Eternal Arrival
Bosnia

Celebrating Stillness in Trebinje, Bosnia

I know it is the ultimate privilege to be able to say this, but travel can be stressful. And that’s why you need to incorporate days to slow the eff down when you’re living a life of frequent traveling. Lucky me, I was able to do this slowdown in the cute, quaint little city of Trebinje, Bosnia – a town of 30,000 people with virtually no foreign tourism, for now. Yet for such a small town, Trebinje truly has the best of Bosnia, all in one tiny package. While there aren’t that many things to do in Trebinje, it’s the perfect place to embrace the good life and live a little slower – if only for a time.

Peacefully stroll along the river

The river that goes through Trebinje, the Trebišnjica, is stunningly beautiful. This is the perfect place for a walk even on hot summer days, as the river breeze is nice and cool. As you walk, admire the glassy beauty of the water. Notice how it mirrors the buildings on the other side of the river bank.

Admire the beautiful mountains

I’ve never seen mountains quite like Bosnia’s. Vaguely Martian in their undulations, they’re somehow both barren and supple. It’s the perfect landscape to fix your eyes on.

Marvel at the most peaceful Old Town in the Balkans

Trebinje has perhaps the least busy, least touristy Old Town in all of the Balkans, which is in itself almost enough of a reason to visit this historic town. The Old Town was built by Ottomans in the 18th century and is remarkably intact. It’s lovely to walk through, not least because virtually no one will harass you.

Shop at the sleepy market in the main square

This market is open daily in the mornings but is best on Saturdays. You can get everything from the freshest organic produce to local honey to home-cured prosciutto to a variety of handmade cheeses. Sadly, the cheeses are in danger of becoming extinct with impending EU regulations, should Bosnia be admitted to the EU. So go now and eat all the cheese. For science.

Make sure you also buy the homemade ajvar (red pepper spread) and, if you’re daring, rakija (fruit-based “brandy” prepared in two-liter bottles).

Hike to the fortresses

If you want even more of the landscapes, make sure you don’t miss the hiking in Trebinje. Trebinje is surrounded by seven hills, each with its own unique calling card, such as the abandoned Austro-Hungarian fortress on Fort Strač. The hikes are moderate, taking about an hour and a half or so to complete, requiring no special footwear. Be sure to stay on the path as Bosnia continues to have issues with stray landmines.

Marvel at one of the most beautiful bridges in Bosnia

The Arslanagić bridge is one of Bosnia’s most beautiful – and this is a country that knows its bridges (have you seen the Old Bridge of Mostar? — stunning). Complete with two large arches and four smaller ones, its unique design is characteristic of its former Ottoman influences.


Visit the Old Monastery in town

Seeing the Herzegovacka Gracanica monastery gave me a serious sense of deja vu because it’s a replica of the Gracanica monastery in Kosovo, which I had seen when visiting Prishtina. Done in the Serbian Orthodox style, this monastery is definitely worth a visit, as it’s unlike most other religious buildings you’ll see in Bosnia, which will largely be mosques. But because Trebinje is part of Republika Srpska, a semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia & Herzegovina, it is actually majority Serb – and hence majority Orthodox. Another thing you’ll notice is that all the street signs are in Serbian Cyrillic, which is something you won’t see in Mostar or Sarajevo!

Watch a sunset from the Old Monastery

About an hour before sunset, take a walk towards the Old Monastery with a few Sarajevsko beers (or a water bottle of rakija, no judgment, get your Balkan on) and watch the sun set in the beautiful hills that surround Trebinje.

(source)

Go wine tasting

Did you know Herzegovina (the region that Trebinje falls under) is a famous agricultural region, particularly noted for its wine? Nope, me neither. There are lots of places just a few kilometers outside of Trebinje where you can do wine tasting at local wineries, though these usually require a small group and an appointment. Wine tasting is very cheap – usually about 10 marks (5 euros) including food! Or, if you’d like to sample some local wines at a restaurant, try Vukoje. It’s upscale by Bosnian standards but you still would be hard pressed to spend more than 10 or 15 euros per person.

If you’re not going wine tasting but you want to seek out some local wines at the grocery store or restaurants; look for zilavka if you want white, and vranac if you want red.

 

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The tiny town of Trebinje in Bosnia is just a 30 minute drive from Dubrovnik, but it’s got enough charm to warrant more than just a day trip! A must on any Balkans road trip.     The tiny town of Trebinje in Bosnia is just a 30 minute drive from Dubrovnik, but it’s got enough charm to warrant more than just a day trip! A must on any Balkans road trip.

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Kate
    January 17, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Looks like a beautiful little town! I would love to get into the countryside of Bosnia more the next time we are in the area.

    • Reply
      Allison Green
      January 17, 2017 at 5:49 am

      I would too! Trebinje was a great teaser but there’s so many other little towns and natural scenery I didn’t get to explore. One summer I want to buy a cheap beater car and just road trip around the area!

  • Reply
    Megan
    August 18, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I have had no clue that anything like this existed there in a non-touristy fashion (reminds me of Mostar like you mentioned w/ its famous bridge… but there is no one there!) I definitely have a lot of Balkans exploration to still do and this is going on the list for sure!

    • Reply
      Allison Green
      August 18, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      I love discovering off the beaten path places like this, they are so rewarding. Literally only met five other tourists my entire 4 days in Trebinje and it was only because we were sharing the same (and only) hostel in town 🙂 Mostar was shockingly crowded, especially after the peace and quiet of Trebinje, I think because of all the Dubrovnik day-trippers. Interestingly, Trebinje is only a 30 minute ride from Dubrovnik (in fact, I did the reverse and visited Dubrovnik on a day trip from Trebinje — the idea of spending more than 1 day in Croatia in peak season made my anxiety go through the roof) yet has no day trippers.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    August 24, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    I was debating heading to Trebinje, but ultimately ran out of time. It looks so lovely, and I’m regretting not finding the time to visit now. Bosnia is one of my all-time favourite countries, and I definitely want to see more of it. PS, I was also shocked at how packed Mostar was – really wasn’t expecting that.

    • Reply
      Allison Green
      August 25, 2017 at 11:09 am

      Bosnia is one of my favorite countries too, even though I’ve seen so little of it. You know, I think the reason why Mostar is so crowded was because Dubrovnik day trippers go there… little do they know that Trebinje is so lovely and only 30 minutes away (in fact, I did the same in reverse – took one of my days in Trebinje to visit Dubrovnik!). I’m hoping to return to Bosnia and visit more, I’ve heard great things about Konjic, Banja Luka, and the north in general… Maybe next year I’ll go back for a visit 🙂 Hope you get to go to Trebinje soon, it’s so lovely <3

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