Trekking in Kosovo
  • The project aims to help develop sustainable tourism in Kosovo by promoting the local section of the Via Dinarica (120 km through the Accursed Mountains Park), by enhancing its cultural, historical and natural resources, supporting institutions in managing and governing the sector and creating jobs for the benefit of local communities

  • 40 Kosovar companies involved

    120 km of trails enhanced

A long journey through the mountains. The Via Dinarica is a wonderful road that crosses seven countries of the Western Balkans: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo. Combining a network of old transhumance trails, military roads used during the war and new and old trade routes, the Via Dinarica crosses high peaks, steep valleys, dense beech forests, alpine lakes and the spectacular canyon of the Tara River, the deepest in Europe.

An initiative promoted by Aics Tirana and realised by CELIM and Volontari nel Mondo RTM, in collaboration with the Club Alpino Italiano (Italian Alpine Club), the Corpo Nazionale soccorso alpino e speleologico (National Alpine and Caving Rescue Corps), the Associazione Italiana turismo responsabile (Italian Association for sustainable tourism) and the Utalaya Foundation, Naturkosovo involves the Kosovo stretch of the Via Dinarica located in the northwestern part of the country, on the border with Albania and Montenegro, which includes the municipalities of Peja, Decan, Junik.

The Kosovar stretch of the Via Dinarica extends for 120 km through the Accursed Mountains National Park. The route is divided into three different trails: the White Trail is very challenging, as it crosses the highest peaks; the Green Trail runs further south through valleys, forests, rivers and villages; the Blue Trail which follows the Adriatic coast to the south. The Via Dinarica winds through pristine natural environments but also historical places with traditional shepherds’ houses, stone fortresses and the remains of traces left over the centuries by Illyrians, Romans, Slavs, Ottomans and Serbs, such as Catholic churches, Muslim mosques and Orthodox monasteries.

The project aims to establish a sustainable tourism that can promote the growth of the communities concerned. The project aims to develop Kosovo’s emerging tourism industry.  For the European Union the Via Dinarica symbolises reclaiming an ancient path that unites the Balkan peoples. Sustainable tourism is a mainstay of European policies and those of the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development (Aics) as it is a tool for promoting the social inclusion of mountain communities and widespread economic development.

Despite a weak investment in the sector and the coronavirus pandemic (that interrupted tourist flows), official data show that the number of international visitors staying in the country has increased in the last decade. However, the analysis carried out in this area highlighted the need to respond to some priority needs: the lack of competitiveness of the Kosovar mountain tourism compared to other countries in the Region; the institutional deficiencies in terms of territorial planning and tourism-environmental promotion; the poorly structured and poorly qualified tourist offer. The project will therefore focus on strengthening the naturalistic-cultural paths, assisting local institutions and promoting local entrepreneurship and communication.

Project overview

The intervention will entail activities in four areas:

  • Enhancement of the naturalistic-cultural paths of the Kosovar stretch of the Via Dinarica: improvement of nature trails, promotion of integrated theme routes).
  • Institutional reinforcement: establishing an Alpine rescue system, providing technical assistance to local municipalities in territorial planning and tourism-environmental promotion; exchanging experiences and good practices with other initiatives carried out/underway in the other territories of the Via Dinarica.
  • Promotion of local entrepreneurship: planning and implementing a subsidy program for the improvement of tourism services through the establishment of the ‘Via Dinarica-Kosovo’ AllocationFund for local micro and small businesses operating in the sector, technical and professional training for operators in the sustainable tourism sectors.
  • Communication and branding: inclusion of the brand ‘Via Dinarica-Kosovo’ in the tourist circuits already existing at regional and European level, implementation of a campaign based on the tourism brand ‘Via Dinarica-Kosovo’ to inform local and international users about tourist services and the natural and cultural routes offered, information and awareness initiatives on biodiversity and the natural heritage of the Via Dinarica and organisationof a national conference to close the initiative.

Beneficiaries

1) 8 institutions

  • At central level: Ministry of Trade, Entrepreneurship and Industry – Department of Tourism; Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment; Ministry of Local Authorities; Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport; Kosovo Environmental Protection Agency (Ministry for theEnvironment); Kosovo Forest Agency (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development); Kosovo Agency for Emergency Management; Bjeshket and Nemuna National Park Management Authority.
  • At local level: Municipality of Peja, Junik, Decan; Destination Management Organisation (West of Kosovo)

2) 40 companies on the Kosovar stretch of the Via Dinarica

  • Tour operators and mountain guides
  • Small catering and hospitality businesses
  • Small farms producing and/or processing typical local agro-food and handicraft products

3) 26 civil society groups

  • Kosovo Mountaineering and Alpinists Federation
  • Kosovo Mountain Rescue Service
  • Outdoor clubs mainly active in the West Region (associations of mountaineers, hikers, mountain sports, bikers, etc.)
  • Environmental associations mainly active in the West Region
  • Groups of children and young people involved in the process of raising awareness about biodiversity and natural heritage of the ‘Via Dinarica-Kosovo’
  • My name is Alessandro Salimei and I am CELIM’s project manager
  • Project title
    Naturkosovo, sustainable tourism in Kosovo

    Project Coordinator
    Alessandro Salimei, [email protected]

  • Date
    June 2022-May 2025

    Partners

    – Volontari nel Mondo – Rtm
    – Club Alpino Italiano
    – Corpo nazionale soccorso alpino e speleologico
    – Associazione italiana turismo responsabile
    – Utalaya Foundation

Donors

Support the activities

  • € 30

    To provide signage for the trails

  • € 50

    To buy a personal protective equipment kit for rangers, foresters and mountain rescue operators

  • 100 €

    To guarantee mountain rescue equipment for the transport of the wounded

  • € 200

    To ensure portable electromedical devices to the mountain rescue

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