Sacred places, healings, conversions, deep spiritual changes, small and great gestures of solidarity and mercy: this is Medjugorje for faithful and pilgrims. Nonetheless, its surroundings offer cultural and natural attractions capable of captivating even those who arrive pushed by simple curiosity.
Near Medjugorje and throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina there are lakes, waterfalls, towns, cities, rivers and landscapes that will leave you enchanted. The proximity to Croatia and its beautiful sea, moreover, leaves open roads to other suggestive experiences not to be missed.
Here are some interesting sights worth visiting in the surroundings of Medjugorje.
Located on the coast of the river Neretva, Mostar is the cultural and economic center of Herzegovina. It is known for the Stari Most, a 16th-century Ottoman bridge completely rebuilt after the destruction of the war of the ’90s, which separates the city from the east and west coast and divides it into two sectors, Croatian and Muslim.
The western part is more modern while the east is still wrapped in the past, with visible traces of Turkish occupation, and is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Among the attractions of Mostar, you should visit the Old Bridge, the mosques, the Turkish House or simply enjoy traditional Herzegovina dishes along the Neretva River.
A few minutes drive from Medjugorje you find the Kravice waterfalls, one of the most beautiful in Bosnia-Herzegovina, an ideal place to take refuge and enjoy the unspoilt nature. Enjoy local cuisine or a coffee immersed in the sound of waterfalls, among the scents of nature. In summer, the waterfalls are an ideal place for refreshment, also frequented by rafting enthusiasts who have a 10 km route at their disposal, followed by expert local trainers. In winter you can enjoy the beautiful snow-covered landscape.
Small village 30 km from Medjugorje, Tihaljina is located on the coast of the homonymous river. Tihaljina is known for the statue of the Virgin Mary, the destination of many pilgrims from around the world. Pilgrims not only assure to receive answers to their prayers but also an unusual thing: many say that when they pray in front of the Virgin She changes the expression of Her face and the position of the arms. Go and visit the Virgin Mary, pray in front of her and convince yourself of the veracity of these statements!
The oldest church-monastery in the whole Herceg Bosna is in Humac, only ten kilometers from Medjugorje. In the Franciscan monastery of Saint Anthony of Padua in Humac lies the oldest museum in Bosnia and Herzegovina, founded in 1884. The museum displays pieces collected on a vast area of Herzegovina from the Palaeolithic up to the present day. The museum also displays Humacka ploca, the Humac Table, the oldest preserved document written in the Croatian language, which dates back to 1185. The Franciscan convent of St. Anthony of Padua in Humac has a rich collection of about 300 works of art permanently displayed in a gallery called “Mother”.
Small eastern city on the UNESCO world heritage list. Pocitelj is located on the high cliffs overlooking the Neretva, dominated by medieval defensive fortifications under which the placid settlement nestles. It probably existed earlier, but Pocitelj is mentioned for the first time in documents written in 1444, and it is assumed that it was built by the Bosnian king Tvrtko in 1383. This medieval city had a Mediterranean appearance, but after the Turkish conquest it was redesigned oriental style. The mixture of these two architectural styles gives Pocitelj a special dimension. In addition to its splendid Ottoman-style oriental architecture, Pocitelj is interesting and known for hosting the art colony with the longest tradition of south-eastern Europe.
Blidinje Nature Park is the ideal place to visit in all seasons, whether you want to ski in winter or to capture the shade in the summer. In the park you can go cycling or even hike in the Cvrsnica and Vran mountains, or simply enjoy a walk in a magical natural environment. Blidinje is known for its ski resort with cable cars, ski lifts and various slopes for beginners and advanced skiers. There is also a toboggan run for the little ones. The area is rich in archaeological finds, the most popular being a necropolis with 150 tombs in Dugo Polje which has the status of a National Monument.
Hutovo Blato is a nature and birds reserve in the only sub-Mediterranean swamp in Europe. It has been known since ancient times as a green oasis with plenty of water, perfect conditions for a large number of plant and animal species. The swamp is interesting and important on a scientific, environmental and tourism level. Hutovo Blato is considered one of the largest winter ports of birds in Europe. Due to its extreme importance and beauty, the reserve was declared a natural park in 1995. Visiting this unique natural park you can enjoy a series of beautiful lakes, canals and rivers, which is home to over 200 species of birds, such as wild ducks, geese , coots, herons, pheasants, hawks and many others.
Vjetrenica, which means “wind cave”, is the largest and most important cave in Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of the most important caves in the mountain range of the Dinaric Alps, famous all over the world for its speleological richness. It is a protected natural monument and tourist destination in the southeastern part of Herzegovina. This unique cave develops for about 6 km with wide corridors and halls, many stalactite groups and a rich hydrographic world with lakes, waterfalls, permanent streams and dozens of smaller watercourses that flow in different directions. It is a natural monument protected since 1950, and in 1981 it was declared a geomorphological nature reserve.
Small tourist place 10 minutes from Mostar, Blagaj is one of the most precious gems of Herzegovina, with its symbiosis between nature and culture. The water splashes from a 200-meter-high vertical rock wall and gives life to the Buna River. On the top are the ruins of the old city of Herceg Stjepan, the last ruler of Herzegovina before the Ottomans, and right next to the source of the Buna river is Tekija, the dervish monastery. Blagaj tekija, built in 1660, is one of the most important cultural monuments of the first Ottoman Empire in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
If you are looking for adventure and adrenaline the Neretva gorge is the perfect place for you. During the summer the rafting route takes about 3 and a half hours, where you can enjoy a long descent of 18 km, while in winter you can take advantage of this unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this area in a shortened descent of 7 km, in complete safety and accompanied by qualified personnel.