Thanks to a well-publicized civil conflict in the 90s, Kosovo has long suffered an image problem among foreign travelers. It’s still the sort of quasi-country whose borders are marked with fluid dotted lines, but it also boasts some of the most stunning natural scenery in Europe. The official opening of Via Ferrata Berim is designed to showcase it all to visitors in a very death-defying way.
Built in the authentic French style of via ferrata, Via Ferrata Berim is a climbing route that winds through the top of the Balkan Mountains. From its starting point on Mokra Gora, the purpose-built path of stairs and steel ropes climbs 520 meters (1,700 feet) to its peak at Berim at 1,731 meters (5,680 feet). Along the way, climbers pass four towering vertical sections including two hanging bridges (one is more like a tightrope) and a cave built into the cliffs. Depending on weather conditions and individual climber fitness, the three-kilometer route can be completed in about six hours. A handful of bailout points along the way provide outs for climbers who realize they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.
While most of Via Ferrata Berim has existed since 2015, this announcement marks the route’s official completion. It’s now the highest and longest via ferrata route in the Balkans, and Kosovo is hoping it will bolster tourism to the region. Indeed, it’s fast becoming a bucket list item for European adrenalin junkies and anyone who loves unnecessarily dangerous hiking.
It joins many other outdoor adventure opportunities in North Kosovo, one of the most remote and rugged regions of the country. In addition to the multiple technical climbing routes that wind around Mokra Gora mountain, the area is also home to more than 60 miles of marked hiking trails, 80 miles of mountain biking trails, and paragliding and kayaking launch points at Gazivoda Lake (Kosovo’s largest).
It’s technically possible to trek Via Ferrata Berim on your own. For safety and logistical reasons, however, it’s wise to book the trip through a legit, local tour company. Outdoor In provides an all-inclusive Via Ferrata Berim package with transportation, professional trekking guides, and lunch for just 20€.