In Bosnia & Herzegovina, a country of small towns rather than megalopolises, it is a sort of rule - the smaller the place, the bigger the surprise. Just like with the town of Konjic, where Balkan’s Top Secret got revealed, another settlement called Jablanica, only 20 km away, hides an unexpected fusion of stunning nature and delicious gastronomy, accompanied by vibrant history and tremendous cultural heritage. This is the region where marvellous man-made Jabaničko Lake, as well as spectacular highlands of Blidinje Nature Park and Mt. Prenj (known as Bosnian Himalayas), are just some of the beauties that await passionate nature enthusiasts. The town is also well-known for its specially roasted lamb meat, a mouth-watering dish that leaves no carnivore indifferent. One thing is sure, as much as the wide choice of adrenaline activities will spoils your high-thrill seeking spirit, your taste buds will be even more spoiled in this food’s heaven. After all, Jablanica is the Balkan’s capital of roasted lamb, so make sure that you don’t miss it when you come to discover this part of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Ideally positioned between the cities of Sarajevo and Mostar, the town of Jablanica is also not that far from the Adriatic coast and Medjugorje, Europe’s third most important apparition site. Surrounded by very high peaks of Mt. Prenj and Mt. Čvrsnica, in the proximity of the Risovac Ski Resort at Blidinje Nature Park, and also accompanied by immense Jablaničko Lake and divine Neretva River, Jablanica balances between the Mediterranean and the Continental climates. This impacts not only nature but also its products, such as locally cultivated animals, vegetable and fruits, which eventually results in tasty gastronomy.
When it comes to activities for nature lovers, hiking the natural wonder called ‘Hajdučka Vrata’ on Mt. Čvrsnica (2000 m above the sea level) is an absolute must. This region has natural wonders for all seasons. If you visit Jabanica during summer, you can enjoy some leisure activities such as swimming, fishing or lake cruising around the Jablaničko Lake. You can even camp there. In winter, get ready for great skiing, snowboarding and sledging at surreally beautiful Risovac Ski Resort, within the Blidinje Nature Park. For the rest of the year, Mt. Prenj and Mt. Čvrsnica offer plenty of mountaineering trails for experienced hikers and adrenaline seekers.
Before you leave Jablanica, you need to indulge in its gastronomy. Renowned in the Balkans as the capital of roasted lamb, this town welcomes all food lovers who come from far to taste it. So, if you want something entirely authentic, go for the lamb that was roasted slowly over an open fire. When it comes to strong drinks, you should try Rakia Borovača, a local pine brandy made of fruits of endemic white-bark pine (only found in this region). After these hedonistic moments, I am sure you will conclude how the small town of Jablanica has got it all - a mind-blowing nature & surprisingly delicious cuisine, as well as a vibrant history & a tremendous cultural heritage.
I am Ljiljana, from Bosnia & Herzegovina. Being a journalist, I can't escape from that perspective when travelling. My mission is to make you explore the last Europe’s undiscovered gem.