Due to the Easter holiday, I could only get to Bosnia and Herzegovina for one day. My main reason for touring through Bosnia was to see the famous Old Bridge in Mostar. You can read my full guide to Mostar here.
I was really disappointed that I had such a short time in the country and didn't want to land in Sarajevo and take a train right to Mostar. That would be selling the country short. Luckily, I teamed up with Bestination Tours and got an awesome private tour of the country that really made great use of my short time there. We arranged for him to pick me up at the airport in Sarajevo and show me the countryside - a popular tour he offers - with a final drop off in Mostar.
Working with Halid planning my tour was simple and easy and he was very responsive via e-mail. I highly recommend using Bestination Tours if you plan a trip to Sarajevo or Mostar. Contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Arriving in Sarajevo
My flight landed at 11 am and Halid picked me up from the Sarajevo airport. After quick introductions, we immediately set out to the countryside. Only 5 minutes in we had our first – (unplanned) stop: a gas station. We loaded up on water and typical Bosnian sweets for the long day ahead. I know. Huge surprise I got sweets for the road! I swear he offered, I didn't ask for them. I guess you can just tell my immense sweet tooth from a mile away.
While we drove out of Sarajevo Halid told me the history of Bosnia, including the underground tunnel that runs below the Sarajevo airport! The Bosnian war during the 1990's really ravaged the country and it is still rebounding from the turbulent time period. Thankfully, tourism is growing every year due to its natural beauty. In fact, many articles have listed Sarajevo as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. (So seriously, book your next trip here)
First Stop: Konjic
After a quick 45 minutes of driving we reached the first town of Konjic. The main site was a bridge built in 1600 by the Ottoman Empire. It was torn down in WW2 by the Germans but built back into its original glory in 2009. The bridge is now on a list of National monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Next Stop: Lunch in Bosnia
After our first town, we both were starting to get hungry. Halid stopped on the outskirts of Konjic for krompersha – a typical Bosnian breakfast pie. (I'm so sorry if I spelled that wrong) There are many different varieties, both meat filled and meatless. I tried the potato pie and spinach pie. Both were delicious! Over my quick 36 hours in Bosnia and I ate SO many of these things. No regrets.
Stop 3: Broken Bridge on Neretva River
From lunch, we continued on the winding road to our next stop. A simple broken bridge with a lot of history. This bridge was a crucial stop during WW2. Imagine this, on one side, were the Italians, on the other the Germans. Both armies quickly marching to meet up in the middle and continue wrecking havoc on Europe. The partisans (Bosnian's) thought quickly and destroyed the bridge to stop the armies from meeting up and joining forces. A great victory for those against the Nazi's. Nowadays, there is a museum and a reconstructed broken bridge on the site dedicated to it. Unfortunately, it was raining when we arrived and I wasn't able to get a great picture. Click here to see what the broken bridge looks like.
My Favorite Stop: Kravica Waterfall outside Mostar
After the bridge, we drove past the town of Mostar (famous for its old bridge and what will be my final destination in Bosnia) and to a Waterfall just outside of Mostar called Kravica. Not only is it absolutely beautiful to view but it is also a swimming hole during the summer for many locals and tourists. Unfortunately, it was still a bit cold out to test the water but still beautiful all the same.
There is also a trail to a second waterfall that I wasn’t able to visit since we were pressed for time. A small coffee shop is also on site if you want some food or coffee during your visit.
Next Stop: Pochetelj
Continuing on we visited a ruined castle and medieval village called Pochetelj. Although I saw Kravica Waterfall was my favorite stop on the tour, this village was absolutely beautiful! The village is built in a natural karst amphiteatre along the Neretva river. The walled town of Počitelj evolved in the period from the 16th to the 18th centuries. (Source: Wikipedia) The village was bombed heavily and destroyed during the 1990s war by Croatian Forces. In 2000, reconstruction began to completely rebuilt the village back into its medieval roots.
The hike to the top of the hill is paved all the way up. At the top you can visit the ruins that remain. At your own risk.
Last Stop: Tekija Blagaj
Our last stop before my final destination of Mostar was Tekija Blagaj. You may recognize this place from many pictures on Pinterest. The Tekija (khanqah, dervish house) is first written about in 1446. It has been rebuilt and restored on multiple occasions. It is still a venue for dervish Zikr praise-chanting three nights a week, and a beautiful look into the past. It sits on the spring of the Buna River and there are many restaurants to eat on the river as well!
Finally, Halid dropped me off at my hotel in Mostar, the Muslibegovic museum. Although the day was long I am so glad I was able to see so much of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the short time I was there. Although my tour of the countryside was over my day wasn't. Now was time to explore Mostar. You can read more here.
If you have a chance to visit I highly recommend Bestination Tours. Halid can tailor a private tour to your needs or you can join a group tour for a reasonable price. Contact them by email at email@example.com