Start at Dubrovnik Airport, where you will be met by your leader. We then transfer (about 1 hour) by road to Trebinje in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
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 Ugljesin Peak (1858m), 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 Tovamica ridge (1.5 hours) with Bosnia's highest peaks a constant companion on the horizon. We will be travsferred back to the hotel in Tjentiste valley for an early dinner. Approx 5 hours walking.
A short transfer (approx 1 hour) before a beautiful and peaceful walk through the ancient beech and spruce forests of Perucica. We start walking at Dragos Sedlo, a spot with a colourful view of one of the two remaining mediaeval forests in Europe - Perucica. One of our first natural spectacles is of Skakavac, a lonely waterfall plunging 75m down into the dark forest below.
We start walking at the entrance to this ancient outdoor museum and soon disappear into the magical forest of 50m high spruce and beech trees. The atmosphere created by the centuries-old trees is truly memorable.
After a short break we slowly descend 600m through Black Pine forests before arriving in Suha in the heart of Sutjeska Canyon. From here we transfer back to our hotel.
Approx 4 hours walking.
Transfer (approx 1½ hours) to Lokva Derneciste from where we start our walk through forest and open mountainous terrain. The ascent of Maglic Mountain (2386m) will take us approximately 4 hours over fairly well mountain trails with steep cliffs and is by far the most demanding part of today's hike. (Please note that this part of the trip is not for those afraid of heights!). With each step we slowly rise above the surrounding peaks scattered around the park, until at last we reach Maglic, Bosnia's highest peak. Just the place to have our lunch with its stunning views of Montenegro and our next destination deep below with its emerald green water, Trnovacko Lake. From the lake we hike back to Prijevor for a transfer back to the hotel in Tjentiste. Approx 9 hours walking.
Transfer to Sarajevo, at the heart of the Balkan Peninsula. After a tour of the major historical, cultural and war sites in the city that will help us to piece together its complex and fascinating history, we are free to explore the city at our own pace.
Today we make an ascent of Bjelasnica (2067m), the highest peak in the area. We start our hike taking a winding mountain road from Grkarica and entering a thick forest of conifers which will line the trail throughout our route over Igman. This area has an interesting micro climate caused by the particular relief of the area, e.g. natural sinkholes, mountains and vegetation. We climb gently with the Vlahinja Ridge always in sight to reach a makeshift mountain hut tucked away below the main ridge. Depending on conditions, from here there are two different routes up to the summit, where we find an old Austro Hungarian weather station and astounding views of the highest mountains in the area - the Bjelasnica, Prenj, Cvrsnica, Vranica, Visocica and Treskavica mountains, and over to Sarajevo.
From here we descend down the green grassy Olympic ski slopes at Babin Do, for a refreshing drink at Planinska Kuca. From here we transfer back to the hotel in Sarajevo.
Approx 5 hours walking.
Today we have a full daywalk in the Bjelasnica mountains, 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. From here we continue to Lukomir, Bosnia's highest village at 1,469m, with its ancient stecci (mediaeval tombstones) where villagers still follow a traditional way of life. On the edge of the village there is a fabulous view of Rakitnica, Obalj and Visocica. After a simple but tasty homemade lunch we transfer back to the hotel in Sarajevo.
Approx 4 hours walking.
Today we will have the option to go rafting deep down into the Neretva Canyon or hike a beautiful ridge overlooking the Neretva and Rakitnica Canyon. The Neretva river is the emerald of Herzegovina, flowing over 200 kilometres from its source into the Adriatic sea. In the upper canyon is some of the most beautiful rafting in Europe. The water is very calm during this time of the year, and the trip provides ample opportunity to enjoy the canyon and its unique flora and fauna. Depending on the season, there will be class 2-4 rapids. The trip lasts for 3-4 hours and costs approximately EUR40per person (paid locally).
If, on the other hand, you decide to hike today, we will continue on to the isolated hills around Kasici village for a magical canyon walk above the Neretva river. First we will cross a suspension bridge to get the blood pumping, before descending down to meet the spectacular river itself where the rapids rush into the mouth of the relatively unexplored Rakitnica Canyon. The scenery here is truly breathtaking. 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 up with those who opted for the rafting. At the end of the day we continue our journey to Mostar.
Approx 4 hours rafting or 4-5 hours walking.
We spend the morning exploring Mostar, the former oriental trading centre of Herzegovina, situated on the Neretva River. This city was regularly in the news when it was split during the conflict in the early 1990s. We will still see the scars of war, but these days Mostar is once again a warm and bustling place, with a fascinating history and architecture. We leave Mostar just before noon, to be in Dubrovnik for the early afternoon. On arrival we have free time in Dubrovnik.
End in Dubrovnik. The group return flight to London is a daytime flight arriving home on day 10.