Are you searching for road trip ideas? Have you ever took a Balkans road trip?
Read about the most scenic drives in the Western Balkans, through Bosnia and Montenegro, recommended by locals that will help you plan your next holiday.
From dramatic canyons and ‘fjords’ to the vast sub-alpine meadows, towering mountain peaks, and gorgeous lakes, there are countless scenic road trips across Bosnia & Montenegro.
It was hard to choose, but we have picked our favorite routes in Bosnia and Montenegro with heart-stopping views. You can plan them as part of one big road trip adventure through Bosnia and Montenegro, but also as your separate vacations.
Get inspired with our road trip ideas! Hit the road and start your Balkans road trip!
Sarajevo to Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Total distance: 129 km or 80 miles (27 km on a motorway) | 2 hr
Train Sarajevo Mostar: 118 km or 73 miles | 2 hr | 6 €
Key stops: Old town of Konjic, Museum of the Battle for the Wounded at Neretva, food stops.
The 129-kilometers road winds its way from central Bosnia to the south, to a region known as Herzegovina. It traverses mountain ranges, and Neretva Canyon, offering different panoramic vistas depending on the season. From undulating slopes of color in autumn to a bounty of coolness from river and canyon in summer, and scenic rock-face cliffs painted white in winter.
While exiting from Sarajevo, you can choose between taking A1 a 27-kilometers long motorway or immediately connect to M17/E73 via Hadzici settlement. Both routes offer scenic views of the countryside.
This 2 hours and a half long journey offer something for anyone. From scenic landscape to historical landmarks, and delicious food stops. The first stop is Konjic town. Make a stop in the Old town of Konjic and walk across Stara Cuprija, the arch bridge from the period of Ottomans connecting two banks of Neretva River. Explore souvenirs shops in old Ottoman houses and drink coffee overlooking emerald green Neretva.
From Konjic, the road follows artificial Jablanicko Lake almost to Jablanica town. In Jablanica, we highly recommend visiting a museum dedicated to the famous Battle of Neretva, known as Battle for Wounded from World War II. The main battlefield is a railway bridge situated beside the museum, which looks like it was when destroyed in the battle of Partisans against German forces.
The drive further takes you through the stunning Neretva Canyon, which separates Cvrsnica from Prenj Mountain. The road trip through the Neretva Canyon is easily one of Europe’s most beautiful routes. It is possible to experience it by car or train. In 2018, a British daily newspaper ‘The Guardian’ included Sarajevo to Mostar railway line among the “18 of the World’s Best Rail Journeys“.
If you’re a foodie, then you will be able to stop at tons of local restaurants with delicious, authentic food.
Here is a list of places recommended by locals that you will pass on your road trip toward Herzegovina:
- Restaurant Orahovica in Orahovica – Has a great terrace above Jablanicko Lake. Recommendation: lamb meal. Open 24 hours.
- Pekara (Bakery) Celebici in Celebici – Recommendation: different types of Bosnian pies. Open from 6 AM to 10 PM. Note, it is situated immediately after the tunnel in Celebici, on the right side, if you’re driving from Sarajevo.
- Pekara (Bakery) Putnik in Jablanica (on the right side, before turning left to the museum – Recommendation: different types of Bosnian pies, especially burek, meat pie.
- Many restaurants along the road from Jablanica to Neretva Canyon.
Sarajevo to Konjic over Visocica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Total distance: 109 km or 67 miles | 2hr
Road: M18 – R422A- R436
Key stops: Babin Do ski resort, Tusila, Boracko Lake
Close detours: Umoljani Village, Tito’s Bunker ARK D-0, Waterfall Crni Vir
Our second road trip idea in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a scenic drive along the Via Dinarica long-distance trail. For a short period, the road follows this very popular hiking trail that traverses the Dinaric Alps.
It can take more than two hours to travel the 109 kilometers from Sarajevo to Konjic, as you snake past Bjelasnica’s and Visocica’s steep slopes and grassy balds. Of course, you will also stop for delicious homemade spinach pie, and pull over for Lord of the Rings vistas. And maybe make some detours, as this is an opportunity to explore everything in this area.
The road runs across the Dinaric Alps, and through idyllic mountain villages. The best thing is that in some parts you will not encounter any car. Especially as you pass Babin Do ski resort on Bjelasnica Mountain. Enjoy in the drive as you feed your eyes and soul with stunning scenery of lush beech and coniferous woods, vast grassy hills, and towering peaks.
Babin Do Ski Resort
The Babin Do ski resort is the first stop as you exit Sarajevo.
Why is this ski resort popular?
The main reason is because of the XIV Olympic Winter Games in 1984 when here was held men’s downhill skiing. The second reason is it’s very close to the citizens of Sarajevo.
As you stop beside the road, you see the top of Bjelasnica (2,067m) and ski tracks. Interestingly, for the Olympics, we had to build a building on the top, and the starting point for men’s downhill was from the roof. Yes, crazy Bosnian’s, but I would also say clever. We lacked a few meters of altitude difference between the starting and ending line. According to the IOC rules, it has to be 800 meters, so we had to find a solution. And luckily, we did!
The best spinach pie!
Further, the landscape is slowly starting to change. From fir and pine to only beech woods, and lastly highland meadows and hills with summits covered in thick grass.
When you pass the junction for Umoljani and cross the Rakitnica river, you’re welcomed by her majesty Visocica. This 26 km long free-flowing mountain river is a natural border between Bjelasnica and Visocica. During winter, the road from Tusila settlement is not in function due to high snow.
The road trip across Visocica will take you through some scenic and narrow back roads. In Tusila, make a stop in Restaurant Visocica for delicious spinach pie prepared in wood-stove and served with homemade sour milk.
The last stop on this road trip to Konjic is Boracko Lake. This glacial lake sits in the foothills of Prenj Mountain, 20 km away from Konjic town. It’s quite a popular swimming spot, and the entrance fee for a car is 3 €.
On your journey from Sarajevo to Konjic via Visocica Mountain, you can make a couple of detours. This road trip encompasses everything from natural to historical landmarks, and delicious authentic food.
Below you can see our list of detours that are worth making a few extra kilometers. We have enjoyed them very much and hope that you will as well!
The first detour is Umoljani Village, situated on the slopes of Bjelasnica Mountain, close to the entrance into Rakitnica Canyon. This village is accessible by car all year round. It’s a great stop if you want to stretch legs and go for some walk.
Umoljani Village boasts a stunning snake-movement-shaped creek, that drops into Rakitnica Canyon, and delicious traditional Bosnian mountain food.
Tito's Bunker ARK D-0
Before entering the center of Konjic, make a detour to Tito’s nuclear bunker. Once a secret project of Yugoslavia, today a museum open for tourists.
Facility D-O, known as Tito’s bunker, is an underground museum highly recommended for tourists interested in the life of Tito and Yugoslavia.
Entrance ticket: 10.50 €
Crni Vir Waterfall
If you decide to visit Tito’s Bunker, continue with the same road to Dzajici Village. This detour offers a great way to combine historical and natural landmarks.
In this village situated on the bank of Neretva River, there is a short 15- minute walk to a 300-meter cascading waterfall known as Crni Vir.
Scepan Polje to Zabljak, Montenegro
Total distance: 75.9 km or 47 miles
Roads: M-18, R-14
Key stops: viewpoints, Eco Village Durmitor
The Scepan Polje-Zabljak drive is easily one of Montenegro’s most beautiful routes and deserves to be among the best road trip ideas. You start on the border with Bosnia, driving through the deep turquoise Piva Canyon, and then the hairpin mountain roads of the Durmitor National Park.
This 76-kilometer adventure takes you through once inaccessible terrain and shows you a stunning and diverse landscape. The roadway follows Piva River Canyon and later lake made by damming a wild mountainous river. You will see high coniferous trees rising from sheer rock cliffs throughout the whole canyon. And high rock face summits of Bioc and other mountains high above. Incredible!
Continue through the canyon on M-18 until you hit turning toward Zabljak, less than a kilometer before the big bridge on the entrance to Pluzine town. It’s quite tricky to notice it because you’re turning immediately into the first of dozens of tunnels made on Pivska Mountain. Including 56-tunnels on the road through the canyon, there are 68-tunnels in total on the whole roadway from Scepan to Zabljak.
The 50 kilometers of narrow blacktop twisting through Pivska Mountain and Durmitor National Park is very popular among the travelers seeking Dinaric Alps overlooks. It can take you more than two hours to travel these 50 kilometers as you snake past steep and narrow mountain road, and pull over for numerous viewpoints.
Durmitor National Park - Panoramic Road
As you drive uphill through the tunnels that look like natural caves, you will enjoy stunning vistas on the canyon and lake. The view is more and more incredible as you get higher and higher. It’s even possible to see Maglic and the highest summit in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the distance.
We highly recommend not to miss to stop in Trsa Village in Eco-Village Durmitor to enjoy in delicious homemade food and hospitality of the Jokanovic family.
The key attractions are wooden frames positioned in the way so you can get some Durmitor’s summits framed on your photo. The section of the road from Trsa to Zabljak is part of the 85-kilometer panoramic loop drive, known as the Durmitor Ring. It loops around 2,000-meter (6,561 ft.) peaks and along the Tara Canyon, Europes’ deepest canyon. To finish the whole loop, on your way back from Zabljak, take a road: Bosaca- Veliki Stuoc- Mala Crna Gora- Nedajno-Trsa. The Durmitor Ring is a great way to explore Durmitor Mountain by car.
The landscape is dotted with lakes and small wooden cottages-summer homes of shepherds and their cattle. Durmitor National Park is a paradise for hikers in the summer season. The starting point of many well-maintained trails is actually from this panoramic road.
The entire drive, you’re surrounded by an uninterrupted stretch of sub-alpine meadows. Cows and flock of sheep are roaming freely, and quite often on the road. Probably, sometimes, you will have to wait for them to cross the road but, that is the charm of this road trip.
Kotor to Cetinje, Montenegro
Total distance: 40 km or 25 miles
Key stops: the viewpoint of Kotor Bay, Njegusi Village
Detours: Njegos Mausoleum
Our last road trip idea is one hour and a half long drive connecting the Adriatic coast and Kotor town with the heartland of Montenegro.
The 40-kilometer road is winding from Kotor Bay, across the Lovcen Mountain to Cetinje town, a former royal capital town of Montenegro. While driving a winding and narrow mountain road, with 28 hairpin curves, to climb high up on Lovcen Mountain, your passengers can enjoy in a spectacular view of the Bay of Kotor. But don’t worry, you will have a chance to stop on the viewpoint with the best view of the bay and surroundings. It’s like a view from the postcard!
Before arriving in Njegusi Village, a home town of the famous Montenegrian ruler Petar II Petrovic-Njegos, there is a detour that will take you to his mausoleum on the top of Lovcen Mountain. It also boasts stunning vistas over the Lovcen National Park and spectacular sunsets.
In Njegusi Village, you can visit a birth-house of Njegos or buy very popular and delicious prosciutto and cheese from the local farmers. Also, locals are selling their honey and other products produced by them on Lovcen Mountain.