Discover a hidden gem in the Balkans

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Hiking in Bosnia (Photo: Mountain Travel Sobek)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on October 8, 2007. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: adventure travel, arts and culture, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chile and Easter Island, eco travel, Greenland, Jordan, Laos, Molly Feltner, mountain, Nepal, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand, Utah, wildlife.

Provider: Mountain Travel Sobek
Length: Ten days
Price: $2,995

Like a chest full of treasure lying forgotten in the dusty corner of an attic, Bosnia and Herzegovina has lain virtually untouched by U.S. visitors for more than 20 years. While the current generation of travelers knows almost nothing about this country Mountain Travel Sobek learned this summer what unexpected wonders it holds while on an exploratory venture.

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"It is one of the best trips I have ever done, and I hope to go back someday," says Joanne O'Connor, who went on this summer's exploration.

"Between castles and cathedrals, chats with merchants in the souks, bus rides through high peaks and precipitous gorges, glimpses of the recent strife on bullet-pocked walls, and the bursts of color in the fields, on the tables, and in the clothing, our trip through Bosnia was a joy and a revelation," says trip leader John Yost.

Next summer, Mountain Travel Sobek will officially launch its Bosnia and Herzegovina itinerary. The trip attempts to present a full spectrum of adventure and cultural activities in the country's different environments. Although only about the size of West Virginia, the country boasts a diverse landscape: limestone mountains, turquoise rivers and lakes, deep canyons, meadows bursting with wildflowers, and medieval villages where Muslim and European cultures blend.

After arriving in Sarajevo, you'll start out hiking in the Bjelasnica Mountains, site of the 1984 Winter Olympics, passing through beech forests and tiny villages that still follow centuries-old traditions. In Herzegovina, you'll raft the Neretva River, climb to the top of the 7,310-foot Cvrsnica Mountain, and visit the historic towns of Mostar and Blagaj. Further hiking will take you past mountain lakes and to the summits of Ugljesin and Maglic peaks.

Trip planning

Departures are scheduled for June 4, June 25, July 16, and August 13, 2008. Prices cover accommodations, most meals, guides, sightseeing and activities, ground transportation and airport transfers, and basic medical insurance. Airfare to Sarajevo is not included. Round-trip June flights from New York start $1,425 on British Airways, including taxes.

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