Home TravelEuropeBalkan Confidential: NP Una, a heavenly discovery in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Confidential: NP Una, a heavenly discovery in Bosnia-Herzegovina

by Flitter Fever
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While NP Plitvice and NP Krka in neighbor country Croatia are overrun by hordes of tourists, nearby NP Una in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still relatively unknown and pleasantly quiet. Discover this heavenly tranquil National Park (NP). We bumped in to it unexpectedly.

Sitting by the bright blue Una River in Bosnia Herzegovina
Sitting by the bright blue Una River

NP Una

Bright blue water, huge waterfalls, lots of green – enough natural beauty to enjoy! And important: without hurdles of people around you!

Štrbački buk waterfalls in Una NP
Štrbački buk waterfalls in Una NP
Chasing waterfalls in Una NP
Chasing waterfalls in Una NP

Štrbački buk

The Štrbački buk is with 24.5 meters the highest and most spectacular waterfall of NP Una. The waterfall can actually be seen from two sides: from the Bosnian and Herzegovinian side it is at Una National Park, on the Croatian side it is Una Mamea Park. The Bosnian side is by far the most enjoyable with decent paths, excellent view points and facilities.

Picknick tables near Strbacki buk NP Una
Picknick tables near Strbacki buk
The wooden path next to Strback buk NP Una
The wooden path next to Strback buk

Amazing nature phenomenon and an unforgettable experience!

Good to know for your visit to Štrbački buk:

  • The gravel road from the village to the parking lot close to the falls takes about 20-30 min.
  • The entrance fee for Štrbački buk is 12 BAM for 2 persons.
  • Opening hours are 08:00-21:00h, 7 days a week, May 1st – September 30th.
  • The fall is easy to access by a good wooden foot path with 5 min from the parking lot.
  • Nearby the parking lot there are a restaurant (cash!), toilet, souvenir shop and picnic tables.
  • Una National Park is a great playground for people who love or would like to try rafting.
I could watch this Strbacki buk forever
I could watch this Strbacki buk forever

Swimming

That blue water of Una River looks attractive, right? Especially on a hot summer day… Forgot to bring your swimwear? No worries! Just take off your clothes and jump into the water. Yep, nude. Like the locals do! Apparently, nudism is accepted in Bosnia.

Some parts of the Una River are very suitable for swimming
Some parts of the Una River are very suitable for swimming

Inhabitants

Brown bears, lynxes, wolves, foxes, chamois, fishes and birds are Una’s inhabitants, next to a few people. Locals sell honey, juices, etc. alongside the road of the entrance of the park.

Watch out for brown bears in NP Una
Watch out for brown bears in NP Una
Strbaki buk downstream view NP Una
Strbaki buk downstream view

Where to find

Nacionalni Park Una as NP Una is called in Bosnian, is located in, or actually south of, Bihać. This is also the town where you can find ATMs to get Bosnian cash (BAM) for the entrance fee for example.

  • The northeastern point of where NP Una starts at the E761 near Ripac is just 25 km (30 min) southeast of the border crossing with Croatia at Novo Selo Koreničko, which is only 20 km (20 min) east of the entrance of Plitvice Lakes NP.
  • Una NP stretches out 65 km southwards along the Una River, which forms a natural border between Croatia and Bosnia.
  • Exits 3 (Štrbački buk) and 5 (Martin Brod) lead to the most attractive waterfalls of Una NP.
  • The most southern point of NP Una at R408 near Vrtoče is 115 km (2 hours) northeast to Krka NP.
  • GPS coordinates: 44° 29′ NB, 16° 8′ OL

Map NP Una

This mobile friendly map includes most things mentioned in this article and more! It is smartphone friendly; you can use it easily via Google Maps. Click on the top left icon to open the menu. To customize the map to your interests, simply (un)select categories. Via Google Drive you can copy it to your folder of My Google Maps.

Visit NP Una

Una National Park opened up to the public in 2008. Nevertheless there are still mostly gravel roads that lead to the main attractions. I guess this makes the park less accessible or attractive for the average tourist, but more adventurous and peaceful for us!

24 km upstream from Štrbački buk, in the direction of Kulen Vakuf (south of Štrbački buk), are the Martin Brod waterfalls, the largest complex of waterfalls on the river Una. The largest waterfall of the Martin Brod complex (Vodopad Veliki Una) is Milancev buk.

Restaurant at Strback buk
Restaurant at Strback buk
Gravel road to Strbacki buk waterfall, Una National Park
Gravel road to Strbacki buk waterfall in NP Una

How to reach NP Una

Unless you want to be very sporty and cycle, the best way to get to NP Una is by car. Either your own or a rental car if you are not from Europe or if driving is too far or takes too long. Rentals are available from the airport of Sarajevo mostly. I can imagine you want to combine visiting Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia for example. Be careful this is often not allowed or at least requires special permission from the car rental company.

A rental car and being able to drive around yourself gives a lot of freedom and flexibility. You will be able to see more in a shorter period of time compared to public transport, and the airconditioning is a bit plus too! Just make sure it is insured all-risk and that you bring your EU or international driver’s license.

Personally, when it concerns renting a car, I would recommend Sunny Cars, an all-inclusive, worry free rental concept with affordable, fair prices, great service and no unpleasant surprises upon pick up or drop off. I am a big fan and use them all the time! In most countries the 2nd driver, free cancellation up to 4 hours in advance and all-risk insurance are standard included. Ideal, I use them all the time!

Cross border information Sunny Cars: Only possible on request for € 30 per rental period for all European countries, with the exception of the former USSR countries. You can drive in the countries of the former Yugoslavia (Serbia, Montenegro) and Albania. The Green Card is valid for all countries, except for Kosovo, the extra insurance (indication amount: € 20) must be bought at the border.

All-inclusive autohuur volgens Sunny Cars

Where to stay

You can either visit Una National Park from your accommodation near Plitvice Lakes, or NP Krka in Croatia, or decide to spend the night in Bosnia. The ones I would recommend near/in Una NP:

Treehouse Bihac in Racic near NP Una
Treehouse Bihac in Racic (photo credits booking.com)
View from Treehouse Bihac near NP Una
View from Treehouse Bihac (photo credits booking.com)

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Not many people are very familiar with Bosnia-Herzegovina yet. So here are some facts:

  • Number of inhabitants: >3.5 million
  • Size: 51,129 km2 (19,741 sq. mi)
  • Capital: Sarajevo
  • Official languages: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
  • Currency: Bosnian Convertible Marka (BAM)
  • President: the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina is a three-member body which collectively serves as Head of State of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Currently (since 2014) these are: Dragan Čović (Bosnian Croat), Mladen Ivanić (Bosnian Serb) and Bakir Izetbegović (Bosniak).
  • The two other national parks in Bosnia-Herzegovina are: Kozara National Park and Sutjeska National Park, which are both much older yet smaller than Una National Park.
Bosnian landscape views on our way to Una NP
Bosnian landscape views on our way to Una NP
Reflections at Una River
Reflections at Una River

EU

Bosnia is not part of the European Union, so a valid passport is required to enter. In most cases a European identity card is also accepted by the Bosnian authorities, but since there is no official agreement, bringing your passport is recommended.

Religion

As soon as you cross the border into Bosnia, you will notice the minarets of mosques. Islam is the most widespread religion in Bosnia Herzegovina (half of the population), originating from the 15th and 16th centuries as a result of Ottoman (Turkish) conquest of the area.

Mosque in Bosnian country side
Mosque in Bosnian country side
Destroyed and abandoned houses with bullet holes in the walls in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Destroyed and abandoned house in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Battered

Bosnia-Herzegovina still shows lots of scars from the Yugoslav Wars (1991-1999). Many destroyed and abandoned houses with bullet holes in the walls. In Croatia you also see some abandoned houses here and there, but by far not as many as in Bosnia, especially in the border region. Such contrast with the beauty of National Park Una! Luckily we can now enjoy this beautiful park in freedom and peace. Relax in a hammock without any trouble. Simply enjoy!

The landscape of Una NP Bosnia
The landscape of Una NP
Hammock at Treehouse Bihac in Racic, Bosnia
Hammock at Treehouse Bihac in Racic, Bosnia

I hope that you liked this article and find it useful. Better not spread the word too much on this beautiful park, then we can keep it as peaceful as NP Unia is right now.

I wrote several articles about Croatia. Check out the Croatia Blog Archives. More to come in the future!


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Last Updated on 01/03/2021 by Flitter Fever

5 comments

Jenni 07/03/2018 - 12:06

Hi! I stumbled upon your website while looking for more info on moving around Una National Park. I wanted to find alternatives to visiting Plitvice, since it seems the burden of visitors is too much for the place. Thanks for the detailed information and the lovely pictures! I was wondering about the entrance fee: on the Una NP website it is stated as 6 BAM per person (ŠTRBAČKI BUK), but you said 25 for 2 people – do the prices vary depending on where you buy your ticket? Also, I would love to know where that mountainous photo above the EU section was taken from? I definitely want to enjoy those views, too. Thanks!

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Flitter Fever 07/08/2018 - 15:39

Dear Jenni,
Good to hear that you like my blog about Una NP! I am sorry I only reply to your message now. I corrected the entrance fee to 12 BAM for 2 persons as I must have made a mistake in my notes. Thank you for verifying that, The mountainous photo above the EU section was taken between NP Una and the border with Croatia, on the way to Krka NP. Just follow Google Maps directions. When you drive back from Strbacki Buk to the village where the gravel road starts, go right in the direction of Martin Brod (asphalt road). You pass an old stone bridge at some point. A bit further, at the point where you can go right to Martin Brod, you go left up the mountains. Not sure any more how long it took from there to the point where this photo was taken, but as far as I remember not long (10-20 min maybe). After the mountains you come in a very green area where it is a lot more flat and where you drive through before passing the border. I do think that Plitvice is a beautiful park and worth visiting too, but very busy, especially between 11:00h and 14:00h, and in high season it will be worst. When are you going? Krka NP was more quiet, but not as beautiful as Plitvice and Una, just visit the big waterfall by boat from Skradin (go early). Enjoy!
Regards, Elisa from Flitter Fever

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Elle 07/26/2018 - 12:34

Hello !

This webpage is a gem! Thanks to your article I will skip Krka and just focus on Plitvice and Una.

Could you please help me out ? I am sleeping in Bihac and no car. So will take a taxi to go to Una Park. For one day I wish to walk a bit around, see waterfalls and swim not too far from Bihac ? Which place in the Park ould you recommend and which entrance shall I give the taxi driver ?

Thank you so much for your publication 🙂

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Flitter Fever 07/29/2018 - 12:32

Dear Elle, thank you so much for your kind comment, I really appreciate it. Glad you like the blog post about Una NP. Not having a car will be a bit of a handicap, the park is not really set up for people without a car. But I am sure there will be taxi drivers at Bihac that will be able to bring you to the waterfalls. As mentioned in the blog, Štrbački buk (exit 3) and Martin Brod (exit 5) are most interesting ones. A bike may be an option, but not easy and unusual. The Una NP is a wide area. At Štrbački buk you do not need a whole lot of time, about an hour excl. lunch. Best swimming spot is in the middle between the start of the gravel road at the village and the entrance of Štrbački buk. For Martin Brod you might want to have a bit of more time. So if you do this by taxi, you need someone for at least half a day to drive you a round. Plitvice is much better accessible and to get around by foot. Krka NP is also pretty widespread, you need a car, except the (busy) highlight Skradinski buk by boat from Skradin. Also recommendable: take a speedboat trip from Trogir: flitterfever.com/croatia-trogir ENJOY!

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Una, the one and only ! 12/22/2018 - 00:48

I dare to say that the Una River is an unexplored beauty among the rivers of the world, and probably among the cleanest ones. Wildlife, nature in general, silence, these are the characteristics of the environment, rafting, climbing, swimming, jumping … Cities and their citizens are so good hosts … History, culture, easy to experience.

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