Sofia Adventures

Welcome to Sofia!

Sofia is an intriguing city, with corners that show at various times a glint of the splendor of Vienna, the charm of Istanbul, the quirkiness of Budapest, and the brutalism of Moscow. You’ll find Roman ruins in our subway stations, medieval icons in the church basements, and Thracian relics in the former presidential palace. Yet Sofia brings all of these seemingly disparate traditions together into one magical, inspiring city.

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DISCOVER SOFIA

DISCOVER SOFIA

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13 Things That EXIT Music Festival Visitors Should Know

13 Things That EXIT Music Festival Visitors Should Know

 

Serbian people have many things to be proud of – successful athletes, famous and acknowledged scientists, beautiful nature, but also the officially best music festival in Europe.

EXIT won this flattering title back in 2014 and again in 2018. During its twenty years of life, this festival has reached the top, not only of European but also of global music events.

Fans of drum and bass, electro, dance, pop, rock music from all over the world can hardly wait for summer when this music event takes place at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad.

People who want an active vacation and find themselves in Serbia at the beginning of July, need to read these tips to visit the EXIT Festival (if they are lucky enough to get tickets, as these are usually sold out long before the festival begins).

Interestingly, the visitors to this festival are not only music fans and clubbers but also curious people who want to feel the unbridled spirit of festival gatherings. With so many stages and performers, and all kinds of activities organized for, everyone can find their cup of tea at EXIT.

If you still didn’t think about going to EXIT, maybe some interesting facts about this festival and its host town, Novi Sad, can make you change your mind.

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Where to Stay in Novi Sad

Serbia - Novi Sad

Here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Novi Sad. Generally, budget means hostel beds for around $10 a night and singles/doubles for around $30, mid-range is from about $40-100 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.

Budget: If you’re looking for a nice place to stay in Novi Sad without spending too much, we recommend either of these two cute design hostels: Tesla Art Hostel or Alterna Home Hostel!

Mid-Range: If you want a nicer hotel in Novi Sad without breaking the budget, we recommend the trendy Garni CitiHotel Veliki or Arhiv.

Luxury: Since Novi Sad in winter is definitely the offseason, we wouldn’t be surprised if you could snag a fantastic deal on one of these top luxury hotels in Novi Sad: Prezident Hotel or Hotel Leopold I.

Planning to visit Belgrade as well on your trip? We’ve curated a list of all the best Belgrade hotels and hostels.

Everything You Need to Know About EXIT

Check these curious things about the EXIT Music Festival

It All Started with Zero EXIT

Because it all began during a period of significant political turbulence in Serbia, the EXIT Festival is remembered as one crucial event for this Balkan country. The zero-point of the festival is 2000.

During the 100 days of summer, a large number of concerts featuring local musicians, various audio and visual performances, and parties took place all over the Novi Sad. These were supposed to animate the youth to change the political scene of the former Yugoslavia.

Twenty years later, EXIT is no longer only a symbol of pure rebellion. Its primary goal today is to introduce people from all around the world to the modern and globally-oriented Serbia. So it’s no wonder why this festival attracts so many foreign tourists year after year.

Musicians Really Enjoy Performing at EXIT

David Guetta, Prodigy, Snoop Dog, Rudimental, Billy Idol are just some of the names that play in Novi Sad every few years.

The band Prodigy holds the record in the number of EXIT performances. They return to Serbia about every two or three years, and so far, they have taken part in the EXIT Festival a total of 6 times. And every time, their show has been a blast!

EXIT Didn’t Attract Much Attention at First

As a country that is becoming increasingly popular among foreign tourists, Serbia, in every way, has been trying to build a better image in the world.

The unpopular political events from previous decades generally gave a bad name to this country. So most foreigners had prejudices about Serbia and avoided this part of Europe.

For the first couple of years, foreign tourists were quite skeptical about Serbia and EXIT. Luckily, the situation has changed.

Thanks to good organization and, above all, good marketing, the EXIT Festival became a synonym for having a good time, and certainly one of the reasons to give Serbia a chance to be your next travel destination.

There’s a Growing Number of Stages

The Main Stage, Fusion, Dance Arena, and Explosive Stage, has been featured in well-known locations at the EXIT festival for over a decade.

The number of supporting stages varies each year, depending on the interest of sponsors. What makes this festival unique, are the areas where the audience can see young, non-affirmed performers and musicians playing in Serbia for the first time.

Dance Arena is a Lifetime Experience

We were told that the most breathtaking sunsets and sunrises are the ones you can witness at the Petrovaradin Fortress, particularly, at the Dance Arena.

The party here lasts literally all night. You spend time there until 10 PM, then go back to the campsite and take a nap, and then come back to the fortress around 5 AM to continue partying.

If you are a party enthusiast, you won’t miss the chance to rock all night long. Headliners at Dance Arena are pretty famous and craft terrific parties.

Some unofficial sources claim that David Guetta held a record attracting visitors to this stage – nearly 30,000 people at the time got themselves ‘dancin’ and cryin’, rollin’ and flyin’.

In the State of EXIT, the Currency is Token

Visitors buy EXIT tickets regularly, at ticket offices, or online. But you can find people who often re-sell tickets over ads or on social media.

If you have a set of tickets for the EXIT festival, before entering the Petrovaradin Fortress for the first time, you have to exchange them for the wristband.

Take good care of it. it’s the most valuable thing you own. At that moment, it is.

The wristband represents your door money to the state of EXIT, so make sure not to lose it, as you will literally go through hell to get yourself another wristband (don’t ask how I know).

You pay for drinks and snacks with tokens, or with the ‘EXIT Card,’ which you previously top up with money as you need.

Open Youth Fair, the Announcement of EXIT

A few days before EXIT opens, Novi Sad is the host of the only youth outdoor tourism fair in Europe. This event is a prelude to the music festival and an excellent opportunity for tourists to see what they can expect from Novi Sad and the rest of Serbia as well.

This fair is also a great way for locals to present the tourism of Serbia and the region to young people from all over the world. They have the chance to spread the word about other events and festivals that are part of Serbia’s tourist offer.

The mountain of Fruška Gora and the Danube River are popular locations near Novi Sad. While waiting for the next party to start, why not making most of your stay in Novi Sad?

You can enjoy the beautiful nature of Fruška Gora, or go on a Danube river cruise like this one. There you can see Novi Sad and Petrovaradin from a different perspective, and the view is outstanding.

Mixing Fun and Culture

The festival organizers strive to be culturally engaged in raising the visitors’ awareness of important social topics. For example, the EXIT organization once donated money for the reconstruction of the Petrovaradin Fortress, thus increasing its tourist potential.

Every year, the EXIT organization also helps nearby cultural sites, such as Matica Srpska (the oldest cultural institution in Serbia) and the Serbian National Theater in Novi Sad.

Although culture and partying don’t seem to go well together, they are actually a pretty good combination.

All the Fun is at the EXIT Village

The town of Novi Sad is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Serbia, so the possibility of finding accommodation during the EXIT festival should not be a problem. Locals are well-prepared to welcome tourists.

You can find a place to stay, depending on your budget and mood. Many people arrive at Novi Sad at the end of June, so to avoid any torments, book the accommodation online as soon as you buy tickets.

The sooner you do that, the cheaper your stay in Novi Sad will be.

There are numerous hotels, hostels, private apartments, cottages available, and in recent years, it has become increasingly popular to stay at the EXIT Village.

Looking for a place to stay in Novi Sad? Read reviews and find availability here.

For those who want to experience the true meaning of EXIT, this improvised settlement is the place to be. Staying in the village actually means camping.

The organizers settle a well-equipped and, above all, affordable campsite (around $30 for all the days of your stay) on the right side of the Danube River, near the city beach Štrand.

In addition to regular camping, there is also glamping, some kind of glamorous stay in luxury tents.

Štrand beach is a gathering place for many cultural events during the summer. During the EXIT camp (which lasts for about a week), many activities are organized for visitors.

You can take part in yoga classes or all kinds of workshops – this comes in handy to fill in the gap during the daytime between the exciting festival nights.

The EXIT Festival’s Baby Brother

In 2014, the EXIT Festival went through a transformation phase and became known as the EXIT Adventure. The concept of this musical event changed.

In addition to the festival at Petrovaradin, EXIT representatives came up with a thrilling idea: organizing the same kind of, only by the sea. That’s how the Sea Dance Festival came to be. An exciting festival taking place on the beaches of Montenegro.

For the first three years, Sea Dance was held just a few days after the EXIT, which meant that the entire EXIT adventure lasted for more than ten days.

However, as of 2018, the organizers decided to give the visitors a little break.

They rescheduled the dates for the Sea Dance festival to the end of August – just enough time for party lovers to get a rest and prepare for a new festival adventure.

Take a Chance to Explore the Gibraltar of the Danube

Petrovaradin Fortress is a cultural property of Serbia, known as the Gibraltar of the Danube, as it stands on the rock, just like the real Gibraltar.

Originally, Petrovaradin is a remnant of a Roman settlement, then it was dominated by the Turkish, to finally become an Austrian military fort.

After the demilitarization, in the mid-20th century, it became one of the most popular tourist attractions, not only in Novi Sad but in the entire of Serbia.

From the period of Turkish rule, numerous catacombs remained deep under the Petrovaradin Fortress these today represent unique attractions for tourists.

Fans of mysterious stuff, there are official tours through the catacombs. Wandering the fortress on your own is not possible during the festival, but if you prolong your stay in Novi Sad for at least two or three days, this is something you should not miss.

The Petrovaradin experience can be enriched with a tour of the Museum and Archive of Novi Sad. But also visiting various hotels and restaurants, galleries of fine artists, the astronomical observatory, and so on.

So why wouldn’t you take a chance to explore this cultural wealth?

After-Party? Yes, Please!

If you are likely to continue partying right after waking up (which means that you’re not a fan of touring around), EXIT organizes official after-party events every day of the festival.

They take place at the Bastion Club, not far from the fortress, in fact, the Dance Arena is practically behind the wall.

But if you intend to move a little further from the Petrovaradin Fortress, you can hang out under the bridge at Štrand beach or the nearby floating club on the Danube.

There you can find an excellent line-up of performers. And the view of the river is a kind of rest for the eyes after a long night.

EXIT Festival, Connecting People

This could even be an excellent tagline for the next EXIT edition. Music does bring people together. And when combined with summertime, a unique location, and the overall atmosphere at Petrovaradin Fortress during the festival, enjoyment and lifetime memories are guaranteed.

It is common for all EXIT visitors to enjoy music and have fun. Large amounts of alcohol certainly contribute to a positive atmosphere. But let’s be honest, no one comes to the festival to drink cranberry juice.

During these few days, people develop a great sense of belonging to the collective community.

Although this festival is a combination of different cultures, musical tastes, and people who come from all over the world, these differences become irrelevant. EXIT is definitely a place to meet new friends, especially if you decide to stay at the campsite.

Organizing a mass event like the EXIT Festival is not an easy thing. In the past, mistakes and lapses in the organization occurred. Since then, security has been raised to a much higher level.

Due to a large number of EXIT visitors from different parts of the world (and gallons of alcohol), some minor problems can occur. But members of the safety department make sure that no big incidents take place.

Are you ready for the experience?

More Novi Sad & Serbia Travel Resources

Serbia - Novi Sad - Restaurant central street of Novi Sad summer view, Vojvodina region of Serbia

Hopefully, you already have a good idea of what to do in Novi Sad, but if you want more inspiration, we have a guide of the best Instagram spots in Novi Sad, a guide to where to eat in Novi Sad, and a Novi Sad in winter guide. 

Most people to visit Novi Sad also allocate some time for Belgrade – where we have tons of resources. We have this mega-guide to 101 things to do in Belgrade, the most Instagrammable spots in Belgrade, and the best Belgrade street art. We also have a Serbian souvenir guide if you want to do some shopping.

If you love guided tours, here are eleven great Belgrade tours to pick from. If you want to get out of the city for a day, here are our guide to Belgrade day trips and what you should know before renting a car in Serbia. We also have lists of our favorite places to visit in Serbia and the best Serbian towns and cities if you need more day trip inspiration. 

For country planning, check out our guide to planning a trip to Serbia and Serbia travel advice. 

We have tons more Serbia and Balkans resources, and we publish new content nearly daily. Bookmark our Serbia and Balkans travel pages so you can find any new resources that come out before your trip!

5 Things You Shouldn’t Forget to Pack for Novi Sad

Bulgaria - Sofia - Packing

What you should pack depends greatly on the time of year. We have some packing lists that we’ll add soon to help you plan for your trip to Serbia, but for now, here are five things we don’t recommend you visit without!

  1. A Lonely Planet guidebook, to help you plan when on the ground
  2. Your swimsuit if you’re headed there during the warm months 
  3. An unlocked smartphone, so you can buy a cheap Serbian SIM card and stay connected
  4. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer, in case of a poorly stocked bathroom
  5. Comfortable walking and/or hiking shoes, so you can make the most of Serbia’s cities and national parks

Headed to Serbia? Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

If you’re planning a trip to Serbia, it’s a good idea to travel with a valid travel insurance policy, so that you will be covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers you in case of theft or an accident, which can save your trip if there’s an incident, fall (a big winter risk!), or cancellation or trip interruption.

For travel insurance, I use World NomadsI’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

Pin this Guide to the EXIT Music Festival for Your Serbia Adventures!

Herzegovinian Oasis in the Stone: How to Visit the Stunning Kravica Waterfall

Herzegovinian Oasis in the Stone: How to Visit the Stunning Kravica Waterfall

If you are ever to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, a heart-shaped land, an unavoidable stop would be the Kravica Waterfall also known as the Oasis in the Stone “– and with a reason!

Kravica Waterfall is the true example of Nature’s generous hand – crystal clear, turquoise-green water surrounded by diverse flora which will provide you with a unique feeling. This place can easily become your watery haven from hot Herzegovinian summer.

Kravica Waterfall is located in the very heart of Herzegovina – the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Herzegovina is well known for its natural beauties, historical sights, plenty of sunshine, and extremely pleasant climate.

It is important to mention that Herzegovina is the largest producer of grapes and wine in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Herzegovina has been described in many poems, stories, books as the land of karst, fig, wine, gusal, and ganga.

As famous BH Nobelist Ivo Andric said: “When I come to Herzegovina, I walk faster, breathe easier and think better“, we can add that there’s no better place for a fresh breath and turquoise-green ambient at the very heart of Herzegovina. The well-watered fields near Trebižat river, in a magnificent natural oasis: Kravica Waterfall.

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Where to Stay near Kravica Waterfall

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Kravica waterfalls on the Trebizat River in Bosnia and Herzegovina - the Balkans, Europe

We have written a very convenient guide to the best accommodation in Mostar which is a very convenient place to stay when visiting Kravica Waterfalls, however, these are some other places we recommend for a stay closer to this stunning natural landmark!

Budget: If you want a comfy place on a super-budget, you can consider a stay at Apartment KravicaCheck availability and rates here.

Mid-range: If you can spend a bit more, then don’t miss staying in the beautiful Adria Centar Koćuša. Check availability and rates here.

Luxury: For style seekers, Villa Lota is a magnificent 5-star villa that you can enjoy all on your own in the area of Vitina. Check availability and rates here.

The Oasis in the Stone: Kravica Waterfall

This natural beauty is located around 40 kilometers from Mostar, the unofficial capital of the Herzegovina region, and three kilometers downstream of town Ljubuški. Most tourists, when visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, visit Kravica Waterfall coming from the direction of Mostar.

Kravica Waterfall is for sure one of the most attractive touristic sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Last June, popular travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler ranked it among the 20 most beautiful places in Europe. It’s not surprising that it is a favorite gathering place for local and foreign tourists who do not cease to admire this wonder of nature.

The height of the waterfalls ranges from 26 to 28 meters and depends on the season. These magnificent waterfalls with a 120-meter-diameter amphitheater underneath thrill thousands of visitors each year. It truly is a scene from a fairytale: grass, moss, and lichen that have overgrown tufa layers around the waterfalls, and the Trebižat river create a natural wonder.

The beauty and uniqueness of Kravica Waterfalls were recognized by the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and today they are a state-protected natural phenomenon, a natural rarity to be preserved.

If you look around the waterfall you will see the remaining old, wooden mills which were once active both around the waterfall and the whole course of the Trebižat river. Unfortunately, the mills on the river are currently being replaced by mini-hydro plants while there are some speculations that new projects will include building a dozen of them. Hopefully, it will not ruin Kravica’s water paradise.

If you walk further on, you will see a small cave – natural creation where calcium carbonate stalactites can be seen.

When to Visit Kravica Waterfall

Now, if you’re thinking about visiting Kravica, the best period to do it depends on what you are primarily interested in.

Do it in the summer if you want to enjoy a true watery refreshment and take a swim in the water that is still a bit warmer than the cold river of Neretva (if you are to stay in Mostar, ask locals about Neretva coldness or simply go down to the shore, touch the water and you will realize what I am talking about);

Do it in the spring if you want to visit the waterfall in a bit less crowded mode and when the waterfall level (height and strength of the water rush) might be a bit higher. You will discover all the power of nature! 

In the end, whenever you visit it, you will not be wrong – it is an ideal place for relaxation and fun in an intact natural surrounding with the very soothing background sounds of the waterfall.

Things you Should Know when Visiting Kravica

Let´s start from the very beginning.

Is the Waterfall Called Kravice or Kravica?

It’s a common question (and misunderstanding) whether the correct name of the waterfall is Kravice or Kravica…

The official name of the location is Kravica Waterfall (Slap Kravica, VodopadKravica), so if we are to literally translate it, Kravica means little cow ( orKravice meaning little cows – plural) and probably nobody will be able to tell you what the real origin of the waterfall name is.

When speaking with locals, at least those living near the waterfall, the name of the waterfall is always pronounced in the singular – Kravica. Even on the official page of the company managing the waterfall, it is stated that this is Kravica Waterfall (singular).

However, you will often hear people calling it Kravice (plural) and nobody knows why – but, let us trust the locals. So when visiting, be sure to call it the Kravica Waterfall.

Getting to Kravica

Getting to Kravica might be a bit of a challenge without a car.

Public transport

If you are traveling from Mostar to Kravica using public transport, it can be a real challenge to get there. Unfortunately, there is no direct bus line from Mostar to Kravice (and vice versa) although there were some speculations that new lines will be introduced in the upcoming season.

However, buses are going to Čapljina, Ljubuški, and Međugorje from Mostar (which are all smaller cities quite closer to Kravice than Mostar) and if you catch one of these buses, and eventually get to any of those cities, you might grab a taxi to get to Kravica. It is not the cheapest option but it will get you there.

Take a taxi

The second option is to have a taxi take you directly from Mostar to Kravica Waterfall. Though this is the most convenient option of all in terms of expenses, it’s still a valid option when you are not traveling alone because you could probably share the costs of the ride.

In the end, the problem is that there is no public transport and even when combining available bus lines you will still have to use a taxi at some point. There are several taxi companies in Mostar, including Moj Taxi Mostar, Taxi 1525, and Halo Taxi.

Organized tours from Mostar to Kravica

Numerous agencies and individuals organize daily tours like this one from Mostar to Kravica. In lack of adequate public transport, these tours are a quite good option.

They usually cost around 60 BAM (€ 30) and besides taking you to Kravica Waterfall, oftentimes they include visits to other attractions such as Blagaj and Počitelj.

Also, several private touristic agencies offer daily tours only to Kravica Waterfall (transport services), and this kind of transport costs around 20 BAM (10 EUR) per person. The best place to get the info on active offers for these kinds of transport would be the touristic center info point in Mostar.

Driving yourself to Kravica

Driving yourself to Kravica from Mostar is probably the best option in terms of not being limited to create your own daily dynamics and being sure that you will get to Kravica with the least possible stress.

Mostar is around 40 kilometers from Kravice and it would take you around 40-50 minutes to reach the area. The road signs on the way to Kravica are in English and you can also rely on Google maps to get there.

However, if you get lost, you can always ask the locals for directions. There’s a parking lot just before the waterfall (parking costs are about 2,00 BAM per hour or a daily parking ticket for around 6,00 BAM).

Bike Tour… Are you brave enough?

Only for the brave at heart, there is an option to have a bike tour from Ljubuški or Međugorje but I would recommend this only to those experienced, physically fit, and able to handle the Herzegovinian summer…if visiting in summer.

Access to Kravica Waterfall

First of all, you need to know that the entrance to the waterfall is not free. The access ticket depends on two things – the period o when you are visiting and the age group you belong to.

The price varies from 10 BAM per person (approximately € 5) to 20 BAM (€10) for adults and free or up to 7 BAM (€ 3,5) for children and young adults in the season.

The price includes the possibility to visit the museum of the monastery at Humac. The official price list can be found here.

It is important to point out that journalists have free admission to the waterfall by showing a valid journalist identification or press pass.

Official working hours of Kravica can be found here while I suggest that you get familiar with the official rules that apply when entering the Kravica Waterfall area. 

In comparison to previous years, there has been a slight increase in the price of admission tickets, however, there were also concrete infrastructural investments and now Kravica Waterfall provides more quality to visitors.

The path to the waterfall is now fully lit up as the waterfall itself is, which makes it possible to experience the waterfall by night (there are some touristic agencies from Mostar organizing these visits for quite affordable prices).

At the very entrance of Kravica Waterfall, there is a tourist center where you can get all of the relevant details and information on how to have a pleasant stay and get the best out of it.

There are continuous investments in enhancing both infrastructural and hence the touristic offer of the Waterfall – for better safety of the visitors and swimmers, additional video surveillance will be installed near the waterfall while there is a plan to build up a gazebo – lookout spot above the waterfall.

What Else is There to Do at Kravica

Since Kravica Waterfall lies on the Trebižat river, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a long, water ride including a 10-kilometer-long canoeing experience along the river. At the mentioned touristic info center at the waterfall, you can get precise info on the specific experience.

There are four restaurants at Kravica where you can taste and enjoy delicious meat and fish specialties. The prices at the restaurant are affordable-

Moreover, the managing company PJ Kravica offers the possibility of renting bicycles and boats, kayaks, or canoes. Prices are 5 BAM per hour (about € 2,5) and 20 BAM (about €10) for the whole day.

…But That’s Not All! Doscover Koćuša and Čeveljuša

The lesser-known sisters of Kravica Waterfall are not to be missed when visiting the region. Although the beauty of Kravica will easily take all of your interest, be sure to spare some time to visit these two beauties – Koćuša and Čeveljuša waterfalls.

You are probably going to have some difficulties with pronouncing the names, but they are worth it!

Koćuša

This is a 5-meter high waterfall located in Veljaci, a village about 15 minutes by car from Kravica (in the direction of Ljubuški). What makes this waterfall amazing is its width of more than fifty meters, which in combination with its 5-meter height makes it a magnificent water slide. Interestingly, Koćuša is actually formed by river Mlade, which, immediately after this waterfall changes its name to Trebižat.

There is a small beach at Koćuša and you can have a short refreshment at the river pool just below the waterfall.

If you decide just to have a break at Koćuša, you can sit at the restaurant next to the waterfall, Prirodni Vodeni Park Kocusa (The Natural Water Park “Kocusa”). Admire the surroundings and enjoy a quality meal and a great view on the waterfall.

Čeveljuša

This is a waterfall also on the river Trebižat, located in Hrašljani village. It takes you about 10 minutes to get there from Kravica. The height of the waterfall is about 15 meters but its remarkable beauty makes it worth seeing.

This hidden treasure of the Ljubuski area is becoming more and more popular. Here, other than swimming and enjoying the fresh and clean water, there are many sports activities like beach volleyball, billiard to spend a great time.

The area is also well known for an excellent gastronomic offer – amazing food, various grilled dishes, and affordable prices. The experience of dinner at this riverside is one of those “bucket list” moments that you should consider adding to your to-do list when visiting the area.

What to Bring with You to Kravica Waterfall

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

If you’re planning a trip to Bosnia & Herzegovina, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more inspiration to plan your trip, check out our 10 most instagrammable spots in Mostar. In the meantime, pack these:

– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We recommend the Lonely Planet Western Balkans which includes Bosnia & Herzegovina but also Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.

– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in touristy cities is drinkable, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.

– Motion sickness pills. Bus rides can be hot and cause motion sickness! If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.

– Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans on trains and buses tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.

 Travel safety items. We think Bosnia & Herzegovina is very safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Allison nor I use these.

Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack. It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.

More Bosnia Travel Resources

Mostar - Bosnia - Souvenirs

If you’re planning a trip to Bosnia, we have a ton of resources with you! First of all, check out our guide to the most beautiful places in Bosnia so you can start planning your itinerary.

Since you’re also probably visiting Mostar, be sure to also check out the best Instagram spots here.

If you’re planning to visit Sarajevo also, we have even more for you. We have a guide on all the best things to do in Sarajevo, the best Sarajevo tours, a guide on where to stay in Sarajevo, and finally a Sarajevo Instagram guide.

We’re creating new content on our site almost daily, so bookmark our Bosnia & Herzegovina page or our Balkans page to see what’s new!

Finally, Don’t Go to Bosnia without Travel Insurance!

Make sure you always travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While Bosnia & Herzegovina is safe, accidents can happen anywhere. If you experience an accident or theft, travel insurance will help you recover your costs and enjoy the rest of your trip. 

For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

Pin These Things to Know About Kravica Waterfall for Your Next Trip!

Everything you Need to Know about Wonderful Mostar

Everything you Need to Know about Wonderful Mostar

 

Welcome to Mostar! A beautiful and history-rich city located in the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the canyon of the Neretva River.

With this post, we will show you how to explore a city that is divided and connected by the same river. Two coasts, two different cultures, two nations, two religions, all in the same city, still partly in ruins from the Bosnian war.

Did you know that the “National Geographic” magazine listed Mostar as one of the top destinations to visit in 2020? So this is what I’m here for… to persuade you – with very good reasons – to visit Mostar! 

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Where to Stay in Mostar

Mostar - Bosnia - Souvenirs

We have written a very convenient guide to the best accommodation in Mostar, that includes all of our most favorite hotels in the city. However, if you’re in a rush and have no time to check the accommodation guide, these are some fast suggestions that can come in very handy!

Budget: If you want a gorgeous place to take your Instagram coffee photos while on a super-budget, you can’t do much better than the lovely riverside table on some of the balconies at Villa ParkCheck availability and rates here.

Mid-range: If you want to be in the heart of the Old Town with gorgeous views of the bridge never far from your camera’s reach (especially great if you want to roll out of bed for some sunrise Instagrams!), don’t miss staying in the beautiful Kriva CuprijaCheck availability and rates here.

Luxury: For style seekers, City Hotel is the place to go if you want modern, sleek décor not far from the center of Mostar. It’s a bit outside the city center, about 1 kilometer, so keep that in mind when booking. Check availability and rates here.

Everything you Need to Know about Mostar

Mostar - Bosnia - Bridge

Mostar is situated on the margin of the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country. The city received its name after the bridge keepers (known as mostari) who during the Middle Ages were in charge of guarding the Stari Most, or Old Bridge over the Neretva.

This iconic bridge dates to the 16th century and was built by the Ottomans. It is one of the country’s most visited spots, attracting visitors all year round as it is an exemplary piece of Islamic architecture in the whole Balkan region.

The city, which is divided into two distinctive areas, has a west side mostly inhabited by Croats who profess the Roman Catholic religion, while the eastern side is inhabited by Bosnians, most of whom are Muslims.

The city has 65 000 residents and 22 000 students attending two state universities and a couple of private ones, along with United World College Mostar, the first UWC in the Balkans. 

How to Visit Mostar? 

Bosnia - Mostar - Bridge from the Side

Mostar has a small and quite limited airport, mostly handling charter flights and some, but not really many, international flights as well. 

You can also plan to travel to Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is only 129 Kilometres away by car. Dubrovnik (Croatia) is 131 Kilometres away and Split (Croatia) is just 169 Kilometres away.

The whole Balkan region is greatly connected with buses and taxi rides. A train ride from the south to the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina is guaranteed to be one of the best travel experiences in your life!

When to Travel to Mostar 

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Mostar - Dervish house on Buna spring with a small waterfall and a cave nearby in a winter day in Blagaj, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Any time of the year is a great time to visit Mostar. If you are a summer type, Mostar has a mild Mediterranean climate with hot summers and cold winters. The temperatures in Mostar go up to 45 degrees Celsius, so always bring a refillable bottle of water with you.

You can always seek your refreshment by swimming in Neretva, Buna, or in one of the many smaller rivers nearby. And the Adriatic sea is just a couple of hours away.

If you like a touch of winter, Mostar is surrounded by two mountains, Prenj and Velež, with winter houses, lots of snow, and almost untouched wildlife. The winters in Mostar, however, are famous for the “bura”, a strong and extremely cold Northern wind.

Why Should You Visit Mostar

Mostar - Bosnia - Souvenirs

Where to start? There are countless reasons to visit Mostar. Unique historical sites, stunning nature, cohabitation of various religions and nations… I will name you the most convincing ones.

Check These Things to Do in Mostar

In no particular order, these are some of the things you should see and do in Mostar…

The Old Bridge

Mostar - Bosnia - Bridge at dark

The name “Mostar” literary means “bridge keeper”. And the Old Bridge is worth keeping for, trust me.

The pearl of the Neretva river and the trademark of the city was made from a local stone called tenelija. The construction started in 1557. by the order of Suleiman, the Magnificent, and was finished in 1566-1557.

Mimar Hayruddin undertook the honor and responsibility to build it and would have been immediately charged with the death penalty had he failed. Hayruddin started a task that seemed so impossible that he prepared for his own funeral. But the result was astonishing. Hump-backed, 4 meters wide, 30 meters long, and 24 meters high, the bridge is secured with two fortified towers.

Halebija tower on the north-east and Tara tower on the south-west became “the bridge keepers”. When finished, it was the widest man-made arch in the world, at that time.

The Old Bridge was destroyed in 1993. during the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the war, the World Bank, UNESCO, and many others formed a coalition to restore the Old Bridge to its former glory. The Bridge was restored between 2001 and 2004, and it became part of the UNESCO world heritage, as well as the old town located near the bridge. 

Diving from the Old Bridge is a tradition and a test of manhood. Every year, at the end of July, young men from the city gather to test their strength, courage, and skills by jumping to the cold clinch of Neretva. The bridge is high, the Neretva is cold and quick, so it requires experience and bravery to conquer it. Since 2015, the Old Bridge has been part of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Tour.

The Old Bazaar – Kujundžiluk

Mostar - Bosnia - Souvenirs Coffee

When you cross the Old Bridge, you will feel like you have traveled back in time. The cobblestone streets of the town’s oldest quarter, “Kujundžiluk” dating back to the middle of the 16th century, hide a maze of small artisan craft shops, tiny galleries, and souvenir stalls.

In past times, this area was the pulsing heart of the business world in the whole of the region, with more than 500 workshops during the years of the Ottoman era. Together with the Old Bridge, the Old Bazaar adds a touch of nostalgia to the place, which mixes with the crowds of tourist groups in a provoking contrast.

In local slang, “Kujundžiluk” is a term for a place where all languages are understood – and Mostar’s Old Bazaar is one such place. Stop by and have a taste of strong Turkish coffee and sweeten it with baklava or Turkish delight, maybe.

Rujište

Rujište is a nature park, located on the Prenj mountain. It has an altitude of 1703 meters and is just 18 kilometers from the center of Mostar. The untouched nature and the fresh, clean air scented with endemic aromatic herbs and trees, are the reasons to visit this oasis of peace.

In the summer, the usual temperature is 11 degrees lower than in Mostar, so locals and tourists seeking refreshment come here to hike, ride bicycles, and climb the mountains, or just to relax and enjoy the day. I

n the winter, Rujište becomes an ice kingdom. The layers of untouched snow attract skiers and snowboarders from every corner. The residents in this small weekend settlement enjoy the winter magic with their families.

To combat the cold temperatures, small motels offer homemade strong liquors, wine, and traditional homemade meals. Every January, locals, and teams all around the Balkans gather to compete in “grahijada”, a traditional bean cooking contest. Truly an undiscovered gem, this magnetic place is just a half-hour ride from Mostar. 

Blagaj – Tekija

Bosnia - Blagaj - Pixabay

Blagaj is a small settlement, located 12.5 kilometers southeast of Mostar. Its name means “mild place” and it was named after its mild microclimate. Blagaj was built in the spring of the Buna river, the biggest karts spring in Europe, and it has a priceless historical value.

Tekija is a term for a Dervish monastery by the river built around 1520. Ottoman and Mediterranean architecture styles intertwine in this beautiful national monument, built for Dervish cults, and now a place of religious tourism.

On the hill above is Blagaj fort, the former seat of the Grand Duke of Bosnia, Stjepan Vukčić, and the birthplace of Bosnian queen, Katarina Kosača – Kotromanić.

The river Buna held seven watermills and four stone bridges at that time. An Orthodox Church was built in 1893, and a Roman Catholic Church in 1908, embracing multiculturalism.

Blagaj has 11 Cultural Heritage monuments and it is best to visit in spring or summer when you can enjoy a tasty meal in one of the many restaurants located on the sides of the Buna river. We recommend fresh fish, caught from the river, homegrown fruits and vegetables, and a traditional fig cake as a dessert.

Partisan Memorial Cemetery

The Partisan Memorial Cemetery is located on the west part of Mostar. It was built in 1965 as a monument to honor the fallen antifascists and partisans as well as the freedom fighters who gave their life defending Yugoslavia against the Nazis in World War 2.

World-famous architect Bogdan Bogdanović designed this beautiful park memorial on 5000 square meters and 6 terraces. In 1965, 20 years after the end of World War 2, the park was opened by Josip Broz Tito in a great ceremony. During the Bosnian war, the cemetery was badly damaged and never fully restored to its former glory.

In 2005. it was reconstructed and reopened and in 2006, it was proclaimed a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sadly enough, since then, the cemetery is in utter decay because of the negligence of the local and state authorities. However, it still is a great experience to visit it, just to admire this beautiful example of colossal socialistic architecture.

Festivals you Should Attend in Mostar

Bosnia - Mostar - View from the Bridge

Festivals are a time when the people of this city forget all the disagreements or differences from the past and just enjoy the present. They are a perfect opportunity to get to know the legendary hospitality of Mostar. Let’s name some of the most interesting ones that you can attend: 

Winterville Fest

It takes place every December, and during this festival, the center of the Mostar becomes a fairy-tale village. The ice rink is set in Zrinjevac, the biggest city park.

And around the rink, lots of small, portable wooden houses sell mulled wine, sausages, Christmas cookies, and almost everything you desire. On New Year’s Eve, there is a big concert with fireworks and good vibes to greet the arrival of the new year.

Mostar Blues and Rock Festival

This fest started back in 2003, the official “Year of the Blues”. The initial enthusiasm of a few music-lovers began to grow and turned this festival into a respectable manifestation putting Mostar on the map of famous European Festival Cities.

Lots of great musicians perform on the small Mostar stage: Dr. Feelgood, Deborah Coleman, Tito & Tarantula, Sugar Blue, and many, many others.

Mostar Summer Fest

Although young at heart, this fest already outgrew the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and gathers the biggest regional musicians. Since 2012, the middle of the summer is marked by three days of urban music genres.

Rock, pop, hip-hop, rap, reggae, funk, you name it …we got it! The fun part is that the festival takes place in the industrial region of Mostar, precisely in the place of the former Yugoslavian combat aircraft factory (SOKO). See you there on June 25-27th. 

Red Bull Cliff Diving Tour

What to say? The eyes of the whole world watch the world’s greatest cliff divers as they jump from the Old Bridge in September.

One championship that includes 8 beautiful locations: Indonesia, France, USA, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Australia, and Mostar. An authentic acknowledgment of the beauty of the Old Bridge.

How Much is Mostar Gonna Cost?

Bosnia - Mostar - Mostar Bridge 

Not as much as you expect. Bosnia and Herzegovina is not yet part of the European Union and the prices are more than acceptable for tourists. Just remember – the prices are a bit higher on tourist hotspots. So check this info so you don’t overpay anything or get scammed. 

The currency used in Bosnia and Herzegovina is called “konvertibilna marka” (BAM) or (KM). 1 KM is worth about €0.50. Average prices are more or less as follows:

Espresso: 1.00 – 2.00 KM

A pint of draft beer: 3.00 – 6.00  KM

Soda or juice: 2.00 – 4.00 KM

Pack of cigarettes: 5.00 – 7.00 KM

Medium-sized pizza: 9.00 – 12.00 KM

Beefsteak: 25.00 – 30.00 KM

Taxi ride: 1 KM per kilometer 

Overnight stay: 20+ KM (this is variable, private accommodation is quite cheap while a 5-star hotel is not!)

What if I Get Bored in Mostar?

Mostar - Bosnia - Stone bridge and old buildings

There is zero chance for that to happen. The city is full of life, every minute of every day, every time of the year. But, if you have spare time and an adventurous spirit, there are places nearby Mostar well worthy of a visit: 

Međjugorje

28 Kilometres from Mostar. A small village and a popular site of Catholic pilgrimage due to an (alleged) series of apparitions of the Virgin Mary to local children that last since 1981. Authorized by the Vatican from 2019. 

Yearly visited by about a million tourists. If you don’t feel like traveling to Medugorje on your own, then we suggest you join this gastronomic day tour to the area.

Počitelj 

29 Kilometres from Mostar. A historic village from the 14th century and an open-air museum. Back in 1996, Worlds Monument Watch named it one of the world’s most endangered cultural sites.

Visit the “Kula”, a military silo-shaped fort built on the top of the hill to overlook the settlement, and the “Sahat Kula”, a bell tower located close to the river. If you’re staying in neighboring Dubrovnik, we suggest you visit Mostar and Počitelj with this tour.

Stolac 40 Kilometres from Mostar. Visit the site of the city of Daorson, a more than 2300 years old Illyrian settlement. Then proceed to Radimlja, a large “stećak” tombstone necropolis from the 15th century.

The whole area is dominated by a magnificent 15th century Ottoman fort.

A visit to Mostar offers a great opportunity to learn about and enjoy the local hospitality. There is more to Mostar than meets the eye, more than just past times. The scars from the last war still hurt a bit, but we are walking together to a brighter future. 

What to Bring with You to Mostar

Bosnia - Mostar - Stephanie Bridge

If you’re planning a trip to Bosnia & Herzegovina, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more inspiration to plan your trip, check out our 10 most instagrammable spots in Mostar. In the meantime, pack these:

– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We recommend the Lonely Planet Western Balkans which includes Bosnia & Herzegovina but also Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.

– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in touristy cities is drinkable, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.

– Motion sickness pills. Bus rides can be hot and cause motion sickness! If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.

– Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans on trains and buses tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.

 Travel safety items. We think Bosnia & Herzegovina is very safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Allison nor I use these.

Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack. It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.

More Bosnia Travel Resources

Mostar - Bosnia - Souvenirs

If you’re planning a trip to Bosnia, we have a ton of resources with you! First of all, check out our guide to the most beautiful places in Bosnia so you can start planning your itinerary.

Since you’re definitely visiting Mostar, be sure to also check out the best Instagram spots here.

If you’re planning to visit Sarajevo also, we have even more for you. We have a guide on all the best things to do in Sarajevo, the best Sarajevo tours, a guide on where to stay in Sarajevo, and finally a Sarajevo Instagram guide.

We’re creating new content on our site almost daily, so bookmark our Bosnia & Herzegovina page or our Balkans page to see what’s new!

Finally, Don’t Go to Bosnia without Travel Insurance!

Make sure you always travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While Bosnia & Herzegovina is safe, accidents can happen anywhere. If you experience an accident or theft, travel insurance will help you recover your costs and enjoy the rest of your trip. 

For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

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The Most Gorgeous Things to Do in Marmaris, the Blue Coastal Town of Turkey

The Most Gorgeous Things to Do in Marmaris, the Blue Coastal Town of Turkey

My grandparents moved to Marmaris when my uncle was diagnosed with a serious illness when he was a little boy. They left Ankara, the grey capital city of Turkey, and moved to this little blue coastal town. I was not even born then. Thankfully, my uncle got better and continues to live there with his family.

I still remember my first swimming lesson at the Lidya Hotel. Marmaris has a special place in my heart and it will always be that way.

This Aegean town where history and nature meet continues to amaze its visitors even to this day. An extraordinary natural wonder with its clear sea, magnificent beaches, and bays, Marmaris hosts thousands of people every year. Here are some tips to make the best of your holiday if you plan to visit this southern gem in Turkey, so get ready to discover the best things you can do in Marmaris.

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Where to Stay in Marmaris

We’re in the process of creating comprehensive guides on where to stay in various Turkish cities, but for now, we recommend checking out Booking.com as early as possible since many hotels in Marmaris sell out early. If you’re in a rush and want to check our favorite places, take a look at this selection.

Here are our top suggestions for where to stay in Marmaris. In most cases, budget means hotel stays for around $35 a night, mid-range is from about $40 to $80 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.

Budget: Will you be in Marmaris with a somewhat reduced budget? Don’t worry, you can still find good accommodation. We recommend Avlu 4 Apart Hotel as well as Ozturk Apart Hotel.  

Mid-range: If you have a more flexible budget, the two places we suggest you are Arya Hotel or Motto Premium Hotel & Spa.

Luxury: You can upgrade your stay in these two places we also recommend, 8 oDa Marmaris in the center of the city and Cettia Beach Resort, great if you’re looking for an all-inclusive formula.

Gorgeous Things to Do in Marmaris

In no particular order, these are some of the best things to do in Marmaris, Turkey, take a look!

Discover Netsel Marina

Netsel Marina, located in the north of the Big Marmaris Bay, is surrounded by many of the natural beauties of Marmaris. You can reach the city center from the Marina in just 2 minutes on foot.

Netsel, one of Turkey’s third largest marinas, is also the most popular marina in town. It features a very large area for yachts and boats and it has been designed to accommodate more than 750 yachts.

The area also boasts a wonderful complex with yacht equipment stores, clothing stores, markets, gift shops, luxury restaurants, and bars. All in all, it’s is a great place for a relaxing afternoon walk.

International Marmaris Yacht Festival

The beginning of the International Marmaris Yacht Festival dates back to 20 years. The aim of this festival, which is held every year in May, is to keep boat and yacht enthusiasts aware of new developments in the sector.

The yachts exhibited in the Municipality Marina are the focus of the interest of visitors for a week. This festival, which is held in May, also marks the opening of the sailing season for yachts, so the enthusiastic atmosphere is really exciting!

Have Lunch at Kırçiçeği Restaurant

Marmaris Kırçiçeği Restaurant has been serving a loyal public for over 30 years. The friendly staff greets you when you enter and makes you feel welcomed and at home. Here, you can have a good start to the day with an energetic breakfast.

Among their dishes, you can find lahmajun, pita, kebab, soup, salad, soup, and dessert varieties of this place. The place is open 24 hours a day! Kırçiçeği Restaurant is a decent and very convenient place where you can go with your family.

Go Carpet Shopping at the Grand Bazaar Marmaris

Grand Bazaar Marmaris, also known as Marmaris Old Bazaar, is located in the city center. The bazaar, which hosts thousands of people every year, resembles Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar when it comes to the architecture and atmosphere.

In this bazaar, you can find many products from jewelry to clothing and many other traditional gifts that could turn into perfect souvenirs. You can also buy carpets, and leather products, as well as jam and a delicious type of honey unique to Marmaris.

Have a Drink at Bono

Bono Good Times is one of the most popular places in Marmaris. It offers unforgettable tastes to customers because of the unique food and drinks served in the venue. Bono is at the same time a sports bar, a Mediterranean restaurant, a breakfast spot, and a brunch center.

The ambiance of the place and the performances of DJs are really excellent. Remember that if you want to pay a visit to the bar, you will need to make a reservation in advance.

Dine at The Beachfront Hotel

Built in the most authentic Mediterranean style, The Beachfront Hotel accepts adults only. It stands right next to the sea, and the hotel beach area is immediately noticeable. Although the place has its very convenient prices, all the needs of the guests are met in the best way.

In addition, all facilities such as access to the health and fitness center are considered when you book your stay. You can have a pleasant dinner in the restaurant, where they serve both local and modern cuisine.

>> Check reviews and prices for a stay at The Beachfront Hotel here.

Day Trip to Turunc

Turunc is a popular neighborhood located 20 km from Marmaris. You can easily go to Turunc from Marmaris for a daytrip. The name of the neighborhood comes from citrus, which grows abundantly in the region.

Turunc, which hosts many yachts and blue cruise boats, is also an old seaside town. The sea of ​​Turunc Public Beach and Turunc Bay, which have gained blue flag beach status, is clean and clear.

Jeep Safari tours and trekking around Palamut Hill are also very common here. The route of these nature walks is Amos Ancient City, which is 1 hour away. If instead, you would like to explore the coast, then we recommend you to consider this boat tour departing from Marmaris which also included swimming in Turunc Bay and visiting the nearby caves.

Diving is also very popular due to the abundance of underwater caves and rocky areas. You can also go to the surrounding bays and beaches with a full-day boat tour like this one.

Before returning from Turunc, you should definitely taste the fish and olive oil foods, and don’t forget to take honeydew honey and citrus jam as a gift.

Check the Coast in Selimiye

Located 45 km from Marmaris, Selimiye is considered a safe harbor for sailors and yachts. The decorations of the hotels, cafés, and restaurants around are quite interesting. You can go to Kamelya Island, Bencik Bay, Rabbit Island, Love Island, and Hisaronu Bay from Selimiye with a boat. Thus, you can enjoy Selimiye’s calm sea and magnificent beaches.

You should definitely try the local seafood, the delicious desserts made from goat milk, and real fruit ice cream in Selimiye. Here you can find boutique hotels and hostels that offer great breakfasts to stay.

When leaving Selimiye, do not forget to take a look at the shops selling authentic leather bags and shoes as well as other leather products of fantastic quality.

Explore the Historical Area of Bozburun

Located 45 km from Marmaris, Bozburun is very popular when it comes to yacht tourism. Bozburun is also a beautiful fishing town with its unspoiled hills and impressive historical texture.

Another important feature of Bozburun, which has 10 historical cities, is that it hosts yacht and gullet shipyards. Motorized wooden gullets made here are an important symbol of the blue tour. In addition, the ancient city of Larymna is located on Asar Hill, which is about 45 minutes walk from Bozburun.

Apart from boat tours in Bozburun, life is generally calm. If you want a quiet and peaceful holiday, this is the place for you!

Have Rakı-Meze at Sardunya Fish Restaurant

Turkey - Istanbul - Raki and Mezze - Canva-2

It is very difficult to find a place at Sardunya Fish Restaurant in Selimiye without reservation. Be sure that you will eat the most delicious fish and appetizers of the region in this seaside restaurant.

In Sardunya Fish Restaurant, famous for its Fangri and Laos, you can discover amazing tastes such as squid, grilled octopus, octopus salad, and fava.

The rich breakfast menu offers village eggs, tomatoes collected from the garden, and remarkable greens. You should make a reservation by calling 1-2 days in advance.

The extraordinary feature of this wonderful restaurant is that it also offers comfortable small rooms to stay.

Relax at the Beach in Uzunyali

Uzunyali Beach, which comes right after Marmaris Public Beach, is a beautiful beach where local and foreign tourists flock during all the season. It is quiet, neat, and very clean since it undergoes regular and constant inspections.

Here you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas, and can also have a shower after you swim in the sea. You can easily reach Uzunyali Beach, which is only 10 km away from the Marmaris town center, by minibus or taxi.

Dive into History in Marmaris Castle

Marmaris Castle, located in the old city center, is a popular historical place to visit in Marmaris. It was built by the Ionians in 1044 B.C and it offers visitors both day and night insatiable views.

The castle, which was used to shelter in the 1970s, was restored between 1980 and 1990. Then, it was turned into a museum in 1991.

In the archeology section of Kale, there are exhibitions featuring glass and pottery items found in different excavations in Hisaronu, Knidos, and Burgas regions, as well as various ornaments. In the ethnography section, on the other hand, you can see rugs, copper items, ornaments, and weapons belonging to the Ottoman period.

Admire the Beauty of Gokova Bay

Gokova Bay is located 30 kilometers from the town center of Marmaris. Gokova Hill, which is the first destination of those who come to Marmaris on holiday, offers a unique view to visitors with breathtaking sights of the area.

Gokova also has one of the best kiteboard and kitesurf centers in the world. In Gokova, you can visit many beautiful places such as Azmak River, Akyaka, Akbuk Bay, and Cleopatra Island.

Gokova is one of the places frequented by blue voyage thanks to its historical location and unique natural beauties. In addition, daytrip boat tours from Marmaris are also very popular.

Kitesurf at Akyaka

Akyaka is a popular holiday region located about 31 km north of Marmaris. If you are looking for a peaceful holiday, you should definitely visit this old fishing town, which is surrounded by a thick forest.

Akyaka’s beach has been awarded the status of a blue flag beach. Azmak Creek is a spot in the region is almost like an aquarium thanks to its clear waters.

Among the many things to do here, you can also take a boat tour or camp, go trekking or do water sports like kite surfing and kiteboarding.

One of the most important features of Akyaka is that has received the Cittaslow title back in 2010, and maintained it ever since. When you visit Akyaka, you can have fun practising many sports including canoeing, surfing, cycling, and hiking.

Travel to Sedir Island

Sedir Island is an extraordinarily beautiful island, mostly known by the name of Cleopatra, only 16 kilometers from Marmaris. It is believed that Cleopatra once swam on the island, which takes its name from the famous golden color beloved by Cleopatra.

There are many bays, beaches, hiking, and picnic areas on Sedir. In addition, the ancient city of Cedrae from the Roman times is located here too. You should definitely visit the protected theater area. Also, remember to visit Camli Village, which is about 2 km from Cedrae, and it’s famous for its views, water, and clean air.

Get to Know the District of Orhaniye

Orhaniye, famous for Girls Sand Beach, is another district you should take the time to explore when visiting Marmaris. This wonderful beach is located only 30 kilometers from the town center. This is a great place for those who are looking for calmness, an extraordinary beach, and a beautiful view.

If you want to visit places other than Girls Sand Beach, you can check the castle ruins from the Kingdom of Bybassos, on a nearby island, and watch the wonderful view from the hill. You can also join boat tours organized to Hisaronu, İnbuku Bay, Selimiye, and Dislice Island.

Marvel at the Beauty of Kumlubuk

Located at a distance of 24 km from Marmaris, Kumlubuk is a great place to go if you love forests and spectacular views. In fact, it’s almost impossible to describe the extraordinary sea view you will come across.

Kumlubuk, named after its sandy beach, fascinates guests with a combination of a dark green pine forest and clear blue sea. In this place where nature meets history, you can visit the ancient city of Amos and the ruins of the theater.

You can also enjoy the opportunity to do various water sports in Kumlubuk, where fishing and sponge fishing are common activities.

Hike Bordubet Route

Bordubet is a beautiful route which hosts the magnificent area of Bordubet Bay with a crystal clear coast and a lush pine forests nearby. Admire the view in this beautiful settlement located about 28 km from the city center.

Here, travelers can have fun practising water sports such as skiing, windsurfing, and canoeing along a 600-meter-long stream.

It’s also possible to take part in activities such as mountain biking and hiking. There are several facilities that offer accommodation, food, and beverage in the bay to spend a wonderful day… or even two!

Swim at Boncuk Bay

Boncuk Bay, which takes its name from the pebbles under the sea that look like a bead, amazes everyone. This wonderful bay, located between pine and palm trees, is located approximately 18 km from the city center.

If you want to dive or do some snorkeling, then this is the right place to put in your itinerary, because, thanks to the clarity of the seawater in the bay, the underwater view range can reach about 20-25 meters.

The most important feature of the bay is that it is the natural breeding ground of sand sharks. You should definitely visit this bay where the sea and the beach are full of surprises.

Explore Datca Peninsula

Datca Peninsula, where blue and green meet, is among the most famous places in the Aegean Region. Datca, where many blue flag beaches are located, enchants with big forests and overwhelming nature.

Datca, which is the favorite place of vacationers, has more than 50 different bays to pick the perfect spot for a relaxing day. That’s why it attracts more attention from travelers and fans of blue tours. You can find many hotels and hostel alternatives to stay in town, which is 73 km from Marmaris.

You can also add excitement to your Datca holiday with festivals and concerts that last throughout the summer.

Attend the Datca Almond Flower Festival

Datca is also a famous settlement that has become known for the almond trees other than for its wonderful sea and nature. A total of 85 types of almonds are grown in Datca. Almond trees flower January and February, heralding the arrival of spring and making the whole area look white as if covered by spotless snowflakes.

Every year, the Almond Flower Festival is organized and it’s a perfect opportunity to get away from the city and have a good time. When visiting, you can discover handmade souvenirs, taste many almond varieties and other local foods. If you’re planning a trip to Marmaris, then you should definitely visit this cute Aegean town. On the other hand, you can watch local dances and discover traditional activities during this three-day festival or you can also wear your adventurer clothes and explore the beauties in the peninsula.

As you can see, there are infinite possibilities for a fun holiday in Marmaris, and I’m sure you will love every minute of the experience!

What to Pack for Marmaris

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

We have a guide on what to pack for Turkey, but here are five things you want to bring with you!

The Lonely Planet Turkeya good guidebook that can help you with the kinds of safety tips you need if you’re out in the city and feel a bit lost, especially if you don’t have internet or a cell signal. These also have specific neighborhood information that will help you in different parts of the city, and it’s a great supplement to blog posts like this one!

Unlocked Cell Phone: Stephanie and I both have unlocked cell phones that we bought in Europe (Stephanie uses a Samsung and I use an iPhone). This allows up to get sim cards when we travel so that we always have the internet. This has gotten us out of so many jams! If you don’t have an unlocked cell phone that can use a Turkish sim card, you can buy a cheaper unlocked phone online and bring it with you!

Pacsafe Citysafe or Other Anti-Theft Bag: This is the bag both Stephanie and I use for all our travels. It has a pouch with RFID technology so our credit cards can’t get scanned from afar, interlocking zippers to make it harder to pickpocket, and it’s roomy enough to be a perfect sightseeing day bag, yet it’s still quite stylish for all of its security features. If you’d rather bring something smaller, you can pack a money belt instead. 

Grayl Water FilterWhile the water is *technically* safe to drink in much of Turkey, I would still avoid it. If you don’t want to be buying millions of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of the major tourist centers, check if the water is potable locally.

Seabands: If you get seasick easily, pack some Sea bands or seasickness pills so you don’t miss out on the best parts of Turkey – being on the water! A trip to Turkey isn’t complete without a cruise or at least a quick boat trip, so make sure you’re prepared to enjoy it to the fullest!

Read More: Essential Turkey Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Turkey

More Turkey Travel Resources

Turkey - Istanbul - Blue Mosque at Sunset - Canva

We have a ton of resources to help you plan your trip to Turkey!

If this will be your first time traveling to Turkey, check out this guide to planning a trip to Turkey (including visa information) and this guide of beautiful places to visit in Turkey. You can also check out our Balkan currency guide, which explains how the Turkish lira works and guidelines for tipping in Istanbul.

If you’re heading to Istanbul as well as Antalya, we have you covered. Start with our essential Istanbul Travel Tips and guide to staying safe in Istanbul

We’re working on our massive things to do in Istanbul post, plus you can check out our guide to the best Instagram spots around Istanbul, tips for shopping in Istanbul, the best Turkish food to eat, how to plan an Istanbul honeymoon, and what to do in Istanbul at night.

If you will be visiting in winter, we have a special winter in Istanbul guide plus an overview of Istanbul weather in January.

If you want to be in the city for just a few days (four or less), check out our Istanbul city break guide, which breaks down the best of the city so you won’t miss anything!

Headed to Cappadocia? If you’re curious about the most Instagrammable places in Cappadocia, we’ve got you covered. We also have posts on the best things to do in Cappadocia, and how to plan a perfect 3 day Cappadocia itinerary, plus how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul.

We have tons more Turkey and Balkans resources, and we publish new content nearly daily. Bookmark our Turkey and Balkans travel pages so you can find any new resources that come out before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, make sure to travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While we feel safe in Turkey, it’s a good idea to be covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers you in case of theft or an accident, which can save your trip if there’s an incident.

For travel insurance, Allison and I use World NomadsI’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Get your free quote from World Nomads here <<

Pin this Guide To the Best Things to Do in Marmaris For Your Next Adventure in Turkey!

Magical Things to Do in Ayvalik for Your Next Turkey Adventure!

Magical Things to Do in Ayvalik for Your Next Turkey Adventure!

Shaped like an amphitheater, Ayvalık is an already intriguing town by its structure. This old town has a long history of occupations as well as stories about Greek mythology.

There are more than 1800 houses registered as historical buildings and many old churches and mosques to see as well. One of them is the church of Ayios Yorgi, which has been transformed into Çınarlı Mosque, and that was built with garlic stone.

There are more than 20 islands in Ayvalık. All islands except Cunda Island are National Parks. The biggest and most famous of them, Cunda, is also known by the name of Alibey Island. The area is a peninsula since 1966 what a manmade land connection was constructed. It is also one of the most visited places when it comes to gastronomy tourism in Aegian, as it is the birthplace of recipes like Cretan rice with octopus and zucchini salad.

Another famous island is Tımarhane Island (tımarhane means madhouse in Turkish) which is a very interesting place to visit with its history and rocks with howling sounds when it’s windy. Ayvalık has two of the longest sandy beaches in Turkey. One of these is Altınova Beach, one of the few rare sand islands in the world. 

A distinctive history, a stunning nature, and excellence in food are there in Ayvalık for you to discover. And there are a lot of other things you can do too, let’s explore what things to do in Ayvalik.

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Where to Stay in Ayvalik

We’re in the process of creating comprehensive guides on where to stay in various Turkish cities, but for now, we recommend checking out Booking.com as early as possible since many hotels in Ayvalk sell out early. If you’re in a rush and want to check our favorite places, take a look at this selection.

Here are our top suggestions for where to stay in Ayvalik. In most cases, budget means hotel stays for around $35 a night, mid-range is from about $40 to $80 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.

Budget: Visiting Ayvalik with a reduced budget doesn’t mean that your choice will also be reduced when thinking about where to stay. There are many places you can book for a small fee that provide great services. We recommend Kidalyo Hotel, with top reviews, as well as Hotel Marine.  

Mid-range: If you have a more flexible budget, the two places we suggest you check are Eden Selene Hotel, in Cunda, or YundAntik Cunda Konaklari in Ayvalik.

Luxury: For a better experience, and with a higher budget, we recommend the Cunda Labris Hotel in Cunda or Bababan Otel in Ayvalik.

Magical Things to Do in Ayvalik

In no particular order, these are some of the best things you can do in Ayvalik…

Discover Ayvalik Old Town

Ayvalik is a town in Turkey located in the province of Balikesir. The Old Town of Ayvalik is a calming sight for sore eyes and a place to explore when visiting Ayvalik. Its narrow yet posh streets are filled with market squares and cafes at every corner of the town. The cobbled houses are a major contributing factor to the beauty of the old town.

Along the road, the magnificent edifices of the Greek Orthodox churches that were erected by the Greek locals during the Ottoman Empire are still present. One of the significant historical landmarks of the town is the Karmanlar Unlu Mamulleri bakery, which has been here for decades.

The Old Town Coffee is one of the most renowned coffee houses in Ayvalik, due to its splendid coffees and the picturesque building. All in all, Ayvalik’s Old Town will take your breath away with its elegant beauty and rich culture.

Moshos Taverna

Moshos Taverna is one of the many outstanding restaurants that Ayvalik has to offer. Located on the Island of Cunda, this restaurant is well known for its delicious and exotic food. 

Constructed in a typical Greek fashion, the restaurant offers a wide range of seafood along with delightful Turkish, Greek, and Mediterranean Cuisines.

One can dine outdoors where the air is fresh and further ravishes one’s appetite. Live music further contributes to an already electrifying atmosphere.

Moshos Taverna is known to have excellent service. In addition to that, a person can choose from a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. This restaurant is the amalgamation of various rich cultures and further adds to the already splendid Cunda Island. Don’t forget to make a reservation in advance due to high demand.

Location: Mithatpaşa, Halk Cad. No:12, 10405 Ayvalık

A True Gem, Cunda Island

The island of Cunda is reachable both by land and sea. Cunda is a must to visit if you are in Balıkesir Region. It is the largest island in the Ayvalık area and has many scenic bike routes for avid cyclists, such as the route around Cunda National park, perfect to visit secluded beaches on the island.

Not only does Cunda have a tremendous natural beauty, but also, a walk through the cobbled streets decorated with olive trees, where you can also see the Greek stone houses with shutters in many colors will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the modern-day.

Spend your day laying on the sandy beaches with the occasional dip in the clear turquoise Aegean Sea. There are many interesting places to visit on this beach-encircled paradise that is also known as Alibey Island.

Mola Beach Cunda

Mola Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Cunda. It is a go-to place for many tourists who visit Cunda Island. The sun rays hitting the beach make the sand glisten while the calm, rhythmic crashing of waves on the seashore is the only thing disturbing the quietness of the beach.

The water is quite shallow, which encourages people from any age to experience setting foot in the warm and clear water. It can also prove to be the ideal place for boating and kayaking. When the sun sets, it gives off perfect lighting over the calm water.

This view makes you admire the beauty of nature, trust me, this beach will be a long-lasting memory.

Location: Namik Kemal Mahallesi, Uc Kuyular Cad. No: 18, Cunda Island, Ayvalik

Vino Sarap Evi

Vino Sarap Evi is one of the most popular wine houses on the island of Cunda, Its soothing ambiance makes it an ideal place for a person to sit back and enjoy a glass of wine. The perfect blend of evergreen vines and cobbled streets gives a friendly vibe.

At night, the electrifying atmosphere is filled with the sound of music and the cackle of people enjoying a great time. You can choose from a wide array of wines and liquors, all available at affordable prices. Also, they have a wide variety of exotic foods, all very delicious.

Location: Mithat Pasa Mah. Cumhuriyet Cad. No:8 (Cunda Adasi) Ayvalik

See the Endangered Red Corals

Ayvalık is also an important region for scuba divers with its colorful underwater fauna. It has more than 40 diving points.

With so many options you don’t need to worry about the weather conditions. Red coral, to be found at 25 meters of depth, is an endangered species due to its high value in jewelry.

Panoramic View from Şeytan Sofrası

Another memorable sight to see is Şeytan Sofrası (which means the devil’s table in Turkish). The place takes its name from a footprint-shaped hole that was believed to belong to the devil. You can see almost all the islands from the top.

Camp at Kozak Plateau

If these aren’t enough for you, only 20 kilometers away you’ll find Kozak Plateau. It is not like other narrow plateaus; instead, it is like an endless forest.

This Plateau contains more than 5 million pine trees and it’s a perfect place for camping. Besides, there are 16 villages in the area that you can visit. One of them is Demircidere, where it’s possible to visit the local museum created by the villagers.

Eat Cheesecake at Ayna Restaurant

If you are looking for a high-quality freshly prepared meal, then this is the place for you. Set a little back from the harbor, this unique and elegant restaurant serves delicious cuisine made using local produce.

The menu is rich with seasonal offerings suiting any palate. From freshly caught sea bass to high-quality mezes, you will not be disappointed. Don’t forget to leave some room for the sweet. Here, the desserts, especially the cheesecake, are to die for!

You can choose to dine inside or al fresco, but unfortunately with no sea view. During the summer months, especially at the weekends, making a reservation is usually a must.

Eat Ayvalık Toast at Taş Kahve

The place is perfect to relax while watching the small fishing boats that bob around on the water and enjoying a delicious cup of Turkish coffee, not forgetting some Ayvalık toast.

You cannot only smell the coffee but also the traditions, from the very large pestle and mortar used to ground the coffee, to the stonewalls and church-like windows. Coffee is not the only item on the menu; there is a wide range of teas and delicious ice cream, which is the perfect refresher on a hot summer’s day.

The atmosphere is relaxed but it’s still popular with tourists during the summer season. The service is not as efficient when the café is busy, but with views like these, you don’t mind.

Taksiyarhis Church Rahmi Koç Museum

A quaint walk through the narrow streets will take you to Taksiyarhis Church. This church was damaged in an earthquake back in 1944 and was left in ruins until it was recently restored in 2014, funded by a prominent Turkish businessman, this church impresses on both the outside and inside.

Don’t forget to look up, as the ceilings are truly a work of art. Originally conceived as a Greek Orthodox church, since 2014 it has been used as a museum that houses items from Rahmi Koç’s collections, this includes a deriving style of vehicles and industrial engines. The church/museum also has an interesting toy section. With a very low entrance fee, it is most definitely worth a visit. 

Sevim Necdet Library

For breathtaking sunsets and spectacular views, walk ten minutes from the center to visit the Sevim Necdet Library, which is a renovated chapel with a library inside. As you walk up to the entrance you will see the spectacular gates that have been lovingly restored.

The library used to be known for holding books related to church law and religious texts but now stocks books from the Kent family, donated by their son after his father’s eyesight worsened. The library was named after Mr. Necedet Kent, who was a Turkish diplomat, during WWII. He granted citizenship to many Jewish French Turks, even though they didn’t have the correct papers.

Behind the chapel is a windmill, which was originally used to grind grain into flour in the monastery. Unfortunately, both buildings were in disrepair until 2007 when they were restored by the Koç family foundation.

If you are feeling thirsty after your walk there is a small café serving drinks and light lunches, and of course picturesque views of the whole island.

Ayvalik Island Natural Park

Ayvalik Island Natural Park is one of the most highly anticipated places in Ayvalik. Its breathtaking views and delightful scenery make it heaven on earth for every person who visits it.

Situated on the Island of Cunda, this place tends to create a perfect atmosphere for a person who wishes to hike, camp, or scuba dive in the warm waters surrounding the park. The chirping noise of birds and the calm, soothing waves of the sea add to the calm environment of the park.

It consists of several beaches where you won’t resist sunbathing or swimming. At night, these beaches prove to be the perfect venue for bonfires.

Ayvalik Island Natural Park also consists of small coves much to the delight of adventurers. These coves give habitat to various small fish that can be distinctly seen through the clear, transparent water. Ayvalik Island Natural Park is one of the most mesmerizing places in the whole of Turkey, a perfect destination for your next vacation.

Location: Uckuyular Cad, 10405 (Cunda Adasi), Ayvalık

Saatli Mosque

Saatli Mosque is one of the historical and religious landmarks of Ayvalik, right in the heart of town. The church, which was transformed into a mosque, is the living embodiment of the diverse and rich culture of the city. It was initially constructed by the Greek Orthodox Christians in 1850 and was later converted into a mosque somewhere around 1928.

At one of the corners of the building, there’s a clock tower, while a towering minaret was erected right next to it. At the top of the mosque, there’s an enormous dome.

The interior of Saatli Mosque is posh yet plain. While there are giant pillars that support the massive construction, a nearby garden further adds to its grandeur.

Panaya Church

Situated in the Mithatpasha neighborhood, Panaya Church is one of the sacred and historical locations of Ayvalik. The ruins of the church sit on the top of the hill, where the exhilarating views and breath-taking scenery attract many visitors.

Panaya Church, also known as Panagia Church, was put up in 1863. The walls were built with black granite stones. It was primarily known to be one of the biggest churches on the island of Cunda. The south side of the church gave rise to a bell tower, which was distinctly visible from a distance.

An earthquake destroyed the church in 1944, and its remains were used in the construction of a school. The sad yet fascinating history of this church makes it a historical landmark of the Island. 

What to Pack for Ayvalik & Cunda Island

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

We have a guide on what to pack for Turkey, but here are five things you want to bring with you!

The Lonely Planet Turkeya good guidebook that can help you with the kinds of safety tips you need if you’re out in the city and feel a bit lost, especially if you don’t have internet or a cell signal. These also have specific neighborhood information that will help you in different parts of the city, and it’s a great supplement to blog posts like this one!

Unlocked Cell Phone: Stephanie and I both have unlocked cell phones that we bought in Europe (Stephanie uses a Samsung and I use an iPhone). This allows up to get sim cards when we travel so that we always have the internet. This has gotten us out of so many jams! If you don’t have an unlocked cell phone that can use a Turkish sim card, you can buy a cheaper unlocked phone online and bring it with you!

Pacsafe Citysafe or Other Anti-Theft Bag: This is the bag both Stephanie and I use for all our travels. It has a pouch with RFID technology so our credit cards can’t get scanned from afar, interlocking zippers to make it harder to pickpocket, and it’s roomy enough to be a perfect sightseeing day bag, yet it’s still quite stylish for all of its security features. If you’d rather bring something smaller, you can pack a money belt instead. 

Grayl Water FilterWhile the water is *technically* safe to drink in much of Turkey, I would still avoid it. If you don’t want to be buying millions of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of the major tourist centers, check if the water is potable locally.

Seabands: If you get seasick easily, pack some Sea bands or seasickness pills so you don’t miss out on the best parts of Turkey – being on the water! A trip to Turkey isn’t complete without a cruise or at least a quick boat trip, so make sure you’re prepared to enjoy it to the fullest!

Read More: Essential Turkey Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Turkey

More Turkey Travel Resources

Turkey - Istanbul - Blue Mosque at Sunset - Canva

We have a ton of resources to help you plan your trip to Turkey!

If this will be your first time traveling to Turkey, check out this guide to planning a trip to Turkey (including visa information) and this guide of beautiful places to visit in Turkey. You can also check out our Balkan currency guide, which explains how the Turkish lira works and guidelines for tipping in Istanbul.

If you’re heading to Istanbul as well as Antalya, we have you covered. Start with our essential Istanbul Travel Tips and guide to staying safe in Istanbul

We’re working on our massive things to do in Istanbul post, plus you can check out our guide to the best Instagram spots around Istanbul, tips for shopping in Istanbul, the best Turkish food to eat, how to plan an Istanbul honeymoon, and what to do in Istanbul at night.

If you will be visiting in winter, we have a special winter in Istanbul guide plus an overview of Istanbul weather in January.

If you want to be in the city for just a few days (four or less), check out our Istanbul city break guide, which breaks down the best of the city so you won’t miss anything!

Headed to Cappadocia? If you’re curious about the most Instagrammable places in Cappadocia, we’ve got you covered. We also have posts on the best things to do in Cappadocia, and how to plan a perfect 3 day Cappadocia itinerary, plus how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul.

We have tons more Turkey and Balkans resources, and we publish new content nearly daily. Bookmark our Turkey and Balkans travel pages so you can find any new resources that come out before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, make sure to travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While we feel safe in Turkey, it’s a good idea to be covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers you in case of theft or an accident, which can save your trip if there’s an incident.

For travel insurance, Allison and I use World NomadsI’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Get your free quote from World Nomads here <<

Pin this Great Guide to the Best Things to Do in Ayvalik and Cunda Island for your Adventures in Turkey!

17 Insane Bucket List Activities for Your First Time in Makarska!

17 Insane Bucket List Activities for Your First Time in Makarska!

Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is dotted with seaside towns, inlets, and lagoons all the way from the shore to its many islands. Makarska, located on the mainland between Split and Dubrovnik is one such gem.

Makarska is such a focal point in Croatia’s tourism that it even has its own Riviera. This is my favorite part of the coast because you can never run out of things to do in Makarska.

The town is divided by a large peninsula separating the marina and the downtown areas on one side, and the seemingly endless sprawl of pebble beaches on the other. Towering high above, the face of Mt. Biokovo wraps its stony walls from the east to the west of Makarska, creating a cocoon of good vibes down beneath.

Nowhere else in Croatia can you see the relationship between sea and mountains more vividly than here.

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Where to Stay in Makarska

CROATIA - MAKARSKA - View of Makarska city center from the sea. Dalmatia, Croatia.

We’re in the process of creating comprehensive guides on where to stay in various Croatian cities. You can discover the best hotels in Dubrovnik Old Town as well a. But, for now, we recommend checking out Booking.com or, if you’re in a rush, read about our favorite places down here.

Here are our top suggestions for where to stay in Makarska. In most cases, budget means hotel stays for around $45 a night, mid-range is from about $50 to $80 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.

Budget: When planning a stay in Makarska with a reduced budget, we recommend you check Apartments Jure fairly close to the center, as well as the pretty Villa Ivona.

Mid-range: If you can extend your budget a bit more, two places we recommend are Sobe Kiki Apartment in the city center or ApartHotel Villa Mozart, about 7 km from Makarska. 

Luxury: There are many luxury hotels in Makarska that you can book, we suggest that you take a look at Valamar Meteor Hotel and Hotel Park Makarska.

Insanely Fun Things to Do in Makarska

In no particular order, these are some of the main bucket list ideas for you to spend a fantastic time in Makarska, Croatia

So Many Beaches So Little Time

There seems to be a place to swim everywhere in Makarska. The most popular and widely used is the city’s main beach. A sprawling 2 kilometers of pebbled shoreline that can accommodate over 10,000 people. By the peninsular rocks, beach bums can enjoy a spectacular view of the entire city from the shore.

The adventurous can take a dip in their birthday suits at the FKK or nude beach, on the other side of St. Peters lighthouse. I’ve even seen groups of people tanning and swimming on the wave breakers in the city harbor. Where there’s a spot to take a dip there’s always a way!

Dinner With A View

Croatia - Makarska - View of Tucepi waterfront in Makarska riviera, Dalmatia region of Croatia

The good thing about being nestled underneath a giant mountain is that you get some pretty breathtaking views. So why not enjoy a five-star meal while you soak in the Dalmatian sunset at Grill Panorama. Located 450 m above the city, Panorama offers a delightful blend of Mediterranean and continental cuisine with ample portions guaranteed to satisfy any palate.

Panorama also offers shuttle busses to and from the restaurant so you can sip a glass of wine after dinner as you roll back down the Biokovo foothills into town.

Two Words: Rave Cave

 

Croatia has gained a global reputation for its nightlife. If dancing until the sunrise is your idea of a party, then Club Deep is where you need to be. Located on the edge of town, this natural cave has been turned into a music mecca. Boasting an array of homegrown talent and international DJs, Deep has been a staple in Makarska’s club scene for over two decades.

Playing an array of electronic and contemporary beats, the pulsating lights hanging from the ceiling guide you deeper into the dance floor. Like pretty much anywhere else in town, your sunrise view will make you forget how tired your legs are once 6 am hits.

Reimagining the ‘Old Town of Europe’

Croatia - Makarska

Makarska’s historic district is a panoply of Venetian architecture turned into modern establishments. The focal point is Andrija Kačić Miošić Square – named after the famous Croatian friar and boasting a statue of him erected in 1890 during Croatia’s national awakening.

Early in the morning, local farmers lay out their organic goodies in the open-air fruit and vegetable market – a tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years. Kačić is also dotted with little cafes and wine bars that are perfect for the mid-day espresso as well as for a glass of pinot.

At night, the square comes alive with concerts ranging from a very convicting Aerosmith cover band to traditional Klapa quartets and even live concertos and opera.

You can also visit St. Mark’s Church, built from 1700-1766 by Nikola and Stjepan Blašković. There is an old Venetian drinking fountain just to the right of the church that I have filled my water bottle at many a scorching summer day.

Dance the Day Away at Buba Beach

When you go on vacation you need a beach bar. Makarska has Buba. On the outskirts of town, it’s a non-stop day party complete with live DJs, loud music, and an endless supply of cocktails, offering – the perfect mix of sunbathing and sangria (or 5L beer towers).

At night, Buba has been known to throw sunrise sets boasting talent like Silicon Soul and Solomun, who have spun their decks into the early morning hours amid a throng of dancing disciples.

Adriatic Seafood Experience at Restaurant Ivo

Dubrovnik - Croatia - Fresh fish and salad dinner

Ivo has been delighting pescatarians since 1979 with their authentic Adriatic cuisine and seafood. The restaurant is a homegrown staple and every local has eaten there at least once. In 2015, Ivo was recognized among Croatia’s top 100 restaurants – and for some good reasons.

Always fresh, you can enjoy a classic platter of grilled scampi or dive right into the John Dory or scorpionfish – prepared with traditional Dalmatian gusto and always paired with a glass of wine.

Satisfy Your Inner Thrill-Seeker at a Local Dive Spot

Croatia - Makarska - MAKARSKA RIVIERA, CROATIA - August 2020: View of the rocks near Makarska on a summer day, in Makarska Riviera, Croatia.

As little kids, we used to tempt fate and fling ourselves off the limestone cliffs near Makarska’s harbor. The two main spots are located at the farthest edge of town near Osejava, and also at St. Peter’s peninsula, facing into town. There is a convenient platform you can use where the old club Grotto used to be, with a 5 m drop-off.

Risk takers and local 12 years old’s (not kidding) will jump from ‘The Path’ roughly 15 m above the water looking over the Grotto point.

More dangerous and for experienced jumpers only, Osejava offers as high as 20 m, but be careful getting out – there is no platform and the waves will throw you on the rocks if you don’t time it properly!

Book a Day Excursion to Biokovo National Park

Croatia Makarska - Sunset over Biokovo park mountains in Croatia

A UNESCO heritage site, the Biokovo Mountain range is part of the Dalmatian hinterland with an endless supply of photo opportunities and cultural experiences.

Take a guided tour up the mountain from town and climb atop the two highest points – St. Juraj (1762m) and Vosac (1422 m). On a clear day, you can see Italy’s Rimini coast from the peak!

Exploro Travel is a local agency that offers half-day trips to the various peaks, alongside other excursions, and airport VIP shuttles.

The winding road behind the mountain face is home to rustic Dalmatian stone houses, wild mountain goats, and also a very active bee-keeping community – you can even purchase homemade honey while you hike.

Also, part of the experience, the Kotisina botanical garden, located around 500 m above Makarska, is an amazing location full of endemic flora. You can reach the place on foot or by car.

Sip an Espresso and Enjoy a Decadent Dessert at Café Romana

Croatians live for coffee time but they also have a sweet tooth. If you want to know what it feels like to be a real Dalmatian, then you should try one of Romana’s many homemade desserts and have a coffee while enjoying a blissful view of the marina.

Located in the heart of downtown, along Makarska’s busy Riviera district, Romana offers dozens of pastries, cakes, and freshly squeezed juices alongside lattes and espressos. I recommend the cremeschnitte – a delicious puff pastry with a creamy custard filling topped with icing sugar.

Start your Pub Crawl at Ivana Cocktail Bar

There’s a long-standing joke that every local had their first legal drink at Ivana Bar. The place is located smack dab in the middle of the main city beach and you can get a liter cocktail of your choice, or 10 vodka red-bull for just $20.

There is always a live DJ, and during the peak season, you can see groups of people dancing along the walkway right beside the bar. This place goes bonkers during world cup season, so if you’re vacationing around then, you will see it on full display.

Stargaze at the Astronomical Observatory

Opened in 2017, the immersive experience boasts a monument to the Partisan victory after WWII which is surrounded by an Astro Park.

During the day you can cross the perimeter and find iron castings of different stars and planets scattered along the grounds. At night, the observatory offers spectacular views of the heavens and stars.

Sea Shells by the Sea Shore

Makarska’s Malacological Museum of Shells boasts over 3,000 different species on display for the curious –  all housed inside the cellar of the old Franciscan Monastery in town.

While some of the shells are only 1 cm big, others are the size of a full-grown adult. The tour is an inexpensive visit, costing less than €5.

Nugal – The Beach No One Told You About

Croatia . Makarska - Beautiful Nugal beach near Makarska town, Dalmatia, Croatia. Makarska riviera, famous landmark and travel touristic destination in Europe

Located on the easternmost point of the town, past Osejava along the coastline towards Tucepi, Nugal is a destination most tourists don’t know about. The wild beach requires a bit of a hike (around 30 minutes), but you can ask a local guide for directions if you don’t feel comfortable going alone.

Primarily a nude beach (hence the name), it offers peace and quietness away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But at night, especially during August, the water comes alive with rare fluorescent algae and you can pick up starfish as big as your head.

Because of its isolation, there is virtually no light pollution and it offers the best view of the Milky Way Galaxy I have ever seen with the naked eye.

Go Island Hopping For the Day

Aerial view of a beach with golden sand and blue water

Makarska has the benefit of facing two of Croatia’s most popular island destinations: Brac and Hvar. For around $30 per person, you can take one of the locally guided tourist cruises to the islands. I’ve gone on these every time I’ve been to Makarska because you get to see two different islands, three different beaches – including Croatia’s most famous Bol beach – all the while being back in time for supper

Your choice of chicken or fish and seemingly endless amounts of wine put you at ease as you slowly cruise from the mainland towards another adventure. If you’d rather visit one island at a time, then check this Brac boat trip, which offers excellent value for money.

Party like a Local on Fisherman’s Night

Between June and September (almost) every Thursday is locals celebrate fisherman’s night. The entire downtown turns into a massive outdoor food and music festival complete with all the trappings of a traditional Adriatic gathering: prosciutto, wine, fish, and of course the harmonica.

You can also participate in some classic games like tug of war or more traditional Croatian ones, like balancing on a beam and trying to reach the giant prosciutto leg hanging at the end. Make sure you watch your step because the beam is suspended over the water, so if you plan on participating, bring a change of clothes!

It’s a very community-oriented event with hundreds of picnic tables along the entire Riviera. You can smell the grilled calamari and mackerel from the beach. Anyone coming to Makarska for the first time should participate in at least one of these events.

Try Some Water Sports When You Need a Break From Tanning

If you get bored of lounging around all day you can try some of the many marine activities Makarska has to offer. From jet skis to parasailing, and even several aqua parks for the little ones, there’s no shortage of adrenaline-pumping pass-times along the beachfront. In 2018, some local entrepreneurs even added the first fly-board, so now you can hover around and learn to do some areal flips and tricks.

A favorite among tourists (and locals) is the pedaling boats. You paddle and steer yourself and there is a slide above you.  Paddling way out and facing shore will offer the most complete view of the entire city from east to west and a full picture of just how grand Biokovo is.

Break a Sweat at the Local Street Park

Workout parks are fairly common throughout Europe, but having one right on the beach 50 feet from the water is a different story. You can get your morning workout in or maybe do some calisthenics at sunset then go for a quick dip right after.

There’s a community of locals who you can find defying gravity there pretty much every day. If you’re in town craving a workout, then don’t worry, everyone is welcome.

What to Pack for Croatia

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

We have an entire Croatia packing list, but make sure you don’t leave these items behind!

A Guidebook – While travel blogs are great, we also definitely see the benefit of having a good paper guidebook in hand to refer to in your on-the-ground travel. We recommend the Lonely Planet Croatia book.

Mosquito repellent: Mosquitos in the summer can be nasty! You can bring ones with DEET or without DEET, or I love having some of these mosquito repellent wipes that I can keep in my bag in case I suddenly start to get swarmed and don’t have my regular repellent with me.

Sunscreen: You can buy sunscreen in Croatia, but it’s likely cheaper at home or bought online in advance. I love this solid Neutrogena sunscreen. Who doesn’t love a good solid for liquid swap? Great to keep in your bag without worrying about sunscreen explosions.

Water shoes: Pebble beaches in Croatia are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the pebble seafloor is what creates that gorgeous deep turquoise-colored water that is hard to beat, as the lack of sand means you have incredibly clear water. However, on the other hand, pebble beaches and rocky shores can be downright painful!

Our friend recently cut his foot on a rocky beach in Croatia; had he been wearing water shoes, he’d have avoided such unpleasantness! We suggest these unisex water shoes. They’re not sexy, but they will make your trips to the beach far more pleasant!

A secure backpack: We both carry the CitySafe backpack by PacSafe not only on our travels but in our day-to-day lives. It’s cute, it’s functional, it’s comfortable, and it’s secure. We’re talking about interlocking zippers (which you can then put through a second clasp for two layers of security), slash-proof wire mesh construction, and RFID blockers to keep your data safe.

It’s neutral enough to be unisex, it’s roomy enough to fit a small laptop, a large camera, and tons of odds & ends, and it fits under the plane seat in front of you. We’re obsessed. Check it out for yourself!

Grayl Water FilterTap water is generally safe to drink in Croatia, but if you’re not used to drinking tap water from other countries, the typically harmless bacteria found in all water can cause some gut irritation. To both be safe and not buy dozens of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of the major tourist centers, check if the water is potable locally.

Sea bands: If you get seasick easily, pack some Sea bands or seasickness pills so you don’t miss out on the best parts of Croatia – being on the water! A trip to Croatia isn’t complete without a quick boat trip, so make sure you’re prepared to enjoy it to the fullest!

Read more: Essential Croatia Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Croatia

More Croatia Travel Resources

Croatian national theater in Zagreb, Croatia

Headed to Croatia? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip. First read our guide to planning a trip to Croatia, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. We also have a Croatia packing list with a detailed section for all seasons.

While in Dubrovnik, check out our favorite Dubrovnik Instagram spots and the best Dubrovnik day trips.

If you’re still putting together your itinerary, here’s a great list of places to visit in Croatia, our Croatia national parks guide, and the Croatian waterfalls guide to help you choose. We also have a guide to the best day trips from Spit if you’re to be visiting Split as well.

If you’ll be spending time in Zagreb, check out our list of the city’s best photo destinations. We also have a guide to visiting the famous Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb.

Next, check out our Balkan currency guide which explains how money works in Croatia and local tipping customs.

Of course, if you’re coming to Croatia you’ll have lots of opportunities to shop! Read our guide to shopping in Croatia so you know which souvenirs are truly local gems.

If this will be one of your first trips in the Balkans, check out our massive list of things to know before traveling the Balkans as well as our Balkan busroad trip, and itinerary guides. 

We publish new content nearly every day! Bookmark our pages on Croatia and the Balkans so that you don’t miss out on any new info or resources that we publish before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is a good idea for traveling in Croatia (or really, any part of the world)! We have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.

While the Balkans are perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel – especially during the winter! – so it’s better to play it safe.

 

>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<

Pin This Guide to the Best Things to Do in Makarska for Your Adventures in Croatia!

 

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