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Hike to the Medieval Royal City of Bobovac

Hike to the medieval royal city of Bobovac is an easy day walk from Kraljeva Sutjeska, a village situated in the central Bosnia, just 50 km north from Sarajevo.

You will see a backcountry side of Bosnia and walk the trails of Bosnia’s kings.

We loved this hike. We walked through the canyon of Bukovica River to Bobovac Fortress and felt like traveling through time. We visited the museum and library in the Franciscan Monastery. And saw the foundation of the royal castle.

The walk through the village was interesting. We walked beside the Dusper House, the oldest house in central Bosnia, and saw one of the oldest mosques in the country.

Bobovac Royal Fortified City

Bobovac is one of the most important fortresses from the time of the Medieval Bosnia. It was built by Stjepan Kontromanic II, in the first half of the 14th century, on a high ridge above the deep Bukovica Canyon.

Bobovac was part of Kraljeva Sutjeska, but this ancient town became difficult to defend due to its position in the valley. Therefore the Bobovac Fortress was built. Because of its position, it was used as a shelter in times of wars.

The Kontromanic dynasty had its residence in Kraljeva Sutjeska. It was an administrative and political center of the royal family. Today, next to the Franciscan monastery you can see a foundation of the castle.

Bobovac was used as an administrative and military base by the Bosnian kings, especially in the years before the final invasion by the Ottomans when Bosnia lost its independence.

With the fall of Bobovac in 1463, the last Bosnian queen Katarina Kosaca was captured by the Turks. It is believed she has fled in exile to Rome.

How to get to Medieval Royal City of Bobovac

Getting to Kraljeva Sutjeska by car and then walk

If you have a car take a highway A1 toward Zenica and exit in Kakanj. Enter the highway after you exit Vogosca (turn left and then right). A toll fee for this section of the highway is 4 BAM.

When you exit a highway in Kakanj, on the roundabout take the second exit and follow the road R445 and R466. When you pass below the railway bridge, turn immediately right. But don’t worry, you will see signs for Kraljeva Sutjeska during the whole drive from Kakanj.

This road trip takes you along the Bosnia River and through lovely villages of central Bosnia. It is a 59km-drive from Sarajevo to Kraljeva Sutjeska.

In Kraljeva Sutjeska take a first right turn and then left (before a small bridge) to a gravel road. You will see the sign for Bobovac. Leave your car at the end of the road. It’s around a 5-minute drive on a macadam in good shape.

Here starts a 5-km walk to the medieval royal city of Bobovac.

The shortest walk to Bobovac

There is another way to approach Bobovac if you want to walk less. Continue by car through Kraljeva Sutjeska (cross the wooden bridge over Trstionica river), and pass the Franciscan Monastery. Take the second right turn, from the road R466 to R444a. Drive to village Dragovici.

From the village of Ratanj to Dragovici there is around 5 km of a macadam road. On the crossroad take a right-turn to get to Dragovici Village.

Once you get into Dragovici Village you will see the entrance for the Bobovac medieval town.

From the entrance, where you leave a car, to Bobovac there is only a 20-minute walk.

Getting to Kraljeva Sutjeska by bus

Buses from Sarajevo to Kakanj depart every day, and they are very frequent. The depart is from the main bus station. 

But, you can also enter at the bus stop at Ciglane (next to the Ciglane market before the traffic light). It’s possible to buy a ticket from the driver. Check the schedule here. The price of a return ticket is around 12 BAM. 

There is also a bus line from Kakanj to Kraljeva Sutjeska that departs a few times a day. 

Distance from Kakanj to Kraljeva Sutjeska is 12 km. Therefore, there is also an option of taking a cab at the taxi stand in Kakanj to Kraljeva Sutjeska.

Hike Medieval Royal City Bobovac

When typing ‘Kraljeva Sutjeska Bobovac’ in route planner application, such as Komoot or Wikiloc, two trails will appear. Actually, those are two different trailheads that are later joining into one trail.

When we went on our last hike to Bobovac in April 2020, we recorded our walk on the Kommot app, and we will share it here. You can follow our account to see more of hiking & walking trails in the Western Balkans. 

Recommended path

If you come by car we would recommend leaving it at the end of a gravel road and starting a hike from there. This way you will not walk one kilometer of macadam road on the sun and heat as I did.

After crossing a small concrete bridge above Bukovica River the trail enters into the canyon of this clear mountain river.

The path is following the river the entire way to Bobovac. It goes through the thick beech forest, which makes the hike more pleasant during hot summer days.

The trail is mostly keeping the altitude, expect the beginning and end of the trail. These sections are a little bit steeper. But, don’t worry the walk is suitable even for kids.

It is approximately a 2-hour long walk, from the end of gravel road to get to Bobovac medieval city.

A walk from the Franciscan Monastery

If you follow the main road through Kraljeva Sutjeska further from the Franciscan Monastery, you will get to the trailhead for Bobovac.

After an approximately 10-minute walk on the main road, you will see a ramp and signpost for Bobovac. The trail turns right, into the forest and winds between houses.

The first section of the trail is concrete, and it immediately starts to ascend. The old stone sub-wall proves that here used to be a road.

Then, the trail is descending through the forest and across the meadows on the gravel road. However, from here you still must walk a few minutes to come to the end of the road and enter the hiking trail through the Bukovica Canyon.

In this section, we saw two snakes. One nose-horned Viper, chilling next to the spring. And another, which wasn’t poisonous, in the grass at the meadow.

I wasn’t impressed by this trail. Let’s just say that you will not miss anything interesting nor worth the walk on the asphalt road in hiking shoes. Therefore, take the trail we recommended.

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Hike toward the Royal Mausoleum
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Once church and then in 15th century, during the rule of king Stjepan Ostoja, transformed into the royal mausouleum.
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In this well legend says the last Bosnian queen Katarina Kosaca threw away all royal treasure. It is part of the Lower town of Bobovac.
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The Canyon of Bukovica River
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Upper Town of Bobovac Credit:Isovic Emir
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The Franciscan Monastery in Kraljeva Sutjeska

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