Highlander Adventure treks: 17 unique trails to explore

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From California to the Caucasus, we take a look at the new and exciting Highlander Adventure treks on offer

In 2020, I joined my first Highlander Adventure trek in Croatia and was thoroughly won over by the semi-solo style of trekking. Since then, the collection has expanded from five events in Europe to 17 spread across three continents. I have also joined three further Highlanders in Greece, Georgia and the UAE.

Below, I take a look at every trek on this year’s calendar, from the original Highlander Velebit in Croatia to the inaugural Highlander UK that’s coming to the Lake District this summer.

We can offer readers a 15% discount on the registration price for Highlander Lake District with this code: PETER-HL15

What is the Highlander Adventure?

The Highlander Adventure is a collection of organised five-day treks through some of Europe’s premier hiking regions, home to magnificent expanses of wilderness.

Initially, the routes explored some of Europe’s less-visited but no-less captivating areas of natural beauty. However, the programme has now been expanded to include four events in the USA as well as a classic route through. the Dolomites in Italy.

The logistics are largely taken care of with internal travel to and from trailheads, route, food, maps, checkpoints and campsites all pre-arranged. Hikers only have to coordinate their arrival at the destination and organise their personal gear including a tent or shelter.

There are daily checkpoints to pass through where hikers collect their dehydrated meals for the day. Designated camping areas are located en route where hikers stop for the night and swap stories of the trail.

Trekkers are only responsible for getting themselves to the start point (and walking the trail of course). The treks are non-competitive, but there are daily checkpoints to pass through to gain a certificate and medal upon completion.

The Highlander Adventure treks are a fantastic introduction to multi-day trekking as they’re a subtle blend of guided trek and self-sufficient expedition.

Highlander treks come in three formats:

  • Hercules: five days; approximately 100km
  • Pegasus three days, approximately 55km
  • Orion: two days, approximately 30km

Velebit, Croatia

Distance: 104km
Ascent/descent: 4,186m/5,702m
More info: highlanderadventure.com and atlasandboots.com

I joined the original Highlander event in 2020, a thrilling journey across the Northern Velebit and Paklenica national parks. The route travels southeastwards through the Velebit Range, which divides continental Croatia from the Adriatic coast and is the country’s largest mountain range.

From thick pine forest, steep rocky ravines, expansive grasslands and exposed ridges with sweeping Adriatic vistas, the trail effortlessly slips from one landscape to another.

The route finishes right on the beach at the resort town of Starigrad-Paklenica, where hikers dive into the cool water for a refreshing dip before making a beeline for the bars that line the beach.

Medvednica, Croatia

Highlander now has a second event in Croatia – a three-day event on the Medvednica mountain, a magnificent peak towering above Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city. This is Highlander’s most accessible trek.

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

Distance: 36km
Ascent/descent: 1,800m/2,000m
More info: highlanderadventure.com and atlasandboots.com

One doesn’t usually associate the Emirates with hiking, but beyond the overt glitz of its high-rise cities are the Al-Hajar Mountains of Ras Al Khaimah, a dramatic range stretching 700km across northern UAE and into Oman. We joined the Highlander UAE for a hot and sweaty two-day trek last year. It was hard work but enormous fun.

The stony trail traverses a wild rockscape of weather-worn cliffs and plunging ravines over a series of warped escarpments. The route passes the highest public point in the UAE: a secondary summit on Jebel Jais, the tallest mountain in the country. 

Svaneti, Georgia

Distance: 59km
Ascent/descent: 3,607m/3,364m
More info: highlanderadventure.com and atlasandboots.com

My favourite Highlander trek so far! Located in the remote northwest of Georgia, on the slopes of the mighty Caucasus Mountains near the border with Russia, wild and mysterious Svaneti has seen a tumultuous history including marauding Mongols and murderous blood feuds.

Fortunately, that’s all in the past and the remote but beguiling Svaneti landscape is packed with mighty mountain vistas, peaceful leafy valleys and picturesque tower-house villages. Despite its recent transformation, Svaneti still offers a genuinely off-the-beaten-track adventure with delightfully empty trails. Its beauty and mystique are clearly in no danger of wearing thin.

Lake District, UK

More info: highlanderadventure.com

I’m really looking forward to this one – Highlander is coming to me for a change! I’ve hiked all over England’s Lake District, home to some of the nation’s most picturesque panoramas. The park’s craggy ridges, hidden tarns and glistening lakes have enticed walkers ever since the first ‘Lake Poets’ of Wordsworth and Coleridge put pen to paper in the 19th century.

best hikes in the Lake District National Park lead Windermere
DANIEL_KAY/SHUTTERSTOCK Windermere in the Lake District

The UNESCO-listed park is home to 214 hills and mountains including England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike at 978m (3,209ft), and the infamous Helvellyn at 950m (3,117ft) with its hair-raising Striding Edge ridge.

We can offer readers a 15% discount on the registration price for Highlander Lake District with this code: PETER-HL15

Stara Planina, Serbia

Distance: 101km
Ascent/descent: 4,068m/5,239m
More info: highlanderadventure.com

The Stara Planina Nature Park, which translates as ‘Old Mountain’, stretches along Serbia’s border with Bulgaria. The pristine corner of Serbia is home to its highest peak, Midžor (2169m), as well as countless waterfalls tumbling down verdant mountain slopes. 

Babin Zub in Stara Planina – one of the Highlander Adventure treks
dravko Ciric/Shutterstock The distinctive peak of Babin Zub

The trek sets off near the distinctive peak of Babin Zub and follows a broad and raggedy loop around the 17km-long tranquil Lake Zavoj, ideal for wild swimming and cooling tired feet at the end of a long day on the trail.

Durmitor, Montenegro

Distance: 87km
Ascent/descent: 8,146m/8,224m
More info: highlanderadventure.com

A vast landscape of jagged pine-mossed mountains and pastureland, the UNESCO-listed Durmitor National Park is a stunning limestone massif and the best place to go hiking in Montenegro.

Durmitor National Park is one of the Highlander Adventure treks
Zebra-Studio/Shutterstock Durmitor National Park

A recent addition to the Highlander collection, the circular trek traces its way among the park’s 50 limestone peaks over 2,000m, 18 glacier lakes and no fewer than five canyons. The most striking of which is the spectacular Tara Canyon, a 1,000m-deep cut in the landscape and Europe’s deepest gorge.

Julian Alps, Slovenia

Distance: 101km
Ascent/descent: 5,905m/6,202m
More info: highlanderadventure.com

This Highlander Adventure Slovenia trek starts at the delightful medieval village of Ribčev Laz on Lake Bohinj. It is arguably Slovenia’s most beautiful lake with a picturesque church and bell tower and a spectacular setting in the Bohinj Valley of the Julian Alps.

The village of Ribčev Laz on Lake Bohinj
iPics/Shutterstock The village of Ribčev Laz on Lake Bohinj

The trail makes its way through the Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s only national park and home to the towering peak of Mount Triglav, which at 2,864m is Slovenia’s highest mountain. Prepare to be dazzled by soaring peaks, postcard-perfect lakes and idyllic rivers throughout.

Kamnik-Savinja Alps, Slovenia

Highlander has launched a second event in Slovenia in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. The event currently has three-day and five-day treks schedules.

Blidinje, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Distance: 96km
Ascent/descent: 5,472m/5,615m
More info: highlanderadventure.com

Just a couple of hours from the Adriatic Sea and easily reached from both Mostar and Sarajevo, Blidinje Nature Park is Bosnia & Herzegovina’s adventure playground.

The ring-shaped rock formation of Hajdučka Vrata (Outlaw’s Gate) on Čvrsnica
Mirnes Ibrahimagic/Shutterstock Hajdučka Vrata (Outlaw’s Gate) on Čvrsnica

The figure-of-eight Highlander Adventure trek zigs and zags its way through Blidinje’s deep valleys taking in its striking rock formations en route, the most fantastic of which is the ring-shaped Hajdučka Vrata (Outlaw’s Gate) on Čvrsnica.

Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia

Distance: 99km
Ascent/descent: 3,917m/3,830m
More info: highlanderadventure.com

A fairly recent addition to the Highlander collection is the Lake Ohrid trek in North Macedonia. The trek begins at the village of Lukovo before winding its way southwards to the shores of the magnificent mountain-fringed Lake Ohrid straddling the Albanian border.

Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia – one of the Highlander Adventure treks
skapuka/Shutterstock Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia

At 34km long, 300m deep and three million years old, the UNESCO-listed lake is among Europe’s deepest and oldest bodies of freshwater. The trail ends at the town of Struga, renowned as the birthplace of the 19th-century poets Konstantin and Dimitar Miladinov.

Val d’Aran, Spain

Distance: ~100km
Ascent/descent: TBA
More info: highlanderadventure.com

Wedged into the northwestern province of Lleida in Spain, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, is the Val d’Aran. The region is known for its plunging valleys and rocky peaks that tower high above evergreen beech forests and myriad glinting lakes. It’s a landscape begging to be hiked.

A lake in the Val d'Aran in Spain
Angel MG/Shutterstock A lake in the Val d’Aran in Spain

Details are still being finalised but there are five-day and two-day options confirmed for this summer.

Dolomites, Italy

Distance: ~100km
Ascent/descent: TBA
More info: highlanderadventure.com

Highlander arrives in one of Europe’s classic trekking regions this summer. Known for its jagged peaks, excellent hiking and glorious mountain vistas, the Dolomites need no introduction. Following a route in the shadow of Monte Civetta, the event will have all three distances available.

Monte Civetta in Italy is one of the new Highlander Adventure treks
Nicola Simeoni/Shutterstock Monte Civetta in Italy

Details are still being finalised but expect this to be one of the most dramatic additions to the Highlander collection.


The US knows how to do wilderness. Wedged between the two great oceans of the world, it is home to practically every landscape under the sun. Beaches, lakes, mountains, rainforests, deserts, canyons and glaciers all rise and fall across this continent-sized country.

Big Bear Lake in California is one of the new Highlander Adventure treks
Jack Armstrong/Shutterstock Big Bear Lake in California

Highlander launched last year in America with Big Bear Lake in California. This year, there are three new additions, making four to choose from in the US. Each one promises to be epic.

How to register for Highlander Adventure treks

Take a look at the calendar of Highlander Adventure treks which includes links to registration forms.

Depending on the trek, early bird entries begin at €149 (~$180) per person. If joining in a group there are four-for-three offers available on most treks.

Pegasus and Orion experiences begin from €60 (~$75) and €45 (~$55) respectively, depending on the destination.

The website includes more information on checkpoints, equipment lists and some basic guidelines for hiking in the region. More information including joining instructions is made available upon registration.

Do let me know if you register for the Highlander Adventure treks – especially the Lake District. I hope to see you out there!

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Lead image: Mirnes Ibrahimagic/Shutterstock

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