03 Feb Road trip #6: Hercegovina tour 2
Whenever you see articles with title “Road trip” you can expect stories from our trips around our homeland, Bosnia and Herzegovina. We use every free moment to explore our country, visiting famous tourist destinations and those known only to the locals. We are always looking for interesting places to visit and we would like to hear it from you, send us information about your hometown or place you discovered!
Another weekend, another trip and one more time, Herzegovina. Our first stop was Hutovo blato, a nature and bird reserve. This is the largest reserve of its kind in the region, in terms of size and diversity and home to over 240 types of migratory birds. Unfortunately, during August it gets really hot, over 35 degree celsius and that made our walk around the park hard and short. Since this park is currently under threat of destruction and it is not known for how long it will survive, we advise you to visit it as soon as possible.
Road from Hutovo blato to Vjetrenica cave was frightful and enchanting at the same time, it goes via Svitava to Donji Zelenikovac where river Trebišnjica is formed from lake. Then it continues via Trnčina, Ravno to Zavala where Vjetrenica cave is located. The road itself is interesting because this was an old railway for steam locomotive till 1976. Some parts of it are still visible, just like the old railway stations. Now it is an part of bicycle trail that is marked by the Via Dinarica
View from plateau in front of Vjetrenica cave to Popovo polje is remarkable, some of it is still used in agriculture, but most of it is just empty fields. Vjetrenica (“wind cave” or “blowhole”) is the largest cave in B&H and considered to have richest cave fauna, with highest rate of endemism.
The cave is home to the Olmo an aquatic salamander or as we call it here “human fish”, because of its skin colour.
When you stand at cave’s entrance you figure out why is it called “wind cave”. We payed entrance 8 KM and 10 KM (regular prices are 10 KM for students and 15 KM for adults, but we got a discount) for guided tour. Don’t forget to wear a jacket! For visitor there is around 500 meters of road in one direction, but estimated channel length is more than 7 kilometers. Cave is open for visitors from April to October. So many stories and legend are connected to Vjetrenica cave but we will let you to explore them by yourself.
Road led us to Trebinje, and landscapes were unbelievable. Imagine driving through California’s Napa Valley and Southern France. This road is called Vine road and it was incredible, driving with open window, listening to summer vibes and breathing air filled with sea-salt smell.
This was my first time visiting Trebinje, Samir was here few times before. Trebinje was everything I expected it to be, the has a charm of those small Mediterranean places, but instead of the sea it has the clean and cold river Trebišnjica. We stayed in studio apartment we rented via Airbnb (as usual 😀 ). Place was in the heart of the old town, within the city walls. Trebinje is just something you would see in Game of Thrones scenes.
Above the town is an old Monastery and church Hercegovačka Gračanica made in beautiful orthodox style and resting place of great poet Jovan Dučić. From the Crkvina Hill you can see the whole area surrounding Trebinje, there is even a restaurant where you can enjoy the view with the drink.
Best ways to feel and see the place are: walking within the city walls, around the world famous plane trees and sitting on the river bank looking at the city’s walls.
Outside the city’s walls is a beautiful stone bridge, built by the Grand Visier Mehmed Paša Sokolović, who also designed the bridge in Višegrad. This bridge was originally built in 1574., but it was destroyed during the flood, and was reconstructed stone by stone several kilometers downstream.
Tip: When in Trebinje you have try ice cream cups in cafe “Kod Grka”, located just next to the entry to the Old Town.
Next day we heard the sea calling us and decided to take swim in Montenegro, it was hot and crowded but we manage to find the quiet place on the other side of the Bay of the Kotor. After this short break on the sun, we had to go home.
The road we choose for our way back to Sarajevo took us from Trebinje, next to the grand Bileća lake, across the Gacko ‘s plains where we met the herd of cows and under the Maglić mountain.