A word from a member of our team: why do I believe in Trans Dinarica?

In short posts on social networks, it is difficult to say or show why I like to participate in the creation of Trans Dinarica so much. Therefore, this time a slightly longer note about the project and why I believe our work has higher meaning.

1. I simply love the countries of the Western Balkans: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia. I traveled to some of these countries as a child, and I got to know them even better in the last decade guiding tourists from all over the world. People often have preconceived notions about countries along the route. These opinions are related to, for instance, the collapse of Yugoslavia, the 20th century regime in Albania, and the conflicts from the 90s. But holding onto those judgments is passe. I’m not saying history should be forgotten. Far from it. But focusing on decades-old news clouds today’s Western Balkans, which is one of Europe’s most original regions.

2. The Balkans, if we exclude the coast and a few other hotspots, have thus managed to avoid mass tourism. That’s good … but it means the region’s integrity is so fragile that we must be careful what and who we’re inviting to this pleasant wilderness. Care is necessary because, first, it is good for nature. Secondly, it is good for preserving authentic communities. And third, you will get to know the essence of the Balkans best on a bike powered by your own energy and curiosity. A tourist on a bus socializes with other tourists. A cyclist socializes with locals. And, cyclists leave almost no trace. No need for mega hotels that spoil the mountain views. A room in a private house or three square meters of land to set up a tent are just fine.

I believe the Western Balkans and the sustainable way of exploring new lands — cycling — were born for each other. After we explored the first part of Trans Dinarica, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, I am even more convinced of this.

Matevž Hribar, content creator, copywriter, cyclist, van driver

Live from Trans Dinarica: Bosnia and Herzegovina is even wilder than we thought

The work in the field continues: late-night planning for the next day, getting up early, a hearty breakfast (of course, we are in the Balkans!), driving in a van combined with cycling, turning around, asking locals for directions, and looking for the best alternatives for cyclists. In between, we’re taking photos and filming until the evening, when we usually we reach the destination of the stage after sunset.

From wild Drina NP to lively Sarajevo

After we left Serbia — crossing the Drina River — and entered Bosnia and Herzegovina, we got to see a fairly unknown part of this country: Drina National Park, established only in 2017. We viewed the river both from the bank and from the nearly 1,000-meter-high edge of the canyon. This is wilderness in the truest sense. Apart from a local man carrying felled trees with his horse, a park ranger with a VW Golf 2, and no more than five cars (in two days!), we didn’t meet a soul. This will be a more adventurous part of the Trans Dinarica, which some — more accustomed to shops and hotels — would likely miss altogether.

The complete opposite, but no less exciting, was Sarajevo — a place we all love and return every chance we get. We come for tastes like burek, ćevapčići, baklava, and Bosnian coffee at Čajdžinica Džirlo. We also come for the handmade crafts, like coffee sets made by Abdulah Hadžić at Manufaktura. In the evening, we stopped in for some of the city’s best traditional food at the restaurant Žara iz Duvara. The lively city life was enjoyed by the whole team, but as soon as we left the traffic behind, we felt the essence of the Trans Dinarica return to the wilderness.

Reaching Livno, we concluded our first research expedition in the field. We will continue with the work, but until then, thanks to everyone who helped us along the way and to everyone who expressed interest in the wildest bicycle transfer through the countries of the Western Balkans via social media and e-mail. Let’s keep in touch!

Photo Gallery:

Live from Serbia’s section of Trans Dinarica: We love it. Honestly.

Dear cyclists, adventure lovers … and Western Balkans devotees:

It is with great pleasure that — after many months of office research, studying maps, dissecting the terrain, browsing through memory, and coordinating routes and sites with local experts — we are officially working from the field along the Trans Dinarica Cycle Route: the first cycling route to connect all eight countries of the Western Balkans.

Our trail development fieldwork began along the Serbian and Bosnian sections of Trans Dinarica, and, after a few days, we can report the following brief impressions:

  • Although we have all visited Serbia many times, the country, its south and west, stunned us. It’s hard to say what’s more exceptional: the nature or the hospitable locals.
  • The Trans Dinarica is exactly what we wanted: bicycle exploration of these incredible countries on forest paths and quiet roads as possible, and at the same time getting to know the local culture, history, and cuisine.
  • The type of tourism mentioned in the previous point (yes, even cycling is tourism) is exactly what the Trans Dinarica intends to present: An authentic, pure, original, enriching, inspiring window into beautiful culture.

Keep up with us for more updates on our Facebook and Instagram pages. We also invite you to sign up for our email newsletters, in which we will inform you about the continuing development of Trans Dinarica. The final result — a cycling route through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia — will be ready in July 2024.

We can’t wait to see you on the Trans Dinarica.

Gallery from the last few days: