What To See and Do in Hutovo Blato Nature Park in Summer? Exploring Bosnia and Herzegovina's Hidden Gems #1
What you know, Europe still has its fair share of secret spots! Seeing these photographs, you'd think I was somewhere in a tropical jungle of some sorts, but you'd be wrong as these images were taken in Hutovo blato, a nature park and bird reservoir located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is quite close to border with Croatia, so if you're visiting our Adriatic coast, do consider stopping by here as well. Hutovo Blato is mostly composed of marshlands (wetlands) and it is a stunning natural area to visit. The photographs I'm sharing today were taken a year ago, the last time I visited this bird & nature park during summer. My visits to this nature park have been numerous indeed. The reasons for that is very simple: I really like it there. So, today I wanted to share with you all the things I love about this park and inform you about all the fun things you can do there during the summer. In case you don't already know about it, Hutovo Blato has a lot to offer. There are some activities I haven't tried myself yet, for example swimming or sunbathing. I heard that some people go to swim there, but I haven't tried it myself. There aren't many beaches here, as this is a basically a wetland, but the water is very clean, just like the whole area so it's definitely doable. Still, more people come here for bird-watching, hiking and camping then they do for swimming. The main attraction of this place is simple- beautiful nature. However, why limit yourself to land? Why not discover more of this majestic area? There are some activities most people aren't familiar with, such as the option of going for a boat ride. So, let's get started, shall we?
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN HUTOVO BLATO NATURE PARK
1. GO FOR A BOAT RIDE
If you want to experience something truly unique, why not go for a boat ride? I went for a boat ride more than once and I can recommend this experience to everyone. In fact, I plan to go for another ride the next time I visit Hutovo. It's possibly the best way to experience this area. As this is a wetland area, some places are hard to reach by hiking. So, taking a boat ride is a great way to really get yourself familiarized with the area. The boats used for these rides, as you can see, are very comfortable. You can hide from the sun, but still feel the breeze and see everything. Usually there are boat drivers waiting, and they will typically start the ride as soon as there are enough people interested (and there usually are). You can ask the park's employers for more information about the ride. If the reason why you came to park is animal or bird watching, keep your camera close by. Usually there will be some great opportunities to capture wild life on camera while you're on a boat. This time I will share photographs from this ride, but I might share some videos in the future.
For me personally, this boat ride is always such an amazing experience. I felt like I was able to see where the magic of this place comes from. I wrote about Hutovo Blato many times on my blog, and I truly feel a special connection to this place. I think I included enough photographs of the boat ride ( I didn't want to overdo it), but if for whatever reason you feel hungry for more, I'll leave the links to some other travel posts featuring this gorgeous park ( here, here, here, here, here and here) as well the link to another Hutovo Blato boat ride I took HERE. My experience tells me that boat rides are definitely a great way to explore wetlands!
2. VISIT A SECRET BRIDGE
Next to the sign announcing entrance to the park (you'll see it as soon as you take the turn towards the park), you can see a very old bridge. If you don't know it is there, or if you don't look carefully, you can easily miss it. For some reason, nobody really pays attention to this historical bridge. I think it's a shame because it is really stunning. I featured it on my blog a number of times. This bridge is even older than the more famous and more 'touristy' old bridge in Mostar. If you want to avoid the crowds, and still get some cool bridge photos, this is the place to go. The bridge isn't super visible because of all the vegetation and greenery, but when you know where it is, you won't have problems finding it. As I explained, once you take a turn from the main road, you'll find it right to the 'Hutovo Blato' road sign, so when you see it, just park your car and you should be able to climb it and have a special look. Moreover, once you climb this bridge, you'll be reworded with an amazing view. This is a great way to start your visit to this nature and wild life reservoir.
3. DINE OR STOP FOR COFFEE AT THE RESTAURANT MOTEL PARK
There is a nice restaurant/motel in the park that I can recommend. As far as I know, it's called simply Motel Park and it's the only establishment of the sort in the park. Trust me, you won't be able to miss it. There is a parking area right next to it, and there you can park your car whether or not you're going to check it out or not. It's perfectly fine to park there even if you're just a visitor. There are no other parking areas in the park that I know of, but there is always enough place for parking. There is a playground for kids in front of the Park motel. The motel's restaurant has more than one outdoor sitting/dinner area as well as an inner dinning area. In fact, because of the fact that by the time we finished our ride, it was around noon, we dinned indoors for the benefit of air condition. I probably dined at this restaurant about half dozen of times, the food was always well prepared, so I feel I can really recommend it. My advice is to order fish- preferably fresh local fish. I know many prefer sea to river fish, but it is a shame not to try a local specialty, especially if the fish in question is fresh. You can ask the waiter to recommend the best option and see if there is any fish from the park itself on the menu. Why not ask whether there is anything freshly caught? If you a vegetarian, and you don't see anything you like on the menu, ask whether they might prepare something for you. Most restaurants are usually prepared to make almost anything one asks for.
You can definitely easily spend the whole day in this park, as there is a lot to see and doo. Spending the night might be tempting as well. Why not wake up surrounded by majestic nature and comforted by the song of the birds? That sound heavenly, doesn't it? Now, that I think of it, I'm not sure why it never occurred to me. I dined in this motel often enough, why not spend the night? I might opt for a stayaction some time in the future. If you are really feeling adventurous, why not try camping or sleeping under the sun? Just don't forget to carry on some protection against the mosquitoes. You should also get informed about where you can and where you can't camp. Generally speaking, wild camping is legal in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it is always best to ask the locals about the best spots and terrain specifics.
4. SPEND THE WHOLE DAY (AND POSSIBLY ALSO ) NIGHT IN THE PARK
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