The best view comes after the hardest climb.
If conquering high peaks is your thing and if you are choosy when it comes to the choice of destination, why not discovering one of the best-kept hiking secrets in the Balkans? Mind-blowing sceneries, untouched nature and mesmerizing glacial lake in the middle of that landscape – doesn’t it sound like an ideal hiking setting somewhere in Switzerland or Austria? Yet, it is in the heart of Bosnia & Herzegovina, and it is totally off-the-beaten-path. Insider’s tip: hurry up to conquer the highest peak of Mt. Vranica and to enjoy hiking “the Swiss Alps” in Bosnia, before the rush comes. Bonus: together with the most beautiful “mountain eye” – Prokoško Lake, Mt. Vranica creates a duo that no nature lover wants to miss. One more bonus: you will never be closer to Fojnica, the place where you can actually find gold in Bosnia.
Whether a one-day or weekend trip from Sarajevo, Mt. Vranica is equally perfect for hikers that prefer to make their stay longer. Located only 80 km from the capital city, but also from Konjic and Jablanica, this mountain with its highest peak of Nadkrstač (2112 m) is an ideal hiking area for any nature admirer. Mt. Vranica is a mineral mountain, and even Romans were digging silver, gold and mercury here. However, its greatest wealth is water, due to countless crystal-clear creeks and waterfalls. What strikes the most is heavenly beautiful Prokoško Lake, made by a glacier and nestled in the middle of the mountain (1636 m above the sea level). Besides water, this mountain is a home of many endemic species such as Vraničko Zvonce (Edraianthus niveus) and Bosanska Zvonička (Symphyandra hofmannii).
Coming to Mt. Vranica, you can engage in plenty of activities: climbing the peaks, mountain biking, exploring the endemic plants, picking the herbs and berries, or even fishing. In winter, this becomes a paradise for free skiing lovers. Regardless of seasons, photographers will always immortalize stunning sceneries. If you opt for conquering the highest peak of Nadkrstač (2112 m), usually the unforgettable hiking lasts six hours, and it starts close to the Prokoško Lake (1636 m). During the ascent, amazing landscapes, as well as creeks running down in cascades will make you understand why this mountain is nicknamed “the Swiss Alps” in Bosnia. Once on the top, your efforts will pay off when you see the stunning panorama.
Besides exploring memorable sceneries of untamed nature, you will get to know Bosnian shepherd’s life as well. Spread over Mt. Vranica, but mainly around the Prokoško Lake, you will find old shepherds wooden huts called “katuni”. Back in time, they served as shepherds’ settlements, while nowadays they can be rented by tourists. Even though very simple, they are priceless since they allow you to spend a night in this rare beauty. So being there, you will have a chance to understand what ‘a million stars hotel’ is. While staying in those huts, the locals will make you try some of their specialities – particularly delightful sheep cheese, traditional bread and hot herbal tea.
A breath-taking combination of sights, smells and tastes makes people fall in love with this otherworldly place. Situated in the proximity of a small town called Fojnica, Mt. Vranica is an ideal destination for hiking “the Swiss Alps” in Bosnia. Last tip: hiking is possible all-year-round, with most adventurers coming in spring and summer. But if you happen to visit this place during the cold months, the most beautiful winter fairy-tale decor with deep snow is guaranteed.
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