Whether you look for natural or artificial accumulations to explore, choosing Bosnia & Herzegovina is an excellent idea, as this country boosts in glacial lakes as well as man-made lakes that no nature admirer wants to miss. Among all those lakes, there is one called Blidinje Lake, whose origin is still a mystery, as much as a surreal beauty of the largest alpine lake in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Located in the southwestern region of the country, barely 80 km from the Adriatic coast and Mostar, this lake is a part of the spectacular Blidinje Nature Park. When you come to this place, you will understand that these two beauties perfectly mirror and complement each other.
Situated on the plateau of Dugo Polje, 1185 m above the sea level, Blidinje Lake is nestled between two mountain giants – Mt. Čvrsnica and Mt. Vran (both above 2000 of altitude), but also by the Neretva River and Doljanka River. The area of the lake varies from 2,5 to 6 km, while it is 2,5 km long, 2,1 km wide and the maximum depth is 3 m. In winter, the lake is frozen, while in summer its mirroring surface perfectly reflects the surrounding landscapes of the Blidinje Nature Park that was named after it. You can reach the lake either from Jablanica (45 km) or Posušje (35).
Various theories exist around the origin of this lake. Besides the thesis about the glacial origin, the prevailing one explains that this is an artificial lake created by human interventions more than 140 years ago. At that time, the area was regularly flooded by the snow melting and heavy raining in springs, with all that water finishing in the ponors. Back then, the farmers of the surrounding Mt. Čvrsnica and Mt. Vran didn’t have enough water for their livestock, so they decided to clog those ponors and create a pond instead. In fact, some old topographic maps before 1880 were not showing any lake in this area, but already in 1885 one map does indicate it, though five times smaller than today.
The region around Blidinje Lake is ideal for passionate hikers and mountain bikers in summer, while winter attracts numerous lovers of skiing and snowshoeing at Blidinje Ski Centre Risovac. Besides the natural beauties, you will have a chance to explore rich cultural and archaeological heritage – Saint Elijah’s Church, a Franciscan monastery Masna Luka, as well as a necropolis with 150 tombstones in Dugo Polje dating back to the medieval age and inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. An absolute must-see of this area is Hajdučka Republika, an emblematic place for splendid panorama and stunning photos.
And when you are already there, make a stop in the local restaurant to indulge in homemade specialities such as boiled lamb, traditional cheeses and brandy called Borovača, a local Rakia with fruits of endemic white-bark pine. At the end of this journey, there will be a moment when you will agree that the surreal beauty of Blidinje Lake, the largest alpine lake within the most remote nature park of southeastern Europe, is a place that would impress every visitor, with no exceptions.
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