Babin Dol Bjelašnica

Bjelašnica Olympic Mountain near Sarajevo

Bjelašnica is a mountain located in the central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina 25 km southwest of the city of Sarajevo, and belongs to the Dinaric mountain system. Bjelašnica Mountain offers the tourists diversity and richness of nature at an altitude of almost 2,000 meters. Mount Bjelašnica, with its challenging downhill and forest runs, as well as its friendly atmosphere is a must for skilled skiers and snowboarders. This mountain is becoming more popular among tourists from the region as a winter tourist destination. Today there are several hotels and a large capacity of the holiday accommodation.

When asked about the explanation of the name Bjelašnica, residents explained that it is named Bjelašnica because it is covered with snow from November to May, and sometimes in the summer months. The Olympic beauty of Bjelašnica these days is the right place for a vacation and a complete escape from the city crowds and everyday life.

Small hills overgrown with summer plants, a game of floral paint and clean air are enough reasons to tour this mountain. Especially during the summer, nature lovers have the chance to experience the charm of this Olympic mountain.

During Spring/Summer/Autumn, you can drive a bike, hike or paraglide, and it has a truly magnificent view from the top. During the winter period, you can enjoy the ski slopes or, if you are adventurous, then there is plenty of forest all over the mountain where you can free ride. The other side of the mountain, without trees, also offers real skiing adventure in powder.

Mountain

The plateau bounded by mountains Bjelašnica from the north, from the east Treskavica, Visočica in the south and mountains to the west Obalj, call Bjelašnica plateau. Rakitnica River separates the mountains Bjelašnica and Visočica and takes other streams such as Tušiočki stream into the Neretva. Bjelašnica affords its visitors glorious views of the neighbouring mountains of Visočica, Treskavica, Prenj and others.

The beauty of the mountain is enhanced by the variability of its climate. It is the result of the geographic position of Bjelašnica in the Dinaric mountains, the geological composition and height above sea level. The highest part of the Dinaric chain towards the Adriatic, with a length of 300 m, is the border between the influence of two climates – Mediterranean and continental one. Bjelašnica is thus the point of contact of air masses from the sea and the mountains. Such a contact results in rain and snow during fall and large quantities of snow during winter, which stay for a long time even during spring. Such climate peculiarities are a good basis for the development of winter sports.

A weather station was built in the highest part, at 2067 m above sea level in 1894, which is also the highest permanently inhabited point in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The peak was thus named Observatory, and the name of the mountain stems from the whiteness of stone and snow that may be found on the peaks even until August.

Winters are extraordinarily harsh and long, so that spring may be felt only in mid May, and short summers may be followed by waves of cold air. The average annual temperature amounts to only 0.7°C due to extremely low winter temperatures. The highest temperature is 24°C, and the lowest -41°C. During summer, the mountain is covered by thick green grass, and during winter by high snow that may reach up to 4 m. Strong winds and thunders are typical of this magnificent Bosnian mountain beauty.

Bjelašnica is known for its multitude of authentic mountain villages with a specific architectural style. Lately, Bjelasnica villages recorded increase in both domestic and foreign tourists who enjoy the scenery and the local cuisine. When speaking about accommodation, there is an increasing offer of private accommodation. This region was inhabited since ancient times, numerous localities of ancient civilizations such as remain from the Roman period, and the medieval Bosnian state can be seen.

Olympic games

During the 1984 Winter Olympics, Bjelašnica hosted the men’s alpine skiing events, where brash Bill Johnson (USA) won the downhill after boldly predicting victory, overtaking Swiss ski legend Peter Müller who took silver. The American twins Phil and Steve Mahre took gold and silver in the slalom at Bjelašnica for the US as well. Switzerland’s Max Julen surprisingly took the gold in the Giant Slalom, while the silver went to the Yugoslav favorite Jure Franko. Major investment was done by the Yugoslav authorities in order to accommodate the Winter Olympics. The Babin Dol area was developed for the necessary construction and a long main ski lift was built from Babin Dol up to the summit of the Bjelašnica summit. In preparation of the Games, a road was constructed across the Igman plateau connecting Sarajevo through Hadžići to the Malo Polje, Veliko Polje and Babin Dol venues. The Babin Dol area has several structures dating from that time, including the renowned Maršal (then: Famos) Hotel and most of the skiing facilities in the area.

Due to the harsh terrain Bjelasnica is popular among fans of extreme skiing. The slopes on Bjelašnica are steeper than on Igman and Jahorina and people, in general, ski/board at a skillful level.

Next to the original 3100 meter Olympic Downhill run and the Giant Slalom run there are four more pistes varying in length between 3200 and 550 meters and covering all difficulty levels between blue-red-black.

The best part of Bjelašnica for me was definitely the night skiing. Bjelašnica is equipped with spotlights for night skiing recreations. The trail is approximately 850 meters in length.

Price

Ropeway and ski lifts

  • Single ticket – 2.5 €
  • Daily ticket (9:00 – 16:00) – 15 €
  • Daily ticket Saturday and Sunday (9:00 – 16:00) – 17 €
  • 2 hours ticket – 8 €
  • Children’s daily ticket – 10 €
  • Children’s daily ticket Saturday and Sunday – 12 €
  • Two-day ticket – 30 €
  • Three-day ticket – 45 €
  • 7 day ticket – 90 €
  • Season tickets – 350 €
  • Family season tickets (children up to 12 years) – 170 €
  • Night skiing (18:30 to 21:00) – 10 €

Getting there

Bjelašnica is approximately 45 minutes from Sarajevo by car/taxi. Bus links are available from Vijećnica during winter holidays (whole of January), and on weekends, and a smaller bus operates every day, twice, to the village of Šabići.

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