Hike near Mostar: Mostarska Bijela Canyon

There are so many great hikes near Mostar, and one of them is the canyon of the river Mostarska Bijela. If you’re looking for a hike near Mostar this is our recommendation.

Unfortunately, we have noticed it is hard to find information on English online.

Since we recently went on this hike, we want to share our experience, so you will be all set up when you decide to try this hike.

Walking through the narrow part of the canyon of Mostarska Bijela was genuinely breathtaking, but there are some things I wish I thought about and knew before heading on this hike.

Table of Contents

How to get to the trailhead of the walk

The walk’s trailhead is just 20 km north of Mostar town, which means a very short drive. If you’re in Sarajevo, take the M-17 road Sarajevo- Mostar, and in around 2 hours, you will come to the trailhead.

The drive through the canyon of the emerald-green Neretva river is awe-inspiring. It is one of the most beautiful road trips in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Neretva is a natural border between the mountains of Prenj, and Cvrsnica and Cabulja. It is a beautiful experience to drive in the foothills of the towering Dinaric Alps.

Don’t drive fast because you might miss the turn. It’s relatively easy to miss it if you don’t pay attention. Pay attention to the road signs, and turn left at the Bijela bridge. Use Google maps to help you with navigation.

The road follows a lake made out of the rivers of Bijela and Neretva. Salakovac is an accumulation lake that is around 20 km long. The lake is flooding the last kilometer of the Bijela river and has a stunning emerald green-bluish color.

As you arrive at the turn toward the stonepit, leave your car there and start the walk. Or, you can continue further for around one kilometer. At one point, the road is crossing over the river. The level of water is different throughout the years. Therefore, probably only in summer, you can pass this section by car.

We decided to continue and left our car a few hundred meters further—which was definitely the right choice on a hot summer day. I was grateful, especially on our way back, to walk less on the macadam road.

If you have an off-road vehicle, you can drive even further. The locals blocked the road at one point; I guess they wanted to limit how far you can go by car. But, it is wide enough to leave your vehicle there.

Emerald green Neretva River
Even though it was extremely hot during a hike, it was cold inside the cave, and I had to wear a jacket. Credit: Damir hamalukic

Mostarska Bijela Canyon - Stunning hike near Mostar

In Herzegovina, the southern region of the country, there are three rivers with the same name— Bijela. To distinguish them, Bosnians and Herzegovinians usually add the name of the town close to which each river flows — Konjic(ka) Bijela, Jablanic(k)a Bijela, and Mostar(ska) Bijela.

Even more interesting fact is that the source of all three rivers is in the foothills of Prenj.

Each river takes you through fantastic wild parts of Herzegovina. In Jablanicka Bijela, you can even swim, or jump, to cool off in hot summer days. Mostarska Bijela, on the other hand, is not for swimming. But, as soon as you step into a narrow part of the canyon (which looks like a cave), the temperature instantly drops for around 10 degrees.

In some parts, Mostarska Bijela is an underground river. It’s interesting how in one moment you’re following the river, and in the second the river disappears. You are walking on the empty river bed.

The last 1.200 meters of the canyon is very narrow, only 1.5 meters wide. To explore this section of Mostarska Bijela, you need equipment for climbing. And someone who has experienced and has done this type of adventure. Of course, you should be comfortable with canyoning.

But don’t worry, even if you’re not up for canyoning, this hike gives you a glimpse into the natural masterpiece of Mostarska Bijela canyon. You will walk 80 meters of the most narrow part of the canyon.

Hike near Mostar through the canyon of Mostarska Bijela

Canyon hikes can be quite demanding—almost always a steep, dry descent and a climb back— but the Canyon of Mostarska Bijela is different.

The majority of the canyon is very wide and flat, or steady uphill. From the beginning until the end of the hike, the altitude difference is only 355 meters asl.

After a 30-minute walk, there is a turn for another trail that ascends to the remains of shepherd village Grabovcici and Lupoglav peak. Just by looking from the canyon, I could see it is a very steep hike.

On the hike through the Mostarska Bijela canyon, you will also see remains of shepherd village. The trail passes beside few abandoned stone houses and one graveyard.

In front of one house, we even saw an old bed. It was quite, and there was no one around. Perfect for a horror movie.

My favorite part was a walk through a dense hornbeam forest, and when we arrived in the “cave.” The cave is the beginning of the 1,200-meter long and 1,5-meter wide part of the canyon, through which flows the cold and clean river of Mostarska Bijela.

A cold breeze welcomes visitors at the entrance—such a lovely refreshment in hot summer days. And walk in the cold water is the best reward for your feet after sweating for 3 hours in hiking boots.

There are leeches in the water, which proves how clean the water is. Although I didn’t notice any leech, I was careful where I walk after my boyfriend said that he did saw one or two on the high canyon walls.

As we walked further, it was darker, so flashlight helped me see the rocky river bed. And we needed it to take photos.

After 80 meters, we reached a small waterfall that was falling from a 10-meter high rock. It’s not possible to go any further.

During the hike, we also enjoyed in fascinating rocks called Kravlje pecine (translated in English means cows caves). The path is passing beside these long alcoves. The dense trees give an even more fascinating appearance to this exposed rock face.

Check our video of the hike

Such a wonderful viewpoint of the Mostarska Bijela Canyon. Credit: Damir Hamalukic

You might think about these things before planning a hike

First of all, it is crucial to know that Herzegovina is the warmest region in the country. The temperatures can go as high as 40 Celsius degree. And if you add humidity that we had during our hike, it can be a challenging hike.

It is especially challenging because half of the hike is following the road or empty riverbed, and there is NO shade. To walk on a pebble rock and dirt road in high temperatures and humid can be very exhausting.

Therefore, choose very wisely the season and the day when to go on this hike!

Don’t make our mistake and go in the middle of summer. At least not on a very hot day.

I would suggest the beginning or end of summer and beginning of autumn, before heavy rains.

Secondly, before heading on the hike, you should prepare an offline Google map or the internet on your phone to get to the trailhead.

Finally, download a GPS track of the hike. 

Technical information

Tour length: 14 km (total)

Duration: 2h and 30 min – 3h until entering the cave, i.e., a narrow part of the canyon of Mostarska Bijela. (at high temperatures up to 4h). 

Return: 2 h and 30 min. Total: around 5h.

Altitude difference: 355 masl.

Track: Follow my route I made with Komoot app

What to bring: a flashlight, hat, sunscreen, water shoes, enough water. 

Entrance into the "cave", the 1,5 meter wide section of the canyon. Credit: Damir Hamalukic
Love Kravlje Pecine rocks. Aren't they amazing? Credit: Damir Hamalukic
A 10-meter high waterfall at the end of 80-meter long "cave" Credit: Damir Hamalukic
Map of the hike. Credit: HPD Prenj 1933

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