Bosnia & Herzegovina is a land of stunning landscapes, with absolutely gorgeous nature. It is very popular with hikers, especially those who are looking for a true challenge. The country boasts a mountainous landscape, and it’s perfect for people who want to ascend as many summits as possible.
While the best views are not that easy to reach, there are some stunning trails even complete hiking beginners can do. From the easiest loops to the deadly summits of the unpredictable Prenj – here are the best mountain hikes in Bosnia & Herzegovina!
There are a few things you should be aware of when hiking in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so let’s cover those before we get to the best mountain hiking trails.
On some trails you might encounter fenced off areas and sings of skeleton heads that read “Beware of landmines”. There are some landmines left over from the wars, but those areas are always fenced off and marked. The rest of the mountains are safe – as long as you stick to marked trails and don’t venture into the dangerous field, you will be fine.
On certain hiking trails you might encounter various ancient-looking rocks with carvings sticking out from the ground. These are ‘stećci’ or medieval tombstones that are considered a cultural heritage. Defacing them is a crime, so be respectful and don’t treat them like just any old rock.
Skakavac is a waterfall just a couple hours outside Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. You can literally begin the hike in downtown Sarajevo since the starting point of the trail is the village of Nahorevo above the city. However, it’s recommended that you use public transport (minibus and van transport is available) or a taxi, because it’s just a waste of energy.
You can even ask the driver to drop you off right at the entrance into the Skakavac Nature Preserve, if you’re doing this just for the waterfall sights. That’s where the trail actually begins, taking you over wooden bridges and across stunning landscapes all the way to that majestic waterfall.
The Skakavac hike is very simple and it’s suitable even for beginners. As long as you have decent hiking shoes, it should be pretty easy to complete the trail. And if you do a circuit around the nature preserve you can also climb the Bukovik peak. From there it’s a short downhill walk to the mountain lodge where you can enjoy refreshments and a hearty lunch.
The ascent on Crveni Kuk peak of Visočica mountain is another simple trail that even beginners can enjoy. It’s not a difficult trail and the ascent is very gentle, so you will be able to enjoy the wonderful landscapes around you.
The trail starts near the Tušila village, where you can leave your car for the day. There’s also a mountain lodge here, where you can stop by on your way back to rest before you head home.
The 11-kilometer trail is not technically difficult, so it is actually suitable for families and dogs. The entire trail is also marked, making it very easy to stay on the proper path and not get lost. Also, the gentle ascent allows you to really take in your surroundings, and won’t leave you gasping for air once you’ve reached the Crveni Kuk peak.
At the top you get to enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding mountains, and if you go in the spring you will also be able to see the Jelenjača lake. The return trip follows the same route and it’s not as long since you’re just descending this time around.
This is another fairly simple trail that you can actually do by starting off in downtown Sarajevo. Head to the Trebević cable car – the ride is only about 5 minutes long. When you get out of the cable car, it’s only about a 20-minute walk tot he Pino Nature hotel, which marks the starting point of the trail.
Alternatively, you could drive to the hotel parking lot and leave the car near the trailhead.
This isn’t a technically difficult trail, so you should be fine even if you’re a beginner. It’s also pretty short and a big chunk of it take you through the forest, which is absolutely beautiful.
When you reach the Sofe peak, you get to enjoy some spectacular views of Sarajevo, provided that it’s not a very foggy or cloudy day. Make your way back via the same path – you can stop at one of the several mountain lodges or at the hotel for drinks and meals.
Hajdučka Vrata is a ring-shaped rock formation on the Čvrsnica mountain that just calls to mountaineers. It’s a spectacular view, and posing on the rocks is an absolute must – the photos are always magnificent.
The trail to Hajdučka Vrata is rather difficult, so we only recommend it to experienced hikers and mountaineers. It’s a rocky path with some steep ascents and even steeper descents, so you really need to be careful – surefootedness is a requirement.
This mountain hiking trails starts off at Vitlenica – you will need to drive or arrange some sort of transport, since parts of the road are rocks and dirt. You need to reach the settlement Muharnica and look for a sign that tells you which way to go to Veliki Vilinac. From there, follow the trail until it forks – go left to get to Hajdučka Vrata.
Along the way you will pass by Crvenjak lake, and eventually you will get to the stunning rock formation. It’s also worth it to ascend the Trinjača peak, since it’s practically right next to Hajdučka Vrata. And since you’re already there, why not see as much of this gorgeous country as you possibly can.
Prenj is a mountain range in southeastern part of the country, with more peaks than you can count. The tallest summit is Zelena Glava, so that’s the one we recommend to the most experienced hikers.
In fact, all of the ascents on Prenj summits should be undertaken only by experienced mountaineers – the mountain is known to be rather dangerous, and in some cases even deadly. Surefootdness is a must, as is adequate gear and readiness for all weather conditions.
The mountain trail is not very long – about 16 kilometers – but it’s recommended that you do the ascent in two stages and spend the night in a mountain hut. That’s because it’s a very strenuous trail with a steep ascent, a lot of rocky paths and you can’t really afford to hike this majestic mountain tired and off your game.
The final stages of the ascent are secured with rope wires, and require you to be perfectly focused on the climb. Once you get to the top, you are rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, and you can even see some of the nearby towns.
And if you’ve already made it to Zelena Glava, it’s just a few more minutes to the Otiš peak to the north, so you might as well kill two birds with one stone!
The village of Umoljani is an excellent starting point for many different hikes on the Bjelašnica mountain. We highly recommend a circuit that will take you to the Lukomir village, as well as Studeni Potok. The entire loop takes around 9-10 hours, so it is pretty tiring even if the actual trail isn’t very technically demanding.
The Lukomir village is about halfway through the trail, and we highly recommend you stop there and rest for a while. A hot cup of coffee is just the pick up you need to make it through the rest of the trail, while a plate of warm uštipci will give you enough energy to do it without breaking a sweat.
Near the end of the loop you will reach Studeni Potok, which is a shallow river. It’s phenomenal – the winding river actually has a legend behind its unusual shape, which states that the village was attacked by a dragon with the body of a snake. While he was slithering left and right towards the village, he left the trail that is now known as Studeni Potok.
Also, you can just do the Umoljani-Studeni Potok trail – it’s only about 3 hours long, and it’s so easy that it’s suitable for children who have some experience with mountainous landscapes.
Because we want to give you the absolute best mountain hiking trails in the country, here’s another one on the Prenj mountain. This one takes you to the Lupoglav summit, which is actually a bit easier than the ascent on Zelena Glava.
But, you still shouldn’t underestimate it – it takes about 5 hours to reach the summit, and that’s if you start in Tisovica river valley. And even getting there can be challenging – a good chunk of the road is macadam, so you need a tall 4×4 that can actually drive on such a road.
This is a very strenuous trail, suitable for only for experienced and expert mountain hikers. It’s recommended that you bring ropes, for the more dangerous part of the trails – especially if you also want to explore the other summits that are nearby.
Also, if you want to make it back home before dark, you will need to be up very early in the morning. We recommend that you make your way to Tisovica the day before and spend the night there. Or, if you also want to do the Zelena Glava and Otiš ascents, then you can just spend several days in the area. The trail to Lupoglav and back will take you at least 11 hours, and that’s if you don’t take any detours and go to summits like Erča and Soplja. So, be on the trail 7AM at the latest.
Vulin Potok is actually a via ferrata, so this one is only for the climbers. The ferrata takes you through the cliffs near Blagaj, and you will need technical climbing equipment to be able to do it. Also, there are a lot of footholds and handholds in the rocks, as well as steel rope, so in many places you will only need a carabiner and some rope.
If you are up for the challenge and already have some experience with climbing, this is absolutely a must. In fact, this is one of the easiest ferratas in the country and it’s even suitable for beginners – a perfect opportunity to try something new, even if you haven’t climbed many ferratas before.
It’s worth it to do the climb just for the spectacular views of Blagaj from the top. There’s also a (Herceg-Stjepan) fortress nearby that’s just magnificent. I’m not entirely certain whether or not you have to pay to go inside the fortress ruins, but even if you do it’s only about 5KM. You can go back the same way you came, or you can return via regular hiking trails.
They descend from the fortress to nearby parking lots – if you rented a car, we recommend that you park here when you arrive. It’s a pretty short descent – you could actually just do the hiking trail if you just want to experience the views and the fortress, but then you won’t get the thrill of clinging to steel handholds for your dear life.