Curious about the Balkans? About hiking in the Dinaric Alps? Are you planning to hike the Via Dinarica? I’m happy you found my Via Dinarica Practical Information page. Hopefully I can help you out. The information you find here is based on my personal experience. I added several links to other websites as well. Ideas, tips and questions are always welcome.
Do you prefer reading stories? If yes, check out the blog posts I wrote about my Via Dinarica Journey.
Via Dinarica White Trail
|Who? Via Dinarica White Trail||Distance 1260,80 kilometer (at the moment)|
|What? New Long Distance Hiking Trail||Elevation almost 52,000 meter up and down|
|Where? Dinaric Alps, Western Balkans||Highest point 2692 meter, Maja Jezercë in Albania|
|Trailhead Babno Polje, Slovenia||Hiking season May – November|
|Finish Valbona, Albania|
Maps & Navigation
There are several hiking maps available, these are the ones I used. Most of them I ordered at “Alternative Balkan Tourism“, others I bought on the spot in mountain huts or National Park offices. I used the Garmin eTrex 20 and downloaded free openMBTmaps. You can also download OpenStreetMaps or buy even better ones.
Via Dinarica GPX track & Outdooractive
On the Via Dinarica website you can find the complete GPX track of the White Trail. There are stage tour descriptions, comments of Via Dinarica hikers, current conditions and the option to download all information ánd maps as a PDF file. It could be useful to install the Outdooractive App (OA)on your smartphone. This gives you the option to use offline maps. If you join the Via Dinarica community you can share your information on the platform as well.
I have uploaded additional information about water sources, accommodations, ATM’s, grocery stores and other facilities on the Outdooractive platform. On this MAP you find all my day-stages and my Via Dinarica tours per country. It would be great if additional information of other hikers could be included in the official Via Dinarica GPX track, but for now I think you just have to gather all the bits and pieces yourself.
Bradt Travel Guide
Since January 2018 there is also the Bradt Travel Guide “Via Dinarica, Hiking the White Trail in Bosnia & Herzegovina”. Note that this guide is merely about the Bosnian section of the White Trail. You can order the guide on Amazon, bol.com and of course via the official Bradt Travel Guide website.
Free navigation apps
- Maps.me – free app with offline maps *recommendation to use besides GPS and OA
- Wikiloc – here you can easily find GPX tracks if you’re looking for an alternative route
Free Online maps
- Other links to Albanian maps
- Valbona hiking trails
- Trekking Bosnia
- Zone 2000 (kmz format)
- Open Bike Map (for GPS)
- Sovjet maps of Alania (GPS Basemap)
Old military maps
Maps for sale
Accommodation & wild camping
Wild camping is not allowed in Slovenia and in the National Parks of Croatia. In Durmitor there is a camping fee (small tent 3 euro per night, big one 5 euro). Information about mountain huts and other accommodations is listed on the Via Dinarica website.
Prices vary from 5 euros (households) to 50 euros (hotels) per person per night, but for most mountain huts you won’t pay more than 10 euros. Discounts are only for members of local mountaineering association, but the skloništa (shelters/refuge or bivouac huts) are free and open for everyone. For many huts (especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina) you need a key. Check the link above for phone numbers, conditions and other detailed information about the huts on the trail.
Here you have an interactive map with (all) Mountain huts in the Balkans.
Although you have to be careful, there are enough water sources along the way. In Slovenia and Croatia I did not always follow the original VD track, which made it easier for me to find water. If you do stay on the official track, check the comments (trail.viadinarica.com) and conditions for those stages.
Note that not all the springs and water sources are ˝working˝. Especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina this was a problem. They can dry out during the summer or are a bit of the trail and hard to find. Again, check the comments and conditions per stage on the Via Dinarica website.
The huts and shelters collect rainwater in big cisterns, but it might happen that they are empty or dirty. It is absolutely necessary to bring some kind of water treatment. Often I was too lazy to use my water filter and I survived, but mind that many wells along the trail are not properly covered. Sometimes there is only a dirty, swampy lake full of frogs and other smelly creatures… And even if the water looks clean, be aware that there is a lot of cattle on the Via Dinarica as well.
I use the CarePlus waterfilter which is basically the same as the popular Sawyer Mini SP128 waterfilter. If you search a bit on internet, you’ll find heaps of blog-posts of hikers who give advise about what, when and how to use.
Between Albania and Montenegro you officially have to apply for an approval. The procedure can be difficult and bureaucratic and you have to give the exact date of entering the country at least 15 days ahead. On the Peaks of the Balkans website you can find links to downloadable forms. There are several local tour operators who offer assistance, like Zbulo!
From Montenegro to Bosnia and Herzegovina (or the other way around) there are frequently used hiking paths. As far as I know, there is no official procedure for crossing this border through the mountains.
The other border crossing are at the moment still via the main road. Although Croatia entered the EU, it’s not a Schengen country yet. That’s why the trail makes a detour to the official checkpoints instead of following the most logical route through the mountains.
More Via Dinarica practical information
Resupply On the MAP on my website, you can check the tours I created per day and per country. If you click on them, you can find (and download) the additional way-points and Points of Interest like water sources, accommodations, ATM’s, supermarkets and other facilities that I uploaded so far.
Entrance fees Durmitor (6 euro’s for 3 days), Paklenica (100kn for 3 days), Northern Velebit (45kn for 3 days) and Risnjak NP (45kn for 2 days). The tickets can be bought at the Park entrance, at mountain huts or if you bump into a ranger, he or she can sell it to you.
Money Slovenia – Euro (EUR), Croatia – Kuna (HRK or kn), Bosnia and Herzegovina – Convertible Marka (KM or BAM), Montenegro – Euro (EUR), Albania – Lek (ALL).
Some useful links
- Summit Post
- Dinaric Alps
- Velebitski Planinarski Put (VPP)
- Other hiking & biking trails in Velebit
- Journey to Valbona – for those of you who like to start in Valbona
Useful Facebook groups
- Via Dinarica Class of 2018 (& ’16 & ’17) – here you can find a Guide Book made by Via Dinarica Hikers
- Via Dinarica Trail Hikers
- Via Dinarica
- A Guide to Hiking the Via Dinarica (in reverse)
- Tips for future Via Dinarica Thru-Hikers
- 12 Things to consider before Hiking the Via Dinarica Trail
- Choosing Which Section to Hike: How to Plan a Section Hike
Stories of other Via Dinarica hikers
- Lenka, Kubo & Katka (Croatia – Albania / Awesome alternative routes)
- Fiddlehead (Slovenia – Albania / 3 very detailed stories)
- Geraldtrekkt (Slovenia – Albania / Detailed journal in German)
- Claire “Reiske (Nanos – Macedonia / Blogposts in Dutch and English)
- Matthieu Couëdel (Slovenia – Albania / Beautiful story, French)
- BJ & Clara “Country Mouse and Shadow’s Travels” (Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro & Albania / Trailnotes below each blog post)
- Rachel “Wylde & Free“ (Croatian & BiH section)
- Julia & Seth “For something more” (Sutjeska – Mojkovac)
- Lois Parsley & Sean McDermott (Great article for National Geographic)
- Dieter Mortelmans (General information about the Croatian section)
- Davorin Fahn (Facebook updates about the Croatian section)
- Debbies Tochten (In Dutch, BiH section)
- Chris’s Blog (BiH – Albania)
- Hendrik Morkel (5 Days on the Via Dinarica)
And last but not least, a story about my experience with marking the White Trail in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ˝Polako, polako˝.
(Self) Guided Tours
Want more help? There are several organisations who offer (self) guided tours. The ones I listed below are part of the Via Dinarica Alliance, a group of tour operators in the Western Balkans.