‘Best of the World’ destination
Via Dinarica is a long-distance mega-trail which connects the Dinaric Alps of the Western Balkans uniting seven countries. 1.400 km of trail goes from Slovenia to Albania, via Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo. National Geographic Traveler named it ‘Best of the World’ destination for 2017 and The Guardian placed it amongst top 10 adventures in Europe. So what is a mega-trail anyway and what is Via Dinarica all about?
Mega-trail means it is an international hiking trail covering many thousands of kilometers like the Via Alpina and the famous Appalachian Trail. Via Dinarica is the newest long-distance trail and has three main routes. White mountaineering trail going over the highest peaks of the Dinaric Alps. It is the most extreme and most interesting for hikers. Green hiking and biking trail leading through the inner Dinarides is ideal for beginners and bikers. Finally, there is Blue hiking trail which follows the Adriatic Coast and southeastern parts of Herzegovina. In this way Via Dinarica connects natural and cultural sights and mountain communities in the region, developing adventure, sports and eco tourism.
Bosnia, first in the region
All three trails are passing through Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the White Trail is the most significant for us. We are the first in the region to completely mark and prepare all the stages of the trail. 300 km of the White Trail passes through our country connecting some popular mountaineering and hiking trails, as well as some forgotten ones. It offers multitude of activities in breathtaking nature such as hiking, biking, rafting, rock-climbing, caving, herb and berry picking, canyoning to name a few. The Green and Blue Trails are still being developed.
Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina
In BiH the White Trail consists of 12 stages and includes hiking 10 majestic mountains, numerous lush valleys, deep canyons with crystal clear rivers, forests and lakes and passing many authentic highland villages. Hiking the whole Trail requires good physical condition and experience. Mountain huts and other objects are 6 – 8 hours walk apart or if they are not available you can spend the night in a rural household. All the details and information about hiking the trail yourself you can find on the very detailed Via Dinarica and Outdooractive sites and in the Bradt guidebook.
Sustainable tourism and development
Via Dinarica is intended for all nature lovers, but it is certainly the greatest gift to mountaineers and cyclists, as well as local communities. The project promotes sustainable tourism and development in the whole region, development of rural areas and rural tourism and supports the local communities. Also let’s not forget that being in nature is one of the best things you can do for your health and immune system, an aspect which has, in light of recent events, become the focus of everyone’s attention.
My own experience
When I found out about Via Dinarica I was excited about the fact that we have something like that in BiH and I wanted to explore it for several reasons. First and foremost for the stunning natural heritage of my own country of which I knew very little (actually I explored SE Asia and parts of Africa more than my own backyard) and secondly, our beautiful and rich cultural heritage. The combination of stunning nature, well preserved mountain culture and delicious organic food along the Trail certainly held (and still holds) my attention.
Do I have to be a hiker?
Though I have an active lifestyle (which includes yoga, rollerblading, as well as snowboarding and kitesurfing) I am not a mountaineer or a serious hiker. I love spending time in nature and a moderate exertion, but what I love more than anything when I travel is a mix of staying in an authentic place, meeting the local culture and people, eating organic homemade food and exploring nature at my own pace. So you don’t necessarily have to be a serious hiker to enjoy this beautiful adventure. You don’t need to hike the whole Trail and you can, like me, go from one place to the next spend a day or more and hike as much as you like. You just need to enjoy spending time in nature, traveling and meeting new people, but who doesn’t enjoy that :).
So, what I set out to do is find a way to experience the highlights of Via Dinarica in my own way and invite others like me for the ride. In particular, I was thinking about travelers who either don’t have the time, interest or fitness levels to hike the whole Trail, but would still love to take a peak into our rich natural and cultural heritage. So, I picked the areas which are the highlights of the White Trail in BiH and showed them through my lens. I also tried to provide some useful info on what you can experience there. Finally, for each of the places I visited there is a short practical guide with some basic info and contacts of the places I’ve been to (and some I haven’t), so you can go on an adventure by yourself or pick the right company to take you. Enjoy the ride :).