Europe’s biggest sea secret: Bosnia & Herzegovina has beaches

Ljiljana Krejic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

As summer is almost there, together with holiday plans, some of you might still be searching for a less-known and affordable destination on the beautiful Adriatic coast. Croatia sounds good to you, but you prefer something more off-the-beaten path. Your solution might be a surprisingly unknown slice of the Adriatic that belongs to Bosnia & Herzegovina. This country is not only Europe’s last undiscovered gem, but it also hides Europe’s biggest coastal secret: Bosnia & Herzegovina has beaches. Sandwiched amongst 1800 km of Croatian seashore, Bosnia has 22 km of seaside, making it the second-smallest coastline in the world (just after Monaco). The only coastal city in the country, called Neum, is mainly frequented by the locals or rare tourists who were lucky enough to hear about the cheapest holidays on the Adriatic. So now is the right time for all of you to discover this unexplored hidden gem.

A baby Bosnian Riviera

© Wikimedia Commons/Tomobe03

At first sight, Bosnia & Herzegovina might look landlocked, but it actually has its slice of the lovely Adriatic. If you still can not believe that Bosnia has beaches, look at the map using a zoom option (otherwise, you will not see it), and you will find baby Bosnian Riviera. The Adriatic Sea between Split and Dubrovnik is incredibly clear and dazzling, including the beaches at Neum. This part of the Adriatic belongs to Bosnia, and it splits the Croatian coastline in two, going back to the time of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. While Bosnia was under Ottoman occupation for centuries, that was not the case with Croatia and Dalmatia, which were under Austro-Hungarians. Even the current borderline between Bosnia and Croatia represents the old frontier of those two empires.

Neum – Bosnia’s sole sea resort

Only an hour's drive north of Dubrovnik (if you book a private transfer from Dubrovnik airport), one can find Neum, Bosnia's only sea resort. The history of this place dates back to 533 AD when it was called Neunense. Nevertheless, the town of Neum started developing as a coastal retreat and tourist destination only in the late 1960s, after the Adriatic highway was constructed. Being the country's only exit to the coast, Neum gives you a feeling of going back to Yugoslavia times. A good portion of the town was built at that time to serve as a resort for the communist elite. Nowadays, this is a family seaside destination. Having a closed bay, Neum is protected from the strong winds by the Pelješac Peninsula. Therefore, it is ideal for sea activities such as scuba diving, jet skiing, parasailing, etc.

Cheaper & less crowded than Croatia

©iStock/Goran Jakus Photography

If you are tired of expensive Croatian offers or are just a curious traveler searching for a new & rather unknown seaside resort, why not discover Neum and its beaches? Our suggestion would be to book accommodation in Grand Hotem Neum, a facility that offers the best comfort on the Bosnian coast, including a private beach, indoor and outdoor pool, and a rooftop pool. Maybe it cannot compete with Dubrovnik or Split in terms of beauty, but it is much cheaper and less crowded than Croatia. A place you will see on the map only if using a magnifying glass is a guaranteed hidden gem, and it has been well-kept before I revealed Europe’s biggest coastal secret. But that is not all. In the hinterland of Neum, you can explore the largest and the most important cavern of Bosnia & Herzegovina - the Vjetrenica Cave, visit a Medieval Orthodox monastery Zavala, or enjoy bird-watching and photo safari in the Hutovo Blato Nature Park. And if you are already in the region, I would strongly recommend spending two extra days on an authentic tour of Mostar, Međugorje and Kravice, which will show you the real treasures of this part of Bosnia & Herzegovina. 

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