Best Spots to Go Hiking in the Balkans


Article Categories: Hiking | Other
Article Tags: Hiking

Guest Post By Cal Bailey

Who doesn’t like hiking? Taking a break from your routine and going to see new places and please your eyes with the views seems like the best alternative. Moreover, who would ever refuse the fresh air of the mountains? They make you feel content and alive.

Have you ever thought about going hiking in the Balkans? If not, you must know it has many amazing places that you shouldn’t miss. The word “Balkan” is of Turkish origin and it means “mountain”. The Balkan peninsula is known for its amazing mountains and many tourists adventure themselves in the beauty of the Balkan nature.

Hiking lovers often don’t hesitate to explore the peninsula, and they don’t regret their choice. The Balkan peninsula has a lot to offer, so let’s explore the best spots to go hiking there.

  1.    Croatia

One of the places you should see in Croatia is Dubrovnik. It’s one of the best destinations on the Adriatic coast. The city is wonderful, and above it, there’s a mountain where you could go hiking. Additionally, by hiking the trails, you can discover nature that has yet to be touched by humans.

Not only this, but you could also spend time in the countryside. You also have the opportunity to climb St. Elias Mountain, on the Mljet island.

Another great place to visit in Croatia would be the Plitvice Lakes National Park. UNESCO designated it World Heritage. The hiking here might not be as challenging, but the landscapes seem taken out of a fairytale. It’s one of the oldest national parks in Europe.

There are eight different routes to choose from, the longest can be completed in roughly eight hours. However, it’s recommended spending more time here, as you should fully enjoy the experience it gives you. The main trail leads you past waterfalls, and through canyons and forests. Hence, you should choose the hike that best suits your physical capability.

  1.    Bosnia & Herzegovina

This country seems like paradise for hikers. It’s covered by mountains, so there’s no way you would get bored here. One of the best destinations here is the Ogorjelica peak, which is the highest one. It gives you a wonderful sight of the surrounding landscapes, while not being too demanding.

The Sutjeska National Park is also a place to be considered. It’s the oldest national park in the country and it lets you admire waterfalls and explore forests. Apparently, a battle took place here during World War II.

In addition, consider visiting Sarajevo, the capital of the country, as well. It has a lot of history behind it. World War I started there when the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.

  1.    Bulgaria

This country also offers many mountains that are perfect for hiking. The Rila Mountains are a great choice. The Musala Peak is, in fact, the highest mountain peak in the Balkan Mountains – with an altitude of 2,925 meters. As for the difficulty level of the hike, it ranges from moderate to very difficult. This is why it’s fundamental to equip yourself accordingly.

The temperature there is usually around 10 degrees during the day and can drop below zero during the night. Its name is of ancient Thracian origin, and it means “well-watered mountain”. Therefore, it has many hot springs and glacial lakes for you to enjoy the trip even more.

  1.    Montenegro

You have most certainly heard about Montenegro. It means “The Black Mountain”, and it has a lot to offer to hiking enthusiasts.

The Accursed Mountains make sure to fulfill your desires. They are on the border between Albania and Montenegro. Hiking fans don’t miss the chance to climb these mountains, although they are among the wildest mountains on the continent.

Before you decide to hike the Accursed Mountains, take lots of food and water with you. The 192-kilometer trail loop takes about thirteen days to complete, and it goes through the wilderness.

You could also hike the Bjelasica Mountain while resting in the Vranyak camp. Without a doubt, Mount Bjelasica is one of the most impressive mountain ranges in this country, which could make it difficult to choose a peak. However, some of the highest and most breathtaking peaks are Crna Glava – 2,139 m, Strmenica – 2,122 m, Zekova Glava – 2,117 m, and many others. This camp is amazing and allows you to see some magical views. Bjelasica also offers you the chance to visit the Kolasin city and its many monasteries.

  1.    Serbia

Serbia also offers you a variety of places you could lose yourself in, like mountains or the Tara National Park.

Serbia has a lot of mountains, and the most important ones are Suva Planina, Tara, Zlatar, Zlatibor and the Balkans. However, Tara is the most popular hiking place. The highest point of the park is the picturesque Kozji Rid peak – with an altitude of 1591m. The second highest peak is Zborište, with an altitude of 1,544 m.

The Tara National Park lets you watch the bears in their natural habitat. When winter is over, bears become very active, as they are looking for food. They are the most active after sunset and before sunrise, and you can watch them from a safe distance.

  1.    Macedonia

Ohrid is a city protected by UNESCO and is a great hiking destination. You could breathe in the fresh air while surrounded by nature. Vevchani is a village close to Ohrid, and it’s not something to be missed. The village was created by a Slavic tribe that adopted Christianity in the 6th Century. It’s also close to the road that connects Rome and Constantinople.

You could also visit the Pelister National Park, where you can see rare species of plants and animals. The wildlife in the park includes wild boars, eagles, rabbits, bears and the Macedonian Pelagonia trout.

Macedonia has its share of high mountain peaks as well – hiking them should appeal to your inner adventurous spirit. Titov Vrv (2,748 m) for example, is the second highest peak in Macedonia, which is impressive, from all viewpoints.

  1.    Slovenia

Slovenia is extremely beautiful and one great hiking place you should visit is in the Julian Alps. They are extended into the country from Italy, and they are among the most beautiful mountains in the Balkans. They include the highest mountain in Slovenia as well, Mount Triglav, at 2,775 meters. These mountains are named after Julius Caesar, who founded a “municipium” at their foot.

The country also has a national park – it’s the only one it has. It is called the Triglav National Park and gives you the chance to experience beautiful views. You have the pleasure of visiting Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled. The mountains have many hiking trails as well, that range from hut-to-hut treks to valley walks. For example, the Soca Trail is known as the oldest trail in the park, whereas the Goreljek Bog Nature Trail was created in order to limit the negative impact on bog environments, but each trail has its specific charm.

Final Thoughts

The Balkan peninsula has many great places where hikers could go and have unforgettable experiences. So, you should take advantage of what this place has to offer. However, always check if the paths you take are marked and well known. Many tourists get lost when they go hiking, and you don’t want this, as you should concentrate on your adventure.

Cal Bailey

Cal Bailey

Cal Bailey runs Mountain Leon – a travel blog he started after two years on backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or his blogging, you should checkout his sleeping bag guide.