Herzegovina, or popularly called Duke’s land and Bosnian California, is one of the most visited BiH regions. With Mostar being in its centre, it has been attracting various type of travellers who are into amazingly beautiful sceneries, intact nature and fertile land fused with karst and stone, urban organism that shaped a strong Herzegovinian mentality.
There is not a single meter of Herzegovina which will fail to surprise or fascinate you, but a bit of a local help might not hurt. We are bringing you top 15 places that are simply a must visit locations when in Herzegovina, no matter if you are into culture, history, adventure or a bit of all.
Peacefully nested on banks of turquoise Neretva river, there is no chance you could or should miss this place if travelling between Sarajevo and Mostar. This charming and prehistorically inhabited town is treasured for its beautifully preserved čaršija (bazaar) and 17th century 6-arch Old Ottoman Bridge.
Konjic is also a home to famous ARK D-0 or Tito’s Bunker, one of the best kept Yugoslavian secrets which took 26 years and around 5 billion dollars to be built. The bunker was meant to provide a shelter to over 350 Yugoslav leaders and army generals in case of Nuclear War. Today, you can easily explore its premises with the entrance fee of 10 EUR.
When in Konjic, white water rafting at upper Neretva region and glacier Boracko Lake are also only a wish away for those who are into adrenaline rush and chasing the waterfalls, slopes, canyons and turnarounds.
Restaurant Vidikovac with a beautiful terrace towering the old town of Konjic is a perfect spot to have some rest and enjoy mesmerising views of beautifully preserved bridge and houses reflecting in crystal clean Neretva river.
Road between Konjic and Mostar will bring stunning sceneries merging into views of giant Prenj mountain and calm waters of Jablanicko Lake at your fingertips.
Jablanica is a small town of great importance and is known for the famous WWII Neretva Battle and successful invasion of Partisans led by Josip Broz Tito. Make sure to visit the commemorating park and bring your camera as you will able to take some amazing photos at the site.
Besides being a historical and nature treasure trove, Jablanica is also popular for being a Balkan’s capital of preparing a lamb on the spit. Roasted and mouth-watering lamb meat will leave no meat lover indifferent.
Plucked from the pages of fairy tale, Mostar is a city that screams for the recognition. It found its safe haven as a place that naturally connects the Adriatic coast and hinterland of Bosnia.
The city is an amazing fusion of karst topography and an abundance of watercourses with numerous different historical periods that staked their claim to the city and sculpted it in a way that it proudly stands on a throne of cultural, historical, architectural and natural diversity of Balkans.
When in Mostar, follow the stories of east and west lurking over each corner of charming narrow streets and cobblestone passages. Make sure to spend enough time not only to see the most important sites, one of which is surely Unesco protected Old Bridge, but to feel the pulse of the city and soak up every atom of its amazingly colourful and vibrant atmosphere.
Admire the bridge from the above, from below and from its very heart of slippery rock construction resisting your feet. Find your perfect spot at a small river bank listening to the murmur of strong Neretva flow, feel the strong heartbeat of Herzegovinian cliff divers while overhearing the distant voices of everyday life and enjoy the complete calmness provided by this Mostar Phoenix.
You will find Blagaj only 13kms from Mostar. This charming place is well known among travellers and is mostly associated with unique intact nature, water abundance and absolute serenity.
Blagaj is located on banks of mesmerising Buna river spring, subterranean river which is considered to be a most beautiful, most powerful and the largest amongst karst springs in Europe.
Besides the turquoise and drinkable water of karst river, Blagaj is also known as a home to Blagaj Tekke, a Dervish House representing a true architectural wonder and a unique sacral-residential example of Islamic architecture where you can enter the world of mystical Sufi life in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Blagaj is a perfect place to have a lunch break while enjoying the views over the enchanting Blagaj Tekke and calming sounds of Buna river. Due to the river cleanliness, Blagaj is known for its speciality, locally prepared trout.
You don’t have to be a sommelier or a huge wine connoisseur in order to enjoy a glass of good wine. If you are into wine flavours, Čitluk is a place to be. Located 20 kms from Mostar and less than 5 kms from Medjugorje, Čitluk is a safe haven for numerous small wine producers offering some of the finest wine flavours in Balkans and wider.
Herzegovinian wines will surprise your palates with so far unknown scents and aromas mostly produced from indigenous grape sorts Žilavka and Blatina. Wine tastings are extremely budget friendly comparing to other wine countries.
With their thousand acres of productive vineyards, indigenous grape varieties of Zilavka and Blatina and little or no marketing at all, Herzegovinian wine makers are successfully producing a perfect symphony of fruit, sugar, alcohol, acid, and tannin giving a unique structure and flavour profile to their wines.
Medjugorje is a place visited by millions of Catholic pilgrims each year due to a belief into apparition of Virgin Mary. Located 25 kms from Mostar, it belongs to municipality of Čitluk.
In the end of the June 1981, from 24th until 26th, at the hill called Crnica, near the place called Podbrdo, six children have, allegedly, witnessed apparitions of Virgin Mary. Sceptic or not, Medjugorje will enable you to travel out from the profane world and absorb the amazing serenity, greatness and immortal beauty of religion while discovering the history and culture at the same time.
20-30min hike up the Crnica hill which is also called the Apparition hill will take you to the Virgin Mary statue. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes as stones are quite slippery and polished.
Masses at St. James Church are held several times a day in multiple languages.
Zitomislići are known for its beautiful and serene Orthodox Monastery. It is located 18.5 kms from Mostar and is one of the must stops while exploring the region of Herzegovina.
The monastery was built in 16th century and is one of the most beautiful Orthodox temples in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This tranquil oasis of peace and contemplation is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin and is a legacy of the Miloradović-Hrabren family whose graveyard can be found at famous Radimlja necropolis.
Despite its serene atmosphere, monastery is also known for the uniquely vibrant and colourful interior with stunning and artistic walls and iconostasis.
If traveling to Žitomislići, make sure to have a short stop at Buna village. This amazingly picturesque settlement is located 11 kms from Mostar and is known as a place where beautiful Buna River meets with powerful Neretva.
Stolac is a European’s hidden jewel that was discovered back in the ancient time and back beyond the modern world. From a stunning intact nature all the way to archaeological and anthropological sites dating back from 14,000 BC, this incredibly authentic town has above and beyond of everything you could wish for.
Stolac was a hideout of prehistoric man, the Illyrian acropolis, an ancient municipality, a medieval city, a resting place of stećak tombstones, a resort of Ottoman beys and Austro-Hungarians stop over.
Besides taking a stroll next to a fascinating Bregava river embraced by numerous small bridges and mills, you should take a short hike to old town of Vidoski, enjoy the charming premises of Mak’s house, visit the ancient Daorson, learn about famous stecci at Radmilja necropolis and indulge into a plethora of outdoor activities this charming area is offering.
Stolac is known as the place of the pilgrimage of the Sephardic Jews. The pilgrimage has three graves, one in the middle is belongs to Moses Danon, a supreme rabbi, elected in 1815. by the Jewish community of Sarajevo.
The medieval town and Ottoman village of Počitelj became an inevitable stop for most of the travellers and tour operators covering the Balkans. This hinterland of the Balkans represents one of the most beautiful architectural ensembles in the entire country.
Shaped through the centuries within a natural karst amphitheatre-like hillside, this fort town with only 17 residents became an art gallery and a favourite inspiration for artists from all around the world. The village is like a time machine that will teleport you back to the 16th and 17th century, a golden era of Počitelj.
The architecture of Počitelj is in absolute balance with the surrounding nature. The charming small houses terrace gardens are beautiful combination of stone, flowers, grapevine, fig and pomegranate trees also with a breathtaking view on a Neretva river valley.
Stairway to serenity, leading towards the main mosque and Gavrankapetanović residential complex. During the high season (March – November) friendly residents will find protection of the shade under the mighty inner walls and chit-chat while trying to offer locally made stuff, from textile, work of art, and most importantly local fresh fruits.
40 kms from Mostar, and around 20 kms from Pocitelj, Trebižat River plummets in a 28m-high arc creating a mesmerising natural and 120 meters wide water amphitheater known as Kravice Waterfall. These captivating waterfalls trapped in lush greenery are a perfect setting for everyone looking for a scape into intact nature.
For those of you who are into swimming and pedalling, due to its clear refreshing water, late spring, summer and early autumn might be the best times to visit this spectacular disney-like setting.
However, winter has its charm and will provide spectacular views over the dove-white nature embraced by powerful waterfalls and calming sounds of water.
The paradisiacal setting of Kravice is a truly remarkable cascade on the Trebižat River nested in a very heartland of Herzegovina karst.
Čapljina is a small town located less than 20km from the Croatian border. The main landmarks of the town are statue of King Tomislav and the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Town is known for a great archaeological history and, due to its closeness to Hutovo Blato, untouched nature and wild life. When in Capljina make sure to check out the small village Prebilovci which, according to a research done by the Japanese Asahi Shimbun paper, is a village that suffered the most in Europe during the WWII.
Charming Orthodox church in Prebilovci is the only one in the country with a grandiose amphitheatre. Its beautifully colourful design is meant to celebrate life not death.
During the Second World War, on 6 August 1941, around 800 civilians among which 650 were women and children were taken away from their homes and thrown into natural pits around that area. Their bones were taken out of the pit and placed in the crypt of the church that was built in 1991 just a year before the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Hutovo Blato Nature Park is located in southeastern Herzegovina, on the left side of the Neretva River in the municipalities of Čapljina and Stolac. It occupies an area of 7411 ha and is tucked away in a secluded corner of Herzegovina.
This amazingly beautiful and completely off the beaten path nature and bird reserve is the largest of its kind in the entire Balkans.
The place is a home to hundreds of migratory birds and is completely shielded from any impact of human kind. It is known for its abundance of fresh water which is a safe haven for life conditions of thousands of animal species.
If travelling via East Herzegovina make sure to put vast fertile land of Popovo Polje and Zavala village on your list. The small settlement Zavala is known for two major landmarks: Zavala Monastery and Vjetrenica Cave.
Zavala Monastery is one of the most important Serbian Orthodox monastery in the country with first written records dating back from 16th century. The amazing fact is that the northern wall of the monastery’s church is situated within a cave, and this is also a temple where where Basil of Ostrog entered into monasticism.
Besides being the largest in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vjetrenica is also the most biodiverse cave system in world. With a total length of 7km and constant annual temperature of 11.6°C, this spectacular cave will offer a unique speleological experience and make you feel as if you were in a totally different planet. Individual entrance fee to Vjetrenica Cave is cca 8 EUR.
Vjetrenica (Eng.“windy cave”) is a hydrologically active flowing-through speleological object with as many as 4 watercourses – streams, and dozens of smaller periodic streams with subterranean lakes. It is also a home to the endemic Olm or the “human fish” – cave salamander (lat.Proteus anguinus).
You will find Tvrdoš Monastery only 5kms from Trebinje, in East Herzegovina, where small villages are scattered like puzzles at banks of jewel blue Trebišnjica river, the largest underground river in the Balkans.
Dating back from 15th century, Tvrdoš Monastery is one of the oldest and most important cultural and historical monuments of Orthodox heritage. Atmosphere of this serene temple merged with harmonious nature sounds and a complete silence will absolutely overcome any earthly burden you ever had. Guided Tour of Monastery is free of charge but you should announce your visit.
Monastery Tvrdoš has centuries old tradition of wine production and is world wide known for being one of the major wine producers in the country. It is producing variety of gold winning wine sorts which, if you decide to indulge into wine tasting, will surprise your palates with its obscure flavours.
No matter how unfamiliar are you with Orthodox religion, this monastery will provide an incredible feeling of simplicity and understanding the so far obscure and perplexing. If you are into wine, for a symbolic price of less than 2 Eur per glass, you can indulge into a world of overwhelming Tvrdoš wine flavours and explore the 15th century stone wine cellar.
Trebinje is a city with annually 260 sunny days. Embraced by strong Herzegovinian sun, and nested on banks of Trebisnjica, one of the largest European sinking rivers, Trebinje is indeed a classic of Bosnian California.
Due to breathtaking Trebišnjica river, its unique profane Mediterranean architecture, pleasant climate, and fascinating sacral architecture Trebinje, according to many, holds the epithet of the most beautiful Herzegovinian town. Moreover, the city and its surroundings are known as an inevitable part of Herzegovinian Wine Route.
Wander around the streets within the walls of the Trebinje old town and discover the charming shops and bazaars, take a boat ride on the Trebišnjica river, walk the amazing Arslanagić bridge and enjoy the stunning views from the plateau of the Herzegovinian Gračanica. Having in mind the proximity of both, Croatian and Montenegrin border, we simply can not find a good reason to skip this amazing city.
Hercegovacka Gracanica, Serbian Orthodox monastery located at Crkvina hill, built in 2000 as a replica of the middle ages Gračanica monastery which is located at Kosovo.
Although public transportation is possible, travelling through Herzegovina Region is best by either joining the tour or taking a road trip. This will maximise your time and comfort while traveling at your own pace, without missing a thing.