The trip begins late afternoon in Trebinje, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
After a main briefing with your leader, we enjoy a welcome dinner in a local winery in the hills above the town. Stay: Hotel Leotar (or similar) (D).
In the morning, we transfer to Sutjeska National Park. After stopping at our hotel in the Tjentiste Valley, we continue to the tranquil, tree-wrapped Donje Bare lake, where we stop for lunch. We then walk through a beech forest and open mountainous terrain to the summit of Ugljesin Peak (6,096ft/1,858m), for panoramic views of the Zelengora mountains and the rockface wall of Volujak. We continue on the stunning circuit to Gornje Bare lake via the Tovamica Ridge (1hr 30min) with the highest peaks in Bosnia as constant companions on the horizon.
We then transfer back to the hotel for a well-deserved dinner. If there's time before food, we can visit the Partisan Memorial of Sutjeska, which is a 10 to 15-minute walk from the hotel. This giant, angular sculpture pays tribute to the thousands of Partisan soldiers who died during the Battle of Sutjeska in the Second World War. If time is short, we should be able to visit over the coming days. Stay: Hotel Mladost (or similar) (B/L/D).
Today is particularly special as we transfer to Lokva Derneciste (approximately one hour) and join the Via Dinarica, a 1,245mi (2,000km) long hiking route connecting all six republics of the former Yugoslavia. Our local team played a key role in bringing it to existence, including mapping ideal routes for sections of the trail and assisting local NGOs with securing funding, and it has since been named one of the best hiking trails in Europe by National Geographic. Our route takes us to the summit of Maglić, the highest mountain in Bosnia at 9,304ft (2,386m), a journey of approximately three to four hours over fairly well-maintained trails passing steep cliffs.
This is, by far, the most demanding part of today's trek but each step takes us further above the surrounding peaks until we reach the top. The summit provides an ideal spot for our picnic lunch with stretching views over Montenegro and the emerald-green waters of Trnovacko Lake, our next stop. After descending to the waters in the afternoon, we head for Prijevor where we meet our transfer to our hotel. Stay: Hotel Mladost (or similar) (B/L/D).
We transfer to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, at the heart of the Balkan Peninsula.
On arrival, we take a tour of the major historic, cultural and war sites in the city, helping us to piece together its complex and intriguing past. The afternoon is then free to explore this varied and beautiful capital city. Stay: Hotel Hecco (or similar) (B/D).
Within half an hour's drive of Crepoljsko is a well-known picnic spot where we start today's hike toward Bukovik peak (5,033ft/1,534m), the highest point north of Sarajevo. After leaving our start point, a pleasant hike takes us through meadows and coniferous forests up to Bukovik hut, with wider and wider views of mountains in the distance and the city in the valley below us.
After a short break at the hut, we ascend the nearby Bukovik peak and continue from there through pine forest to the 322ft (98m) tall Skakavac waterfall. We enjoy a relaxing lunch break and some tea or coffee before descending through thick forest to the waterfall base, where a fantastic view of water, mist and forest awaits. From here, we wind through the forest to the small lodge, where we end our hike with a cold drink. Stay: Hotel Hecco (or similar) (B/L).
Today we have a full-day walk in the Bjelasnica Mountains, home of the 1984 Winter Olympics, ascending Obalj peak (6,220ft/1,896m) and visiting Lukomir, the highest village in Bosnia & Herzegovina at 4,820ft (1,469m). From the traditional Bosnian Mosque in the village of Umoljani, we walk to Gradina, a village used for centuries as a base for summer pastures.
From here, we start ascending toward Obalj ridge and slowly we rise above Studeni potok (Studeni stream) with views opening in front of us. With mountains to the south, Treskavica and Visocica offer us fantastic scenes. Once we reach the slopes of Obalj, we slowly continue to the summit. From here, we see Lukomir village below, home to ancient stecci (medieval tombstones), and where villagers still follow a traditional agricultural life. On the edge of the village, there is a fabulous view of Rakitnica canyon, Obalj and Visocica.
After a simple but tasty homemade late lunch, we transfer back to the hotel in Sarajevo. Stay: Hotel Hecco (or similar) (B/L).
Today we have the option to go rafting deep into the Neretva Canyon or walk a beautiful ridge overlooking the Neretva and Rakitnica Canyon. The Neretva River is the jewel of Herzegovina, flowing more than 124mi (200km) to the Adriatic Sea. Better yet, the upper canyon hosts some of the most beautiful rafting opportunities in Europe. The water is usually calm from spring to autumn, and the trip provides ample opportunity to enjoy the canyon and the unique flora and fauna. Depending on the season, we can tackle Class II to IV rapids. The trip lasts for three to four hours and costs approximately €45 per person (paid locally).
If you prefer to keep on trekking, we continue to the isolated hills around Kasici village for a magical canyon walk above the same river. After crossing a suspension bridge, we descend to meet the spectacular river itself where the rapids rush into the mouth of the relatively unexplored Rakitnica Canyon. The scenery here is truly breath-taking. After crossing another bridge at the mouth of the canyon, we can rest either in one of the caves or on the numerous beaches. We return via Konjic to meet with those who opted for the rafting. At the end of the day, we continue our journey to Mostar. Stay: Hotel Kapetanovina (or similar) (B/L).
We spend the morning exploring Mostar, including a visit to the Old Bridge, which was rebuilt after it collapsed during the conflict of the early 1990s. This city on the Neretva River was regularly in the news during this period and we can still see the scars of war. These days, however, Mostar is once again a warm and bustling place with a fascinating history and architecture. We leave the city in the afternoon and head for Dubrovnik, Croatia, our final destination and a great way to end a week of trekking.
On arrival at approximately 5pm, we have free time to explore. The perfectly preserved old town is a Unesco World Heritage site with fortresses, palaces and city walls to admire. Stay: Hotel Komodor (or similar) (B).
The trip ends this morning after breakfast. If you wish to spend more time in this beautiful Croatian city, please ask your sales representative about post-tour nights (B).