If an idea of hiking “the Swiss Alps” in Bosnia sounds appealing to you and if you are about to plan your trip to Mt. Vranica, here is the cherry on the cake – the most beautiful “mountain eye” called Prokoško Lake is a bonus that goes with it. In a pretty much scenic setting, not far from the small town called Fojnica, lies this true natural gem. Due to its exceptional position in the heart of the mountain, its endemic species and authentic environment, Prokoško Lake has been declared the national monument, protected by the state of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Hugged by numerous peaks higher than 2000 m, this gorgeous gem is reflecting the beauty of the mountain, just like a mirror or an eye. One thing is sure, when you see it, you will understand why people call it the most beautiful “mountain eye”.
Situated only 80 km from the capital city Sarajevo, Prokoško Lake is the highest and probably the most beautiful one in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Jealously hidden between the summits of Mt. Vranica, with Nadkrstač (2112) being the highest of them, this glacial lake is nested at 1636 m above the sea level. The most amazing is the arrival and the view from a cliff named Hrid. This “mountain eye”, as many people call it, is surrounded by old shepherds’ huts, which makes the setting very unique. What makes this lake the most interesting one in the country, is that it is home to some endemic species, namely blindcave salamander and endemic lizard – Triton, that lives only here. Thanks to that, the whole site is protected by the state since 1954.
For all nature admirers and adrenaline seekers, it is good to know that Prokoško Lake and Mt. Vranica can be visited all-year-round. Whether you opt for hiking, climbing or mountain biking, this hidden paradise needs to be explored. The easiest way to reach it is by car from the town of Fojnica, via a gravel road. As a matter of fact, many people decide to hike to this jewel of nature. Others come by car to the lake, and then they hike until they conquer the highest peak of Mt. Vranica – Nadkrstač (2112). Only in winter, due to heavy snow conditions, this road is only partially accessible by car, and the rest has to be done by walking or hiking. Therefore, it is worthwhile experiencing these beauties during every season.
When you reach the lake, you will inevitably notice many shepherds’ wooden huts spread all along the shore. Back in time, those cabins called “katuni”,once used as shepherds’ settlements, nowadays can be rented by tourists. So, if you wish to sleep and eat like shepherds did, my advice is to book in advance because the capacities are limited. Alternatively, you can always find some accommodation in the closed town Fojnica. In any case, make sure that you don’t leave this place without trying their mouth-watering local specialities – sheep cheese, dry meat, domestic brad, wild berries and herbal tea. And just before you leave, while observing the surreal scenery of a glacier lake surroundedby the magnificent amphitheater of Mt. Vranica, you will certainly agree that Prokoško Lake is the most beautiful mountain eye that you have ever seen.
Photo credits: Adnan Bubalo
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