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 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)
The nature will blow you away!
Last weekend was my first time on the mountain Treskavica. I was blown away!
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!
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:)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:)
Here are some of some of the better known clubs and clubs which we have liked – in and around Sarajevo:
- PD Željezničar
- PD Igman
- PD Bobovac Kakanj
- Avantur (Not exactly a mountaineering club but an NGO with certified trekking guides. Check out our adventure with them)
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
Have you already trekked any mountain in Bosnia? Tell us about your experience!