OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES OF HERZEGOVINA
Herzegovina: Bosnian California
During the Bosnian Kingdom Herzegovina was known as the “Hum Land” (Bos: Hum ; Eng: Hill). Afterwards, the duke Herceg Stjepan, renamed the region to Herzegovina, in the 15th Century. He gave the name “Herzegovina” after he married the Bavarian princess. Therefore, Bavarians were calling him “herzog” (Ger: duke), so he decided to name his territory in the same way. The duke Herceg Stjepan Kosača was actually born in Foča, southeast Bosnia. In conclusion, he was a Bosnian duke that wanted a little bit more power for himself.
Outdoor Activities of Herzegovina Region
Bosnia & Herzegovina is a tiny country with a huge natural diversity. Bosnia would be the continental part which is more humid, green and cold. Herzegovina is a completely opposite, with a dry and rocky landscape where the temperature can reach up to 40 ⁰C.
Humankind had always used the materials that were most affordable, therefore in Herzegovina everything was made out of stone. People were born, lived, died and were buried under it as well. Watermills and water tanks were made out of stone, the fertile karst valleys were bordered with rocks. Field boundaries were drawn with dry stone walls as simple lines. Castles, homes, roads and bridges were made out of stone as well. The famous Bosnian tombstones (Bos: stećak) and the Old Bridge Mostar are best examples of how the rocks were important for the society.
Herzegovina is also characteristic for fruits like figs, pomegranates, persimmons, medlars, peaches, kiwis and many others. These kinds of fruits you will not find in Bosnia. Honey, meat and tobacco are also characteristic due to the climate and landscape. Therefore, you will enjoy the best organic Mediterranean food.
In Herzegovina you will enjoy magnificent rural areas combined with Mediteranian architecture, hospitality, tasty food and nature. Herzegovina is full of hidden oases that you find in the middle of a dry rocky area. Therefore the impressions are even bigger when you reach some of the oases. Rural spots of Herzegovina are a perfect solution if you want to “run away” from tourists packed destinations. Therefore, you should visit some of the spots if you are already staying in Dubrovnik or Mostar.
Herzegovinian UNESCO Bicycle Trail
The famous Herzegovina UNESCO bicycle trail connects three cities that are on the UNESCO list. Mostar, Dubrovnik and Kotor will leave you speechless! But that’s not all, between those cities there is also so much to see!
The unique UNESCO bicycle trail, the “Ćiro’s railroad”, (Bos. “Ćirina pruga”) made the old Austro – Hungarian narrow gauge railway alive again. The bicycle route is following the old railroad and it’s a unique combination of an outdoor museum incorporated in stunning nature. The route from Mostar to Dubrovnik lasts 3 days and most of the time you will spend in Herzegovina.
Let us introduce you to the 3 day “Ćiro’s railroad” trail:
DAY ONE: Mostar – Čapljina
On the first day you will enjoy the river Neretva, Old Town of Mostar, Blagaj Tekke, Old Town Počitelj and Mogorjelo – the Roman villa rustica. This part of the trail is an open-air museum where you will meet with lots of Ottoman architecture.
DAY TWO: Čapljina – Ravno
Cycling from Čapljina to Ravno throughout the Herzegovinian karst is the second day of the tour. Enjoying the beautiful sceneries of Popovo karst field and the Nature Park Hutovo Blato is a jaw – dropping experience. After arriving in Ravno you should visit the old Austro – Hungarian railroad station and have lunch there. Actually the old railroad station is now a hotel where you can stay for a night. After the break you should check out the biggest cave in the country called Vjetrenica.
DAY THREE: Ravno – Trebinje – Dubrovnik
Cycling throughout Popovo Karst field to Trebinje and Dubrovnik is the third day. In Trebinje you should check the old town and have a nice lunch. There you shouldn’t skip the Arslanagića bridge and Tvrdoš Monastery, which is located just before Trebinje on the main road! After Trebinje the route goes to Dubrovnik!
Trebinje – Water Paradise and Paragliding Adrenaline Fun
Trebinje is the southernmost municipality in Herzegovina and it’s just 25 minutes from Dubrovnik. This town is well known for vines, amazing river places to cool yourself down and beautiful monasteries. Herzegovinian vine is becoming world wide known and the most well known from Trebinje is “Vukoje Vine” . Therefore, you should give yourself a break after the crowded Dubrovnik city tours. In Trebinje you will find the Bosnian cuisine and the prices are much lower than in Dubrovnik.
In Trebinje you should visit two amazing river spots that are close to each other. Therefore, you will feel as reborn in the remote area of two small rivers Jazina and Sušica. You can stay in a hotel called “Jazina Club” and enjoy the beautiful nature of Herzegovina. Here you can find many spots for swimming and enjoying the beauty of the water. Locals and workers in the hotel will tell you the best locations. About 30 minutes drive, on the way to Mostar, you should check the biggest cave in the country. “Vjetrenica” (Eng. Wind Cave) is also characteristic for the endemic species of an aquatic salamander called olm.
Paragliding is a must do option if you like adrenaline and you plan to stay in Trebinje. “Paragliding Aero club Trebinje” will provide you with unforgettable memories that will never vanish from your mind. The amazing mountain of Bjelašnica, Popovo karst field, river Trebišnjica and the town architecture are amazing while observing it from the sky.
Trebinje is famous for bridges so why not check the Arslanagića Bridge and Roman Bridge on Sušica river. When we speak about sacral architecture then definitely you should check out Tvrdoš Monastery, Herzegovinian Gračanica and Osman – Pasha mosque.
Stolac – Breathtaking Nature combined with Architectural Heritage
Stolac offers outdoor activities for one or two days of joy. We are glad to suggest you two amazing routes that you will enjoy:
Stolac – Daorson – Radimlja Canyon (Istup)
Stolac – Boljuni – Hutovo Blato
Ismir Mulać is from Stolac and he is a passionate motorbike driver and nature lover. Ismir is very keen and open for any kind of discussion, most important with him you are safe. Therefore, you will feel his positive vibes. In conclusion his vibes combined with stunning nature will make your day unforgettable.
Food is also the key factor for making the tour fully enjoyable. Herzegovina is known for its own food recipes, so Ismir will arrange anything you like. No matter if you like meat or you are vegetarian or vegan, you will find your tasty meal. There is also the possibility to visit the “tepa” (local expression for market) and to choose by yourself what to eat. On the “tepa” you will find organic food from Herzegovina such as honey, cheese, meat, vegetables and fruits.
Depending what you prefer, there are two options of mentioned routes. You can choose to go with the bicycles or with a jeep. Let us introduce you the routes:
The route can take all day long, but it can be arranged for a shorter time. Adventure starts from Stolac and goes further to the old Ilirian settlement called Daorson (300 BC). After the visit of Daorson, the route goes to the village Berane. From Stolac to Berane you need about 1 hour drive with the bicycle. After Berane goes the downhill part, into the Radimlja river canyon. With the bicycle you would need a maximum 30 minutes drive to the part where you continue by foot. The short fruit picking stop comes after you place the bicycle to safety and cool yourself in freshwater. Peaches are a perfect solution for body fluid recovery. Fruits are the tasty announcement that the best part of the route is coming. Adventure throughout “Istup” is a lifetime experience. Canyoning can take about 4 hours with resting, swimming and jumping in canyon pools. Jumping into the pools of the canyon from the small beautiful waterfalls while the frogs are cheering is a jaw – dropping adventure.
Prepare some sneakers for the canyoning because it’s not possible to go barefooted. Dense shrubs around the water are giving another green dimension of the canyon. It’s dense enough to make the experience more worthed, so don’t hesitate! The canyon is a green hidden oasis in the middle of a dry rocky area. Therefore, the feeling is like you are in some forgotten world, where nature runs the main word.
The organic food from Stolac “tepa”, after the unforgettable canyoning, will wait for you. Prepared by your own wishes!
The second route is also full day experience, but it can be arranged for a shorter time if you prefer. The route starts from Stolac and goes further to Boljuni necropolis. You would need about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the first destination, with the bicycles. Short presentation about the Bosnian Kingdom comes after you cool down and refresh yourself. Boljuni necropolis dates from the times of the Bosnian Kingdom and they are listed in UNESCO world heritage. Also you will listen to a short introduction to one of the most famous Bosnian writers. Mehmedalija Mak Dizdar was a Bosnian writer that dedicated many of his poems to the medieval Bosnian tombstones and Bosnia. After the history and poem class you will continue to the last stop, Hutovo Blato. For about 1 hour and 30 minutes you will reach Hutovo Blato and get ready for another water adventure.
After some time comes the downhill part where you will be amazed by the stunning view at Hutovo Blato. You will arrive at spots for swimming with the canoes, after you get to Hutovo Blato. The water is calm, crystal clear and this nature park will provide you all the outdoor adventure that you need. If you are a bird lover, prepare your stuff because this is a bird heaven.
Canoeing on Trebižat River & Paragliding in Town of Ljubuški
The amazing Trebižat river is unique in Europe, because it sinks 9 times in the karst area. What does it mean? In the karst area rivers mostly sink underground, due to the melting of sedimentary rocks. The water mostly finds a way out in lower elevation levels after reaching the water resistant rocks.
River Trebižat offers you amazing spots for swimming, resting, canoeing and enjoying the tasty food. The temperature of the river during summer is about 20 ⁰C, which is perfect for swimming. Trebižat river is only about 35 km far away from Mostar!
Best place for enjoying Trebižat River is Kravice Waterfall. There you have nice restaurants where to enjoy the Herzegovinian vine and food. Waterfall Kravice is a breathtaking place and a place where you can swim completely safely. For more impressions you should take a short drive on a watercraft around the waterfall Kravice. It’s not just Trebižat River that the town of Ljubuški is proud of. Paragliding is another outdoor activity that will leave you speechless. If you like adrenaline, “Ljubuški Paragliding” will provide you the best flying moments in your life.
Another option on Trebižat river is canoeing. Canoe Safari Adventure is another water adventure that Herzegovina is proud of. Trebižat has peaceful parts, but also parts with slopes for a bit more adrenaline. Therefore, it’s suitable for anyone and any age group. “Adventure Trebižat” offers you two routes. One is 8 km long and lasts about 4 hours, the other is 12 km long and lasts about 6 hours. In both routes lunch is included.
This river is a perfect shelter during the Herzegovinian hot weather. Don’t hesitate and come to Trebižat, the pearl of Herzegovina!
Rafting on Neretva River
Neretva is the biggest river in Herzegovina which saids through Mostar as well. In Konjic you can do Neretva rafting and also visit the Tito’s atomic shelter. Konjic is about 45 minutes drive from Sarajevo and 1 hour drive from Mostar. Tito’s atomic shelter is a huge underground shelter built by the government of former Yugoslavia during the Cold War period. It’s an amazing tour that takes about 2 hours and you shouldn’t miss it if you are already in Konjic.
Neretva rafting is also a lifetime experience and definitely worth doing. You will be stunned by the landscape while driving throughout mountains to reach the startpoint. That is like a preparation for the adrenaline packed rafting. The canyon is amazing and deep, the water is cold and perfect for refreshing. The water is crystal – clear so you can freely drink from the river. Rafting is completely packed with adrenaline and combined with stunning nature is a chaw – dropping experience. The rafting takes about 4 hours and you pass about 23 km of the canyon. Don’t worry about safety, you will be in safe hands with licensed guides.
Jablanica Lake as the Fishing and Swimming Spot
Jablanica Lake is another tourist attraction near Konjic, which you should visit if you are an outdoor person and nature lover. This lake is one of many artificial lakes in Bosnia & Herzegovina that is used for electricity production. The Jablanica Lake offers you a boat driving and swimming in beautiful crystal clear water. Near the lake is also a town called Jablanica and there you should try the best roasted lamb in the country.
On the main road you have many restaurants after you pass the town, in conclusion you just need to stop and order! Jablanica Lake is definitely a perfect spot for you if you like fishing! The lake has about 13 different fish species, most common is the Stream trout. Some of the other fishes are European carp, Prussian carp, European chub, Marble trout and many others.
Rama Lake & Blidinje Nature Park
If you like hiking then Blidinje Nature Park is a perfect option for you. Čvrsnica mountain is the “keeper” of the nature park. The nature park is the regional border between Herzegovina and Bosnia. Here you have amazing hiking trails and also the option to rent quads from “ATV Experience” Livno. Hiking trail of Čvrsnica mountain is part of the “Via Dinarica White Trail” and for hiking lovers is a “must do” activity. “Hajdučka Vrata” (Eng. “Robber’s Gate”) is a famous geomorphological phenomena of Čvrsnica. The “Robbers Gate” was named after the robbers who inhabited the Čvrsnica mountain in Ottoman times. Nature Park Blidinje is known for the famous restaurant called ”Hajdučke Vrleti”. The food is organic and local, therefore you will explore and enjoy new food.
Rama Lake is 1 hour drive from the Nature Park Blidinje. It’s worthed to stop and to refresh yourself. There is also a beautiful Catholic Monastery – Šćit, on the lake peninsula. After the hike on Čvrsnica mountain this lake will be your perfect spot for cooling down and battery recharge. Rama Lake and Nature Park Blidinje are perfect for two or more days of nature outdoor activity. Rama lake is also a perfect destination if you like fishing. Some of the fish species that you can catch are Stream trout, European carp, Zander, Marble trout and many others.