Republika Srpska: Pretty Trebinje

Trebinje photos

Are you old enough to remember the Balkan wars of the 1990s? The feeling of horror that such a thing could happen in Europe yet again, less than 50 years after the last war on the continent? Seems we never learn.

As a result of the Dayton Accords of 1995, war-town Bosnia & Herzegovina was divided between Croats/Bosniaks and Serbs in the ratio 51 – 49. The Croat/Bosniak part (called the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina) is the better known, and home to famous cities and tourist sites like the capital Sarajevo, the beautiful, evocative city Mostar and the unusual pilgrimage town Međugorje.

The other political entity, Republika Srpska, is less familiar. Of course, a few of its citizens are famous – or infamous, rather, such as former president of the republic, Radovan Karadžić, and former Chief of Staff of the Srpskan army, Ratko Mladić, both still detained by the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) in the Hague, on trial for genocide.

But enough about politics. Curious to visit this little-known country, I decided to have a closer look when I was next in the area. It was closer than I thought. Just 25 minutes after driving out of Dubrovnik airport, I crossed the border to Republika Srpska, and soon entered the city of Trebinje.

Trebinje

What I discovered was a very pretty riverside town with mills, bridges, leafy squares, ancient city walls and an Ottoman old town. Despite its proximity to Dubrovnik, Trebinje is not at all a tourist town. In fact, what I really liked about it, was that the old town is simply a neighbourhood where people live.

Here’s a little photo gallery of this quaint town in southeastern Herzegovina. Enjoy!

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Trebinje has some lively markets. Again, nothing touristic about them at all, simply local markets selling fruits and vegetables or flowers – or clothes from under an ancient overpass, presumably to keep the sellers out of the heat of the sun. Then, there are books! Lots and lots of books.

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Practicals:

  • Trebinje is very easily accessible, from both Dubrovnik in Croatia and from Herceg-Novi or Kotor in Montenegro. Depending on time/money, either hire a car or take a taxi from Dubrovnik airport (should cost about 40-50 EUR) or catch the daily bus from Dubrovnik bus station which takes twice the time and costs about 1/10 the price. The bus leaves at around 1.30 pm. The bus back to Dubrovnik leaves Trebinje in the morning. There’s also a bus from Trebinje to Mostar.
  • There are a number of hotels in town, all very affordable (and certainly in comparison with Dubrovnik).

Trebinje, Republika Srpska

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38 Comments

  1. Salika Jay 4 June 2013 at 0504 - Reply

    It sure doesn’t look like a touristy town. I’d like it that way as well so we can see the town for what it is rather than focused on tourists.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 4 June 2013 at 1103 - Reply

      I quite liked that too. Almost surprising these days…

  2. [email protected] 4 June 2013 at 1235 - Reply

    Hi Sophie, no I haven’t been. This is the first time I heard about Republika Srpska, in fact. I like Trebinje’s charm of not being touristic at all. I love market places that purely cater to locals. I’ll keep Trebinje in mind when I visit Dubrovnik. Thanks for telling me about it.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 4 June 2013 at 1514 - Reply

      Oh yes, do try to make it to Trebinje when you’re in the area, even for just a daytrip.

  3. kami 4 June 2013 at 1500 - Reply

    What w lovely place!! I remember the war very well, even if I was 10 or so then. And after my last year visit in Bosnia (sadly only to Mostar and Sarajevo) I developed a strong interest in that topic. Ever since I came back I’m planning another visit in the region and now I’ll remember to include Trebinje in it too!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 4 June 2013 at 1517 - Reply

      There’s quite a lot to see in Bosnia, so lots to cover 🙂 (I haven’t seen Sarajevo yet, but very curious to.)

      • kami 5 June 2013 at 0740 - Reply

        Sarajevo is really great! It doesn’t feel like a big city at all, the atmosphere is so charming and the location is just breathtaking! You can’t see all that much that the war was there recently (not like in Mostar) however there are lots of graveyards on the hills, clearly seen from the center…

        • Anne-Sophie Redisch 6 June 2013 at 1041 - Reply

          Thanks, Sarajevo is on my list. Just the name alone is so evocative…

  4. Sojourner 4 June 2013 at 1641 - Reply

    Wow, your pictures are both haunting and hopeful. I remember the war well. It’s nice to see the beauty of Trebinje.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 10 June 2013 at 0934 - Reply

      Thanks.

  5. Leigh 5 June 2013 at 1620 - Reply

    Love hearing about a place that isn’t touristy but could be if the word got out. Looks like a timeless kind of place. Your images are beautiful.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 6 June 2013 at 1042 - Reply

      Thanks, Leigh. It did feel timeless.

  6. Andrea 5 June 2013 at 1909 - Reply

    What a pretty town! Love the markets – my kind of place

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 6 June 2013 at 1042 - Reply

      If you’re ever in Dubrovnik…

  7. Freya 8 June 2013 at 0917 - Reply

    It’s indeed a very pretty town. I haven’t been there yet, but I would to go. I like that it’s not very touristy yet, but they have a lot of things to offer to travelers.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 10 June 2013 at 0934 - Reply

      It’s still a bit off the beaten track.

  8. Mette - Italian Notes 8 June 2013 at 1243 - Reply

    Love the gallery. Would be good to go there and wash all of the 90s horror out of the place.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 10 June 2013 at 0935 - Reply

      So true, Mette!

  9. Kori 15 June 2013 at 0416 - Reply

    Great post with wonderful pictures! I just found this site and its great. I hope to read more reviews soon!

  10. Global Nomads 16 June 2013 at 0038 - Reply

    We travelled last autumn all Balkan countries and Serbia became our favourite. The only downsides were numerous border crossings and somewhat expensive bus trips. You can travel cheaper from Belgium to Netherlands than Albania to Macedonia. Other than that, it was an awesome experience. Hope we will soon get rid of ridiculous passports, borders. and countries.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 16 June 2013 at 1120 - Reply

      Wouldn’t that be something: no more borders… A hundred years ago, passports weren’t necessary to travel around in Europe – but then with wars and everything they were needed to keep out spies.

  11. Global Nomads 16 June 2013 at 1258 - Reply

    Yes, until the 1st world war. Now they are needed to control us and spy our movements.

  12. Jenna 21 June 2013 at 0628 - Reply

    I like how you captured a bit of the everyday life there and not just the pretty buildings but also some that are run-down. I have been to Croatia but nowhere else in the area but have heard only good things.

  13. Cathy Sweeney 16 July 2013 at 0125 - Reply

    You are always introducing me to new places & interesting information about them. I’m definitely old enough to remember the Balkan wars of the 90s, but would never have known about such a nice little town as Trebinje. Would be lovely to visit there and walk in your footsteps.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 at 2232 - Reply

      Thanks, Cathy. Not many seem to know about it, despite its proximity to Dubrovnik.

  14. A 28 July 2013 at 0753 - Reply

    Sad to think I was born in trebinje a few years before the war and the Serbs now own my land, took my house and made us flee. I wanna go visit one day but I know it won’t be the same.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 July 2013 at 1545 - Reply

      So sorry to hear that, A. I can’t even begin to imagine how it would be to live through a brutal war in my country, even as a small child.

    • Dany in Herzegovina-Republic of Srpska 29 April 2016 at 0123 - Reply

      Beautiful Trebinje,beautiful ppl and food. Trebinje is an interesting city with a charming Old town.Different types of cheese accented with fruits, meats, and other goodies are simple the best.Trebinje is a typical Mediterranean place with rich history.You also can visit cafes and open market in Trebinje to find fresh natural food,fish,vegetables, fruits,meat,prosciutto,cheese,olive….absolutely natural honey of healthy herbals and wines produced.Trebinje is place where locals from Dubrovnik and Montenegro use to buy various needs for their kitchens. Well, you should visit Trebinje – if not for the and beautiful landscape, good food, and rich history then for the one of the best wines (award winning) you will find in the region:City is very close to Dubrovnik and Montenegro and come to Trebinje and enjoy a nice ambient,Old town and hospitality.

      One more thing,Trebinje is a very cheap base to explore Dubrovnik and Montenegro coast,what many do not know is that the accommodation, food and other services much cheaper in Trebinje.That is why in recent years has increased the number of tourists staying in Trebinje.

      If you are in Herzegovina-RS you must see Foca-Drina River rafting camps,Tjentiste (this site commemorates the famous WW2 Battle of the Sutjeska – Case Black) and Andicgrad. Foca-Drina River rafting camps there are free Wi-Fi in the camps,homemade organic food,live pop/rock … the mountain style, located in Rafting Center Drina-Tara, on the river bank…a rich serbian herzegovina style traditional cuisine and 25km or 42km of rafting. The two rivers and an unforgettable day for rafting which you will remember for a long time.After Foca rafting camps you must visit Andricgrad in Visegrad. Andricgrad is the name of an ongoing construction project located in Visegrad, Republika Srpska,(BH) by director Emir Kusturica.Ofc there is so much to see.

      • Anne-Sophie Redisch 30 April 2016 at 2217 - Reply

        Thanks for all the additional tips on things to see and do in Trebinje. 🙂

  15. Bernard, Ireland 25 April 2014 at 1139 - Reply

    Have visited Yugoslavia every year since 1981 from Kotor to Ulcinj all along the Adriatic coast(apart from one year when there were no flights from Ireland or U.K.) . In recent years have combined Makarska and Herceg Novi (both convenient from Dubrovnik airport). will definitely include Trebinje for a week on next trip.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 April 2014 at 2102 - Reply

      It’s a pretty little town. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  16. Marko 18 May 2014 at 1544 - Reply

    Congratulation Sophie,this is great post .There is no much information about Trebinje on the internet,so tourists can’t be inform enough about this beautiful Mediterranean town.Trebinje has around 260 sunny days a year and is surrounded with water.There is Bileca lake north of Trebinje,through the town flowing the Trebisnjica river and only 25 km southern is Adriatic Sea 🙂 There are about 20 wineries around Trebinje and wine tourism is popular in recent years.One more interested fact is that Trebinje is town with most of National Monuments in the Bosnia and Herzegovina.Also prices of accommodation,food and tourism services are much more favorable than in Croatia and Montenegro so that is reason why tourists visit Trebinje more and more every year.

    These two links can be useful:

    http://www.trebinjetravelguide.com/

    http://trebinjeturizam.com/index.php?page=home

  17. Ariana 6 February 2015 at 0723 - Reply

    Beautiful post! My home town 🙂 I went back in 2013 for first time since escaping the war 20 years ago. Now i blog to show people why they must add bosnia to their bucket lists.

    http://thebosnianaussie.wordpress.com

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 6 February 2015 at 1850 - Reply

      How wonderful to hear from someone from this pretty little town! And I agree completely, of course: Bosnia should definitely be on people’s wish lists 🙂

  18. Julio 28 June 2015 at 0014 - Reply

    Enjoyed your post very much. That part of the world and it’s people have always fascinated me.

    How easy do you think it would be to go as an American and make a living there teaching English?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 June 2015 at 0020 - Reply

      The Balkans is definitely an interesting and historically action-packed part of the world. I don’t know a whole lot about teaching English as a foreign language, but this site tells me it’s difficult in Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, neighbouring Croatia looks to be much better for that. Good luck 🙂

  19. Marie 22 December 2016 at 1905 - Reply

    I trevelled to the Balkans for the very first time in 2008 and kept coming back every year since. I was in Trebinje last year, city is lovely but damn those Serbs are hot! Later I learn that in this area are one of the tallest people in the world. Other than that, nothing compares to Belgrade in spring and Athens in october.

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