When the road becomes a destination: Neretva River scenic drive, BiH

On a sunny day of July we left Sarajevo for Mostar, a 2 hour-drive away. The sun was bright and warm in the clear July sky, reflecting in the clear waters on the Neretva river. We slowed down our the pace.
The journey became the destination and the Neretva river canyon made it to my top list of world’s best scenic drives.
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Emerald waters 1h from Sarajevo, #nofilter guarantee!

The river is said to be named after Nera Etwa, divine river in Celtic language. With its emerald clear waters cradled between high rocky cliffs, the name is not overstated. Each turn reveals a even more spectacular view.
Just after Konjic, a multitude of small steams join within peaceful Jablanicko, one of the artificial lakes of the area. On over segments, the valley becomes much more narrow and the road follows the river in a real canyon. For me, Neretva River is the “Hercegovina riviera”. Doesn’t seem to be totally wrong: the area is a popular vacation destination for locals.

Not only the drive is amazing by sunny day, but it features some really nice towns and villages and possibility for outdoor activities, all doable in one day!

 

3 idea of stops by Neretva river:

– Konjic, charming postcard village

Located 1h from Sarajevo, Konjic is ideal for a short stop-over. Red roofed village and its minaret, mighty mountains, rebuilt latin bridge spanning with the crystalline stream of river Neretva, laughs of local kids playing in shallow water: the scenery there is just a beauty.

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Konjic is also a great starting point for discovering the river from a more active perspective, as several rafting tours operates from there. BiH confirms its status of “low cost” destination with day tours starting at approx. 40 euros.

– World famous town Mostar and its UNESCO protected bridge

Colorful facades of Mostar, along Nerevta river. View from the bridge

View from Mostar bridge, end of afternoon

Mostar. The town made worldwide famous by its UNESCO protected bridge destroyed under heavy bombing during the Yougoslavia war. The stone bridge Stari Most was initially from the XVI century, when the Turkish fortified the town. Thanks to the reconstitution work it now got back its yestyear splendour.

Is the bridge overrated? You will decide for yourself! Its single arch style and its heigh of 21m is for sure impressive – even more when you remind yourself it’s the theatre of local diving contest.

Personal favorite: shot of the famous bridge at dawn

Personal favourite: Latin bridge at dawn

The view from the bridge is actually a nice surprise, the colourful facades bring the old town alive, in an harmonious contrast with Neretva.

Lots of tourists take a day trip to Mostar from Dubrovnik in Croatia or from Sarajevo. Staying over night will allow you to enjoy the city in a bit calmer atmosphere. Also, the views of the unlighted bridge at dawn really worths the shot.

– Blagaj Tekke monastery at the source of Buna

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In summer, the temperature in BiH can flirt with 40C, making any explorations by foot painful. A stop at the source of river Buna is the perfect activity.

The spring emerges from a karstik cavern bringing a fresh breeze to its banks. Islamic monastery Blagaj Tekke has been standing by the source since the XVI century. Pick one of the restaurants and enjoy the view with a nice coffee.

Buna is only 20min away from Mostar by car.

A recommendation on another stop by Neretva river? Share it in the comments and I will update the article!

The drive along the Neretva River is part of my 5 day itinerary for a getaway in Bosnia. This post is part of a serie about Bosnia Hercegovina.