In September of 2015, I spent time in the former Yugoslavia, and traveled, hiked, and climbed throughout the countries there. Towards the end of the trip I found myself in Sarajevo with an opportunity to climb and hike around Bjelašnica, one of the largest mountains surrounding that city, with an elevation of 2067 meters at its tallest peak.
It is a storied mountain. It was the site of a lot of the conflict during the Bosnian war, but is now a popular destination for hikers and skiers in the winter. The panoramic views of the surrounding area are breathtaking, and incredibly tranquil.
The tranquility, to be honest, is what really struck me. Once you’re out of Sarajevo, and you get into the hills, there is really no one around. I met a guy who lives in the area and he gushed out and said “no, this is the best place. You can mountain bike for days and not see anyone. 1500 meters, great gravel roads, and no cars. It’s the best.”
And he’s probably right. I didn’t get a chance to get out on a bike but I plan to. It’s just a matter of getting my Brodie into a hard shell case and over to Bosnia. Oh yes. It will happen.
But no matter. This trip was all about the hikes and climbs, and there was certainly a lot of that. I was blessed with exceptional weather, not just for the hiking but also for the photography. Blank skies are boring.
I was also fortunate enough to catch some of the landscape changing from summer to fall colours. There is a wealth of poplar trees in the area, and those things like up like magnificent gold flares.
There are villages in the area. There are farms everywhere, and many great hostels eager to give you a place to rest your feet after great days in the mountains.
With a bit of planning, it would be easy to use one of these great places as a base to explore many other mountains in the surrounding area besides Bjelašnica. There are lots of both. When you settle down, be sure to grab a few of these.