As soon as I got to Jajce, before I even entered the town, I tried to find the best spots to shoot the Pliva Waterfall that flows below it. There are official, easy “tourist” viewing spots right off the main road a brief walk down from the old town of Jajce, with ample parking for tourists just passing through,
but the best viewing/photography spot, really, is across the Vrbas River from Jajce, in a little clearing in the woods.
(Tip for photographers: You can get to this clearing from the E661/M16 highway – heading toward Banja Luka – directly across the river from Jajce. There’s a wide shoulder on the side of the road there where you can safely park a car for a short time. Although you can see the town of Jajce from the road, you can’t see the waterfall. But there’s an obvious, short trail down into the woods to get to that clearing, which has a great view of the waterfall above the town. The optimal time to shoot pictures from here is probably late morning (at least in May) when the sun would be lighting most of the waterfall without a shadow. I took pictures from here three different times – even at dusk – but didn’t want to wait around the following morning until the shadow on the waterfalls had disappeared.)
After photographing the Pliva Waterfall from every location I could find, I finally drove into the Jajce old town, which is tiny. I had no hotel booked, but I figured I would stay the only real hotel in the center of town, the Hotel Stari Grad. Indeed, Jajce was quiet on this Sunday, and I got a room easily at a good price.
Then I hiked up to the Jajce fortress above town. As in Travnik, there isn’t much to see besides a wrecked castle, but the views down are fantastic.
Next I drove out to the Pliva Lakes to find the Pliva Watermills a few kilometers from town (following the road toward Bihać). These watermills are hundreds of years old and were once used to grind grain, using the power of the water. The watermills are located between the two Pliva Lakes in a nice park recreation area. The lake looks to offer boating and other recreational activities. I saw a group of Muslim guys having a picnic or something near the watermills, and some of them were walking around in front of me as I tried to photograph the watermills without people in my shots.
Jajce is a small town and not touristy at all at least in regards to western tourism. But it’s a famous town to Bosnians and considered a gem. (It’s also the place where Tito declared the nation of Yugoslavia in 1943.) Jajce doesn’t exude a “stay awhile” vibe – it doesn’t have a vibrant town square or anything (it seems too small to have a town square), but it is a cute town surrounded by beautiful countryside, and that waterfall below it makes it feel almost unreal.
The Hotel Stari Grad was comfortable but nothing special – but the location is perfect and you don’t have many other choices (perhaps some private lodgings). The shower didn’t work right, leaking water everywhere. I noted this to the hotel manager at checkout, and he kind of shrugged – as if all the rooms had some kind of problem like that. (I think he understood my English.) It’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, not a wealthy country; some Bosnians who stay there might find the place luxurious. The hotel has a restaurant at the bottom floor (which is also where you check in and enter) that serves breakfast as part of the room rate. I asked for scrambled eggs for breakfast, and the manager, not speaking a lot of English and trying to convey that to the cook, didn’t know what I meant. OK, how about “sunnyside up?” He thought for a second, then replied, “Eyes?” Yes, eyes – sure, whatever, just bring me some cooked eggs. It didn’t make much difference.
[bookingcomad1 aid=”1302186″ destid=”-83237″]