National Geographic Traveler magazine has recognized the Via Dinarica mega-hiking trail and cultural corridor—an eight-country route and ATTA partner that spans the Western Balkans—as one of its “Best of the World” destinations for 2017. The NGT story, which includes 21 of the most interesting places on the planet to experience adventure and authenticity, makes the point that trekkers along the Via Dinarica have the chance to “sleep in remote mountain shelters along the Adriatic Sea, atop the region’s highest peaks, and above the continent’s deepest gorge.”
Read the Via Dinarica story and explore National Geographic Traveler’s “Best of the World” package.
The Via Dinarica is a network of long-distance hiking paths that connect the countries of the Western Balkans. The route traverses—moving from north to south—Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia. The corridor has become a valuable tool, which enables adventure travelers to discover the old world authenticity found in this untouched corner of Southeastern Europe. Being named one of the world’s best destinations by one of the industry’s most trusted magazines further validates the work and cooperation among Balkan-based tourism operators and local municipalities. It also affirms the region’s value as a must-experience haven for visitors from across the planet.
Over the last three years, this value has been augmented by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), which has acted as constant champion for the region. Tourism leaders in the Western Balkans and adventure travel advocates have worked in concert with ATTA at events and trainings to promote and educate operators and travelers about this beautiful area of Europe. This ATTA/Western Balkans partnership has facilitated the trail’s evolution and it’s acknowledgement by the international travel community.
According to the National Geographic Traveler article:
“What was once a contentious region has become the planet’s most exciting cross-border destination. ‘The Via Dinarica has replaced politics with nature,’ says Thierry Joubert, the owner of Green Visions, a Bosnia and Herzegovina-based tour operator. ‘What could be more beautiful?’”
The Via Dinarica provides adventure travelers a vehicle for Western Balkan discovery and a host of activities: mountaineering, cycling, horseback riding, skiing, and kayaking and rafting. But the trail also provides history buffs and gourmands an easy-to-follow plan for experiencing ancient cultures, hidden heritage, and gastronomic gold. At the same time, the route provides an important, small-business engine for sustainable, community-based tourism development.
The Via Dinarica initiative began in 2010. In 2013, the first documentation of the entire trail began—along with communication to local citizens about the route and its potential. In 2014, American magazine Outside named the Via Dinarica “The Best New Trail of the Year.”
The trail then moved from conceptual to practical with the creation of the Via Dinarica Alliance, a cooperative of private adventure-tour operators. Members represent the countries throughout the Western Balkans and work together to offer six eight-day, cross-border tours along the trail. As well, the operators: 1) work to make the trail, and the region, sustainable by educating locals and tourists alike about the different aspects of the Via Dinarica in their areas of expertise; and 2) provide in-depth information—including where to eat, where to see authentic culture, plan holidays, reserve accommodations, schedule activities, and lead tours along the trail—about the region.
The Alliance partners are longtime Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) members. To learn more about the Via Dinarica, the Alliance, or any activity along the trail, please find contact information for the appropriate tour operator below:
General questions: Via Dinarica