Discover untouched landscapes and a fusion of cultures
Bosnia is the perfect place for a winter adventure and where better to start than in Sarajevo, the host city of the 1984 Winter Olympics. The wild and remote mountain ranges surrounding Bosnia's capital are ideal for adventurous exploration. Climbing through snow-covered and tranquil forests we follow crystal-clear streams to glacial lakes, frozen waterfalls and snow-covered summits. This itinerary also offers plentiful opportunities to discover rich the Bosnian cuisine and culture. With sightseeing in the historic and cosmopolitan Sarajevo and an opportunity to visit the enchanting city of Mostar also possible, this intriguing country will not disappoint.
All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches and 3 dinners are included on this trip. *Typical Meals:* Breakfast will usually be a choice between hot and cold buffets. Breakfast in Bosnia and across the Balkans usually consists of bread and pastries, dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, cereal, eggs cooked in a variety of ways, smoked meats, honey, tea and coffee, milk and juices. Lunches will be picnics and may include bread, cheese, sausage, meat or vegetarian paté, salad, chocolate bars, cookies and trail mix. Evening meals usually include a soup, selection of traditionally prepared meat, vegetables and a dessert. Typical Bosnian cuisine consists of ingredients such as tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, spinach, courgette, beans and dairy products such as milk, cheese, pavlaka (sour cream) and Kajmak (similar to clotted cream). Meat dishes usually consist of beef and lamb and specialties include cevapi, burek, dolma (stuffed vegetables with meat) and goulash. Desserts often have an Eastern influence with baklava being very popular. The alcoholic drink rakija made from apples or plums is common in this region also. Vegetarian and special diets can be catered for, but options are limited throughout Bosnia & Herzegovina - please inform the office of any specific requirements upon booking.
Fly to Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital and transfer to hotel. *Pansion Kandilj or similar, Sarajevo*
Transfer 1.5 hours to Umoljani Village on the Olympic mountain of Bjelasnica. Winding through Bjelasnica's back roads we'll reach the Rakitnica River and cross over towards Visocica Mountain. Tucked in the hills just above the ridged walls of this mountain sits Sinanovici Village (1,250m). The walk up will take us through beech forest and then open rocky terrain up to the summit of Crveni Kuk Peak (1,733m). You will be rewarded with far reaching views of the highest mountains in Bosnia & Herzegovina, as well as those in neighbouring Montenegro. We overnight in Umoljani. *Pansion Umoljani or similar, Bjelasnica*
This morning we start snowshoeing directly from our pension around the villages of Umoljani and Gradina. From the traditional style Bosnian mosque in the village of Umoljani we'll trek to the watermills and beautiful source used for centuries as energy to grind wheat into flour. We hug the ridge until Rakitnica Canyon opens up before us. After 45 minutes of an uphill through thick snow we reach the Cascades of Studeni Potok. Here, at certain times of the year, the stream falls in numerous cascades into Rakitnica River, more than 300 metres below. Following the stream up we hit Studeno Polje (Field) and the serpentine formations of Studeni Potok (Stream). Here we'll have a super view of Obalj and the long flat valley of Studeno Polje (Fields). The shepherd’s summer village of Gradina is just up the road and and from here we will slowly ascend today’s peak, Saruk (1,828m) where we will take our lunch break. From here we will return through the “back door” to Umoljani Village for a welcoming homemade dinner. *Pansion Umoljani or similar, Bjelasnica*
Leaving Umoljani Village we snowshoe toward Babin Do, the main ski resort on this mountain. An ascent to the saddle right above Stirna Lokva offers extraordinary views of the mountains of Treskavica and Visocica and on a clear day the towering mountains on the Montenegrin border are often visible. On the way to Stirna Lokva we enjoy a picnic lunch and a hot tea or coffee. We then take the eastern ridge to the open valley on the opposite side of Belasnica's highest peak, arriving at the Babin Do ski resort. Here we will stay at a newly built hotel (close to the ski runs) with an indoor swimming pool and an option to use the sauna. *Hotel Bjelasnica or similar, Bjelasnica Ski Resort*
A beautiful spruce and fir forest trail takes us towards a wonderful mountain hut, hidden deep in the thick forests of Igman Mountain. In an hour or so we reach the hut, rest and refill our water bottles with fresh spring water. After a pleasant break we continue north, down into the valley of Sarajevo. After some two hours of fairly steep descent, we reach a plateau with views over the city in the distance. We finish this beautiful and fairly straightforward walk in Hrasnica, a suburb of the city of Sarajevo. A short 20 minute transfer will take us to our accommodation in the Old Town. *Pansion Kandilj or similar, Sarajevo*
Today is a free day to explore the fascinating city of Sarajevo or take an optional trip to Mostar. Sarajevo is where influences from the East & West merge to create an exotic and cosmopolitan city that is worth discovering. During the early 1900's, it was in Sarajevo where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assisinated sparking the outbreak of World War I and the fall of the Austo-Hungarian Empire. During the 1990's the city was besieged and on the edge of destruction due to the Balkan War conflict. The city has witnessed many remarkable and tragic events and today its restored historic centre houses welcoming cafés and an electic mix of architecture; Ottoman, Yugoslav and Austro- Hungarian buildings. Spending a day checking out the main sights or wandering around Sarajevo's streets discovering its rich cultural tapestry is a perfect complement to a week of winter adventure. If you are wishing to explore further afield, there is an option to visit to the city of Mostar with its famous old bridge. Mostar was founded in the 15th century and well worth a visit. The architecture is a combination of Turkish ingenuity and Herzegovinian and Dalmatian workmanship. Many people will have heard a great deal about this city, which was split during the conflict in the early 1990's. You will still see the scars of war, but these days Mostar is a warm and bustling place with a fascinating history. *Pansion Kandilj or similar, Sarajevo*
Today we snowshoe on Trebevic Olympic Mountain, a popular route that provides views back over Sarajevo on a clear day. We take the back road to Jahorina via Vraca to Brus, where we park our vehicle and start our 500 metre ascent to the peak of Trebevic (1,629 metres). Our walk takes us along a long and winding mountain trail. Although we will be traveling most of the way through pine and spruce covered forests you will be treated occasionally to beautiful views of surrounding mountains. From the summit there are wonderful views of the surrounding towns and villages, as well as mountains of Romanija, Maglic, Volujak, Zelengora, Lelija, Treskavica, Visocica, Prenj, Cvrsnica, including our previous two destinations Olympic Mountains Bjelašnica & Igman. We descend via an alternative shorter trail to the mountain hut where we take a break for some hot tea, cocoa or even a cold beer. *Pansion Kandilj or similar, Sarajevo*
Transfer to Sarajevo airport; fly to London.
* All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners * All accommodation * Transfer for group flights * Snowshoes and poles provided
This is a very good trip for beginners to snowshoeing. The ascents are not too long or steep but you do get to summits with great views. The holiday is enhanced by the chance to learn about Bosnia, and Sarajevo's recent history with excellent and passionate guides who provide real insights into their country.
An excellent trip, and a great chance to try a new activity in a little-visited part of the world. Worth it just to meet and spend time with the trip leader Lorenc, who is an absolute gentleman. He has everything under control from beginning to end and can't do any more to help you or make your experience easier and more memorable. Even when a cancelled flight meant I had to miss the first day of the holiday (totally outwith the control of Exodus or Lorenc's company Green Visions), both companies did everything they could to assist, picked me up from the airport and reunited me with the group. No complaints whatsoever, and I thoroughly recommend the trip.
This is a great trip - exercise, history, culture, food, wine, landscape, guide
A memorable and enjoyable holiday, as much for its' educational interest as the activity itself. Living and walking among the recent turbulent history of Sarajevo was fascinating. Hearing events from those who experienced them first hand, delivered with respect and dignity, was very humbling. The landscape we snowshoed through was very picturesque;beech and conifer woods, far reaching vistas of distant mountain ranges, lowland pastures dotted with haystacks.The Bosnain people were very hospitable, friendly and accomodating too.
Totally different place to go. History fascinating, some recent, some much older. Good walks, even if not always enough snow for the snowshoes.
The trip proved to be a great mix of peaks & passes, history & culture and food & fun. While the lack of snow switched the trip from snowshoeing to winter hiking, it meant an unrestricted schedule visiting all areas on the itinerary and more, enjoy stunning views and exploring some hidden gems.
The trip became Hiking in Bosnia due to the lack of snow, though we all carried the snowshoes, optimistically, on the first day. On account of this, we were able to walk further and higher on some days, as well as appreciate the delicate beauty of new spring flowers underfoot. The mountains, whether snow covered or dry, provide a rugged backdrop to a nation that is working to create a new future from a complicated past.
A rewarding week that combined relaxed hiking, homely accommodation and stimulating learning about a corner of Europe that I previously knew shamefully little about.
A number of events happened which could have affected this holiday. We all lost luggage on the first day & there was very little snow. Depsite this, our guide, Lorenc, overcame all of these obstacles to make this a thoroughly enjoyble holiday. We all lost our luggage because our plane from Zagrab to Sarajevo left early to avoid the fog which was getting worse. But in their effort to leave, there wasn't any time to load our luggage. But it all worked out ok. The holiday included a tour of Sarajevo anyway, so Lorenc did this first & organised collection of our luggage after finding what plane it was coming in on. But for the snowshoeing - there was very little snow. So Lorenc took us trekking instead! This included a walk up to Bjelašnica which could have been dangerous because of the risk of hard packed & icy snow. However, Lorenc skillfully avoided these parts & we had a safe & enjoyable day instead. The last day should have been snow shoeing in the Trebevic Mountains, but knowing that there was no snow, Lorenc proposed, & we agreed, that we go back to Bjelašnica where there was a ski slope with snow. So, we finished the last day actually doing some snow shoeing. All the time, we were impressed by Lorenc's attention to safety. He always carried a large rucksac which seemed well equiped to handle any emergency. He led us with much humour & competence.
This trip made the best of poor weather (wet and limited amounts of snow) and a days delay due to our luggage not arriving with us in Sarajevo.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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Exodus is an award-winning company built on adventures. It started life on 4 February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments. They continue to discover countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts and jungles - exploring this amazing planet we all live on.
At Exodus, they know what makes you tick when it comes to holidays. It’s a desire shared by so many others. A yearning to visit new places and come home with a real sense of what they’re all about. This means delving into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to its unique identity. At the same time, they always remember that they are only guests. So they ensure they travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise their impact, to ensure that every Exodus holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved. This is a philosophy they take around the world, helping you reach some incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across 90 countries – choose from walking, cycling, culture, wildlife and even polar adventures in guided groups or self-guided, tailor-made for you or a ready-made itinerary in Peru or India, Costa Rica or Italy – the choices are endless. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible, making it simple for you to experience a very different holiday.
All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure with their combined experiences spanning 171 different countries and in their former lives, some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus – all guaranteed to give you the very best adventure possible. Extensive planning, research, fact-finding and training are just some of the ways this expertise comes through in your adventure.
Exodus recognises their obligation to operate their tours in a responsible and sustainable fashion to address the environmental, economic and social impact tourism can have. They are committed to the well-being of the communities that host you and the natural environment that you are there to experience. Key points in their philosophy include small groups which have less impact on local communities and environments, putting money directly into the communities visited by using locally owned and run accommodation and eating locally produced food, ensuring local staff and operators receive a fair rate for their services, encouraging their own staff to take an active interest in responsible and sustainable tourism and train them accordingly, endeavour to ensure that their practices help in the environmental conservation of the areas visited and provide their clients with advice and guidelines on how to respect the social, cultural and religious beliefs of local communities.
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