Via Dinarica traverses across Lelija Mountain to Zelengora and enters into the Sutjeska National Park. The stage across Lelija and stage through the national park are the last stages of the Via Dinarica trail in Bosnia.
Walkthrough dense forest and paths of wild blueberries, and climb up the steep hillside to get atop Lelija Mountain. And enjoy vistas that will steal your heart.
Here you will find all information you need for the hike across Lelija Mountain.
Where is Lelija Mountain
If you mention Lelija to someone from Sarajevo, most likely only a hiker would tell you more about this mountain and where it is situated.
Lelija is located in the southeast of Bosnia and Herzegovina, next to the biggest and oldest national park in the country, Sutjeska National Park.
Lelija, together with Zelengora, forms one big massif. The canyon of the Sutjeska river separates the massif from Volujak and Maglic, the mountains of the Sutjeska National Park. Zelengora is also part of the national park, but not the part which is bordering with Lelija.
It’s a shame Lelija gets less attention than it deserves. Probably, because of the proximity of Sutjeska National Park, which draws adventure-seekers with its popular hike to Bosnia’s highest peak Maglic, Zelengora’s lakes, and.
Via Dinarica across Lelija
Via Dinarica is a long-distance trail traversing along the Dinaric Alps mountain chain in the Balkans. It is naturally connecting the following countries in the Balkans: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia.
It consists of three trails: White, Green, and Blue trail. At present, only the White trail is officially open, and others are work in progress. The White Trail is going across the highest mountains in the eight countries listed above.
Velika Lelija (2032 m or 6,666 ft.) at Lelija Mountain is one of them.
The White Trail is divided into stages. Each stage can be completed in one or two days. The White Trail in Bosnia and Herzegovina has 12 stages and runs over 8 Bosnia’s mountains rich in biodiversity and stunning views.
Hike across Lelija is the penultimate stage of the Via Dinarica White trail in Bosnia. This stage starts in Jelasca Village in a foothill of Lelija, and traverse through Lelija Mountain to Zelengora, and Sutjeska National Park.
The part across Lelija is 11 km long (from Jelasca Village to Velika Lelija Peak).
How to get to the starting point of a hiking trail
Jelasca is a village situated in the foothills of Lelija at the karst plateau of Zagorje. The village is accessible by an asphalt road, which takes you through small villages scattered across this big plateau.
In the village, the Lalovic family has built a wooden house and cute bungalows to host hikers. Besides accommodation, they offer homemade food.
From their home starts a macadam road (3.5 km) which takes you besides pastures and through a forest to Oslji Do, a junction toward Lelija. Even though it’s a macadam, the road is in good condition and suitable for any car.
After a turn at Oslji Do, the trail is still following a macadam road for the next 4 km.
The only lack of this hike is a section of macadam road you need to walk. But, at least it mostly goes through the thick pine and fir forest so it offers shade in hot summer days. And I love to watch cows grazing and chilling on the meadows.
However, we were just hiking a section of the Via Dinarica across Lelija, so we came by car from Sarajevo to Oslji Do, from where we have started a hike.
The drive from Sarajevo (70 km) was incredibly scenic. We enjoyed a drive along the canyon of Zeljeznica River, the view of towering peaks of Treskavica Mountain, and picturesque villages at Zagorje plateau. We could even see Lelija Mountain from the plateau.
Diverse landscape during a hike
Besides scenic and diverse landscape during a drive, we were just as thrilled by the landscape during the hike.
Honestly, I was amazed by the beauty of Lelija Mountain. This hike has it all. From the walk through thick fir and pine, and beech forest, and gorgeous glades to the hillsides full of wild blueberries, and amazing views.
Thus, if you’re hiking this section in late July/August you can enjoy fresh wild blueberries. The path is directly going through the field of blueberries.
View from the top of Lelija
The final 40 minutes to the top of Lelija is a steep incline, but it’s worth the effort for the incredible 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains.
While standing atop Lelija Mountain, I feel like an eagle. As I look beneath I see dense forest and vast plateaus. I feel I’m higher than I am. I can see distant hills and mountains. So many mountains! I see Trebevic Mountain, above Sarajevo, hiding behind Jahorina. On the west-south, I see Prenj and Velez, mountains of Herzegovina. Then, on the east, I see Maglic, Bosnia’s highest peak. And in the far distance, behind Maglic, covered in white stands Durmitor, the mountain of Montenegro.
Vast pastures, and Zelengora’s high peaks, are calling us to continue further, to the area of its mountain eyes. To continue to the end of the Via Dinarica stage across Lelija and Zelengora. To see its beautiful lakes, and stecci scattered around lush green meadows. The stone sleepers who are guarding the secrets of medieval Bosnia.
How to get by car from Sarajevo
Take a road M-18 which follows the canyon of Zeljeznica River to Trnovo. After passing through Trnovo the road goes over Rogoj hill and descents to Dobro Polje where you need to turn left toward Kalinovik, to the road R-433.
The road traverse across the Zagorje plateau. In Jazici Village, very close to Kalinovik, turn left to Jelasca Village, on the road R-434. At the end of the macadam road, you will see on the right side Lalovic B&B and sign for the Via Dinarica trail.
From here you have 3.5 km of good macadam to Oslji Do, where you leave the car and start the hike.
The road further continues to Orlovacko Lake at Zelengora Mountain. (because of the condition of the road at some point is only possible to pass by jeep).
Technical information on the hike:
- Trail length: 8 km, 3h and 30 minutes (from Oslji Do)
- Trail length: Jelasca – Velika Lelija 11,5 km, 4h 30
- Jelasca (1,124 m altitude)- Oslji Do 3.5 km of macadam road
- Velika Lelija Peak: 2032 meters or 6,666 ft.
- Altitude difference: 832 meters (from Oslji Do)
- Springs: Badanj Vrelo at Oslji Do, Jablan Vrelo at Ravna Gora (after 1 hour and 30 minutes of walk from Oslji Do) is a bigger spring, and a small spring half an hour before the top (there is a sign VODA on the rock beside the trail, probably goes dry in summer).