Picture a crystal-clear lake whose surface gorgeously mirrors the surrounding majestic mountains. Picture only pure, untouched, wild nature that no man’s hand ever altered. Now, picture this image eight times and prepare for an exclusive insight into Zelengora Lakes. As if Bosnia’s most beautiful mountain was not mesmerising enough, an additional allure had to be added – its eight glacial lakes. These “mountain eyes”, as people call them, are true hidden gems peppered by God’s hand all over Mt. Zelengora and its peaks. Yet, they remain unknown by many nature enthusiasts, so I advise you to discover these eight glacial beauties called Zelengora Lakes before others do it.
Where to stay
When you come to explore Mt. Zelengora and its lakes, finding accommodation might be a bit tricky. Hence, I have two suggestions to make your stay even more enjoyable - Vila Volujak and Vila Maglić. Both villas are actually charming wooden cottages boasting a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and stunning mountain views. Vila Maglić even has a sauna. They are situated at Tjentište, the starting point for all your trips. An à la carte, continental or vegetarian breakfast is available every morning at the property.
Donje Bare (Lower Pond)
Starting from Tjentište, the core of National Park Sujeska, a 20 km long road will guide you to the first glacial lake – Donje Bare. Located on the northeastern side of Mt. Zelengora and 1500 m above sea level, this lake is also nestled at the foothill of Mt. Tovarnica and its peak Planinica (1722 m). The lake is only 200 m long, 140 m wide, and has a maximum depth of four meters. As its name suggests, Donje Bare (Down Pond) is surrounded by alpine meadows with small ponds that boost marsh flora. The water of these lakes comes from different springs, and it flows through a network of underground channels. The irresistible beauty of this place, where a tour to get an eagle's eye view of Mt. Maglić & Perućica Jungle starts, stole the heart of former Yugoslav president Tito, who had a mountain chalet by this lake.
Donje Bare Lake, Mt. ZelengoraDonje Bare, Tjentište, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Gornje Bare (Upper Pond)
Around two kilometers west of Donje Bare, one can find another glacial lake – Gornje Bare. The lake is snuggled on the slopes of Uglješa peak (1858) but also between the peaks Dobra (1795) and Planinica (1722 m). Situated at 1550 m above sea level, Gornje Bare Lake has something in common with Gornje Bare – the name and rich marsh flora.
Gornje Bare Lake, Mt. ZelengoraGornje Bare, Tjentište, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Crno Jezero (Black Lake)
On the northwestern side of Mt. Zelengora, you will find a lake called Crno Jezero. Located at the foothills of Mt. Vrbničke Kolibe, at 1500 m above sea level, this oval-shaped lake is 180 m long, 70 m large and three meters deep. The reason why people call it Black Lake (crno=black, jezero=lake) lies in the fact that the coast and the bottom of the lake are covered with some black mold, which makes it look dark. Famous as the only place in Europe where brown trout spawns naturally, this lake is ideal for fly fishing during summer.
Crno Jezero (Black Lake), Mt. ZelengoraCrno Jezero, Govza, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bijelo Jezero (White Lake)
Less than 500 m south of Crno Jezero, another glacial lake waits for all nature lovers to discover it. Bijelo Jezero is situated at an altitude of 1450 m and surrounded by the peaks of Mt. Orlovac and Mt. Trebova. Being a round-shaped lake (400 m in diameter), Bijelo Jezero is far bigger and deeper (4 m) than Crno Jezero. If you wonder why it is called White Lake (bijelo=white, jezero=lake), here is the answer – the bottom of the lake is covered with white rocks and sand. Interestingly, the lake also forms a beautiful creek on one of its sides.
Bijelo Jezero (White Lake), Mt. ZelengoraBijelo jezero, Govza, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Thanks to the emerald green color of its water, Kotlaničko Lake is considered one of the most beautiful in Mt. Zelengora. Hugged by Mt. Dumoš, Mt. Prutač, Mt. Klek and Mt. Zimovača, all between 1783-1879 m above sea level, this glacial lake lies at an altitude of 1528 m. Slightly bigger and more profound than most other lakes, it has a length of 480 m and a width of 200 m, while a maximum depth reaches 10 m. On its southern part, this pear-shaped lake sinks into the karst pit and reappears five km towards the south, in Pridvorica. Exceptionally rich with Arctic char and other fish, Kotlaničko Lake is also home to an endemic amphibian, Triton.
Kotlaničko Lake, Mt. ZelengoraKotlaničko jezero, Obalj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Being around 600 m long, 350 m wide and located at 1672 m above the sea level, Štirinsko Lake is by far the biggest and the highest of all Zelengora Lakes. At the same time, it is the shallowest lake with only two meters of depth. If you are at Kotlaničko Lake, reaching this lake will take around an hour. Even though Mt. Dumoš surrounds the lakeMt. Dumoš surrounds the lakeMt. Dumoš surrounds the lakeMt. Dumoš surrounds the lakeMt. Dumoš surrounds the lakeMt. Dumoš surrounds the lakeMt. Dumoš surrounds the lakeMt. Dumoš surrounds the lake, Todor (1949 m) and Osredak (1828), you will not feel that you are at such a high altitude. Its banks are slightly leaned with some sand and stones, while the surface of the lake is covered with watergrass. Besides some wild ducks, here you will also find an Arctic char. Nearby Štirinsko Lake, one can see 80 medieval tombstones called “stećci”.
Štirinsko Lake, Mt. ZelengoraŠtirinsko jezero, Obalj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Nested at the foothills of Mt. Zelengora and Mt. Lelija, but also in the beautiful canyon, Kladopolјsko Lake is located at 1380. The lake is 250 m long and 100 m wide, with a maximum depth of nine meters. The only way to access this beauty is from the town of Kalinovik and following the direction of the village Obalj. As its name suggests (klada=log), people started calling it Kladopolјsko Lake because of the many logs covering the lake's bottom. We can imagine that this region was covered with forests a while ago and that the loggers put some logs in the lake. Also known as Martin's Spring, due to a source that is 500 m away, Kladopolјsko Lake is fed by many creeks, and it flows off as a stream that disappears below the surface. This glacial lake is also very attractive for fly fishing.
Kladopolјsko Lake, Mt. ZelengoraObalj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
On the route between the towns of Foča and Gacko, you need to turn at the saddle Čemerno, and after 25 km of mainly macadam road, you will reach Orlovačko Lake. Located somewhere between Mt. Orlovac (1965), Stog (1821) and Mt. Ljeljen (1765), this glacial lake sits 1438 m above sea level. With its length of 350 m, width of 100 m and depth of up to four meters, this lake is perhaps not the largest but, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful of all Zelengora Lakes. Orlovačko Lake is also a heaven for fishers since it boosts Arctic char, brook trout and rainbow trout.
Orlovačko Lake, Mt. ZelengoraOrlovačko Lake, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bonus: Borilovačko (Jugovo) Lake
Besides its eight glacial lakes, Mt. Zelengora has one more beauty - Borilovačko Lake. Situated around one kilometre from Orlovačko Lake at 1450 m, this is the only artificial lake of Mt. Zelengora. Enclosed by Mt. Kalelija and Mt. Stog, the lake is 250 m long, 100 m wide and up to five meters deep. Also known as Jugovo Lake, it has been named after its constructor Jug, a gamekeeper of National Park Sutjeska. Borilovačko Lake is also rich in rainbow trout.
Borilovačko (Jugovo) Lake, Mt. ZelengoraJugovo Lake, Obalj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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