settlement.

Day 11 Canyons of Dalmatian Rivers of Zrmanja – Krupa – Krnjeza

We will leave “Kokorići” at 8:00 AM just after early breakfast to boost our energy. We need 2 hour transfer to reach the canyon of Zrmanja River from where we will start our 6 hours hike. The terrain is not characterized with great height differences, just about 200 m, but the landscape is really impressive. We will see canyons of three rivers gorges, travertine barriers, waterfalls, ancient ruins, traditional lookouts and much more. We will have our lunch in this beautiful surrounding out in the open, enjoying scented and fresh air. In the late afternoon we will hike towards our summit place to get our transfer to Starigrad – Paklenica. There we will go to our accommodation in Ethno House “Marasović” for outstanding dinner and deserved rest (overnight stay).

Day 12 North Velebit; Zavižan – Premužić Trail – Rossi’s Cottage – Great Alan

Early breakfast and depart at 07:00. A 2 hour bus transfer to Zavizan (we suggest highway, Maslenica entrance, exit Otočac). It is planned to walk on flat terrain, with vertical drop of about 300 m, 7 hours walk. Beauty of Premuzic route speaks for its self and there is nothing to add. 26 educational panels in several languages introduce travelers to the world of geology, flora and fauna, and the people who once lived here. With its construction, care for the environment and fitting in the natural surrounding this trail is considered a masterpiece of architecture and is listed on the List of Cultural Properties of Croatia. We will have our lunch pack in the Rossi’s cottage just below the peak “Pasarićev kuk” in the “Rožanski kukovi”. We continue our hike to the Great Alan, where the group is waiting for a bus to go back to Ethno house Marasović, dinner and overnight.

Day 13 Velika Paklenica – Buljma – Vaganski Peak – Lipa Trail

We will start our hike from Ethno house Marasović, just after breakfast, climbing towards Buljma (mountain pass, 1000 m) continuing on the steep slopes all the way to the Vaganski peak (1600 m) most beautiful peak of the Velebit Mountain. We will start our descent hiking the Lipa trail all the way to rural household “Ramića dvori”. There we will have our lunch made from fresh and authentic ingredients. The ingredients are delivered on horses and that is why we will have to announce our arrival on time. This route is more demanding and the group should be ready for a good hike and be in good shape. 6 – 8 hours walk + 1, 5 hour to reach Velika Paklenica. We will return on foot to Ethno house Marasović, just on time for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 14 Libinje- Vlaški Grad – Sveto Brdo – Ivine Vodice – Njive Lekine – Mala Paklenica

After early breakfast, until 08:00 AM we will take 45 minute bus drive to Libinje (800 m), karst field below Sveto Brdo on South Velebit. Hiking towards “Vlaški Grad” (karst peak) and further towards “Sveto Brdo” (1753 m). We will take a break to feed our eyes on outstanding view on Italy. We will also have our lunch pack during this break. 3 hours long hike, moderate walk. After the break we will continue towards “Ivine vodice”, across fields “lekine njive” to reach Mala Paklenica. The bus will wait for us in Selin. Return to the Ethno house Marasović for dinner and overnight stay. The duration of the second part of the route is 4 – 5 hours with average altitude difference of 900 m.

Day 15 Starigrad – Zadar

After enjoying last breakfast at Ethno house Marasović we will take a short bus ride to Zadar. If the time before the flight permits, we suggest a tour of the city center: St Donat church, Forum, famous Sea Organ…. Possibility to have a lunch in one of the Zadar restaurants. Boarding on the plane at the airport Zadar is scheduled in the early afternoon.

PRICE : 1350 EUR /double occupancy accommodation/ Minimum 10 participants

Included : tourist class A/C 17-seater bus transportation from Belgrade to Zadar by the Serbian transport company, 2 half-boards in Tara eco lodges-boarding house, Sargan Train ride, picnic outdoor lunch in Tara Mt with entrance fee, Sutjeska National Park entrance fee, 3 half-boards in Mladost Hotel Tjentiste, 2 picnic outdoor lunches in Sutjeska National Park – Zelengora and Maglic Mts, 1 overnight with breakfast in Kandilj Hotel Sarajevo, Sarajevo city tour with entrance fees, 1 outdoor lunch in Trebevic Mt, 1 half-board in private rooms for rent in Umoljani village, 1 outdoor lunch in Bjelasnica Mt, 1 outdoor lunch in Cvrsnica Mt., 1 overnight with breakfast in Millas Villa Hotel Mostar, Mostar city tour with entrance fees, 1 full-board and 1 half-board in Kokorici ethno-settlement, 1 outdoor picnic lunch in Biokovo Mt., 1 outdoor lunch in Dalmatian rivers area, 4 half-boards in Marasovici traditional house, 1 lunch in Rossi’s cottage in Velebit Mt., 1 traditional lunch in Ravnica dvori in Velebit Mt., 1 outdoor lunch pack in South Velebit Mt., full escort of professional hiking guides throughout the whole tour – in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, 24 hrs Panacomp Wonderland Travel Serbia + Green Visions Bosnia and Herzegovina + Svijet putovanja Travel Croatia Logistics and support

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