As summer is almost there, together with holidays plans, there might be some of you still searching for a less-known and affordable destination on the beautiful Adriatic coast. Croatia sounds good to you, but you prefer something more off-the-beaten-path. Your solution might be a surprisingly unknown slice of the Adriatic that belongs to Bosnia & Herzegovina. Not only this country is Europe’s last undiscovered gem, but it also hides Europe’s biggest coastal secret: Bosnia & Herzegovina actually has beaches. Sandwiched amongst 1800 km of Croatian seashore, Bosnia has 22 km of the seaside, making it the second-smallest coastline in the world (just after Monaco). The only coastal city in the country, called Neum, is mainly frequented by the locals or rare tourists who were lucky enough to hear about the cheapest holidays on the Adriatic. Now is the right time for all of you to discover this unexplored hidden gem.
At first sight, Bosnia & Herzegovina might look landlocked, but it actually has its slice of the lovely Adriatic. If you still can’t believe that Bosnia has beaches, have a look at the map using a zoom option (otherwise you won’t see it) and you will find baby Bosnian Riviera. The Adriatic Sea between Split and Dubrovnik is incredibly clear and dazzling, including the beaches at Neum. The reason why this part of the Adriatic belongs to Bosnia, and why it splits the Croatian coastline in two, goes back to the time of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. While Bosnia was under the Ottoman’s occupation for centuries, that was not the case with Croatia and Dalmatia that were under Austro-Hungarians. Even the current borderline between Bosnia and Croatia represents the old frontier of those two empires.
Only an hour drive on the north of Dubrovnik, one can find Neum, Bosnia’s sole sea resort. The history of this place dates back to 533 AD when it was called Neunense. Nevertheless, the town of Neum started developing as a coastal retreat and tourist destination only in the late 1960s, after the Adriatic highway was constructed. Being the country’s only exit to the coast, Neum gives you a feeling to go back to Yugoslavia times. A good portion of the town was built at that time to serve as a resort for the communist elite. Nowadays, this is a family seaside destination. Having a closed bay, Neum is protected from the strong winds by the Pelješac Peninsula, and it is ideal for different sea activities such as scuba-diving, jet skiing, parasailing, etc.
If you are tired of expensive Croatian offers or if you are just a curious traveler searching for a new & rather unknown seaside resort, why not discovering Neum and its beaches. Maybe it cannot compete with Dubrovnik or Split in terms of beauty, but it is much cheaper and less crowded than Croatia. A place that you will see on the map only if using a magnifying glass is a guaranteed hidden gem, and it has been well-kept before I revealed Europe’s biggest coastal secret. But that’s not all. In the hinterland of Neum, you can explore the largest and the most important cavern of Bosnia & Herzegovina - the Vjetrenica Cave, visit a Medieval Orthodox monastery Zavala, or enjoy bird-watching and photo safari in the Hutovo Blato Nature Park.
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