If you are wondering if Jajce is worth visiting, wonder no more! There are many surprisingly awesome things to do in Jajce and you should definitely put it on your Bosnia and Herzegovina itinerary.
If you are wondering if Jajce is worth visiting, wonder no more! There are surprisingly many great things to do in Jajce, and you should definitely include Jajce in your Bosnia and Herzegovina itinerary.
As small as Jajce is, it really surprised me. On many levels.
Jajce, with its fusion of natural beauty and historical charm, is a place that captures your heart from the very first moment. This beautiful little town located in central Bosnia Canton is best known for the mesmerising Pliva waterfall, where two rivers merge, creating a captivating natural wonder.
But Jajce has much more to offer! The Pliva waterfall isn’t the only Jajce attraction. This hidden gem of Bosnia and Herzegovina was once home to Bosnian kings and queens and even a thriving capital of the Bosnian Kingdom.
Many travellers opt for a day trip from Sarajevo or Banja Luka or skip the city altogether. However, I strongly recommend booking a night or two to see all the wonderful attractions of Jajce. Both historical and natural.
Jajce has a lot of stories to tell, I recommend you visit and listen to them!
Table of Contents
Is Jajce Worth Visiting?
Jajce is a charming ancient town well worth a visit. With its blend of natural beauty, historical significance and warm local hospitality, Jajce offers a truly enriching travel experience, especially for travellers who want to learn more about Bosnia and get a full picture of this beautiful country.
The oldest monument found in Jajce, the Mithraeum, dates back to the 2nd century AD and a large mediaeval fortress overlooking the town was once the seat of the Bosnian kings.
But the real draw of the city is its surroundings and the beautiful walks you can take. Waterfalls, lakes, romantic bridges and historic water mills… You can find all this in and around this small town with only 7 thousand inhabitants. That’s why you should stay a few days in Jajce to explore it all and maybe even recharge within its beautiful surroundings.
Short History of Jajce
Jajce, a town with ancient origins set in the Pliva and Vrbas valleys, evolved as a defensive and commercial centre and was once the capital of the Kingdom of Bosnia. Jajce was first mentioned in writing in the 14th century, although archaeological findings indicate that the area was inhabited even earlier.
It became the capital in the 14th century, where Stjepan Tomašević was crowned in 1461. At that time, the city flourished and served as the political, economic and cultural centre of the kingdom.
However, in 1528 Jajce fell under Turkish rule, the king was executed and over time, as the city changed hands between Austria-Hungary and eventually the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, it slowly lost its importance and deteriorated. The city was destroyed in a great fire in 1658 and only recovered in the 1980s.
Jajce was also of great importance for the founding of Yugoslavia. In 1943, during World War II, the Anti-Fascist Council of the People’s Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ) assembled in Jajce. This meeting laid the foundation for the creation of a united Yugoslavia, which then became a socialist state under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito.
Today, after undergoing reconstruction of its cultural heritage, Jajce is a popular day trip destination mostly among domestic and regional travellers.
Where to Stay in Jajce
There are quite a few accommodation options if you decide to stay in Jajce. Although there are a couple of hotels like Hotel Premium, I recommend staying in one of the guesthouses or apartments where you will find plenty in Jajce. You will get more value for the money and often have a chance to get to know the local family, which is a bonus!
I stayed at the MIMA apartment, which was just a nice and very comfortable room in the owner’s house I would stay there again! I received incredible hospitality and the value for money was unbeatable.
If you want to rent a whole apartment you can consider a place like Apartman Reyan or Helly’s apartment.
For a nice getaway near the lake, Aparthouse Bilic might be what you need. A bit of a walk from Jajce town but peacefully located in the countryside.
Things to do in Jajce
As you can see, Jajce is a very significant town that holds a lot of history all encapsulated within its gorgeous surroundings. So if you don’t know what the best attractions in Jajce are yet, here’s a list of all the great things to do in Jajce.
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Jajce Pliva Waterfall
One of Jajce’s most iconic features is the 22-metre-high waterfall. It is the only waterfall in the world located directly in the centre of the town.
On a sunny day, it is a postcard-perfect picture of the shimmering fall of water with a beautiful town acting as a backdrop.
There is an official viewing platform for which you have to pay a small fee, but I would not bother. You can admire the waterfall in all its glory from the top viewpoint completely free, of charge and if you walk a bit to the other side of the large bridge leading to the town, you’ll get a pretty good view, too.
The Walled City of Jajce
I was very much charmed by the walled old town of Jajce. Within the ancient walls you will find winding, cobbled streets, historic buildings, a variety of cute houses and mesmerising views.
The Old Town (Stari Grad) of Jajce is the mediaeval fortified heart of the town, perched on a rather steep hill and fully inhabited. It offers a mixture of old and new, which come together to form a perfect architectural whole.
And the Citadelle
One of the biggest attractions in Jajce is the Citadel, the focal point of the city.
The Citadel, a mediaeval fortress that dominates the Jajce skyline, offers a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. Originally built in the 14th century, the fortress played a key role in protecting the town and its inhabitants.
Although there is not much to see within the fortress, I recommend paying a small fee (8BAM) to see it from the inside. Inside you will find two large bastions, a gun-powder tower and walkable walls. The fortress looks grand, beautiful and strangely peaceful.
It also offers spectacular views and I actually spend an hour there enjoying the view, taking photos and even sitting on the grass taking in the surroundings.
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Temple of Mithras
The Temple of Mithras is an ancient Roman temple dedicated to the Persian invisible sun god Mithra. It is believed to date back to the 2nd century AD. This archaeological site offers a fascinating insight into the Roman presence in the region.
It is one of the best-preserved Mithraeum sites in Europe.
It is located in the centre of the town, behind the Crvena Jabuka supermarket.
Unfortunately when I visited it was closed but it is protected by a glass construction so I was able to have a glimpse. Always worth it!
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Museum of AVNOJ
This interesting museum is housed in a historic building and commemorates the second AVNOJ Session.
But what was the AVNOJ?
AVNOJ, short for Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia, was founded during the World War II by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Its main purpose was to coordinate the military efforts of Josip Broz Tito’s partisans and oversee the administrative tasks of the local “liberation committees” This is basically how communist Yugoslavia began and the museum displays artefacts, documents, newspapers and photos that shed light on this period.
It was a very interesting museum to see, especially coming from a post-communist country myself. Seeing an assembly room with photos of Stalin on the wall and propaganda slogans made me chuckle. But the truth is that it’s a very important and very complex part of the history of this region.
Be prepared to use your Google Translate image option as there are no descriptions or explanations in English. Nevertheless, for a small fee of only 5BAM it is worth visiting the attraction in Jajce.
Pliva Lakes and Water Mills / Best things to do in Jajce
The smaller lake is about a 40-minute walk from the town (a very nice, easy stroll). Here the lake forms a series of cascades and waterfalls spanned by charming wooden bridges, somewhat reminiscent of the bridges over the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. At the entrance to the bridge you’ll also find a nice little café. I highly recommend you make it at least to this point.
If you are not interested in history or museums, there are plenty of other things to do around Jajce. Take a walk to the beautiful Pliva lakes, for instance!
These are stunning twin lakes, Veliko Plivsko (large) and Malo Plivsko (small), which were created as the Pliva River widened on its way to Jajce.
If you don’t mind walking a bit further (maybe another 20 minutes), you’ll come to a large Plitvice lake with historical Water Mills (Mlinčići).
These nineteen water mills covered with rustic shingles were built in 1562 and were used to grind corn and wheat brought by villagers from the surrounding area. Each mill was privately owned and reserved exclusively for the use of immediate and extended family members. Today, these once-busy mills have been transformed from their original function to tourist attractions.
The hike to Lake Pliva and the watermills was a highlight of my Jajce trip and it’s worth spending a few days in Jajce for that alone. If you’re driving, you can definitely make it in a couple of hours, but if you’re travelling by public transport, the only way to get to Pliva Lakes from Jajce is on foot or by taxi. You could also rent a bike, but I didn’t see any bike rentals in the city.
St. Mary’s Church and Jajce Catacombs
Within the city walls you’ll inevitably come across the ruins of St Mary’s Church and St Luke’s Bell Tower.
At present it’s not possible to visit inside but you can have a very decent peak inside.
It has undergone various redesigns, so it’s difficult to determine its exact age and original appearance. However, it’s believed that the church was initially constructed in the 12th century and then, after falling into disrepair, was restored again and rebuilt in the late 14th century.
In the 15th century, the last Bosnian king, Stjepan Tomasevic, was crowned in this church and the bell tower of St Luke was constructed to, supposedly to keep the relics of St Luke the Evangelist,
Then after The Ottoman conquest of Bosnia, St Mary’s Church was transformed into a mosque and renamed in honour of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Unfortunately, the building suffered from multiple fires throughout its history. The most destructive fire took place in 1658. Subsequently, the fire in 1832 destroyed the structure, reducing it to the walls.
Next to the church, you will find the catacombs, an underground chapel with a crypt, from the 15th century.
It holds historical significance as the burial place of Hrvoje Vukčić, a prominent Bosnian duke who established the city. Around the year 1400, Hrvoje Vukčić commissioned the construction of an underground chapel with a crypt. The crypt was intended to serve as the final resting place for Hrvoje Vukčić’s family as well.
There is a 5BAM fee to enter the catacombs but if I had a choice I would not go again. It is pretty small, not very well-lit and a bit run-down in sight. But you can definitely explore if you are curious.
How many days in Jajce
Jajce is a popular day trip destination among locals but I recommend spending at least a couple of days in Jajce. You can see all Jajce town attractions in one day but it is worth dedicating an additional day for a hike to Pliva Lakes and watermills.
How to get to Jajce
Jajce located in central Bosnia is very easily accessible by bus. There is a direct bus to Jajce from Sarajevo and Mostar but also from Banja Luka and even Zagreb.
It takes 3.5 hours on a bus to get to Sarajevo.
I hope this post convinced you to visit Jajce!
If you want to experience an authentic Bosnia and Herzegovina, its lush nature, and hospitality and learn about its history – Jajce is a must-visit!
Let me know if you went and what your thoughts are!
Until then, happy travels!
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Your Balkans Cheatsheet
If you are travelling around the Balkans by bus, Flixbus covers a lot of the routes but they often cooperate with local operators. It is convenient to book on the Flixbus website if you want to pay for your journey upfront.
If you prefer to pay directly with the local operator, be prepared to pay in cash. To check the timetable BusTicket4.me is the most reliable. But I still recommend only using it for checking the times and purchasing the ticket at the bus station.
In the majority of Balkan countries, you will pay a 1€ (or equivalent in local currency) fee for luggage.
The bus is the best way to travel between Balkan countries but there are a couple of stunning train routes you cannot miss like Sarajevo to Mostar or Belgrade to Bar!
If you are considering renting a car you can browse all rental companies via Expedia!
Always, always triple-check the information you were given, especially when it comes to inter-city travel. Only because one person, in one place says there are no busses, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Triple check.
Only Slovenia is within the Schengen Area so individual visa rules will apply.
Only Slovenia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Croatia use Euros. All other countries use their own currency. In some touristy spots, you will be able to use Euros but dont take it for granted. You will pay for a coffee pot from a souvenir stand in Mostar in Euros, but the supermarket will ask for Bosnian Marks.
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