Rakitnica River and Canyon

Rakitnica River is one of the biggest tributary streams of Neretva river. Rakitnica River formed a 26 km long, rugged and magnificent canyon that stretches between Bjelasnica and Visocica Mountains to the southwest of Sarajevo. Rakitnica River Canyon is one of the deepest and most profound gorges in Europe, „Wilderness and Intact Nature Reserve” only 30 km away from Sarajevo. Rakitnica River creates row of canyons, streams, cascades and waterfalls, and crystal-clear whirlpools, where visitors of this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina are provided with memorable surprises and pleasures.

Rakitnica River is a natural wonderland and idyllic morphological phenomenon and must see for visitors to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The beginning of the Rakitnica River Canyon lies at the altitude of 1120 meters and it joins Neretva River at the altitude of 320 meters. Thanks to its unique beauty and difficulty of access, Rakitnica River is a great challenge and attraction for mountaineers, alpinists, fishermen, as well as for many true lovers of the “untouched” natural beauty. The entire length of the Rakitnica River canyon is lined with endemic types of flora and fauna. Bears, wolves, wild boar, pine martens, wild goats all take refuge in this difficult to access canyon. As many as 32 endemic plants of flowers and trees can be found in this tiny and wild region of the Dinaric Alps. The crystal clear water, fed by the high mountains above, is potable for the whole length of the Rakitnica canyon region.

From May to October it is possible to visit the Rakitnica River canyon starting from Sarajevo or from the Olympic site on the Bjelašnica Mountain. May and October are the best months to visit the Rakitnica River Canyon and its breath-taking waterfalls. The so called “tourist route” follows the last 6-7kms of the Rakitnica River canyon as far as the mouth of the Neretva River, meandering along to the last bends around the Ostro peak. The term “tourist” shouldn’t undermine the trip, as it is extremely rewarding yet very demanding and not risk free, and therefore requires physical fitness, a good resistance in cold temperatures and deft ability in the water. Once you are in the canyon it is impossible to go back, the only way out being at the mouth of Rakitnica. It is necessary to have a local professional guide, who offer variety of trips for the more daring visitors. Hiking in the area of hinterland of Bjelasnica Mt provides unique experiences to visitors – amazing scenery, old water mills, stunning views of canyon Rakitnica and a good long hikes of the incredible adventure. From the traditional style Bosnian Mosque in the village of Umoljani, visitors trek to Seven Mills and the beautiful source used for centuries as energy to grind wheat into flour. They hug the ridge until Rakitnica River awesomely opens up and after 5-10 minutes of going uphill, visitors reach the Cascades of Studeni Potok, where, at certain times of the year, the stream falls 400 meters into the canyon below…. Lukomir is Bosnia’s highest village at 1,469 meters, on southern slopes of Bjelasnica Mt, around 50 km from the capital Sarajevo, with its around homestays which breed around 3000 sheep and cows, and ancient stecaks – stecci (medieval tombstones) where villagers stick to the “old way” and well-preserved way of doing things. Traditional dress, the occasional turban and fez are still worn and go hand in hand with the more contemporary bliss’ of everyday life, electricity and running water. The Lukomir village is unique by its stone houses, covered with cherry tree shingle. As Lukomir village is located in the area of harsh mountainous climate, it is almost inaccessible already in December, when the first snow comes, only on foot or skies or snow-shoes, which lasts till April, or sometimes longer. It is known that villages of Lukomir make by hands various colorful woolen products – socks, gloves and other woolen clothes and greet their guests by unique hospitality. On the edge of the Lukomir village you will be also treated by a rare view of Rakitnica, Obalj and Visocica. You have arrived at the end of the world…..

Please see the Rakitnica Canyon “Hidden Pearl of Balkans”, in words of Massimo Moratti!

Balkan Tour Serbia – Montenegro – Bosnia and Herzegovina