Bosnia and Herzegovina

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Why hello there, welcome back!

Back in October, I went on a little tour of Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia with my cousin Rachel (who also writes an amazing blog: The Paper Napkin). The time has now come for me to share all the pictures, stories, tips and adventures with you guys... so enjoy!

First things first, the plan. I do love a good holiday plan, especially if it involves road trips because it allows you to add so may more things to your map! So here's the final version. We planned to travel around for 9 days starting from Sarajevo. The main destinations were: Sarajevo - Sutjeska National Park - Dormitor National Park - Kotor - Dubrovnik - Mostar - Sarajevo.

The big yellow stars are things not to miss in Bosnia and the red ones are things not to miss in Montenegro / Croatia.

I landed in Sarajevo late in the morning of our first day and met Rachel at the airport. We rented a rather dodgy car (more on that later) and made way to our hostel. The hostel was great by the way: The Doctor's House. It's perched on a hill though so might be a hassle if you are travelling using public transport! Since the weather at the end of October was also rather dodgy, we decided to maximise the good weather of the first day and go on a hike in the mountains behind Sarajevo. Yeah, mountains around Sarajevo, that's the first thing I learnt about Bosnia as soon as I flew in! Mountains, and lots of them...

Mountains behind Sarajevo in the fall
The destination was Skakavac Waterfall (waterfalls seem to be a bit of a theme on the blog these days, but I'm not one to complain). It is easily reachable if you have your own car, as is the case with 60% of the things we have seen and done. I think you could probably do our trip without a car and use public transport / tours, but then you would have to go to Bosnia in season which is in the summer. We went mid-October which isn't even shoulder season, it's like elbow season. But on the plus side, there was nobody there but us!

Hiking towards Skakavac
Skakavac Waterfall (can you spot it?)
Georgeous isn't it? It's roughly a 3 hour hike there and back, relatively easy with mild uphill parts but all on a dirt road. On the way back to our hostel our car broke (only 4hours after it apparently underwent full a technical check might I add) so we had to get it replaced. We swapped for  a much less dodgy one which was an added bonus.

View of Sarajevo from cemetery
The next day we quickly visited Sarajevo's old town, knowing we could do more sightseeing on our return at the end of the trip and made our way to the Sutjeska National Park.

I must admit I was a bit worried about the roads in Bosnia whilst researching itineraries and sights to see. A lot of travel companies will tell you that the roads aren't great and that a 4x4 is needed. But I think that's just to scare you into buying a packaged tour from them. To be honest, the roads were really good. Driving downtown Sarajevo is a bit crazy, but nothing compared to London unless you are planning on driving through the tiny roads near the cemetery, that's a big no no. And the roads in the countrysides have a couple pot holes, but again, not much worse than in Canada after a really cold winter. Oh and then there are landmines... But we only saw the warning ⚠️ landmines sign a couple of times and it was in random back roads between Bosnia and Croatia (shocker we got lost). 

Conditions of roads from Sarajevo to Sutjeska (see not bad!)
In any case, the scenery from Sarajevo to the Sutjeska National Park is really beautiful and well worth the road trip. We arrived at the entrance of the national park and were greeted by a majestic war monument, ready to take on the hike the next day!

War monument at entrance of Sutjeska National Park
Next up: Hiking at the foot of Maglic, in the Sutjeska National Park.

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