There is so much to discover in Bosnia. After so many visits to different parts of this beautiful and generous country, I am still surprised when my travels take me to a new place that takes my breath away. Konjic is a pearl waiting to be discovered!
Bosnia remains an underrated country in the Balkan region. Granted, it (almost) doesn’t have access to the sea. But its inland nature absolutely makes it up for it. Both adventure and silence seekers should keep the country in mind when looking for their next trip! And whether you make a quick stop on your way to Mostar or you’re looking to get away from the crowd of Sarajevo, the city of Konjic is ready to deliver the best of Bosnia’s hospitality and environment.
The city is known for its old Ottoman style bridge and for being surrounded by a high number of villages and several lakes that offer various experiences and activities. It’s one of the oldest settlements in Bosnia. Konjic is easily accessible by bus, with a ride of about an hour. The bus will leave you in the city centre, next to a map of the area’s points of interest. A few meters down, the Neretva river is cosily going through town, surrounded by terraces and relaxed cafés. If you have time, get on board with Bosnian coffee culture and take a seat on one of those terraces.
I sat at the café Vendetta my first time there for an interview about entrepreneurship with Sanja Koric, the young, dynamic and passionate woman behind Visit-Bosnia agency. She started working in tourism with family members who opened a hotel on the shore of the nearby Boracko jezero (nicknamed “the eye of the mountain”). Later, she realized the potential of rural and sustainable tourism and how much families and local businesses could profit from it. She started her own agency to offer not only adventures with hiking, fishing and rafting but a true taste of Konjic’s environment and rural life. She offers accommodations in the villages and organizes stays at farms where you’ll not only get the best of nature but also get to discover locals’ life and give them a hand. Ever wondered how they make their legendary rakia?
The city centre itself is quite small but offers enough to enjoy and relax for a day. The bridge over the Neretva is a must see. Take the time to stroll around, cross the bridge, observe the river running under it… After exploring on both sides of town, I sat for lunch at one end of the old bridge at Novalica Kula, a small restaurant serving great cevapi and Bosnian style coffee. It was only May, yet the weather was hot and incredibly sunny, it made the river shine all shades of green and blue.
The Neretva is one of the most beautiful rivers you’ll ever see, I promise. Its blue-green waters make the ride from Konjic to Mostar my favourite road trip in the region. When you’re feeling hot, nothing like dipping your feet in its crystal-clear, cold waters and cool off for a moment. The low temperature of the river is one of its main characteristic (it’s even colder in the Buna, which ends in the Neretva around Blagaj).
From April to October, depending on the weather conditions, you can enjoy rafting on the Neretva. My first time ever was in September. The water was low so it was perfect for beginners yet still eventful. We went down the river for hours in the sun, stopping for a quick break and to jump in the water! It was a great experience thanks to Visit Konjic, another local tourism agency.
If you go up the stairs in the center, next to the restaurant, you can enjoy a very nice view over the old town, the bridge and the river. There are cafés with narguilés on the stairs and all the way up, a nice restaurant.
Back down, take a moment to visit the small Zavicajni muzej, the local private museum in which you will find old items of local, everyday life, costumes and a collection of pictures of Yugoslav president-for-life Tito visiting the city. I had a long chat with the lady from the museum who showed me the two rooms and explained to me that everything on display was donated by the inhabitants who were very enthusiastic about the opening. You’ll see for instance some impressive wood carving, a local speciality.
To leave town by bus, just go to the same place where you were dropped. It is not exactly a bus station, but all the buses stop there. For the schedule you can always ask people in the shops around, they’ll know. But there are many buses all day every day to Sarajevo and to Mostar. You can just wait for the next one and buy your ticket directly inside.