|Day 1: Sarajevo - European Jeruzalem
One of the most oriental and culturally diverse cities in Europe, Sarajevo spent over 300 years under Turkish governorship until the Austro-Hungarians arrived in the late nineteenth century. Fifty years later, the empire collapsed when Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated here, hastening the outbreak of the First World War. The late twentieth century saw Sarajevo host the Winter Olympics in 1984, and the long siege of the city during the recent conflict. Our tour of the major historical, cultural and war sites in and around the city will help you to piece together its complex and fascinating history.
Sites to see: 1. Ancient olde towne Sarajevo's medieval beginnings 2. Olde Towne Hall (National Library) 1896 3. Jajce Castle (Eugene of Savoy Castle) 4. Alifakovac Cemetery - 1550 5. Kazandziluk Street - old coppersmiths at work 6. Bascarsija (Olde Towne's Main Square) 7. Orthodox Church - 1539 8. Synagogue - 1581 9. Roman Catholic Cathedral - 1889 10. Srvzo House (Turkish Style house of well-known Muslim family, and an opportunity to have a coffee or tea) 11. The story of Gazi Husref Bey - the founding of a city 12. Latin Bridge - place of King Ferdinand's assassination - June 28, 1914
Day 2: Bobovac - Fortress of ancient Bosnian Kings
After a little more than an hours ride north-east from Sarajevo we’ll pass through the colorful outskirts of the ancient village of Kraljeva Sutjeska, home of the centuries old Franciscan Monastery, Sveti Ivo (Saint John’s). We’ll follow the picturesque valley where the recent rains will cool our walk with rushing mountain water and gently ascend on a well maintained trail to the steep ridge to reach the ruins of the 14th century citadel “Bobovac”, the last residence of the Bosnian kings Tvrtko II and Tomas. Bobovac has long been a mystical oasis which still retains its untainted and pure mysticism. We’ll pay a visit to the remains of the ancient fortress situated on a steep limestone rock. We’ll return by taking a short walk to the Franciscan Monastery that served this area in middle ages, well before the Ottoman’s conquered this region. It’s a unique cultural heritage site of BiH and Europe, that might open its doors for you. This walk is a magical gem, doable by all … it offers cool, refreshing hiking coupled with ancient Bosnian history
Day 3: Lukomir - Ancient village
Lukomir (30 min south-east from Sarajevo) is Bosnia’s highest village at 1,469 meters, with its ancient “stecci“ (medieval tombstones). Here villagers stick to the “old way” of doing things. Traditional dress, the occasional turban and fez are still worn and go hand in hand with the more contemporary bliss of everyday life, electricity and running water. On the edge of the village you will be treated with a rare view of Rakitnica. You have arrived at the end of the world. Here you will have a peek into the lifestyles traditions of the Bjelasnica highlanders that have survived since ancient times. We will first visit the local villagers before heading off into the canyon to witness a waterfall and the amazing Rakitinca Canyon. Lunch will be served on a the high ridge over the 800 meter drop into the canyon with stunning views of the mountains. This place and its people will leave a lasting impression on you. It must be the same feeling as when you arrive at the end of the world!
Day 4: Bjelasnica - Olympic mountain
We’ll be wandering on Bjelasnica, the “big white mountain” 20 min south-east from the capital. We’ll hike up the opposite side of the Olympic Ski Slopes. It will take us up to the Gate of Wind where you will be either pleasantly greeted by a warm gentle Bjelasnica breeze, or a variation of its rugged ever piercing south wind. From here we traverse up to a small shepard’s hut (at 1,620 meters), a bit more than an hour and a half from where we parked the Jeep. We’ll have lunch and enjoy the flowing hills. At this point you will decide if you are up for a steep 45 minute climb to one of the peaks (1,953 meters) with its mountain hut, the highest in Bosnia. Or you can explore the valley below around Green Visions mountain hut. For those climbing up higher, this slope is rather steep in some places but offers lovely views of Central Bosnia and Herzegovina and its beautiful peaks. We return by another trail known as Ramin’s grave, an old shepherd’s tomb gracing the mountainside. Bring a bag for collecting teas and herbs… Bjelasnica is known for its rare herbs.
Day 5: Perucica - The last primeval forests of Europe
After one and a half hour drive east from Sarajevo we arrive at a gorgeous spot situated in the heart of “Sutjeska National Park”. We immediately head for the forests in the deep and picturesque canyon of Sutjeska River. From there we start our tour to Trnovacko Lake, slowly climbing up while enjoying the sights of the forests and the sound of Suha creek. At the edge of the forest we descend towards the Glacier Lake Trnovacko, which is set in the middle of a huge amphitheater of rocky peaks at 1,500 meters. Here, in the former hunting reserve, one still might see wild goats, deer and an eagle flying in search of its prey. These thick and large woods are still inhabited by a rare kind of a bird called Tetrijeb Gluhan. Ever imagened a walk in the last of the primeval forests of Europe? Come and expirience, its untouched beauty will stun you with her pristine nature!
Day 6: Neretva - The rafting emerald of Herzegovina
The Neretva river is the emerald of Herzegovina flowing over 100 kilometers from its source into the Adriatic sea. In the upper canyon, where our partners operate, are some of the safest and yet most exciting rafting sites in Europe. Expect deep canyon walls, endemic flora and fauna, and a wild and pristine ambiance that only the Neretva can provide. Our modernly equipped team are ready to guide first timers, children or old pros on a wonderful white water adventure. This is a trip doable by all. The water is very calm during this time of the year, and the trip provides ample opportunity to enjoy the canyon and its unique flora and fauna.
Day 7: Neretva - The nature emerald of Herzegovina
Some 60 km south of Sarajevo (bij Diva Grabovica) you begin with a great magical tour climbing through the ancient forests of Cvrsnica Mountain, trekking on King Karadjodzevic's (between the World Wars) old hunting trails. A hunting hut was built near the top for the King because he fancied the rich wildlife the area had to offer so much. We'll hike through closed beech-tree forests starting from the amazing valley of Diva Grabovica. It's a fairly sharp climb at times but truly stunning and refreshing. The trailhead leads us to several natural springs. Do bring a water bottle to fill up for our final ascent. We'll climb the steep up for 2.5 hours before reaching our destination. We'll do our famous lunch on a perch overlooking the largest rock face on the Balkan Peninsula, at over 1,000 meters. The peaks of Cvrsnica Mountain tower around us in every direction from this point. This is a great day with spectacular views and a refreshing dip in the Neretva rivier. This is a site fit for a king and queen...so treat yourself as such, we promise you won't be disappointed.
Day 8: Sarajevo
Checking out, good bye and departure back home.