Rich culture mixed with stunning old towns.
EuropeBosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia5 days / August - September 2018
Highs & Lows
The trainride from Sarajevo to Mostar was seriously the most beautiful train ride I've ever been on!
Too little time! We should have spent a little longer at each place to be able to make the most of it
Before we started this trip, we didn't really know a lot about the Balkan peninsula. We decided to travel this region because friends of mine had done a similar trip and loved it, because it was not so far away from home so we only had to fly once (back) and because we wanted to explore what we thought were still some "secret locations" away from the turistic mainstream. Well, it turned out we were actually not that original in our travel plans as we met quite a lot of other travelers, which was also nice and the places we met were still beautiful and we learned a lot. The region is so diverse in termes of religious and ethnic beackground and has such a rich history which we never learned about in German history class so I am really glad we went and got to learn a little bit!
Sarajevo is breathtaking! We already fell in love with the city when we were driving there by bus - since the city is inside a valley, you can see it from up top when driving there. What makes Sarajevo special is that many different religions coexist peacefully within close proximity to each other - you have mosques, catholic churches, orthodox churches and synagogues mostly within walking distance from each other.
We spend our day strolling through the city, in awe by the beautiful architecture, watching a friday prayer from outside a mosque (as women are not allowed to enter then), enjoying the unique craftmanship on one of the many markets and drinking a turkish coffee in a nice café.
In the evening, we decided that we wanted to do something special for my friends birthday: We had read about the amazing views from Park Princeva so we decided to have dinner there. We expected that we would have to hike a bit, but we didn't expect that the hike was THAT steep. By half of the hike, my friend was already swearing (ok to be honest, she was just wearing flip flops, which we could have known before that it was not a good idea) but at that time it would have been just as hard to go back down, so we decided to keep going. We were rewarded, however, with a really great view from the restaurant and seing the Bosnian war cemetary on the way which both made the steep climb up totally worth it!
After dinner, we explored the nightlife in Sarajevo a bit and we really enjoyed it! As Sarajevo is quite a "young" town with many students, there is definetely a lot going on at night!
We took a train from Sarajevo to Mostar because we had read that the ride is quite nice and it really held up to its promise! The train was new, super clean and comfy and the view was incredible! We passed a gorgeous lake and cute valleys - sadly, I didn't take any pictures. But I made up for it by taking even more pictures in Mostar... the old town with its stone bridge and the views from it are just too beautiful not to capture! We really spend a lot of time on and around the bridge as it is so nice there. Also, there were some "cliff jumpers" jumping off the bridge (if the tourists gave them enough money beforehand) which obviously caught our attention.
Another reason for us to visit Mostar were the Kravice Waterfalls which are about an one-hour car drive from Mostar. We rented a car in one of the car rentals close to our airbnb and hit the road quite early to get to the waterfalls before the big rush of tourists would arrive. I have to say that the drive there is not for the faintest of heart - the many winding curves got me quite nervous at times and I had to drive the whole time because my friend had forgotten to bring her driver's licence (unfortunately for me, but fortunately for her...). Anyways, we (and the car) made it safely there and back and we really enjoyed our day exploring the waterfalls and swimming in the water.
On the way back to Mostar, we visited the small town of Medjugorje, which is a place of pilgrimage. According to the legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to two girls on the Mount Podbrdo in 1981 and since then, people have repeatedly reported having apparations of her. The energy of the place is definetely unique and due to that I feel like the place is worth a visit even for non-religious people.
Back in Mostar, we did a free walking tour which was really interesting and visited a Hamam Museum which I would also highly recommend!
In general, I feel like we visited during the perfect time (beginning of September) as the weather was nice but not too hot. People told us that during June and July the temperatures get so hot that you basically can't do anything during the day.
Dubrovnik is a picturesque city along the coast of Kroatia. The stone castle was the filming location for the famous "King's Landing", the castle in the medieval television series "Game of Thrones". So naturally, the place is super touristy with Game of Thrones Tours being offered at virtually every corner of the city. We knew that before going there, but since we're also huge Game of Thrones nerds we just HAD to go. But we didn't stay overnight and we brought our own food, I think that way we saved a lot of money.
We also didn't do a Game of Thrones Tour and just explored the city by ourselves and enjoyed the nice weather and the sea. For me, it was perfect that way!
Q & A
What would you have changed?Next time, I would try to free up more time to be able to stay at each location a little longer to really make the most out of it
Packing tips?We didn't need anything "special"
Transportation Tips?We used busses which worked fine and one time, we used the train from Sarajevo to Mostar (which I really recommend, great view!).