By researching this country, we kept in mind, it must be beautiful. But nobody tells you, how beautiful it really is. Well, nobody can, because you have to see it with your own eyes.
The way to Bosnia & Herzegovina
The Dinar Mountains look impressing from everywhere. It’s omnipresent wherever you are on the new and not completely ready north-to-south highway in Croatia. It’s a green country. Very green. And very hot, although it was beginning of June. And many mosquitoes trying to eat me.
Due to our schedule and itinerary we focused on the Herzegovina, which is only a short detour from the Croatian coast.
Mostar and Stari Most
Herzegovina’s biggest city lies between two mountains by the Neretva river. Thanks to this, it’s biting cold in winter and extremely hot in summer. The famous stone bridge, Stari Most, was destroyed in the war in 1993 and rebuilt from 1995 on.
By 2004 it was reopened. It was reconstructed true to original. Thanks to its great architecture and by being a symbol it was added to UNESCO’s world heritage list.
Jumping from the bridge is a tradition among the city’s young men. When they have collected enough money, they are going to jump. You can see one of them in our video (the water is really cold, the jump just a little bit dangerous; so collecting money is justified).
Also worth the visit is the lovely old town, which is in Ottoman style on the one hand and reminds of a village in Alsace on the other hand. Amazing!
You have a great view on the bridge from Karadozbeg Mosque, equally from the top of the minaret and from the courtyard. But: You shouldn´t be afraid of heights or suffer from claustrophobia. The steps up are exhausting, the steps down horrifying!
Blagaj is a quite usual village in Bosnia. Close to Mostar, it’s worth a visit. The Dervish monastery (Tekja) was built on a rock, just next to intermittent spring Vrelo Buna – one of the biggest in Europe. Buna river, a Neretva confluence, has its source here.
Entrance fee for the Dervish house was € 2. Interesting, because we haven’t been in a Dervish house before, but not spectacular.
Before entering the house, women have to cover themselves. The lady at the front door helped me and really enjoyed covering me and my sun dress!
Who wants to see the waterfalls, has to drive to Studenci. This is located in Ljubuški community. This place is just overwhelmingly beautiful! Most people there were locals. For now and in June, an almost tourist free area! Entrance was 5€. (2€ p.P. and 1€ for the car)
Some dared to go swimming. For many (including me) it was too cold! It’s really cold. But Jan didn’t care and jumped inside (see our video).
This lovely village lies (as Mostar) by Neretva river. It’s famous for its castle, from which you have a great view over the valley.
After having been conquered by the Ottomans in 1741, oriental influence came to the village. In 1878 it became part of Austria-Hungary and lost its strategic meaning.
Climbing up is exhausting (especially when hot), proofed by my unobtrusive red face! (See picture at the beginning) Good shoes are needed. Of course, I wore flip-flops!
„The place between the mountains“, as the village is translated, is Croatian-Catholic. We had a great conversation with our slightly-fundamentally catholic, but very nice landlady. She told us about the region and the people in the times after the war. It was a very interesting conversation, providing us an insight into people’s erverday life.
In the 1980s, people reported Marian apparitions. The catholic church didn’t recognize them. Nevertheless more than a million people go on a pilgrimage here every year – Medugorje has a population of 2300. Most pilgrims are from Italy.
St. Jacob’s church is the town’s center. Luxury hotels and relatively expensive restaurants are everywhere. The town is quite rich thanks to the pilgrims.
The way up to the apparition hill is really hard! It’s stony. Of course I wore flip-flops again, so it was an adventure and I survived with Mary’s help. The fundamentalists who were present scared us a bit.
Why it’s definitely worth, going up there: We had an absolutely amazing sunset. It was totally worth it (and yes, we also spoke some prayers, when we were up). Amen!
Accomodation in Mostar: Villa Nar Mostar!
Very clean, parking place, good breakfast and location and a very nice Huseyin – thanks for everything! Definitely a recommendation!
Sehr sauber, Parkplatz, gutes Frühstück, gute Lage, ein sehr hilfsbereiter Hüseyin- danke für alles! Absolute Empfehlung!
Accomodation in Medugorje: Pansion Rajic!
Again very clean, parking place and good breakfast. Without GPS a bit hard to find, but very good, quiet location. Lovely landlady – every wish was fulfilled (even if not told to her). We would love to come back!
I intend to travel to croatia and surrounding areas this may.between 15th and 30th of may.i wish to do the trip with my 14 yr old son who loves travelling and adventure. i will be travelling from india and this is my first time in the region. after much research and googling for info this is what i had chalked out for my trip
Start at Zagreb (3days)/ Zadar(2days)/ Split(2days)/Sarajevo(2days)/Slovenia(via zagreb) (2 days). then back to zagreb(may be 1 day to be in sync with return journeyschedule!) and fly back.
I need your advice if this is a good itinerary. Also need your advice on the following info which would help us a great deal
1. Are all theseplaces kid friendly?
2. local transport like bus /train to connect to all cities. (seems like bus and train have a decent network
3. which are the best areas in each of these areas to stay. i intend to take an apartment and avoid hotels..your advice?
4. how do i manage daily commuting during sightseeing and tours. i surely do not intend to drive!
5.any advice from your side in terms of what i can do for excursions/sight seeing/day trips/boat rides etc with my son and main areas to party and club (if i manage to get my son to sleep and can sneak out for a bit!!)
6. SAfety quotient ie are these places safe in terms of walking on the streets even after sunset?
7. Since these are not cities which are part of the EU what currency do u advise me to carry which makes changing money easy and convenient?
8. General checklist of things to do/items to to carry?
Your advice and experience would be of great help to make my trip easy and successful and of course less expensive since wastage is avoided when u have useful tips to implement!
Hi Hanif L,
Lots of questions, we try to answer them although we weren’t in Slovenia nor in Zagreb. But both Zagreb and Split are great cities and definitely worth a visit. So, yes, your itinerary is interesting! Some tips on your way: Plitvice National Park, Makarska Riviera, Mostar, Pocitelji…
1. We think, kids can have fun at these places…
2. We had a rental car, so cannot really help here. But transport by bus and train should be possible
3. Appartments are a good idea, we also had them at some places in Balkans
4. See 2.
5. So much to do here…I recommend you to read a guide book or our posts on tips here…https://travagsta.com/category/destinations-en/europe/balkans/
6. We always felt safe at the places we visited. Just be careful as always!
7. Croatia and Slovenia are part of the EU, but Croatia does have the Croatian Kuna. In Bosnia they have the Convertible Mark. If you have Euros you won’t have problems to pay directly or change it.
Hope you will enjoy your trip,
If you have further questions, we will be glad to help,
Burcu & Jan