Nature Park Blidinje is one of the most beautiful natural areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this beautiful gem of Herzegovina should be on your travel list. Around 360 km2 of this incredibly rich and biodiverse park lies at the heart of Dinaric Alps in the northern part of Herzegovina. Almost half of the Park is covered in forest and due to its rich biodiversity the whole area was recognized and protected as a National Park in 1995.
Located on 1185m above sea level, this unique vast plain is really breathtaking. It is an oasis of peace and natural beauty, especially if you visit it in spring or summer time. Ideal for relaxation and walks through nature, you will definitely feel rejuvenated after you visit it. Blidinje is home of endemic species of pine munika, and the air is really fresh and healthy here. It’s a great place for mountain biking, and you can enjoy horse riding through amazing nature too. In the winter time, it is a destination for skiing and enjoying in snow.
In the central part of the park, there is Dugo Polje and in the southeastern part, there is beautiful Blidinje Lake. Combination of these two provides its visitors ideal combination and creates a perfect environment for relaxation and holidays. Around two of these, there are mountain Čvrsnica and Vran Mountain. They are ideal for mountain climbing and nice little walks through nature. In these mountains, there is also a ski resort which during winter times provides tourists the opportunity to enjoy winter sports.
The Čvrsnica mountain massif is the highest and largest in the nature park. The most notable geomorphological feature in the region is located on the mountain’s eastern side above Grabovica Canyon.
This feature is a stone arch that looks a lot like a large door or circle called Hajdučka vrata (literally Haiduk Door). This is a protected natural feature in the park. Countless hikers and nature enthusiasts come to see it every year.
We divide the Čvrsnica massif into two sections. The first one, also called Muharnica, is located in the northeast section of the park and consists primarily of dolomite rocks. Veliki Vilinac is the highest peak in the massif with an elevation of 2,116 m (6,942 ft).
The second part of the massif, which is located opposite to Veliki Vilina on the southwestern ridge, is Velika Čvrsnica. The highest peak in this part of the massif is Pločno, which is mostly made of limestone.
The highest peaks of the Blidinje Nature Park are situated in the Čvrsnica massif. They include:
- Pločno (2,228 m/7,309 ft)
- Mandaruša (2,204 m/7,230 ft)
- Ćuprija (2,194 m/7,198 ft)
- Veliki Jelinak (2,170 m/7,119 ft)
- Kapci (2,156 m/7,073 ft )
- Veliki Vilinac (2,113 m/6,932 ft)
- Ivina Kosa (2,148 m/7,047 ft)
What to see and do in Blidinje nature park
Blidinje nature park is remarkable not just because of its beautiful landscape and fun activities, but also because it conserves cultural heritage that dates centuries back.
Some of the most important sights in the park include the following.
1. Hajdučka Vrata (Outlaw’s Gate)
One of the most beautiful viewpoints and a great end to a hike certainly describes Hajdučka Vrata. It is a circular stone that has been considered a natural monument since 1985. According to the legend, it helped the Outlaws become bulletproof while fighting the Ottomans. Besides it being a natural wonder, its position overlooking the valleys from the eastern side of the Cvrsnica Mountain is what lures visitors here.
2. Blidinje Lake
Nestled between Čvrsnica and Vran mountains, in Polja valley, lies Blidinje lake, after which the park got its name. It is a natural lake, of glacial origin according to some, that varies from 2.5 to 6 km² in size. Its position in between the mountains gives an amazing panorama of the surrounding mountains.
Stećci or mediaeval stone sleepers that date back to the period between the 12th and 14th centuries are situated in Blidinje. Especially in Dugo Polje, which is a large necropolis that consists of 150 of these Christian tombstones situated on the road to Kedžara. They vary in sizes and shapes – from slabs to crates. Also, they are often decorated with crosses, and rosettes or tell a story through symbols. Therefore, due to its cultural importance, in 2016, Dugo Polje was included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage.
4. Cave of the Outlaw Mijat Tomić
The Cave of the Outlaw Mijat Tomić is located in Dugo polje, at the foot of Vran mountain, in the immediate proximity of the restaurant Hajdučke Vrleti, and it is interesting both in terms of history and the animals living there. It has been the subject of numerous speleological analyses and research.
According to a legend, Mijat Tomić lived in this area in mid-17th century and he was famous for his bravery and fearlessness. It is believed that the cave has an opening leading to the other part of Vran, towards Rama.
5. Diva Grabovčeva
According to a legend, Diva Grabovčeva was a Croatian girl that lived in the 17th century. Her uniqueness lies in the fact that, in spite of being forced, she refused to marry the Turkish Tahir-bey Kopčić, and she thus became a symbol of purity, martyrdom and Catholicism. A holy mass is held every year to honour Diva, always on the first Sunday following St. Peter’s Day, and it is attended by several thousands of pilgrims from the whole region. The heroin Diva Grabovčeva is also celebrated in numerous songs, books and movies, and one of the most special ones is the opera Diva Grabovčeva, which is, at the same time, the first opera in Croatian language in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
6. Masna Luka
A mountain pearl at the foot of Čvrsnica, with the beautiful Church of Saint Elias that perfectly blends in the natural environment, is certainly one of the most beautiful spots in Blidinje Nature Park. This part is characterised by a great wealth of pine and fir forests and disposes of several drinking water springs. The natural reserve Masna Luka, with its endemic Bosnian pine, is the perfect spot to rest your body and soul and to fully surrender to nature. Here you can visit the Franciscan gallery with valuable artwork from this area or enjoy one of the drinking water springs, the most famous one being Jasle.
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