Foča

24 Hours in Foča & Sutjeska National Park

06 Apr 2020
We could probably spend 24 hours gawping at the Valley of Heroes in Sutjeska National Park, but we realise that life isn’t quite as simple as that. So you’ve got 24 hours in Foča and the surrounding area, what are you going to do with it? Such a short time means rafting is unlikely, so we’ll focus on the city and national park for the time being.

Morning in absolute calm

There is a dark irony to the tranquility of the national parks here, and Sutjeska NP might just be the most glaring example. Visit Sutjeska today and you’ll be overwhelmed by the serenity, nature and silence proving once again that they are an unbeatable combination. You’ll find peace here, but many young men and women found nothing but death in these beautiful surroundings. The Battle of Sutjeska was one of the most important in World War II Yugoslavia, the battle that turned the tide of time and gave the Partisans the belief that this was a war they could win. The battle is commemorated here with the Valley of Heroes, spearheaded by one of the region’s most iconic spomeniks. The monument is found almost immediately after entering the park proper, and it should absolutely be your first port of call.

After paying your respects at the monument, get back in the car and explore the park itself. Sutjeska National Park is the oldest of its kind in Bosnia & Herzegovina, not to mention the largest, and it retains a important place among the national consciousness of all in the region. It was established for historical as opposed to conservational reasons, but the nature has well and truly flourished in the decades since. The Peručića Forest Reserve is a UNESCO recognised site, and the seven glacial lakes of Zelengora are the sort of spots that will force you down onto one knee in order to ask some serious questions.

Sutjeska National Park is a multi-day spot in its own right, and the longer you spend here the more that will reveal itself to you. But beggars, they can’t be choosers, and choosers cant be beggars. We’re not sure if that makes sense, but its time to head back to the city.

Afternoon

If you’re feeling adventurous, make a little detour on your way back from Sutjeska and stop by the incredible sand pyramids, waiting just 9km from Foča. These are an immensely unique natural phenomenon that will fill your camera as much as they leave your jaw on the floor. Stop by, check them out from all angles, and head back to Foča.

You’ll surely need some refuelling at this point, and where better than the most popular cafe in the very heart of the city? Mozart is a lot of things to a lot of people, everything from breakfast to dinner via lunch, brunch and booze, and it is absolutely worth a stop no matter the time of day. Nip in here for a feed before heading onto the Museum of Old Herzegovina to learn about Foča’s place in regional history. Don’t forget to pop into the uber-friendly tourist information centre in search of souvenirs and more information.

Evening

With the sun not far from going down, the time has come to get spiritual. The Temple of St Sava is a Serbian Orthodox Church in the centre of town and boy is it a beaut, the third biggest temple in the realm of Serbian spirituality no less. The temple is a living, breathing example of belief in this part of the world so don’t be surprised to see plenty of people coming and going throughout the day. The Aladža Mosque is just a short walk from the temple, a gorgeous piece of Ottoman architecture that was only recently reconstructed following its destruction during the war. The original dated back to 1549 and was known as one of the most beautiful in the region, and the rebuilt version stays true to that original design.

That’s enough sightseeing for one day, so get the glad rags on and hit the bars and pubs of Foča. A night out in the city is quite good fun, no matter your party preference, although our advanced years and predilection (is that another word for addiction? It better not be) for a good beer usually leads us to Hemingway or Vizantija. Raft Beer is a must, one of the best craft ales in the region and one brewed by a local boy. If you’re after something a little more sophisticated, you can’t go wrong by heading to Black White, Cinema Club, or even good old Mozart…

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