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Young shepherdess with sheep

Umoljani – where things are still organic and home made

Shepherdess and her granddaughter

On the way to Umoljani village I pass the vast area of Dugo polje (Long Field) where I meet an old shepherdess and her granddaughter with their flock of sheep. Throughout history the Bjelašnica Highlands have been home to trans-migratory shepherd cultures. During the warmer months villagers would take to the highlands with their flocks of sheep to graze in the vast Dugo Polje valley.

Shepherdess and her granddaughter
Shepherdess Hurija and her granddaughter Amna spend their summer days in Dugo Polje, Bjelašnica

All summer long

I stop to take some photos and talk to them. Hurija Elezović and her granddaughter Amna are from Hadžići (municipality in Sarajevo) and they spend their winters there, but during the summer they are out here all day long. Hurija says she loves being in nature all day with her animals and Amna shares her enthusiasm. She had 250 sheep of her own as well as some cows, but it became too much work so she sold them.  Now she has 130 sheep and no cows and that will be much easier to handle in the winter months coming. 

Rural mountainous landscape of Bjelašnica Highlands in Bosnia
Rural mountainous landscape of Bjelašnica Highlands in Bosnia

Organic and home made

The village of Umoljani has collectively decided to follow the principles of organic agriculture. There are now a handful of restaurants and B&B accommodations in the village. Many of the villagers see their future in eco – tourism. 

Cozy mountain hut in Umoljani
Pansion Umoljani has a cozy mountain hut feeling
View from the window of my cozy hut
Morning view from the window of my cozy hut

A cozy little hut

I spent the night in a cozy little place called Pansion Umoljani (link). I loved the view in the morning as well as the cozy feeling of a mountain hut. The owners are really lovely people and the breakfast was simple but delicious.

Inside the restaurant at Pansion Umoljani
Inside the restaurant at Pansion Umoljani
Traditional fritters
Traditional fritters (uštipci) are my favorite food in mountains

Traditional fritters – uštipci

Though I generally eat a healthy vegetarian diet that is not too heavy on bread and dough, when I travel I indulge in things like home made bread and particularly uštipci with kajmak (mmmm). And for me the general rule in Bosnia is the higher you climb the tastier the uštipci are.

Painted witch on a glass door
Mountain honey in Umoljani
Mountain honey made here in Bjelašnica

Organic mountain honey

Besides home made food you can buy some organic honey that was made here in the mountains. Generally, Bosnia and Herzegovina has excellent conditions for the production of high-quality honey due to its climate, vegetation and beekeeping tradition. There are around 3,700 different plant species here, more than 700 of which are medicinal and aromatic plants.

Woolen souvenirs in Gradina
Woolen socks with or without the traditional pattern made by the locals
Traditional attire of the highlands
Traditional attire of the highlands

Local products in Gradina

Just above Umoljani there is a summer shepherd village called Gradina where you can buy some home made products like apple cider vinegar, jams, organic apples and various medicinal plants picked around the area. Just like in Lukomir the locals make and sell products made of wool which make an excellent souvenir, as well as support for the locals living here.

Locals and hand made souvenirs
Local woman selling her hand made products
Locally picked medicinal plants
Locally picked medicinal plants

Do yourself a favor and spend a few nights in these highland villages

If you have the time I would certainly recommend to spend at least a few nights in this area. Breathe the fresh air, go on hikes and enjoy the breathtaking nature in the area, meet local people and their customs and enjoy their home made food. You will not regret it.

View of a traditional village in the Bosnian highlands
Natural, simple and healthy vacation

Google maps: Umoljani