DISCOVER BOSNIA: Why you have to climb our mountains!

DISCOVER BOSNIA: Why you have to climb our mountains!

In addition to the cool photos that I took last weekend, here’s what else you’ll get when you scroll down:

 

  • How to see Bosnian nature without tourist agencies
  • How to find the hidden local trips
  • How to trek our mountains for free
  • A list of local mountaineering clubs and how to get in touch
  • Why you should never do it on your own!

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

 

Bosnia is no longer a secret for tourists (although I still hear stories of foreigners questioning the safety here. Daaaah,trust me, you’ll be safer here than in New York!).

 

And while our beautiful capital Sarajevo is getting attraction for all the right reasons, here’s an idea for an upgraded off-the-beaten-path experience.

 

(Also check out our experience of Lukomir, the cutest ever mountain village close to Sarajevo)

 

Bosnia Mountains Treskavica

 

 

The nature will blow you away!

 

Last weekend was my first time on the mountain Treskavica. I was blown away!

 

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

 

Bosnia Mountain treskavica

 

 

Quick facts about this mountain: It has over 300 springs, 5 lakes, and its highest peek is 2,088 km. Aaaand guess what, here you can drink water directly from the spring!

 

 

Bosnia Mountain treskavica

 

 

Quick fact to all my fellow readers who are (like me) out of shape: It is super doable! We walked over 20 km that day (from around 8 am until 7 pm) and I still got up to work the next day:)

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

 

Bosnia Mountain treskavica

 

 

 

Skip the tourist agencies!

 

We love the fact that the tourism industry has been blooming in Bosnia in recent years. We see new travel agencies popping up all the time, catering to the needs of foreign tourists. That’s great and all.

 

BUT, we like to do things differently when we travel. If you’re following us here, on our Facebook page, and on Instagram, then you know that we enjoy putting in some extra effort for the sake of genuine local experiences.

 

Bosnia Mountains Treskavica

 

That being sad, here’s how to see the most beautiful nature without other tourists around.

 

 

Facebook is your friend!

 

In Bosnia we are experiencing one of the warmest and most beautiful and colorful autumns EVER. This also means that it is the perfect weather to immerse in nature.

 

So when I wanted to climb some mountains last weekend (“climb some mountains” sounds too ambitious having in mind that I’m still recovering from my ankle accident:), my starting point was, wait for it, Facebook!

 

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

Bosnia Mountains Treskavica

 

 

With all the mountains in Bosnia, you can bet that we have tons of mountaineering clubs. Many of them are on Facebook and whenever they organize trips to Bosnian mountains, they post it as events on Facebook. Usually, these trips are open to everyone. You don’t have to be a member or anything like that.

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

So, all I had to do was type “planinarsko društvo” (local for “mountaineering club”) in the Facebook search tab.

 

I got a bunch of pages and groups of mountaineering clubs. By clicking any of them, I saw which trips they were organizing.

 

Bosnia Mountains Treskavica

 

 

How to get in touch with a local mountaineering club

 

When they post events on their fan page or group, the clubs explain when and where they are meeting, how demanding the trip is, how to register, and what you have to take with you.

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

 

 

Bosnia Mountains Treskavica

 

 

Since they are not catering to tourists, it will all be in local language. But, daaah, that’s what Google Translate is for:)

 

They will also post a contact number.

 

People in Bosnia in general speak at least a bit English. You’ll either call them on your own and hope that the other person is one of those with some English under their belt – or just ask someone in your hostel (or the new local friend you met in the bar the other day) to talk to them.

 

I am sure that they will be happy to have you on board! Plus, on these trips you’ll meet amazing locals many of which speak English or even German. On these trips you’ll see families with kids, elderly people (we had a 70-year old grandpa on board:)) and lots of young people. They will have all sorts of different backgrounds. I met professors, students, a doctor, pharmacists, lawyers, etc. They will love to share with you their knowledge about Bosnia, our history, the different plants, etc. You might as well end up meeting for drinks the next day:)

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

Here are some of some of the better known clubs and clubs which we have liked – in and around Sarajevo:

 

Bosnia Mountains Treskavica

 

 

How to do all of this for FREE

 

Local mountaineering trips are usually super cheap compared to what the travel agencies offer. It will usually cost around EUR / USD 10 to 15. It costs more only if it is further away or if it includes a sleepover.

 

This price usually includes transportation and – always, a certified guide. You have to bring your own food.

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

BUT, it can even cost you EUR/US 0! Just like my trip last weekend. I saw the event for the trip to Treskavica and called the mountaineering klub “Bobovac” Kakanj to ask about the payment. They said that for folks from Sarajevo it is free – since the meeting point is close to the city.

 

The only cost we had was our own fuel. Obviously, if you don’t have a car rental, you can either negotiate with a taxi driver to take you there and pick you up or you can even ask the klub if they know of anyone who’ll be driving from your direction, to share the ride.

 

 

Why you should NEVER do this on your own

 

I said at the beginning that Bosnia is safe. Well, when it comes to the mountains, there’s the issue with landmines, a leftover from the 90s war.

 

Many mountains are completely free of landmines BUT there are still a number of mountains where you will still find signs stating “Beware, mines!” Treskavica is one of them.

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

 

These signs should be taken seriously and you should not wander outside the strict marked trails. This is why it is super important to never hike alone. All mountaineering klubs have certified and experienced guides who know exactly which parts need to be avoided.

 

Here’s a picture of our awesome guide 🙂

 

Bosnia Mountain treskavica

 

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

But don’t let this scare you off. As long as you use common sense, take the necessary precautions, and go with experienced guides, your memories of Bosnian mountains will be nothing but magical.

 

Bosnia mountains Treskavica

 

Have you already trekked any mountain in Bosnia? Tell us about your experience!

 

DISCOVER BOSNIA: The mountain village Lukomir

DISCOVER BOSNIA: The mountain village Lukomir

If you’re visiting the capital of Bosnia, Sarajevo, you have to go to Lukomir. This is the highest mountain village in the country, at an elevation of 1,500 km.

 

It also has some Instagram worthy sights (Just look at the amazing cover photo!)

 

I had Lukomir on my bucket list for quite some time now and the occasion was perfect. We saw on Facebook that a local organisation, Avantur, was organizing an “iftar” in Lukomir. (Iftar is the meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan).

 

But before I jump into it, let me tell you how irresponsible I am. I hurt my ankle in the Dominican Republic a few weeks earlier. The ankle was still swollen and the doctor recommended strict rest. And what did I do? I still went on hiking to this mountain village with my walking support. The result? The leg hurt more after that. The moral? Be responsible, don’t be me.

 

Lukomir

My sexy walking support. Not.

 

BREATHTAKING SCENERY

 

Ok, so back to Lukomir. My first surprise was the fact that it is, wow, quite a ride away from Sarajevo. Over an hour and half, to be precise. And the journey takes you 15 km over a dirt road (as if I didn’t have enough of dirt roads in the Dominican Republic).

 

Lukomir

 

But it is worth every second of it because even on our way there, we were surrounded by breath taking nature.

 

Lukomir

 

Lukomir Bosnia

 

 

 

From time to time cows and sheep would block our road.

 

Lukomir

 

We took the time to talk to a shepherd. “You just missed the storm”, he told us. But how was that even possible, it had been unbearably hot the entire day in Sarajevo without a single rain drop (Random fact: We are experiencing some of the hottest summers in Bosnia!).

 

Lukomir

 

 

I wished we had more time to stop and look around because the views here were really something. But we were already running late and since all of us had been fasting the entire day, we were quite looking forward to see food on the table.

 

THIS VILLAGE IS A MOVIE SET

 

We arrived to what looked like a movie set and yet it was all genuine. Some data suggest it has been populated since the 15th century! Today, during the summer time there are around 20 families living here. In the winter the village is abandoned because it gets too cold and it snows too heavily.

 

Lukomir

 

Lukomir

 

Lukomir

 

Lukomir

 

Our first encounter was with a (extremely) persistent old lady. She insisted on showing us her handmade socks. She was quite the business woman, I must say. You see, I had no intention to buy anything and then I ended up with red wool socks. In the midst of summer. Yes, I’M THAT NAIVE.

 

Why can’t you say no to people, Emina? #Facepalm

 

The villagers were very open to talk to us. And this grandpa even made grandma sit in his lap for us🙂

 

 

One lady even they let us hold her dearest possession: her baby sheep (Yes, I’m the daughter of a veterinarian and I say baby sheep because I don’ know the exact term:D).

 

lukomir

 

 

BOSNIAN FOOD AT ITS FINEST

 

The “restaurant” where we ate is called Ljetna bašta (“Summer terrace”). It is not what you expect. What you get is basically sitting in someone’s dining room, while the host brings the food from the kitchen right behind your back.

 

Lukomir

 

It is open year around and you don’t have to call for reservations.

 

Our menu included topa (various sorts of melted cheese – an inevitable entry during Ramadan in the Sarajevo region), begova čorba (the traditional Bosnian chicken cream soup), zeljanica and sirnica (spinach pie and cheese pie), and for dessert – hurmasica (like many of our traditional sweets, basically sugar and flour in solid form covered with more sugar in liquid form. I love it).

 

Lukomir

Sirnica and zeljanica

 

AMAZING LOCAL EXPERIENCE

 

While we were eating, the neighbours came in and it all felt more like a family get together than a restaurant visit. We would call it a “sijelo” in Bosnia: when you’re visiting friends/family at their house and you end up sitting, eating and drinking until very late at night.

 

lukomir

 

 

After the “sijelo” around 12 am (“Please stay longer, we don’t mind”) we jumped on our orange minivan and then the next adventure began: getting back in the middle of night. By the time we were in Sarajevo, Nerko and I made new friends and had a wonderful day.

 

It really isn’t about how much time you have for new experiences but what you do with it.

 

I am explicitly naming the organisation  Avantur here because we had a wonderful experience with them. We are not getting any commission from advertising them. But we do get the joy of promoting a beautiful initiative by a local who truly believes that our country has a lot to offer. We wish Avantur all the best and hope to enjoy their trips in the future – as soon as my leg is fully recovered, I promise!

 

HAVE YOU BEEN TO LUKOMIR? DID YOU LIKE IT?

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