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€ 1950

Via Dinarica: Croatia to Albania

The Best of Via Dinarica’s Trail from Croatia to Albania
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    Period:
    July through August
    Category:
    Moderate to Challenging
    Included:
    Transportation during entire trip with 8+1 MiniVan or 20+1 MiniBus (including Airport transfers); Fully equipped English speaking Tour Leader/Guide; Hotel Accommodation for 14 nights; Meals specified in itinerary; City Tours in Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Mostar & Sarajevo (with all entrance fees); Tara Rafting & Skadar boat ride with all fees and safety equipment; Wine tasting at Brkic vineyards in Herzegovina; All fees and taxes for Paklenica, Sutjeska, Durmitor & Theth National Parks & VAT.
    Not incl.:
    Flights to Zagreb, Croatia & from Tirana, Albania; Meals not specified in itinerary; International travel insurance; Optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff; Souvenirs and personal items/needs (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.); Any items not specifically mentioned in the program.
    Options:
    -Price is per person, double occupancy; -Single rooms are available on a request; -All travelers will be paired with a same gender roommate when a roommate is available.
    Via Dinarica Adventures are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenges. These expeditions are organized by some of the best Outdoor Adventure Companies in the Western Balkans. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides. Feel free to call us on Skype, or email if you still have any questions or concerns. We're here to help you.
    DeparturePricePersons
    22 July - 05 Aug 2017€ 1950

    The tour price is based on a minimum of six (6) participants. Individual guests can join an existing group. Definite departure will be confirmed to participants by mail. Participants interested in a private trip may contact Green Visions, and a dedicated quote will be provided.

    The Best of Via Dinarica’s White Trail and the Balkans’ Highest Peaks: A 15-day Ultimate Hiking Adventure From Croatia to Albania

    The Western Balkan region is a nature lovers’ paradise, and the Via Dinarica is the area’s epic trail. Most of the region is situated in the heart of the central Dinaric Alps – one of Europe’s most unexplored mountain ranges. Each country offers a vast range of activities, from adventure to relaxation, on both land and water. Hiking and trekking is a popular activity in the national parks and whitewater rafting is a well-developed adventure sport in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Montenegro. This adventure explores both natural and cultural highlights along the 600-mile White Trail, which stitches together old routes from Slovenia, Croatia, BiH, Montenegro to Albania and follows the highest peaks.

    Itinerary – 15 Days

    Day 1: Arrival in Zagreb

    Arrive in Zagreb, Croatia. 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. At lunch, you’ll have a chance to meet the other members of our group. Lunch is followed by a tour of the major historical and cultural sites of the town. In the evening we will enjoy a ‘welcome’ dinner and trip briefing.

    Lunch, Dinner / Hotel Jagerhorn – Zagreb, Croatia

    Day 2: Velika Paklenica UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve

    Morning transfer to Paklenica National Park, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and a favorite hiking and climbing destination in this part of Europe. On the southeast slopes of the Velebit Mountain near the coast and cut by two awe-inspiring gorges, Mala Paklenica and Velika, Paklenica’s scenery is one of the most pristine in the whole Mediterranean. The lofty peaks making up this range offer huge views of both coastal and mountain scenery. There are several wonderful hikes through beech and black pine forests to choose from.

    This time we’ll use a circular trail: from V. Paklenica – Anića luka – Grabove doline – Mala Paklenica – Seline village. Highlights: Velika Paklenica Canyon, Kapljarka cave, black pine and beech forests, Vodarica pit, Mala Paklenica Canyon.

    Before we end the day in Zadar, we briefly stop in Starigrad for a quick dip into the Adriatic sea.

    Moderate walk / 4-5hrs walk / 450Δh / 8km
    Breakfast, Lunch / Hotel Niko – Zadar, Croatia

    Day 3: Mosor Mountain – Sitno Gornje, Umberto Girometta Hut, Veliki Kabal

    We’ll take a short drive from Split to the village of Zrnovnica and Sitno Gornje. From the center of the village, we start our hike through the steep and narrow road leading us among the old houses to our first nice view of Split. We walk to the mountain hut “Umberto Girometta”. From the mountain hut, the trail leads us through taller bushes, and and over through steep terrain up to the rocky ridge leading to the summit of Veliki Kabal (1339 m). Here the dry rocky outcrops of Mosor, provide us with one of the most stunning and dramatic views of the blue Adriatic and the rough Croatian hinterlands.

    From the ridge we continue west to the other summit Vickov Stup (1325 m), and from there descend back to the mountain hut for a well-deserved drink in the shade of old black pines. Trail conditions are generally good and well-marked. Some scrambling is involved.

    Transfer back to Split for a swim in the Adriatic and evening out in the old Roman town of Split.

    Moderate walk / 5-6hrs walk / 800Δh / 10km
    Breakfast, Lunch / Hotel Luxe – Split, Croatia

    Day 4: Split & Mostar, UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites, Croatia & Bosnia

    In the morning we’ll have a Split sightseeing tour with a local guide and leisure time until lunch. Hear the history and see the sights, visiting top Split attractions like the UNESCO-listed Diocletian Palace and Cathedral of St Dominus, where Roman Emperor Diocletian was buried.

    After lunch at Split’s Riva (walking area of Split), we will take a journey toward nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina. Everybody has heard about Bosnia’s history from the early 1990s, but we will discover an amazing side of this country that few travelers know. We end the day in Mostar and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with a few of the famous Ottoman Mostar bridge.

    Breakfast, Lunch / Hotel Stari grad – Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Day 5: Mostar & Blidinje Nature Reserve

    We spend early morning exploring Mostar, the former oriental trading center of Herzegovina, situated on the Neretva River. Undoubtedly, you will have heard much about this city, which was split during the conflict in the early 1990s. You’ll still see the scars of war, but these days Mostar is again a warm and bustling place, with a fascinating history and wonderful architecture.

    From Mostar, we’ll take short drive to Diva Grabovica, nested valley in the extraordinarily attractive environment in the heart of Čvrsnica Mountain (2,228 m), right at the place where the Mediterranean meets the rough alpine climate.

    This is a great tour, climbing through the ancient forests of Čvrsnica Mountain to Žljeb – all the while trekking on King Karađorđević’s old hunting trails. A hunting hut was built near the top for the King because he fancied the rich wildlife the area had to offer. He’s gone 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 climb at times but truly stunning and refreshing. The trailhead leads us to several natural springs, so water is nema problema (no problem). Bring a water bottle to fill for our final ascent.

    We’ll climb for 2.5 hours before reaching our destination. We’ll have lunch on a perch overlooking the largest rock face on the Balkan Peninsula at over 1,000 meters. The peaks of Čvrsnica tower surround 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 Čvrsnica highest points just behind us. Spectacular views are guaranteed. At the end of the day we transfer to Park of Nature Blidinje.

    Moderate / 5-6hrs walk / 650Δh / 8km
    Breakfast, Lunch / Hotel Hajdučke Vrleti – Blidinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Day 6: Highest peak of Herzegovina, Pločno (2,228 m) at Čvrsnica Mountain

    This is a magical tour climbing through the forests of Čvrsnica Mountain and open limestone area up to the Pločno (2,228 m), the highest peak of Herzegovina region. Our hike starts from Old Franciscan Monastery in Masna Luka, as one enters the alpine valley of Mandaruša, one starts admiring the beauty of the peaks surrounding it from all sides. The rise in altitude brings about the rise of the spirit level. Minds open as the views widen and the respect for the mountain of Čvrsnica grows minute by minute.

    Hiking up the amphitheater, we’ll get closer and closer to our goal, the peak of Pločno, thus passing avalanche corridors, which, though without snow, generate due respect in the hearts of everyone passing through. It’ll take us some 4-5 hours before we reach the top and enjoy serene silence. The peak offers amazing 360-degree panoramas. From the top, we will take the same way down, ending in capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, after a two-hour drive from the Blidinje Park.

    Challenging walk / 6-7hrs walk / 1000Δh / 15km
    Breakfast, Lunch / Hotel Europe – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Day 7: Lukomir Highland Village Walk

    Today we walk on the Bjelašnica Massif, 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.

    We continue to Lukomir, Bosnia’s highest village at 1,469m, with its ancient stećci (medieval 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 Visočica. After a simple, but tasty homemade lunch, we transfer back to the hotel in Sarajevo.

    Easy walk / 3hrs walk / 350Δh / 7km
    Breakfast, Lunch / Hotel Europe – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Day 8: Sutjeska National Park & Donje and Gornje Bare lakes

    In the morning we transfer to our hotel in Sutjeska National Park, before continuing to the tranquil lake of Donje Bare. After lunch we walk through a beech forest and open mountainous terrain to the summit of Uglješin Peak (1,858 m), 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 Tjentište valley, before an early dinner.

    Moderate walk / 4-5hrs walk / 400Δh / 9km
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Hotel Mladost – Tjentište, Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Day 9: Highest peak of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Maglić Mountain (2,386 m)

    We transfer to Lokva Dernečište (approx. one hour) and head for Bosnia’s highest peak, Maglić Mountain (2,386 m), through forest and open mountainous terrain. The ascent itself will take approximately four hours over fairly well maintained mountain trails with steep cliffs. This 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 our next stop, the emerald green waters of Trnovačko Lake. After descending to the lake in the afternoon we head for Prijevor where we meet our transfer to the hotel in Tjentište.

    Challenging walk / 9hrs walk / 700Δh / 14km
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Hotel Mladost – Tjentište, Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Day 10: Tara River Rafting & Durmitor National Park

    We give our legs a break today and soak up the views on a transfer (three hours) to Žabljak, small town located in Durmitor National Park, UNESCO World heritage Site.

    Leaving Sutjeska National Park, we’ll drive toward the deep canyon of the Tara River, and into Tara Canyon. Aside from being the largest canyon in Europe, the Tara River also offers excellent whitewater rafting. Following the border with Montenegro, the Tara River runs 87 miles of class II-IV rapids, sitting 4,000 feet down in the canyon, with stunning wilderness all around. Depending on the level of the water, our rafting trip will last 3-4 hours. We’ll enjoy a late lunch on the Tara River before finishing our trip to Žabljak in Montenegro.

    Breakfast, Lunch / Hotel Žabljak – Žabljak, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

    Day 11: Highest peak of Montenegro, Bobotov Kuk (2,523 m), Durmitor National Park

    Today we go with another high point: a climb of 2,523 m Bobotov Kuk, Montenegro’s highest peak. Starting relatively high, on Sedlo (1,900 m), 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 via the Velika Previja pass. This part of the trip is easy and we hike over grassy meadows, followed by a short ride back to Žabljak for a well-deserved rest.

    Challenging walk / 6-7hrs walk / 650Δh / 12km
    Breakfast, Lunch / Hotel Žabljak – Žabljak, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

    Day 12: Skadar Lake National Park and the secluded highland village of Theth

    Early in the morning we will drive to Skadar lake for a beautiful two-hour boat or canoe ride through the marshes of Skadar Lake National Park. Two thirds of the lake is in Montenegro and the remainder in Albania. Lake Skadar is the largest freshwater lake in the Balkans. It is fed by the Morača river and a series of underwater springs. Lake Skadar is surrounded by dramatic karst mountains and hosts a thrilling array of wildlife with more than 260 species of birds, traditional fishing villages, islet monasteries and pristine beaches.

    After Lunch we will drive (four hours) to the village of Theth our final destination of the day.

    Theth is a wonderful village in the northern Albania’s Shkodra region. Set among the peak of the Shala Mountains, Theth is an extremely isolated area that is often inaccessible in the winter months. Edith Durham, the famous English traveler, commented on her visit in 1908: “I think no place where human beings live has given me such an impression of majestic isolation from the entire world. It is a spot where the centuries shrivel; the river might be the world’s well-spring, its banks the fit home of elemental instincts-passions that are red and rapid.”

    Legend has it that Theth was founded 400 years ago by a six brothers who were seeking to escape conversion to Islam by the Ottomans. This would not be the only community in the Balkans that took the highlands for refuge from one invader or another. Dinner and overnight in Theth in a simple guesthouse with shared bedrooms.

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Villa Gjecaj – Theth, Theth National Park, Albania

    Day 13: Jaw-dropping Beauty of Theth National Park

    Early in the morning, we start our seven-hour hike from Thethi (750 m) up to the Valbona Pass (1,948 m) and back. Thethi is in the heart of the Central Dinaric Alps. Our hike will take us through ancient beech wood forests, and stunning vistas of the four highest mountain massifs surrounding the valley: Jezerca, Radohima, Kakia and Biga e Gimajve.

    Our walk is on reasonably well maintained paths through the National Park and provide us with endless opportunities to experience the unique highland natural and cultural heritage that Theth has to offer. With ancient Churches, museums, fortified towers, waterfalls, caves, glacial lakes of Peja neck are of unparalleled beauty.

    Moderate walk / 6-7hrs walk / 700Δh / 14km
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner / Villa Gjecaj – Theth, Theth National Park, Albania

    Day 14: Theth Village cultural immersion walk

    We spend the morning exploring the valley, gazing upon houses of wood and stone and learning about the area’s history and legends while on an eight-kilometer hike to hidden waterfalls and swimming pools. Others may choose to explore on their own. Around 13:00h we will start our drive to Tirana.

    Easy walk / 3-4hrs walk / 450Δh / 8km
    Breakfast, Lunch / Diplomat Fashion – Tirana, Albania

    Day 15: Depart

    Morning transfer to Tirana Airport.
    Breakfast

    Related Trips

    – Via Dinarica Croatia & Bosnia and Herzegovina
    – Via Dinarica Montenegro & Bosnia and Herzegovina

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