Via Dinarica Hiking Trail (s)
The Via Dinarica Hiking Trail is a new, long distance hiking route through the Balkans. Or actually, there are three Via Dinarica Hiking Trails. The challenging main route, the White Trail, traverses along the highest peaks of the Dinaric Alps. The green variant, the Green Trail, meanders a bit north through valleys and forest, along rivers and villages. And the blue Via Dinarica route, the Blue Trail, follows the Adriatic coast all the way in the south.
Together the three Via Dinarica Hiking Trails connect the 7 Western Balkan countries in the Dinaric Alps: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo.
During the summer of 2016 I hiked the Via Dinarica White Trail. Equipped with a big backpack, two pair of Vibram FiveFinger-shoes and a super-the-luxe GPS device I crossed the Balkans from Albania through Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia all the way to Slovenia. An adventurous journey along countless different mountain ranges, ridges, cliffs, canyons, valleys, rivers, lakes and prominent peaks in the Dinaric Alps.
At the moment only the Bosnian section of the Via Dinarica White Trail is officially open. This part of the route is marked and maintained by volunteers and local enthusiasts. In Croatia the Via Dinarica White Trail follows mostly old existing long distance routes like the Velebitski Planinarski Put (VPP). Although the GPX-tracks of all three Via Dinarica Hiking Trails (in Croatia) are available, the Green and the Blue Trail are still more of a concept rather than an actual hiking trail. Even the White Trail has sections which are hardly hikable.
Here you can read a “Note on the Via Dinarica Hiking Trails” on the Via Dinarica website.
The Montenegrin section of the Via Dinarica Hiking Trail uses the Crnogorska Transverzala (CT1) to cross the magnificent mountains of Montenegro. In Albania I created an alternative bordercrossing route via Rikavačko jezero, because the original GPX-track lead me through a wild waterfall up through an intensely overgrown non-existing “path”. A no go for me.
I have to point out that I hiked the Via Dinarica in reverse, so I started half June in Albania. Absolutely beautiful, but a lot of snow and melt water with wild waterfalls as a result.
Also in Slovenia I hiked an alternative route. The Via Dinarica Hiking Trail crosses the so called Green Karst region, a relatively unknown part of Slovenia, but it totally stole my heart. Lovely legends and funny fairy tales dancing around the region. Just like the dormice do. I’m super happy to see that my alternative is now part of the official Slovenian Via Dinarica Hiking Trail, yay!
A year later (2017) I decided to come back for the Green Trail. Again, I created my own route through Slovenia. This it connected to the Via Alpina Red Trail near Predjama and the Via Dinarica Green trail in Croatia. In Croatia I followed the Via Dinarica GPX-track which was surprisingly accurate. The Bosnian section though, well, that was a different story. There is a Bosnian Green Trail in the making, but there is hardly any information about it. Besides, it’s not merely a hiking trail, there are biking and rafting stages as well. Here is my Green Trail tour from Bihać to Sarajevo, an almost 700 km long hike which I will continue in June 2018.
Nevertheless, I hiked it. And the fact that the trail isn’t finished doesn’t mean that it’s a no go. On the contrary. For the pioneers among us, this is the perfect moment to Explore the Dinarides. It’s quiet, untouched and your experience can make a difference for future Via Dinarica hikers. In June (2018) I continue my Via Dinarica Green Trail trekking in Sarajevo. From there I head towards Serbia and Kosovo. I probably prolong my journey through Macedonia on the Macedonian Transversale to lake Ohrid.
The Via Dinarica Blue Trail is barely walked at all. Due to the seriously high temperatures and extremely dry summers, especially on the coast, it’s best to hike the Blue Trail in Autumn or Spring. This is also the best way to avoid the massive tourism that unfortunately comes along with a beautiful coastline…
Hopefully I get to explore the Croatian Blue Trail this year (2018), probably somewhere near the end of the summer. I’m planning to hike from Macedonia via Albania towards on the Montenegrin Blue Trail (PPT) back to Croatia to finish my Via Dinarica Trekking. I might walk back to Zagreb, I might not. We’ll see. To be continued…
Sustainable Eco Tourism
Apart from the three Via Dinarica trails, there are plenty of other outdoor possibilities in the Dinaric Alps. Via Dinarica is definitely more than just a trail. Or three trails. Basically, Via Dinarica is a platform to develop sustainable eco tourism and a local economical growth. The challenge is to raise awareness for the importance of nature protection and to preserve the authenticity of the region. That takes time…
It’s my mission to hike all Via Dinarica trail, to explore the Dinarides ánd share my experience by telling my story. The Balkan fascinates me and Via Dinarica inspired me to do something with this fascination. With my stories I show you around. I take you along on my journey through the Balkans, the Dinarides, the Via Dinarica and beyond.
Will you follow me?
Stories from the Trail
More Via Dinarica Inspiration
- Amazing Albanian Alps
- Magnificent Mountains of Montenegro
- Beautifully Wild Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Incredible Croatian Karst
- Slovenia’s Secrets: Green Karst
Via Dinarica articles I wrote for others
- “A Guide to Hiking the Via Dinarica: The White Trail In Reverse” – Chasing the Donkey
- “Biggest Challenge to Hiking the Balkans” – Chasing the Donkey
- “Surviving the Via Dinarica” – Balkanvibe
- “Food on the Via Dinarica” – Dinaric Arc Parcs
- “Polako, polako (that”s how you mark a new trail!)” – Via Dinarica
- “Hiking on the Green Trail to Vukov Konak” – Via Dinarica
This is a selection, for the complete list of articles (about the Via Dinarica Hiking Trail) check out my “Publication” page. And since I’m already sending you away… If you want find out more about practical Via Dinarica stuff, have a look on my “Via Dinarica Practical Information” page.