Home to never-ending lavender and immortelle fields, bountiful vineyards and organically grown fruits and vegetables, the stunning valley of Popovo Polje is a feast for all senses. Accompanied by historically attractive curiosities, this charming region is well-worth a stop. The best time to explore this part of no-man’s land, located in the southernmost part of Bosnia & Herzegovina, is summer. If you take a walk through the blooming fields, while inhaling the overwhelming scents of wild herbs, you will understand why this beauty is called “the Provence of Bosnia & Herzegovina.”
Popovo Polje is a valley and a large karstic field that stretches from a small town of Ravno towards the city of Trebinje, all the way till the Mt. Bijela Gora, close to the border with Montenegro. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, with a lot of sun and mild winters, this region is very fertile. It is not surprising that some the best wines of Bosnia & Herzegovina come from here, but also famous Bosnian tobacco. Besides vineyards and tobacco, what distinguishes Popovo Polje from similar valleys is its ground that is particularly fertile for wild herbs. Among more than 100 plants and herbs, countless helichrysum (immortelle) and lavender fields are priceless in terms of its final quality.
Like in the “real” Provence, an essential part of the gastronomic discovery are local markets. Well, this region has something in particular. Besides typical local markets, travelling around Popovo Polje, you will notice many food stalls along the roads, where farmers sell their products. From fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables to their homemade products such as ‘ajvar’ (made of peppers and eggplants), locally produced wines and Rakia. The sweetest thing you will see on those stalls is the Herzegovinian honey, well-known in the entire Balkans for its pronounced taste, thanks to the unpolluted pastures of wild herbs. Speaking about the herbs, almost every family here has their herbal preparations, such as teas, essential oils, beauty products.
As you might have heard, Bosnia & Herzegovina is an ideal destination for the lovers of old railways and steam trains, since it has many of them – for instance: Europe’s oldest working locomotive in Banovići and legendary narrow-gauge railway in Višegrad. One of them is also a historic railroad that used to cross the valley of Popovo Polje. Built in the early 1900s, this narrow-gauge railway, served by the steamer popularly called “Ćiro”, was connecting many tourist attractions: Old Bridge in Mostar, old town of Počitelj, Orthodox monastery Žitomislić, Hutovo Blato Nature Park, Roman ruins in Mogorjelo, Vjetrenica Cave, Orthodox monastery Zavala, Popovo Polje, Dubrovnik and Konavle. When this railway was closed in 1976, the whole region lost its visibility. Finally, around ten years ago, the authorities decided to revitalize the line by organizing the cycling tours along the old narrow-gauge railway in the hinterlands of the Bosnian Adriatic coast. Since then, more and more curious travelers are coming to discover Popovo Polje – the Provence of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
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