BALKAN WALKS & WINES | 4-10 DAYS

Hike Western Balkans mountains and explore still undiscovered beautiful regions of Croatia and Bosnia.

Toursummary

The tour can be booked in length from 4 to 10 days. Daily activities are fairly easy and where possible supported with a van. Tour is done in a relaxed manner with plenty of time for sightseeing and enjoying the area. Stunning nature, charming coastal towns, great gastronomy and lots of history is awaiting for you in Balkan walk and wines tour!

Tour Summary

Explore west Balkan and hike beautiful Croatia and undiscovered south Bosnia. Discover the stunning beauty of Dalmatian coast and wild mountain ranges of south Bosnia & Herzegovina! On this 10-day tour, you will get to explore three spectacular towns of southern Balkans and their rich history.  Split, Mostar and Dubrovnik will dazzle your mind with its beauty and charm. Islands Vis and Bisevo will put a spell on you with their islanders’ slow way of life and famous “fjaka”, a zen state of mind which is God-given to people that decided to spend their life on one of the islands. Wonders of nature such as Blue cave, Krka waterfalls, Cetina canyon, Red & Blue lake, and mountains Prenj and Blidinje will surely take your breath away.

However, special attention on this tour is devoted to keeping your taste buds pleased. As a land of origin of famous Zinfandel vine, our winemaking tradition stands out as one of the European finest. Therefore you will have a wine and food tastings of authentic products, each specific for a region we visit.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Dubrovnik town
  • Split town
  • Krka National park
  • Stunning Vis island
  • Cetina River
  • Red & Blue lakes
  • Bosnian mountains and Mostar town
  • Pelejšac peninsula and Ston town
  • Traditional food and high-class wine during the tour

TOUR STYLE

This tour in the full profile is 10-days long. However, in case that is too long, we can make a shorter tour choosing just the days you prefer to have in your program. During the tour, you don’t need to worry about anything. Private van transfers, luggage shuttle, cosy accommodation in the centre of things and great gastronomic experience. Yours is just to enjoy the experience!

Red Adventures friendly and professional team will make sure you have a memorable holiday.

Western Balkan counties, still quiet with untouched nature are awaiting you to hike and explore its stunning nature.

Day 1(ARRIVAL TO SPLIT )

Meeting at Split airport and transfer to your hotel.

Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and is more than 1700 years old. Founded by Roman emperor Diocletian who established there a royal palace in 3rd century AD. The palace is the most preserved ancient palace in the world and today is a living part of the town. Many other sights like Riva (waterfront promenade), Marjan hill, Peristil square, Pazar green market and its famous fish market are among the list of its treasures to be discovered…

After check-in in the hotel we will have a tour briefing followed by relaxing walking tour discovering the charming old town and picturesque Marjan park forest.

Firstly, we will walk the famous green market towards the famous Split promenade. Here, you will learn about Diocletian palace and 1700 years of Split history while walking through the narrow streets of the town centre.

Afterwards, we will explore Marjan hill and its protected forest, walking through the chilling shadows of pine tree forest, enjoying the view on marinas, beaches, islands and hills surrounding the town. You will have a chance to enjoy the views on the town from its 178-meter high peak Telegrin and Vidilica viewpoint. Without a doubt, these two spots offer the best view of the old town of Split and the surrounding area. Accompanied by our local guide, you will learn about rich local history, culture and lifestyle.

The evening is reserved for the welcome dinner in one of the famous local restaurants.

  • Activity: 3-4 hours
  • Overnight: Split
  • Meals: Dinner
Day 2(KRKA NATIONAL PARK & TOWN OF SIBENIK)

After breakfast in the hotel, we will have an hour and a half long drive to Krka National Park and its 17 stunning waterfalls. We will start our tour with Skradinski Buk waterfall, which is the longest, best known and most visited waterfall on the Krka River. It is formed by travertine barriers, islands and lakes. The waterfall can be explored thanks to an extensive network of trails and bridges. The old watermills here hide an ethnographical collection that tells the tale of the economic history of Sibenik and the region. Most of the watermills have been restored and today serve to demonstrate the old crafts, and as hospitality establishments. We will continue our exploration by visiting the 23-meter high Roski waterfall to enjoy a very relaxed and still undiscovered part of the Krka National Park.

Our next stop is Duvancic family farm which is spread on 13 hectares of Promina vineyards in the heart of Dalmatia. The family produces wine from indigenous varieties of Debit, black Lasina, Plavina and Marastina and famous varieties of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Except for red and white wines, they produce two more varieties of cherry, as well as four types of brandy.

The wines from Duvanicic winery won numerous awards and recognitions for quality.

Late afternoon is reserved for a stroll around the town of Sibenik – UNESCO World heritage site.  A short pleasant walking tour of its old town will include the visit to the world-famous St. James Cathedral.

  • Activity: 6-7 hours
  • Overnight: Split
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3(OMIS TOWN & CETINA RIVER CANYON)

Another gem of nature is to be discovered on this trip is Cetina river and its canyon. In its whole length the river is vining around karst landscape creating and carving a stunning landscape. Some parts are fast and wild with plenty of white-water rapids while some are milder and more relaxing. The river mouth is a spectacular setting where river, sea and mountains are joined into one.

Our walking adventure starts with climbing up the canyon hills to enjoy magnificent views on this natural wonder which in the same spectacular view combines Cetina river, Adriatic Sea, mountains and an island. Afterwards, we will walk up to Mirabella Fortress, a Romanesque fortress, built in 13th century above the town of Omis. Mirabella was a reliable hideout for the Omis pirates who used to retreat into the safety of the Cetina gorge. Legend says that in 1537, during an attack by the Turks, the defenders of Omis confused the attackers with their shouting and shots so much that the Turks overestimated the number of defenders and fled. Starigrad Fortress was built in the 15th century, primarily for defence against Turks. Its walls follow the line of the mountain. Had the city been taken, all the people were to retreat to the safety of Fortica; from there they would throw down rocks harming the enemy forces below.

The rest of the day we will spend in the town of Omis. placed on the mouth of Cetina river this charming town is famous for its forts, sandy beaches, the vivid old part of the town and its rich culture and history. In the past, Omis was notorious for its pirates whose ships were a centuries-long symbol of rebellion, courage and strength. The pieces of evidence of proud and turbulent Omis history can be found on every corner of the Omis Riviera. The ancient town, churches and fortresses are silent stone reminders of the power and the might of infamous Omis pirates

  • Activity: 5-6 hours
  • Overnight: Split
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 & 5(ISLANDS VIS AND BISEVO)

Our next destination is the open sea, where we will explore the stunning islands of Vis and Bisevo for the next two days.

Being most distant populated islands on Adriatic coast, these two islands are a true and unique paradise!

With significant history from ancient time till modern age it was desired military strategical location by many invaders. Ruled by Greeks, Romans, Austrians, Venetian, French and English its overwhelming history is telling us stories on every step we take.

As important military outpost during Yugoslavia, it was closed to tourists and visitors until 1989. Due to this fact the island preserved its intact natural beauty, authentic local cultural charm and slow life and till this day remained an amazing refuge for escaping tourist crowds.

We will discover secluded stunning beaches, fascinating cliffs and caves, endless vineyards, olive & fig trees, small authentic towns of Vis and Komiza. We will hike up to Hum, highest point of the island and then descend to hidden cove & beach of Stiniva, where pebble beach is enclosed with amphitheatre shaped cliffs and crystal-clear sea. In the evening we will visit unusual Lipanovic winery, cleverly housed in a tunnel that was a military installation during the Tito era. The story of the island’s isolation makes the winery a must-visit.

The second day is reserved for visiting the most beautiful natural phenomena of Croatia: Blue cave on Bisevo island! This 18-meters long, 6 meters deep and 6 meters high cave is one of the most spectacular natural attractions of Croatia. Morning sunbeams that penetrate through the submarine opening in Blue Cave are reflected from the white bottom floor, colouring the cave blue and objects in the water silver. Afterwards, our route takes us to cross the island to picturesque sandy beach Porat, where we will have a break for lunch and hopefully meet some of last 19 inhabitants still living on the island.

  • Activity: 5-6 hours – both days
  • Overnight: Island Vis – two nights
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (both days)
Day 6(BLUE AND RED LAKE)

 After a ferry ride back from Vis, we will jump into a van for an hour and a half drive to Imotski, a town in the Dalmatian hinterland. The area offers unique geomorphologic phenomena that make true natural beauty and important sights of the region: Red Lake and Blue Lake. The shape, volume, colour, and above all, a way of their creation, are indeed unique; lakes are formed in magnificent underground caves.

First, we will visit Blue Lake which is one of the most beautiful Croatian lakes. The stairs lead to its ground, which gives us a chance to refresh in its clear water with extremely blue colour and a pleasant temperature. During the rainy season there is the effect of springs on the lake’s bottom when the level of the water rises up to 140 meters high, while during dry periods it creates an opposite, funnels effect, that takes all the water away and dries the lake completely. When that happens, a football game is traditionally organized on the bottom of the lake. Afterwards, we will visit a real natural miracle of Croatian karst: the Red Lake! It is located under five hundred meters high vertical cliffs and is the deepest European lake. Its depth is not yet fully measured, the bottom of the lake is placed below the level of the Adriatic Sea and some measurements estimate that is more than 300 meters deep.

Our next stop is Grabovac winery, which is situated just 10 minutes away, in the northwest part of the Imotski fields. While the grapevine has been harvested here since the ancient times, the Grabovac family has been passing on the grape and winemaking experience for 200 years. The Napoleonic government recognition from 1812 for their wines is proof of their quality and long tradition. The Grabovac family offers five different wines: The red wines Modro jezero barrique and Modro jezero, the white wines Sivi pinot and Kujundzusa and the rose wine Crveno jezero.

  • Activity: 3-4 hours
  • Overnight: Blidinje/Imotski
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7(BLIDINJE NATURE PARK )

Just a short drive from Croatia, in the heart of Herzegovina, nature has created a unique mountain pearl Blidinje, where we will get a chance to relax both the body and the soul enjoying breath-taking landscapes.

The Blidinje Nature Park is located on a highland of three mountain chains Cvrsnica, Cabulja and Vran. This park is a unique natural phenomenon, that includes many endemic species of flora and fauna with a lot of springs of clean, drinkable water. It is known as one of the largest habitats of endemic white-bark pine.

This Nature Park was named after Blidinje Lake, located at the bottom of the area at a height of 1184 meters above sea level, called Dugo Polje. The lake is a direct result of a glacial retreat, spread on six square kilometres with a relatively shallow depth. Three types of wild thyme and dozens of wildflowers cover the valley and mountainsides in the spring and summer. Around 1500 different plant species have been identified so far in this unique area, with more than 200 of them being endemic, relict and sub-endemic species.

The most famous landmarks of the park are rich archaeological sites, particularly a necropolis with 150 tombstones in Dugo polje. Dating back to the medieval age, these tombstones have been designated as the national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We can offer you two options for a hike on Cvrsnica mountain:

Panoramic hiking on Cvrsnica mountain

A relaxing hike through the lower reaches of Cvrsnica, that offers wonderful views of Nature Park Blidinje. Ending the hike on a viewpoint from which you have a great view of the whole Nature Park.

  • Duration of hike: 3-4 h
  • Elevation: 400 m
  • The difficulty of hike: easy

Climbing the ridge of the Cvrsnica mountain

Hike to Hajducka vrata (Bandit gate), located on the eastern side of mountain Cvrsnica. It’s a stunningly beautiful natural phenomenon, a ring made of stone through which wind passes, located at the edge of a canyon called Diva Grabovica. Aside from the ring, this location offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making it one of the best viewpoints in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • Duration of hike: 7 h
  • Elevation:  650 m
  • The difficulty of hike: medium
Day 8(PRENJ MOUNTAIN)

After an hour drive, we will arrive to Prenj Mountain, not only that this is the most beautiful and most impressive mountain in the region of Dinaric Alps, but also the cruellest one, and therefore nicknamed the Bosnian Himalayas. So, all the ingredients are there to feel the excitement and to expect nothing by unforgettable experience while exploring untouched nature. Prenj is not only a mountain but also the kingdom of divine mountainous beauty. In its relief dominate alp-like forms, such as sharp peaks and splendid valleys.

On Prenj there are 11 peaks over 2000 m, with Zelena Glava (2155 m) being the highest one. One of those peaks, the Windy Peak, is one of Europe’s last virgin 2000 m peaks, as it was conquered for the first time only in 2003.

Overnight will be on the charming town of Mostar, settled in a deep valley of the Neretva River. Its developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town and during the Austro-Hungarian period in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mostar is known for its old Turkish houses and Old Bridge, Stari Most, after which it is named. the Old Bridge, designed by the famous architect Sinan, was destroyed during the 1990s civil war. The Old Bridge was recently rebuilt and many of the edifices in the Old Town have been restored or rebuilt and now are under the protection of UNESCO. The Old Bridge area, with its pre-Ottoman, eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and western European architectural features, is an outstanding example of a multicultural urban settlement. Apart from the historic bridge, in this beautiful small town you will visit the old Bazar, Mosque and many historic street and squares. Friendly locals and unique local gastronomy will surely spice up the experience.

  • Duration of hike: 5-7 h
  • Elevation: Optional m
  • The difficulty of hike: Optional
  • Overnight: Mostar
  • Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9(PELJEŠAC PENINSULA)

After finishing Bosnian part of the trip we will have a 2-hour drive to Peljesac, finger-like peninsula in the south coast of Croatia. Blessed with craggy mountains, sweeping valleys, idyllic coves and fine wines, it’s a glorious place to visit.  A peninsula is a place of harmonious small towns, fisherman settlements, untouched nature and rich cultural and maritime history.

The Peljesac peninsula – “oasis of black wines”, is a famous wine region which produces some of Croatia’s best-known wines. Its fields are completely covered in grapevine except for the small portions of brushwood and pine forest. Over 90 % of planted vines are Plavac mali, an indigenous sort which has adapted to the specific soil through centuries. The classic Peljesac Peninsula wine is a powerful, tannic red with gamey, smoky notes and a suggestion of liquorice and baked plums. Because of the high sugar content in the grapes, Plavac mali accumulates a high alcohol percentage which makes it strong but also gives it a rarely found fullness of taste.

First on our way will be the town of Ston famous for its medieval walls. Walls of Ston present one of the largest medieval fortification of urban ventures. They are five and a half kilometres long, backed by more than 40 towers and five fortresses. The walls were built in the 14th century when Peljesac peninsula became a part of the Dubrovnik Republic.

Ston is famous for its shell cultivation and ancient saltworks. It is one of the oldest active saltworks in the world that preserved a valuable traditional way of salt production, which has not changed since ancient times.

After lunch, we will continue to the village of Potomje, located in the middle of the peninsula and being the heart of peninsula’s wine production. On one side the vineyards are protected by stone massif from cold winds and on the other they fall steep to the sea, becoming so perfectly positioned towards the sun. Interestingly, some parts are so steep that they are extremely difficult to reach so people working here must be secured by the ropes. In Potomje you will get a chance to taste some of the wines and explore one of the biggest wine cellars in Croatia.

  • Activity: 4-5 hours
  • Overnight: Ston
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10(DUBROVNIK)
 After an hour-long drive from Peljesac, you will arrive to Dubrovnik known as “a queen of Adriatic”, where you will finish this ten-day adventure.

With its sublime location, overlooking the calm blue waters of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most magnificent walled cities. Now a UNESCO world heritage site and Croatia’s most up-market destination, it was once the capital of the wealthy sea-faring Republic of Ragusa (1358-1808).

During its Golden Age in the 16th century, it had one of the largest merchant naval fleets in the world, with consulates in more than 50 foreign ports. Brave sailors, hard-bargaining merchants and shrewd diplomats, the people of Dubrovnik became extremely rich, leading sophisticated lifestyles and valuing refinement and the arts. Today the main draw is the charming pedestrian old town, packed with aristocratic palazzi and elegant Baroque churches, contained within sturdy medieval fortifications. However, the most significant feature is Dubrovnik City walls which were built all around the Old Town of Dubrovnik, to protect a town from pirates and other unwelcome guests. The walls were built between the 12th and 17th century and are very well preserved until nowadays. Town walls are about 2 kilometres long and they include 16 smaller and larger towers.

The Old Town, with the main street Stradun and palaces with different styles of architecture like Renaissance (Sponza Palace), Gothic (Rector’s Palace which is a history museum now) and Baroque (St. Blaise Church) will for sure leave you breathless.

  • Activity: 3 hours
  • Overnight: Split
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner