Lonely Planet Writer

One of Europe’s most attractive via ferratas opens in Kosovo

Travellers looking for outdoors thrills have a new destination to consider, as the Via Ferrata Berim – the longest and highest attraction of its kind in the Balkans – was officially launched this October. Located on Mokra Gora mountain in the Zubin Potok municipality of northern Kosovo, it has already been named one of the most attractive ‘iron roads’ in Europe by adrenaline junkies who came from both the region and further afield to this little-visited part of the Balkans.

The views from Mokra Gora mountain are amazing. Image by Dragiša Mijačić / Outdoor In

The 3km-long climbing route (completed according to French standards) consists of a series of steel ropes and stairs bolted into the rock face. It has an altitude difference of 520 metres and leads up to the top of Berim peak (1731 metres). The highlights include four vertical sections, one of which passes through a cave in the cliffs, and two hanging bridges built above an abyss (one of them is a bit like walking a tightrope). While there are four peaks in total along the climb, those who don’t feel like going all the way can take a safe exit and return to camp after either of these. It takes about five-to-six hours to cover the whole route, depending on the number of people, fitness and weather conditions.

The climbing route has been built to French specifications. Image by Dragiša Mijačić / Outdoor In

‘Part of the Via Ferrata Berim has functioned since 2015, but it’s now complete and expected to become one of the leading European destinations for this kind of adventure tourism,’ says Dragiša Mijačić, director of InTER (Institute for Territorial Economic Development with offices in Belgrade and Zubin Potok) who initiated the tourism development project in the Ibarski Kolašin region back in 2013.

The route is a delight for thrill-seekers. Image by Dragiša Mijačić / Outdoor In

The area’s top natural attractions include the 24km-long Gazivode lake (Kosovo’s largest, it’s a man-made lake with several beaches) and Mokra Gora mountain, which is home to both the new via ferrata and several rock-climbing routes of varying difficulty. Additional outdoor activities include hiking (along more than 100km of marked trails), mountain-biking (with over 120km of trails), as well as kayaking or paragliding on Gazivode lake. Trips can be booked and accommodation organised through the local tour operator Outdoor In.

Time for a rest after that climb! Image by Dragiša Mijačić / Outdoor In

Another via ferrata is located in the Rugova Valley in western Kosovo; travellers can contact Balkan Natural Adventure for organised tours.