Friday, October 9, 2015

A Road Trip along the Vrbas River in Bosnia and Herzegovina

I have written about road trips through Bosnia and Herzegovina before on this blog, and for this post I decided to go inland, and show you a special road trip along the Vrbas river. It's definitely a scenic ride that offers great variety in experiences, from natural wonders to citylife. The Vrbas is a major river with a length of 235 km/147 miles, in western Bosnia and Herzegovina. The word vrba means "willow" in Bosnian language. Along the way there are major stops worth seeing. So come along and enjoy...



A Road Trip along the Vrbas River in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Here is the road trip on a map:



1. Jablanica

A historical monument of an important World War II Battle that went on in these regions greets you in Jablanica. In World War II, the so called Case White, also known as the Fourth Enemy Offensive, was a combined Axis strategic offensive launched against the Yugoslav Partisans (The National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia). Even a Academy Award Nominated movie has been made about this.

You will find a museum, the old and destroyed railroad bridge and a monument locomotive here. I recommend spending 20-30 minutes here.




 

2. Prozor / Rama

Moving along we have the Prozor-Rama region. Make sure to park on the side of the road before the Jablanica Dam located a couple of miles north from Jablanica. You can also stop to see the valley of the Rama Lake, and take in scenic views of mountains and small villages here.

The Rama Lake is an artificially created lake on the Rama river, in the municipality of Prozor. A lone road leads through the mountain Makljen, and along various resting places you can enjoy these sights.




 

3. Donji Vakuf / Semisnica

You have to make a stop here for lunch. Inside the city Donji Vakuf, before you cross the bridge over the Vrbas river (if you are traveling south to north) you will see a sign for Semisnica. Take a left turn and drive for a couple of miles before you arrive in this oasis.

Along the river bed you'll find small wooden benches for those guests who would simply like to enjoy some coffee and other refreshments.



4. Bugojno

Apart from industry, forestry has been an important contributor to the local economy and continues to be. In recent years, agriculture has grown in sustaining the Bugojno's economy as many people are investing in land and agronomy.To the west towards Kupres is a region called Koprivica. This enormous forest was once one of President Tito's favorite hunting spots. The town houses Tito's Villa (now destroyed). The uninhabited dense forest has created a sanctuary for wild animals. Kalin Mountain is a popular weekend area for hikers and nature lovers.


5. Jajce

The fortress was built in the 14th century, by the founder of the city Jajce. It was the seat of the kings, who engraved their coat of arms on the castle. A part of the wall was found by the Hungarian King and the Ottomans made the powder magazine. Just head into the city and discover the inner walls of the old town.




 

6. Krupa na Vrbasu

Krupa na Vrbasu is about 25 km / 16 miles south from Banja Luka.  It is situated at the point where the Vrbas river leaves the canyon and enters Krupsko polje. The place with its outstanding natural and cultural values such as waterfalls, mills, Strikina pecina, Monastery of St. Ilija  (1289), wooden church (XVI century) and the medieval city of Greben (1192), conditioned the development of excursion, religious, sports and recreation, scientific, agricultural and fishing tourism. The art colony is traditionally held in Krupa, where artists from all around the world are motivated by miraculous power of nature to create life works.



 

7. Banja Luka

We arrive in Banja Luka in the end.  The name is interpreted as "Ban's meadow", from the words ban ("a medieval dignitary"), and luka ("a valley" or "a meadow"). You can spend some time here and head back, but for me personally I would rather spend the night here and explore the city a bit further. And there is lots to see here like the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Banski Dvor Cultural Centre, Ferhadija Mosque and Mladen Stojanovic Park.


 

Logistics of the Road Trip

Car Rental

This is the best way to travel here. Yes, you could use buses, but a lot of the spirit of discovery and adventure will be gone.There are many services in the area, most noticeable in Mostar, like Carrus Rent-a-Car, that is very affordable. If you are traveling with others, then you can share the cost and won't even think about this as an expense. Daily rental fees start at 30 €/33$. All cars are fully insured, air conditioned, and you have unlimited mileage.

 

Food and Drinks

Jablanica is known for its restaurants on the south entrance, and you will surely eat nicely in Semisnica. You can find bigger supermarkets in Jablanica, Bugojno and in Banja Luka.

 

Gas

Most of the places I have listed have gas stations in them, and you will find many of them along the way, so you don't need to worry about it. The trip lasts 6 hours driving in total so you don't need to tank to many times.

 

Currency

The local currency is Konvertibilna Marka (KM, international code BAM). By law, only the local currency is allowed, but most toursit places do except Euros. You can exchange money in banks in Jablanica, before you head out, like at the Sparkasse Bank, or in various places in Banja Luka if you start the trip north to south.

I hope you enjoyed this trip along the Vrbas river in central Bosnia and Herzegovina.

38 comments:

  1. Yes certainly did enjoy this trip immensely. Thisis a very informativve post and the scenery along the way is stunning. I would love to have coffee or a meal at that restaurant when youo can sit right in top of the fast flowing river. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. That place, called "Bistro Semisnica" is really great spot. Very much hidden from the outside world.

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  2. Husband would love to see that old locomotive, and I would enjoy sipping coffee beside the rushing water. Wonderful!

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  3. We too enjoy taking long drives, of course the husband drives and I take pictures.
    I would love to take this scenic route sometime. Very well described with pics. :)

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  4. Gosh another place added on my list to visit. So lovely!

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  5. Lovely! Beautiful!
    Thanks!

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  6. Stunning photographs - what a beautiful region.

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  7. Amazing places to visit and a very informative blog! Great pictures too!

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  8. Traumhaft schöne Landschaften und Ort, das erste Bild ist ein Traum!
    Liebe Grüße

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  9. Great road trip post, Mersad... Your images are wonderful, as is the history accompanying them!

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    1. Besides wonderful nature, this road trip does offer rich history. I'm sure you would enjoy it.

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  10. Interesting story, and beautiful photos! Your first photo is wonderful!

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  11. What a delightful road trip this makes, such beautiful scenery and plenty of things to see and do!

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    1. Thanks Kathy. Glad you liked the post.

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  12. Beautiful photos and nice road trip recap.

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  13. What a wonderful trip indeed, Mersad, and your captures are superb as always -- they are the next best things to being there myself!! I love the rapid water in Donji Vakuf,!! What a great place to eat!! Thank you for sharing the fun and the beauty!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

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  14. What a wonderful title image.

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  15. Your photos and words make me want to plan a trip to your part of the world! Someday, I hope. Such beautiful water and winding roads. Really lovely.

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    1. I hope you do get to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina one day.

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  16. What a beautiful river! I love the shape to it!

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  17. An excellent post. I wish we could be there right now.

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  18. You are giving me travel envy. Wonderful shots!

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  19. As always, Mersad, your photos are lovely. That river-side cafe looks wonderful, with the water rushing and falling everywhere. What a perfect location. I love the last image in this post, too. Magical.

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  20. The demolished railway bridge made me gasp. I am surprised that it remains there. And, I would probably like to visit Jajce; I like hilltop villages.

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    1. It's a World War II Memorial, from a battle that occured there. It's visited by a lot of tourists and there is a museum right next to it on the other side of the river. That's why it' still there like that.

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  21. Einfach nur traumhaft schön....schon alleine das erste Foto. Danke dir für den schönen Trip, ich kann mich daran nie sattsehen.

    Wünsche dir ein schönes Wochenende und sende viele Grüsse

    N☼va

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  22. What a wonderful tour! Would love to do it.

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  23. I love that first shot and the downed bridge is fantastic.

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  24. For sure I've enjoyed the incredible travel (with so many aspects and precious details)... And I'll gladly come back to discover new places through your camera lens... All the best for this sunday and a lovely start in the new week of autumn!

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  25. Hello Mersad, the river scenery and drive are gorgeous. I like the restaurant by the river! Beautiful photos and a lovely post. Enjoy your new week!

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  26. WOW! Thank you for sharing. Grabbed my attention and grabbed my heart. Blessings...

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  27. Thank you for sharing photos from my hometown Banja Luka! I just came back from visiting a few weeks ago, but always appreciate gorgeous photos like yours!

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  28. What a wonderful road trip through a stunning region! The beauty of the nature combined with the beauty of the man-made structures. Your images are fabulous!

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  29. Mersad - you live in an incredible place in the world. You are always sharing such beautiful photos! I love that train photo. Gorgeous! Thank you for joining us for Photo Friday again this week!

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  30. You really do live in a very beautiful part of the world

    mollyxxx

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  31. Mersad, you have so many wonderful historic and scenic places to visit. I enjoy being able to look down on the beautiful villages. Thanks for stopping by. Happy New Year and please stop back again.

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  32. what a beautiful trip! i love the photo of the train and that cafe next to the water!

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