Our offroad / overlanding tours in 2024

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It’s been almost 10 years since we’ve started offering offroad / overlanding tours in the Balkans under Rustika label, and in that time we’ve become best known for our total wilderness tours. These tours feature some incredible wild campsites far from civilization and major roads, often in deep forests with no mobile signal, in places where we would probably be undisturbed for as long as we decide to stay there. Serbia is especially famous for such abandoned places deep in the wild, but Bulgaria, with an even lower population density than Serbia, isn’t short on them either.

Our offroad / overlanding tours feature some unbelievably beautiful wild campspots

Lets start with the hotel tours this time

However, not all of our customers are fans of the jungle adventure survival style, that sometimes includes a fierce struggle with the elements. We are well aware that there are people who prefer to have a warm bed, a restaurant, hot spa and sauna after a day on the trail, and that is why we are offering three hotel tours in Serbia too. But due to a lack of demand lately, it seems that our potential customers aren’t aware of that fact. So we will start the overview of our 2024 offerings with those three hotel tours.

Spring awakening of western Serbia
(April 14th to 20th 2024)

In 2023 we replaced our traditional Homolje Goldrush (hotel season opening) tour in eastern Serbia with an all new tour in western Serbia, featuring some first class hotels, but also very beautiful mountains, including one national, and one nature park. We had the misfortune that the first week of April, when the tour took place, received the last outburst of winter, with some below freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall, so instead of being a spring opening , it turned out to be a winter closing tour 🙂

But in 2024 that is not likely to happen, since we moved the tour to mid April, the time of year when spring conditions are usually already stable. So we expect to be able to enjoy the wonders of the Valjevo mountains, Tara national park, the highlands of Zlatibor, Zlatar and Javor mountains in it’s full glory. There is even a chance that, in cooperation with the Tara national park management, we’ll get a chance to visit a bear observation point, where we could watch the Tara bears in their natural environment (Tara is the mountain with the biggest population of bears in Serbia).

The photo album from the 2023 tour (as well as the scouting round) you can find here (unlike 2023, we don’t expect any snow this time).

Secret Carpathians – Indian Summer
(October 7th – 12th 2024)

Yes, our most famous tour, Secret Carpathians, also exists in a hotel version (however, 6 instead of 10 days), and we do it every October, at a time when the colours of nature are in their most beautiful stage of green, yellow and red. It may not be very obvious, since there is only one tour programme on the website (for both the camping and the hotel tours), but just choose the correct date from the booking form, and you’re in!

You will see most of the places that the participants of the camping tour visit (including the highest peak Midžor, 2170 m high!), with the exception of the far southeast of Serbia, where there are simply no hotels available. And exactly how inspiring and spectacular this tour is you can find out from the 2022 tours video below (we’ve had two of them in 2022 because of the overwhelming interest).

During the tour we stay at two 4-star, and four 3-star hotels, where four of the six feature swimming pools and sauna.

Balkan Winter Trails
(13th – 18th January 2025)

We have experimented a lot with our winter tour in the serbian Carpathians in recent years, moving the date back and forth throughout the winter. The goal is to have some snow, but not to have too much snow, which is very hard to achieve, as winters have become very unpredictable in recent years. The 2024 tour took place during the New Year hollidays, and although the participants enjoyed the heavy mud conditions very much, it was a bit sad to have a winter tour without snow, so we decided to give the next winter a chance to get going before we gather for the tour in mid January.

Winter is the time when it’s more important than in any other season to have full comfort to warm your bones after spending a day in freezing cold (sometimes even winching), so there’s no compromise regarding the choice of hotels for this tour – all four hotels are equipped with swimming pools, and two of them have natural thermal water (where we spend four of the six nights of the tour).

What this tour can look like when we have a decent amount of snow, you can see from our 2023 tour video – after the snowless day one, the next five days gave us some very nice snow fun:

And the images from that tour you can see in it’s photo album following this link.

Our camping tours in 2024

Now lets get to what we do best, and that are certainly our wild camping tours, featuring many exclusive deep forest campsites, unknown not only to other tour operators, but often also to the local population. And not only places in deep forest, but also some unforgetable sites on riverbanks and by mountain lakes. These tours let you explore the wonderful nature all over the Balkans – not only in Serbia, but also in Montenegro, Albania, Greece and Bulgaria (and more countries to come in 2025!). So lets get started…

Green Hideouts of Serbia
(May 19th – 29th 2024)

Our camping season starter tour takes place in May, because that is the time of year when nature in Serbia (especially in the northeast) has already fully awakened, and unlike the higher mountains which may still be covered in snow, is thriving with colourful vegetation and warm spring nights. So in an attempt to show you all of those places which we have unjustly been skipping in the tours in recent years, we created the Green Hideouts of Serbia in the northernmost part of the serbian Carpathian mountains, which reach 1000-1300 m of altitude at the peaks, but are extremely picturesque and full of secret features.

The premiere in 2023 was very well received by our customers, and the fact that May was a very rainy month last year didn’t spoil the fun. Except for the video above, lots of nice pictures and unique memories from the tour you can find in the photo album here. No, it was not your imagination – we’ve really spent one night in a cave! Due to some adaptation of the cave it is still uncertain if we’ll get a chance to repeat the night there in 2024, but there’s a good chance for it. So if you’d like to book this tour, hurry up, because it’s already half full!

What’s new in 2024 is that we offer both a 6 and 10 day option, to adapt the tour to the needs of the people who have either one or two weeks of free time in the early season.

Ancient Trails
(June 16th – 26th 2024)

Our second tour of the camping season takes us through central and western Serbia, featuring dynamic scenery spanning from deep, jungle-like forests of Gučevo, to the highland ridges of Golija and Jadovnik mountains, reaching as high as 1833 m. Everything that a passionate nature admirer loves is there – from waterfalls and river crossings to lakes (big and small), deciduous and pinetree forests, awesome views reaching through moutains as far as the eye can see, and of course, unforgettable wild campsites along the way, in some exclusive spots, unknown to other overlanding tour operators. 

This is another one of the tours which we are offering in the 6 and 10 day versions, so it can be equally suited for people with short and long early season vacations. Images from the unforgettable 2023 tour you can find here. Also, take a look at the tour video:

If you want to book the next Ancient Trails tour in June 2024, you can do it here.

Secret Carpathians
(1st – 10th July 2024)

Our by far most famous tour, Secret Carpathians, has had many variations over the years (both in regular and custom private tours). This tour is very dear to me as my “firstborn” tour, that I will never stop enjoying to guide. What is secret about the Carpathians in the tour, you might ask? Well, most of all, for the geography knowledge of an average European the fact that Carpathian mountains also extend to Serbia is the biggest secret of all!

When one says Carpathians, people usually associate that term with Romania, neglecting the fact that the Carpatho-Balkanic mountain range actually extends through 8 countries, and is the longest one in Europe after the Alps. And these hidden, serbian Carpathians are no less beautiful than the rest. We drive to above 2100 m of altitude in the tour, and camp by several beautiful lakes and in the most picturesque river valleys. If you’re sceptical about it, just take a look at the video from the 2022 Secret Carpathians tour (below).

For the photo gallery from the 2023 tour, follow this link. And if you would like to find out more about the tour, you can find the full description and booking form here.

Montenegro Highlands
(16th -26th July 2024)


The Montenegro Highlands is the tour which we usually recommend to beginners and people sceptical about scratching their vehicles, but it’s much more than a technically easy tour through open air (bushless) spaces. There’s no smaller country in Europe with so much concentrated beauty of mountainous landscape than Montenegro. the dramatic, rugged scenery becomes obvious the moment you arrive there, and you’re so bombarded with impressions, that many times you simply don’t know where to look first, as you’re turning your head (and cameras) in awe. It features some of the most beautiful glacier lake campsites in the Balkans, and it is also our highest average altitude tour, with the camps mostly being in the range between 1500 and 1800 m (therefore nights tend to be cool, even in mid summer!). And again, as pictures speak louder than words (and videos even louder), take a glimpse at the video from the 2022 Montenegro Highlands tour.

The photo gallery from the 2023 tour you can find here, and the page with more tour info and booking form is here.

Balkan Long Trail
(12th – 21st August 2024)

This tour in Bulgaria, following the entire length of the Balkan mountain from the Serbian border to the Black Sea, is a 2024 premiere. Eagerly anticipated by our faithful customers, at the time of writing this it is almost booked out (even after extending the number of possible vehicles to 10, there is only one free space remaining).

It is no tour for beginners or people who are expecting a walk in the park – the demanding ridges of the Balkan mountain will take us above 2000 m of altitude, and often present with challenging, steep ascents, muddy sections, and very tight, overgrown forest passages. But it will offer us lots of magnificent views, unforgettable deep forest campsites in a true epic adventure.

Part of what will be featured in the tour you can see from the 2022 Rhodopean Quest tour video below.

The Rhodopean Quest tour will be replaced by a future Rhodopean Dream tour, taking place 100% in the Rhodopean mountains. And another portion of what we will experience further east in the Balkan Long Trail tour you can see in this short teaser video:

In case you want to grab the one remaining free spot, hurry up to the tour description and booking page!

Trails of Gods
(10th – 19th September 2024)

For 2024 we decided to move our Trails of Gods tour through the Pindos mountains of Greece to September, as August can be scorching hot down in the Mediterranean. These mountains are often called the “Greek Alps”, and it’s certainly not without a reason – ridge after ridge of dramatic, rocky landscape with peaks higher than 2000 m stretches all the way from Peloponese to the border of Albania seemingly forever, constantly raising your threshold of landscape beauty to new heights as you progress. This needs to be seen to be believed, and I think that the video from our 2023 tour shows very well what I’m talking about (click below to watch the video).

The photo gallery from the 2023 is no less attractive. You can find a careful selection of the tour images here. In case you want to find out more details about the tour and book, you can do it here.

Albanian Wild Tracks
(16th – 25th September 2024)

And when it comes to Albania, we are quite certain that we’re offering, through the vast knowledge of our albanian guide Alfred, the ultimate wilderness experience of this unbelievable Balkan country in our Albanian Wild Tracks tour. In the 10 tour days you will discover some exclusive, high mountain trails which aren’t present in any maps, or known to other guides. It’s the closest to the feeling of exploring the remote mountains of central Asia that you can get while still in Europe. If you have doubts, take a look at our tour video from the 2021 tour below.

You can also unveil the spectacular scenery of Albania from the 2021 tour photo gallery here. If you wish to book our 2024 tour, the website is well known – https://www.rustikatravel.com/awt/

Discover Peloponese (Greece)
(24th September – 4th October 2024)

Our second Greek tour takes you all the way down south to the peninsula of Peloponese, loaded with historical sites of ancient greek culture, scattered among the high mountains and some of the most spectacular beaches that you’ve seen in your lifetime. So the Discover Peloponese tour is slightly different in caracter to most other tours that we organize – technically it is by far our easiest tour, which made it an offer where we can also accept vans and pickups with camper addons, alongside regular overlanding vehicles. 2/3 of the tour is actually driven on tarmac roads, and it visits some of the most important cultural sites daily, as it progresses over the 12-day itinerary, most of the time camping in really fantastic wild campsites. A real jewel for the easy-going, true hedonists among overlanders! Take a look at the tour programme, and join – https://www.rustikatravel.com/peloponese/.

Introducing the van/truck tours

Lets not forget something that will surely be interesting for owners of bigger overlanding rigs – vans and trucks. We have had many inquiries from van and truck owners in the past years about the possibility to take part in our standard tours, which we, unfortunately, had to turn down because of narrow trails overgrown by vegetation or being too steep or slippery, we simply decided to design completely new itineraries, that would be suited to their expectations and the capabilities of their vehicles.

More detailed explenation of this tour type you will find in the introductory part of their separate calendar page – https://www.rustikatravel.com/van-calendar/

You can find more of our tour videos on our YouTube channel here:

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