Conquering Bosnia’s highest peak – Mt. Maglić

Ljiljana Krejic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

When the “Father of National Parks”, John Muir, said, “the mountains are calling, and I must go”, he could not imagine that this would become a motto of many passionate climbers in the following centuries. However, being the loudest advocate of preserving wilderness and establishing Yosemite National Park, he would unarguably support the exact cause for Sutjeska National Park, also called European Yosemite, if he had a chance to see it. Since then, many things have changed, and floods of tourists have been occupying Yosemite, while European Yosemite remained pretty calm and hidden in its wildness. Amongst its many rarities, such as the European last jungle called Perućica, an awe-inspiring Mt. Zelengora and its eight glacial lakes, National Park Sutjeska also hides the highest summit of Bosnia & Herzegovina. If the idea of conquering Bosnia’s highest peak Mt. Maglić, while barely seeing other climbers on the horizon, appeals to you, then keep reading.

A challenging hideaway 

© istock/mapraest

Located on the border with Montenegro, Mt. Maglić is some 20 km from the town of Foča, and it lies within National Park Sutjeska. Sutjeska River surrounds it on the north and west, Mt. Volujak on the southwest, Mt. Bioč on the south, and the Drina and Piva Rivers on the east. With Mt. Zelengora and Mt. Volujak, Mt. Maglić creates a challenging triangle, a sort of hideaway for experienced climbers. While climbing the steep slopes of this beauty, in the lower parts, you will see beech forest, while from 1600 m above sea level, the plateaus start with meadows, followed by rocky peaks and some icebergs. Perhaps not for altitude junkies, yet conquering Veliki Maglić (2386 m), the highest peak of Bosnia & Herzegovina, is highly demanding for all mountaineers. But it is worth the view once you are on the top. 

Where to stay

When you come to conquer Mt. Maglić, finding accommodation might be a bit tricky. Hence, I have two suggestions to make your stay even more enjoyable - Vila Volujak and Vila Maglić. Both villas are actually charming wooden cottages boasting a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and stunning mountain views. Vila Maglić even has a sauna. They are situated at Tjentište, the starting point for all your trips. An à la carte, continental or vegetarian breakfast is available every morning at the property. 

Stupendous panoramas

© djurafiskultura

When you are at Sutjeska National Park, after a one-hour ride from Tjentište, you will arrive at the plateau called Prijevor, one of the two possible starting points for climbing towards the highest peak. Already at Prijevor (1668 m), while enjoying the view of the mountains Trnovački Durmitor, Studenac, Badnja, Volujak and Zelengora, you will get the flavor of what expects you on the top. As its name suggests, Mt. Maglić (Misty Mountain) is most of the year covered with fog, but it can change pretty fast at any point of the day. 

Just keep in mind that this will be a challenging semi-alpine trail even for the experienced ones, so some Alpine mountaineering experience is required, as well as mountaineering boots, gloves and hard hats. Although in summer, you will see the meadows full of flowers at Prijevor, as soon as you start the ascent, they will be replaced by scree and rocky terrain, which is very difficult to walk on. Soon, you will reach the rocks via ferrata installations from where the cables will help to climb easier, but also for safety reasons. Finally, after 2,5 hours of demanding climb, you will reach Bosnia’s highest peak - Veliki Maglić (2386). From there, you will enjoy the spectacular panoramas. Mt. Volujak, Mt. Zelengora, Mt. Bioč, and Trnovački Durmitor– they will all open in front of your eyes. However, one irresistible beauty will steal your heart – the heart-shaped Trnovačko Lake.

A heart-shaped emerald - Trnovačko Lake

© National Park Sutjeska / unknown author

Since you will be in awe of this beauty, your expedition can continue towards that point, passing by the other peak of Mt. Maglić (2388) in Montenegro. After a pleasant walk across the flowery meadows, you will reach the peak, but then another very demanding task awaits you – a steep and rocky descent of 600 m towards the heart-shaped emerald - Trnovačko lake. It will take you another two hours to descend. This trail is challenging, and the mesmerizing emerald lake is distracting. It will be difficult not to look at it and to focus on your trail. Trnovačko Lake is situated at an altitude of 1517 m, northwest of Montenegro and very close to the border with Bosnia & Herzegovina. With its 2800 m of coastline and depth of 9 m, this glacial lake is hugged by many rocky peaks reflecting the water's blue-green colour. If the weather permits, you might enjoy a refreshing swim here. By the way, this location is ideal for camping if you are into that. 

A glorious journey

At the end of this glorious journey, you will contemplate all the wonders you saw on the trail. Being still undiscovered by the masses, Mt. Maglić is a perfect hideaway for passionate hikers and mountaineers. Conquering Bosnia’s highest peak is challenging but enchanting. You can also get a local to guide you along this glorious journey to make the challenge more fun. This guided hiking trip to the Maglić summit offers the perfect package with an expert local guide. Before leaving, an additional insider’s tip would be to explore Perućica, Europe’s last jungle, to understand why this is probably the best-kept touristic secret on the Old Continent. 

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