After one of our recent Croatian coast weekends, we decided since we’re living in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) we really should spend a weekend on the Bosnian coast. Bosnia is stunningly beautiful and so much fun to explore, yet we hadn’t so much as driven through its only port city, Neum. It was time to change that.
Running just over 12 miles along the water, the Neum corridor is BiH’s only access to the sea, a narrow strip of land that effectively cuts Croatia in two. BiH has held onto this little strip of coastline since Ottoman times. Given by the city-state, Dubrovnik, in the late 1600’s to the Ottoman Empire for protection against Venice, Neum Bay and its associated corridor remained with the Bosnian province through Austro-Hungarian rule, World War II, and its time as part of Yugoslavia.
When Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s, the Neum corridor remained with BiH. Today, Neum is a little party town on the highway nestled between two Croatian border checkpoints. Its an inexpensive sea retreat for Bosnians and Croatians alike, and the perfect little weekend getaway for us.
We ended up with the perfect hotel. Perched above the water, Hotel Villa Nova was exactly what we wanted – comfortable with a sea view, breakfast every morning on the lower terrace, and a private “beach” (concrete slab) with lounge chairs and umbrellas just steps away from a gelato stand.
We spent part of Saturday morning wandering the boardwalk, but by 10am the sun was in full force, the wind hot and the public beaches crowded to bursting.
(Vacation isn’t vacation unless gelato is lunch).
One of the best things about Neum is the complete lack of concern adults feel about piling themselves on top of gigantic inflatable animal pool toys.
Arcades, waffle stands, beach-side cocktails and an overabundance of Speedos – it felt like we found the Coney Island of Bosnia.
Although, I’m pretty sure Coney Island’s views don’t quite measure up to these.
Once again, the weekend went by too fast.
Before we left, everyone I told about our trip asked if we were going to visit Kravica Falls. We had never heard of it but decided to swing by on our way home. We parked in a large, dirt parking lot, then followed a crowd down a stone-paved path, descending about five minutes into an unsuspecting ravine.
Well hello, gorgeous! Where did you come from?
And that’s what I love about this country. One minute you’re sipping a pina cola atop an inflatable unicorn and the next your gawking at some of the most beautiful waterfalls of your life. Ridiculous.