How to Explore Bosnia’s Beauty: Una National Park

How to Explore Bosnia’s Beauty: Una National Park

How to Explore Bosnia’s Beauty: Una National Park

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Thundering waterfalls, its fine, cool spray on your face, the phenomenally blue waters, and sheer tranquillity. Largely untouched by tourism, you will likely have Una National Park more or less to yourself. No crowds, no queues for the photo opportunities, just serenity. And I really mean that. Our experience at Una National Park was probably the quietest we had in the whole country, and it was bliss.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s youngest national park sits on the boundary line with Croatia in the north west of the country, the Una river even creates a section of the boundary. Locals recommend pairing a visit to Una National Park with Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes, and while I’m sure this is phenomenal (the pictures I’ve see online look amazing), I’m pretty confident in saying that you’re unlikely to match the peacefulness of Una.

Best known for its rivers, lakes and waterfalls, Una National Park also features historic towns and ruins. Seeing all that Una National Park has to offer makes for a perfect weekend trip. Download your Bosnia and Herzegovina map on Maps.me and pack yourself a picnic.

Here is everything you need to know to visit Una National Park independently.

How to Get to Una National Park

Bihac is the closest city to the national park and so we decided to use this as our base. You can get here with a direct bus from Sarajevo, Banja Luka or Jajce.

Getting around the Park

Hire Yourself a Car

Once we arrived into Bihac, we spent an afternoon searching for a car to hire for the next two days. Bad move. There were no cars available in any of the companies in Bihac city centre. We spoke to our accommodation host to see if he could recommend anywhere. He pulled out all the stops for us: rang around car rental companies, booked us a car at a company outside of the city, drove us twenty minutes to go pick up the car, and helped us with translating paperwork. Forever grateful for the innate kindness of people: classic Bosnian hospitality.

So, the moral of the story is to book your car ahead of time.

The perfect little car for getting around the national park

The company was Berlina, a Volkswagen dealer, and I would highly recommend them (apart from the fact that they are outside of the city). It cost us 65 KM per day, and when we returned the car, they dropped us back at our apartment for no extra cost.

When we were having our panic about not being able to hire a car, we also called the Office of Una National Park to ask if any tours were running over the next couple of days that we could join. The answer was no, there are no tours to Una National Park. So hiring a car or paying for an all-day taxi, really is the only way to get around the national park.

My concern before hiring a car was the quality of the roads. I had heard horror stories from people taking road trips through the Balkans! However, I can report that the roads around Una National Park are pretty good and we had no problems getting around. Some of the smaller roads were gravel and some were single lane with passing places, but the overall quality was fine.

Best Spots to Visit

Our three favourite spots in Una National Park were Štrbački Buk, Martin Brod and Kulen Vakuf. There are lots of other small villages and towns with historic ruins, and options for activities such as white water rafting also.

Strbacki Buk

Strbacki (Štrbački) Buk is the largest waterfall in Una National Park, and it really is impressive. The bright blue, waters cascade down several layers. Alongside, a boardwalk follows the full length of the waterfall with multiple viewpoints from wooden towers and trodden footpaths towards the water’s edge.

There are stalls selling food, ice cream, drinks, local products etc. and plenty of benches and tables overlooking the river and the waterfall. Sit down and have yourself a beautifully scenic picnic.

There is an entrance fee of 7KM per person, plenty of space for parking and no parking fees.

Strbacki Buk, una national park

Una National Park’s main event

Martin Brod

Martin Brod has several smaller waterfalls that are hidden in amongst a village. There is not a huge amount of parking here. We were able to leave our car on a side road near Una-C hotel. If this isn’t available, there is plenty of space back across the bridge near the Martin Brod info point.

Keep an eye out for this guy. He is the cutest little tour guide in Martin Brod, and will happily show you around all the waterfalls (and wait for you while you take photos).

Walking towards the Martin Brod waterfalls, you will see a red bridge in front of you and a path veering to the left with a small wooden hut. Take the red bridge (you don’t have to pay to walk this first part) which takes you over small layered waterfalls. Continue walking for a short while (5/10 minutes) and you will be brought to another waterfall right in the middle of the village.  

una national park waterfalls

Layers of waterfalls in Martin Brod

Returning back across the red bridge, head up the path next to the wooden hut to get to the main event. You will need to pay 3KM per person to enter. Just a short distance up this path, you will see a boardwalk bringing you to the perfect spot to view the waterfall Milančev Buk.

una national park waterfalls

Behind what appears to be an abandoned building is a path that leads a traditional watermill and ecolaundry, as well as the start of Martha’s Path. Martha’s Path is a short 15 minute walk one-way that takes you alongside the glacial blue water. If you have a little extra time after viewing the waterfalls, I would recommend having a gentle stroll this way.

Our new wee mate waiting to show us the way

Kulen Vakuf

Kulen Vakuf is a small village on Una river. It has two cafes/restaurants right by the bridge into the village, as well as a restaurant just before the village called Havala. We grabbed an inexpensive lunch of veg soup with bread and grilled veg with rice from here. From Kulen Vakuf, you can walk up to the ruins of Ostrovica Fortress for amazing views over the area. Unfortunately the ruins are in such disrepair that you cannot easily walk around them, however the viewpoint in itself is worth the climb – it only took us about 45 mins. Once you get back down to Kulen Vakuf, grab a drink at one of the riverside restaurants and watch the gentle water flow by.

views from Ostrovica Fortress, una national park

Ostrovica Fortress viewpoint

Things to Do in Bihac

Bihac (Bihać) is a small city with river Una running through it. There are a few historical sites – a mosque, a church, a tower, Soviet-style buildings – but it only took us about 30 mins to an hour to see the majority.

I know it’s not a stand-out piece, but I love the buidling’s character!

There are several restaurants in town – notably Restoran Sofra which serves traditional Bosnian food. We found several vegetarian options here: classic shopska salad, a cheesy veg rice dish, pastas, pizzas, ajvar and other vegetarian dips.

Just out of town is a restaurant/cafe which has a seating area right on the river, named Mlin. It is set on a family-owned watermill, and the owner will be more than happy to tell you about its history. It is a beautiful setting to have a morning coffee or an evening drink.

What a setting!

Looking for more waterfalls, lakes and rivers in Bosnia? Read about things to do in Jajce here.

Have you been to Una National Park? Is there anything else you would add?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.

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Everything You Need to Know to Visit Pocitelj

Everything You Need to Know to Visit Pocitelj

Everything You Need to Know to Visit Pocitelj

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Crumbling and neglected, yet characterful. Time really has stood still here, and you get to have a glimpse into what life was like way back then. Pocitelj’s charm is in its architecture, its deteriorating winding paths, its unkempt gardens with overgrown plants, its rickety staircases, its stunning views. A fine example of an open-air museum, Pocitelj intrigues with its medieval and Ottoman character. Wander back in time, feel its history and witness its beauty.

If you love street photography and architecture, like us, you will love Pocitelj: this was honestly one of my favourite spots in Bosnia and Herzegovina! And if you’re making a trip to Mostar, take a half-day out to explore this fascinating place. Read my post on things to do in Mostar here.

This guide to exploring Pocitelj will give you all the info you need to plan your trip.

A Little Bit of History about Pocitelj

Pocitelj (Počitelj) is an open-air-museum town housing examples of Ottoman influence through its architecture. It was a town of great strategic importance during Ottoman times but began to lose this importance during the Austro-Hungarian rule, resulting in many residents moving elsewhere.

During the Bosnian war, Pocitelj became a target of the Croats’ due to its high percentage of Bosniak inhabitants. Buildings were damaged, as was the mosque and examples of Islamic art. The bombardment caused more inhabitants to move away from Pocitelj for their safety, and by the end of the war the town was largely abandoned. Work began to restore some of the buildings; the mosque has been brought back to its former glory, however, not all of the restoration followed traditional methods. This has left Pocitelj on the UNESCO tentative list.

Today, some residents have returned. They sell fresh juices, dried fruit and souvenirs to the few tourists that come to explore the area.

How to Get to Pocitelj

This is the question! So, before we headed out here, I read plenty online about people having difficulty getting there and back, people getting stranded, people saying you need to hire a car, etc., etc.

The other thing is that the bus stop at Pocitelj does not appear on any bus timetables or Google Maps. It is, however on Maps.me.

But, in reality, it’s fine!

We went to Mostar East bus station and asked when the buses were leaving on Saturday. There was one at 12:30 that was heading from Mostar to Dubrovnik via a town called Capljina – the closest official bus stop to Pocitelj. When we got on to the bus, we showed the driver our ticket (which named Capljina as our destination), but explained that we actually wanted to get off at Pocitelj. He was fine about that and even appeared quite excited that we were going there. As we started to draw closer, he was pointing out the tower in the distance. After thirty minutes on the bus, we jumped out, crossed the road and we were there.

hammam, visit pocitelj

How to Get Back to Mostar from Pocitelj

Now, getting back to Mostar is the real challenge.

The bus heading back the other way – so, Dubrovnik to Mostar – is scheduled to drive past Pocitelj around 19:00/19:30. This means you would be in Pocitelj for a long, old time; and while it is beautiful, it would be difficult to fill six/seven hours. So, we spoke to a woman working in a roadside cafe. She called her taxi driver friend and he drove us into Mostar for 20 EUR.

If you decide that this method is not for you, there are many group day trips that incorporate Pocitelj, Blagaj and Kravice waterfalls. Just bear in mind that organised tours generally give you a very short period of time to explore Pocitelj, so make sure you check this before booking. Ask at any tourist information desk in Mostar and they will have something for you.

Korca Brewery Beer Taster

Exploring Pocitelj

If arriving by bus, you will be dropped close to the lower gate. As Pocitelj is a walled town built into the side of a karst cliff, it requires a lot of walking up and down (unless you work it through systematically).

Entering through the lower gate, you will see the old han (inn) and then come to an area with a couple of restaurants, souvenir shops and some locals selling fruit and juice. Start walking up from here, you will see the hammam on your left and the mosque on your right. Taking the path to the left from here will bring you towards the northern-most part of the town and the abandoned tower.

hammam, visit pocitelj

Crumbling hammam

Now, let me be frank: the tower does look like it is pretty dodgy. Smooth, slippery stone staircase without railings, no passing places for other people, some sheer drops, and a generally crumbling building. Enter at your own risk as the buildings are not maintained.  The staircase spirals around the inside edge of the tower looking down into a large open space in the centre. At the top you can get some stunning views across the whole of the town: the mosque, the hammam and the Neretva river all in one frame.

visit pocitelj, tower staircase

Smooth and slippery tower steps

tower, visit pocitelj

The top level of the tower

tower viewpoint, visit pocitelj

Views over Pocitelj from the tower

Once you have had your fill of adrenaline, leave the tower and head upwards, roughly following the old town wall. Stop to venture down all the little alleyways to explore all Pocitelj’s pockets of architectural charm.

At Pocitelj’s higher gate, turn right and (again) more or less follow the town wall until you get to the main viewpoint for the whole town. There is a metal staircase and platform that has been added in for tourism purposes, so this felt safer. And the view is wonderful.

views across pocitelj

Views over Pocitelj

Working your way back down from here to the centre of town, stop in to take some photos of the mosque. The door was shut when we were there, so we asked if we could enter and they opened the door for us straight away. I had to cover my legs, so put my trusty baggy travelling pants (or jazzy pants) over the top of my shorts. No problems.

Red tower viewpoint, things to do in Korca

Pocitelj mosque

National Museum of Medieval Art, things to do in Korca

Inside the mosque with its colourful glass

(Jazzy pants back into the daybag), head back down towards the lower gate. Stop to buy a souvenir, some frozen pomegranate juice or some dried figs to support the locals.

How Long to Spend in Pocitelj

We spent about 3 hours in Pocitelj, including our lunch stop. The area is small and everything is in walking distance, though in the heat of the summer sun, walking up the many steps to the top of town can be tough. I would recommend at least an hour and a half to fully experience Pocitelj.

pocitelj

Restaurants in Pocitelj

There are several restaurants around Pocitelj, but we only ate at one – Bistro Stari Grad. The food was good and there were veggie options. We had the veg plate and peppers with cheese. (In reality, the veg plate is the same as the peppers with cheese, just with a few extra salad bits.) If you have been to this restaurant or any others, let me know what you think.

The veg plate

Have you been to Pocitelj? Is there anything else you would add?

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Lakes and Waterfalls: Top Things to Do in Jajce

Lakes and Waterfalls: Top Things to Do in Jajce

Lakes and Waterfalls: Top Things to Do in Jajce

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Jajce, literally meaning ‘egg’, is a small medieval city located in the centre of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A Bosnian friend of ours, who is actually from Jajce, recommended that we visit. And I’m so glad that we did; we were both in awe of this small city’s natural beauty.

Jajce’s defining feature is its thundering waterfall right in the heart of the town. River Pliva runs through the centre and joins river Vrbas at the base of the waterfall, meaning that Jajce is set at a confluence of two rivers and a waterfall. Aside from its natural beauty, Jajce has a prominent history. It was the medieval capital city of Bosnia back in the 14th century when the country was still ruled by a monarchy. Stjepan Tomašević was crowned, executed and buried in and around Jajce as Bosnia’s last king before Ottoman empire rule for the next 400 years.

You can still see the medieval and Ottoman influences throughout the town in the architecture, fortress ruins, cobbled streets and towers. Jajce has maintained its historical town feel without prettifying it for tourism, making it feel genuine. It has kept its old worldliness.

The beauty of this compact, easy-going city can be seen in one day; the majority of tourists visit as a day trip. However, I would recommend spending one night to enable you to visit the Pliva lakes and watermills up the road the next day.

 

In this short guide to Jajce, you will find tips on how to get to the city, top things to do, and advice on eating veggie here (which is a little challenging).

How To Get to Jajce

The nearest airport is Sarajevo (SJJ) which connects Bosnia and Herzegovina with several locations throughout Europe and the Middle East.

From Sarajevo, four buses go to Jajce each day, the journey lasting around four hours and costing just under 20 EUR.

There are also direct bus connections with other cities throughout the country, notably Mostar and Bihac near Una National Park.

Things to do in Jajce

Hunt All the Best Waterfall and River Viewpoints

The waterfall is the main event in Jajce, so if you have time to do just one thing, make this it! The main viewpoint of Pliva waterfall has an entry fee of 8KM and allows you to get up close to the cascading waters to feel the fine spray. This is the viewpoint that all the crowds flock to, so pick the time you visit carefully.

Instead, or as well, head to the other side of the river to be rewarded with a stunning view of the old town alongside the waterfall (for free and without the crowds). From the waterfall side of the river, you should be able to see a small green hut in amongst the trees on the other side of the water. That is the spot. There is no obvious route to get there – Google Maps didn’t help, but trusty old Maps.me worked it out for us.

waterfall, things to do in Jajce

Main waterfall viewing platform

city viewpoint, things to do in Jajce

Jajce views from across the river

Walk the Cobbled Street up to Jajce Fortress, Taking in all the Historic Points

Heading into the old town, you will likely walk through the old archway (marked on Google Maps as Travnička Kapija) and past the old (but still functioning) water fountain. The fortress ruins are well signposted around town, so follow their guidance. Wander past the ruins of St. Mary’s church, St. Luke’s Belfry Tower, Bear Tower, maybe dip into the Catacombs, head up to the Women’s Mosque and then find yourself at the ticket desk for the fortress ruins.

St. Luke's Belfry tower, Jajce

St. Luke’s Belfry Tower

Jajce fortress

Jajce Fortress entrance

Jajce fortress

Admire Jajce from Above

Jajce fortress ruins are small and there is not a huge amount to see inside. The main reason to head up here and pay the small 5KM entrance fee is to view the panorama of Jajce town from above. You’ll see the rolling hills dotted with the colourful roof tops. We spent about twenty minutes here.

Jajce city views

Once you leave the fortress, take the path off to the left for further ruins and viewpoints over the town from outside of the fortress grounds. (Make sure you have a wander round the rest of the town outside of the old city walls. You’ll find abandoned buildings covered in bullet holes serving as reminders of the recent Bosnian war.)

Venture out to Pliva Lakes and See the Historic Watermills

You can walk to the watermills in between the two Pliva lakes from Jajce town. It will take about an hour, is relatively flat and there are a few spots to visit along the way which will break up the journey. If you don’t fancy walking, it would be best to hire a car as there is no public transport driving this route.

Make Konoba Slapovi your first stop out of Jajce town. About a thirty minute walk away, this is actually a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have outdoor seating with tables positioned beside small waterfalls, and on little islands in the river. Pop down to take a look or maybe grab some breakfast or a coffee while watching the water flow by.

Coffee at Konoba Slapovi

Get back on the road and head down to Most Ljubavi (or the Bridge of Love). I don’t really understand where the name comes from: there was no sign of padlocks on the bridge which is usually suggests a ‘love bridge’. Regardless, the bridge is lovely to walk across and get views of the water either side.

Love Bridge, things to do in Jajce

Most Ljubavi

Continue walking up along the lakeside until you reach the traditional watermills. These twenty-or-so small wooden huts on stilts sit between the two Pliva lakes. They are no longer functioning but are maintained as a point of interest. A narrow boardwalk connects each one but unfortunately, they aren’t open to go inside.

watermills, things to do in Jajce

Traditional watermills

Once you have had your fill of the watermills, follow the signs up to Ćusine (or take a look for the area’s location on Google Maps/Maps.me). There is a relatively gentle incline up a road and then as it begins to flatten, you will be rewarded with the most stunning view of Great Pliva lake. This was a top tip from our accommodation host. He even drove us out there to show us how beautiful it was (classic Bosnian hospitality right there!).

Great Pliva Lake view, Jajce

The outrageous view of Great Pliva Lake

Top Vegetarian Eats in Jajce

Being such a small town in a country which predominantly eats meat, eating vegetarian ended up being quite a challenge. We went to most restaurants and read through most menus and these ended up being our recommendations for budgeting vegetarians.

Svemirko Pub

Svemirko does a veggie burger. It is a basic potato and vegetable patty, but it is served with fried courgettes, and a burger sauce in a chewy bun. They also have several different styles of chips and onion rings.

Kristal

Kristal does a good and inexpensive shopska salad and lepinje bread.

Pizzeria Aria

Aria has a vegetarian pizza (mushrooms and sweetcorn) a four cheese pizza and a margherita. They have a selection of salads, a vegetarian risotto and veggie sides. The ‘rest mushrooms’ (whatever that actually means?) are really tasty.

Slastičarna

For something sweet, head over to Slastičarna Uno and try one of their desserts. Tufahije is a classic Bosnian dessert. It is a cold, baked apple that has had the core removed and a walnut paste inserted instead. It usually has cream on the top too.  Or, grab an ice cream.

Kinder Palačinkarnica

Another place that I would recommend is Kinder Palačinkarnica. They serve loads of pancakes that are smothered in various toppings. The pancakes are good, but the view is even better. Have your pancakes and a coffee overlooking the view of the river and the hillside. Lovely.

Have you been to Jajce? Is there anything else you would add?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.

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Things to Do in Unforgettable Mostar

Things to Do in Unforgettable Mostar

Stari Most

Things to Do in Unforgettable Mostar

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Mostar is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most visited tourist destinations. The UNESCO listed iconic bridge, the icy cold Neretva river running through the city, and its location near the Croatia border all help to make this city so popular.

Mostar is a trip highlight whether it be a stop on a trip around Bosnia and Herzegovina, a day trip from Dubrovnik, or even a stop on a Balkan road trip. If you have the time, stay for a day or two to get a feel for the city away from the crowds of day trippers and to explore Mostar beyond its old town.

Keep reading to find our advice for things to do in Mostar, recommendations for vegetarians, transport tips, and day trips.

things to do in Mostar

Residential Mostar

Mostar’s Recent Back Story

Mostar, literally meaning bridge keepers, has had a complicated history, most recently the tragedy of the Bosnian war of the 90s. The break-up of Yugoslavia triggered Bosnia and Herzegovina’s quest for independence; unfortunately this did not happen peacefully.

Like in Sarajevo, there was a divide between Serbs and Bosniaks, however, a third group was also included: Croats. Initially, Croats and Bosniaks, making an equal majority of the population of Mostar, largely worked together. However, tensions between Croats and Bosniaks increased, triggering a war between these two groups. The city became physically divided: ethnic Croats on one side of the Neretva river, ethnic Bosniaks on the other. The destruction of the bridges crossing the Neretva river only intensified the divide. The war lasted about a year and ended with the signing of a peace treaty.

The reconstruction, using traditional methods, of the iconic bridge in Mostar helped the city to gain UNESCO World Heritage status.

Nowadays, Mostar is recognised as a picture perfect city thanks to its bridge, Ottoman architecture and the glacial blue Neretva river.

Stari Most view from Lucki Most - things to do in Mostar

Mostar views from Lucki Most

How to Get to Mostar

The nearest airport is Sarajevo (SJJ) which connects Bosnia and Herzegovina with several locations throughout Europe and the Middle East. From the city centre, there are multiple buses each day connecting to Mostar with a two and a half hour journey costing around 29 KM.

Mostar has good bus connections with other locations around the country including Jajce, Trebinje and Banja Luka.

Take a Free Walking Tour with Sheva

THE top thing to do in Mostar in our opinion, is to catch up with Sheva on his free walking tour. He has so much information to offer as he has lived through the war in Mostar, was part of the Mostar diving team (more info on that to follow), and knows everyone in the town. His tour is full of personal anecdotes and stories that really keeps it interesting, and helps to piece together the complex parts of the Bosnian war. It also helps you to get your bearings in the new part of town, and get good recommendations on restaurants, day trips, etc.

It is a free tour (though tips are welcomed) that is run twice daily – 9am and 6pm in the summer months, starting in front of the Hammam Museum in the old town.

Get in touch with Sheva through this link to book on to the tour: Sheva’s Free Walking Tour

Walk across the Iconic Old Bridge (Stari Most)

The Old Bridge has been functional since 2004 after three years of reconstruction since its collapse during the Bosnian War. Traditional techniques and materials were used in the reconstruction, meaning that it has kept its UNESCO status.

The view from the bridge with the traditional buildings lining the glacial blue water of the Neretva River is fairy tale-esque. It really is the iconic centre point of Mostar which draws in visitors, but because of this, it is also the busiest point in Mostar. Crossing the bridge is a challenge in itself, regardless of the amount of tourists. The curve of the bridge is pretty steep and the bricks are slippery, so definitely wear shoes with good grip for your first few attempts at least. Once you’ve crossed it a few times, you’ll have it worked out!

Stari Most

Stari Most

Bridge views - things to do in Mostar

View from the Bridge Museum

Hunt Down the Crooked Bridge (Kriva Ćuprija) AKA ‘wee bridge on the wonk’

Ok, so ‘wee bridge on the wonk’ is definitely not a recognised name, but we affectionately called it this. It is presumed that this bridge was built as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Stari Most as it was built in the exact same style and was completed very shortly before the building of Stari Most began. It’s also not actually crooked, but the ‘crookedness’ refers to the arching of the bridge. For a great view, grab a drink at the Old Crew pub and sit on the terrace.

The crooked bridge, Mostar

The Crooked Bridge

Kujundžiluk Old Bazaar

There are plenty of shops and stalls selling traditional items and souvenirs in Mostar Old Town, but the Kujundžiluk Old Bazaar is really where you feel like you have stepped back in time. The most common traditional handicraft here is anything designed from copper. You will hear the coppersmiths hammering intricate patterns into decorative plates, coffee pots, jewellery. Again here, be wary where you’re walking as the cobbles are very shiny, smooth and slippery.

Street Art Hunting

Once you’ve covered the old part of town, head to the newer part of town for some less touristy things to do in Mostar. We love a bit of street art and have searched for street art all around the world. Mostar is near the top of our list (closely behind Georgetown, Penang). We used this street art map as a guide, which was put together by Street Arts Festival Mostar. It’s not 100% accurate, but we managed to find the majority. There are also plenty of other murals and street art that you will inevitably find around the city. The best spots we found were near Sniper Tower and a residential area on a road named Tvrtka Miloša.

Octopus streeet art

Political street art

Vibrant street mural

Watch the Bridge Jumpers

Wandering around the Old Town, you will see some young men in very small speedos. These are the Mostar bridge jumpers and it is a very serious business in Mostar. The jumpers ask for donations as they build up the crowd, before launching themselves off the 24 metre high Old Bridge and in to the ice-cold Neretva river below. It is pretty spectacular, but also terrifying.

There is a Bridge Divers’ Club, so if you fancy giving it a go yourself, knock on their door. You will have to pay a fee and take some lessons with the instructors. If they are satisfied with your jumping technique, you will be given the all-clear to jump from Stari Most. There is no doubt about it that this is a dangerous game – Sheva, who runs the walking tour can tell you some horror stories. Make sure you always get approval from the divers’ club first.

things to do in Mostar - see the bridge jumpers

Bridge jumpers waiting for a crowd

View the City from Millennium Cross

If you’re in Mostar, you will definitely see the hill with a large white cross at the top overlooking the town. This is the Millennium Cross. It’s a pretty controversial point due to it being placed higher than the minarets of Mostar’s mosques, but regardless of its symbolism, the view itself is worth a wander.

We walked up from Mostar town centre – doable, but not the nicest due to the mid-portion of the walk being along a main road without pavement – but most people would drive through this section, park up, and then walk the rest. When walking the final stretch, you are fully exposed to the sun, so make sure you bring plenty of sun protection and water.

Millennium Cross viewpoint - things to do in Mostar

Millennium Cross viewpoint

Day Trips from Mostar

Pocitelj – one of my favourite places in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina! A hillside stone town with abandoned buildings, crumbling pathways, stunning viewpoints, and only a few tourists. Definitely worth a half-day visit.

Read our blog post on everything you need to know to visit Pocitelj here.

Pocitelj day trip from Mostar

Pocitelj 

Blagaj – just a thirty minute bus ride out of Mostar brings you to Blagaj, with its historic Dervish house built into the cliff face and fortress ruins.

Blagaj dervish house

Blagaj Dervish house

Kravica Waterfall – we did not do this because of the cost, however, we would have done if we were not on a budget. There is no public transport that will take you there, but all tour operators in Mostar will have some kind of trip lined up for you.

Sarajevo – find a huge traditional Ottoman bazaar, walk an original section of the Tunnel of Hope, learn about the Bosnian war at the museums and explore the abandoned Olympic bobsled track.

Where to Eat Tasty Veggie Food

In/Near the Old Town

Aščinica Balkan II – there are not strictly any ‘veggie’ meals here, however, if you just go in and explain that you are vegetarian, they will bring you a selection of the veggie side dishes that are on offer that day. We received two types of burek, a spinach and rice dish, a spiced rice dish with veg, Bosnian beans, and bread. We had one plate between us and it was all really good.

Vegetarian platter

Veggie platter

Hindin Han – there are lovely views over the river here. We ordered grilled mushrooms and chips, which came with sour cream and bread too. The amount of mushrooms that we received was outrageous, and they were really tasty.

Barbecued mushrooms and chips with sour cream

Basically a kilo of mushrooms!

Podrum – this family-run restaurant serves up a grilled veg platter.

Grilled veg platter

Bosnian vegetarian options are somewhat limited

Food House – pretty overrated and overpriced. However, there are several vegan and vegetarian options here.

Pizzeria & Restaurant Mozzarella – we went here for breakfast a couple of times. They do veggie wraps, omelettes, pancakes, and good coffee.

Mozzarella interior

Bosnian coffee set

Mozzarella’s Bosnian coffee set

Outside of the Old Town

Tecó – a bit of a walk, but well worth it. They have several vegetarian options and some vegan too. Veggie burgers, veggie sandwiches, etc.

Veggie burger and sandwich

Veggie sandwich and burger

Blok Bar – they have an actual vegetarian/vegan menu. Several burgers with meat replacement patties, quesadillas, burritos, wraps etc.

Vegan burger and quesadilla, Mostar

Meat replacement burger and mushroom quesadilla

Primavera – the best pizzas. Super crispy base and tasty toppings.

Have you been to Mostar? Is there anything that you would add to the list?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.

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Top Spots for Your Bosnia and Herzegovina Itinerary

Top Spots for Your Bosnia and Herzegovina Itinerary

Visegrad

Top Spots for Your Bosnia and Herzegovina Itinerary

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Wondering which spots to add to your Bosnia and Herzgovina itinerary? The country has such warm, hospitable people, beautiful landscapes, bustling cities, a rich history and a gentle pace of life. Spend hours sipping coffee in the sun, hike up through forests to reach breathtaking viewpoints, haggle for handcrafted gifts in traditional Ottoman bazaars, or delve deep in to the country’s history. Bosnia and Herzegovina really deserves more recognition as a tourist destination. Travelling for four weeks around the country enabled us to explore all the places below at a leisurely pace, and I would recommend each and every one of them. Give it a go, and let me know if you decide to head out this way! I’d love to hear about it.

Top Spots for Your Bosnia and Herzegovina Itinerary

Sarajevo

The capital city should be at the top of your list. It has beautiful architecture, cobbled old town streets, the Tunnel of Hope, cable car city views, and an abandoned Olympic bobsled track. The city is steeped in history, but also has so much to offer in terms of nature, its coffee culture, and its people. You could easily spend three or four nights in Sarajevo. Read our post on things to do in Sarajevo here, and the top restaurants for vegetarians in this meat-heavy city here.

Tea House, Sarajevo

Čajdžinica Džirlo, Sarajevo

Mostar

Mostar is probably the most touristy area of Bosnia and Herzegovina due to its location close to the Croatian border (meaning it is popular with day trippers). Get lost in the old town, hunt down street art, watch the bridge divers, dip your feet in the ice cold Neretva river, head just out of town to a Dervish monastery and find traditional hand-crafted gifts in the bazaar. I would recommend spending at least three days here to allow for plenty of exploration as well as a day trip. Find out all about Mostar in our post here.

Mostar Bridge view from above

Mostar

Pocitelj

A historical and architectural wonder, Pocitelj is largely abandoned. Wander its winding cobbled streets lined with crumbling buildings and you will find hidden corners full of character and charm. The town is considered an open-air museum due to its showcasing of Ottoman and Medieval architecture. You could spend two or three hours exploring Pocitelj, making it a perfect half-day trip from Mostar.

Pocitelj Mosque interior with stained glass

Interior of Šišman Ibrahim Pasha Mosque, Pocitelj

Una National Park

Una National Park is generally off the tourist-trail because of its location in the far north west of the country, on the border with Croatia. Hire a car and spend a day or two roaming around the national park. You’ll find thundering waterfalls, serene rivers and lakes, and village ruins.

Cascading waterfall, Una National Park

Štrbački Buk, Una National Park

Trebinje

One of our favourite parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina because of its gentle, laid-back feel (and the fact that it’s wine country!). Walk to the city viewpoint, admire the stunning artwork in the Orthodox church, go wine tasting, wander around the small old town and sit by the Trebišnjica river. You could squeeze all of this in to one day, but I would recommend two or three for a more leisurely pace.

Trebinje Viewpoint, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Trebinje

Jajce

Jajce has a cascading waterfall running right through it; and it’s an impressive one. Find the most scenic viewpoints of the waterfall, head over to the Pliva lakes, see the traditional water mills and explore the historic town ruins.

Jajce Viewpoint

Jajce

Visegrad

Visegrad is very small but still worth a day trip. It is well-known for its iconic bridge and the glacial blue water of the Drina running below it. Wander over the bridge, and take in the area’s natural beauty with hills and forests.

Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Visegrad

Have you been to Bosnia and Herzegovina? Is there anywhere that you would add to the list?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.

 Thanks for reading!

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Top Vegetarian Restaurants in Sarajevo

Top Vegetarian Restaurants in Sarajevo

Zdravo, Sarajevo

Top Vegetarian Restaurants in Sarajevo

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‘I will answer any of your questions as long as you don’t ask for vegetarian restaurants’ our tour guide said. We had a feeling that vegetarianism was going to be difficult to uphold here, and now it was confirmed by a local.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is known for its ćevapi and heavy meat-based dishes; vegetarian dishes are not the norm. Surprisngly though, Sarajevo has several restaurants serving veggie food. You can find traditional Bosnian cuisine, Middle Eastern and even some vegan dishes. I know, I was shocked too; it wasn’t actually too tough to find restaurants catering to people like us. And we didn’t end up just eating the classic salad and chips that every vegetarian has had to ensure at some point. Take a look at our favourites below.

Or if you’re interested in things to do in Sarajevo, read this post.

Falafel Restaurant

A fully vegetarian restaurant in Sarajevo. I got a little too excited at this place because the falafel is so so good. We tried the falafel tortilla covered in tahini sauce and sriracha that comes with some chips and tabbouleh, as well as the falafel fatoush salad. Oohh. This is proper food in my book and we felt great after eating here.

Falafel and tabbouleh

Falafel

Zdravo

One of our favourite vegetarian restaurants in Sarajevo is actually fully vegan! It has the most beautiful indoor area with books and magazines, but also has an outdoor shaded area. If we had this place back home, we would be regulars. Located a little outside of the city, you may want to get a tram/trolleybus part of the way (or just walk it like we did). I promise you it is worth it. We ordered the chickpea tuna sandwich (a fond favourite I make myself back home), and a tricolore salad which consisted of quinoa, avo, garlicky tomatoes, curry sauce and walnuts. It sounds bizarre, I know, but it is so tasty.

chickpea sandwich at Zdravo, Sarajevo

Chickpea tuna sandwich

Tricolore Salad at Zdravo, Sarajevo

Tricolore salad

The Singing Nettle

Not a vegetarian restaurant, but there are vegan and veggie options available. The restaurant is in the newer part of the city and showcases traditional Bosnian cuisine as well as vegan and veggie alternatives. Almost all dishes contain nettle or nettle pesto which is collected from the nearby mountains of Sarajevo. Try the vegan sahan (Bosnian meatballs), and ravioli with nettle pesto and cheese. Really good food in a really cute setting.

vegan meatballs with dumplings and potatoes

Vegan sahan

Ravioli, The Singing Nettle Restaurant, Sarajevo

Ravioli with nettle pesto and cheese

The Singing Nettle Restaurant, Sarajevo

Cute decor in The Singing Nettle

Aščinica Stari Grad

Veggie options available. Proper traditional Bosnian cooking. They cook different food each day, so it is very much a case of asking for whatever veggie food is on for today. We had mashed potato, spinach with rice, veg stew and fluffy flatbreads – it was really tasty stuff. The restaurant is only open 10am til 4pm so head over during the day instead of for dinner.

vegetarian food selection

Mashed potato, spinach with rice, veg stew and fluffy flatbreads

Bahrana

Veggie options available. The menu is huge and there are plenty or veggie pizza/pasta options. We went for the four cheese pasta. It was really rich, like cheese fondue with pasta mixed in. I would recommend it to share between two people. The restaurant is also a grapperia!

All Bakeries

Ok, not technically a vegetarian restaurant, but you can find burek filled with potato, cheese or spinach, or sweet cinnamon simit which looks like a Danish pastry. Great for on-the-go snacking and picnics.

potato burek with pigeons in the background

Potato burek

Have you been to Sarajevo?

Are there any restaurants that you would add to the list?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.

 

Thanks for reading!

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