Bosnia and Herzegovina

What to See in Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina

(Last Updated On: 29/10/2022)

Jajce is one of the most interesting yet underrated places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a real gem of the Balkans. The picturesque location and numerous historical monuments should put Jajce on every Balkans itinerary yet the town isn’t widely visited by international tourists who, I believe, miss a lot. I’ve been twice to Jajce and I would gladly visit Jajce again and explore more of the town and surroundings.

If you plan a trip to Bosnia and are looking for destinations beyond Sarajevo or Mostar, check Jajce! You might be surprised what an interesting place this is.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

In this article, you will find all about visiting Jajce: what to see in Jajce, how to get there, and what to see nearby.

Where is Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jajce is a small town of a bit over 7 thousand inhabitants, located in the central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is around 160 km away from Jajce by road.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

Why visit Jajce

The town has a long and interesting history and you can see it in the numerous Jajce attractions. The area was inhabited already in ancient times but the peak of prosperity came in medieval times when Jajce was the capital of the independent Kingdom of Bosnia.

Besides numerous historical Jajce monuments, the town is also known for its natural spots. The Jajce waterfall is a picturesque highlight of the town but the Pliva lake just outside of the town is worth visiting too.

Due to its importance and both, historical and natural sights, Jajce is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.

Since Jajce is located on the way from Sarajevo to Banja Luka or Bihac, the town can be easily visited (with no detours necessary) and makes a perfect stop in your Bosnia itinerary. You can also stop here on the way from Zagreb to Sarajevo.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

How to get to Jajce

If you travel by car, Jajce is located right on one of the main roads in Bosnia and Herzegovina, M16.

If you use public transport, your options are a bit limited but still getting to Jajce isn’t impossible. There are direct buses to Jajce from Travnik, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Bihac or Mostar. It’s best to check connections directly at the bus station when you are in Bosnia and Herzegovina as online sources don’t usually show all the buses.

You can also visit Jajce on the tour, departing from Sarajevo. I think it’s a really smart option (especially when public transport is so limited) as you will also visit Travnik on the same day. Here are recommended, highly-rated tours:

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

How to get around Jajce

Jajce is a small town and you can easily walk everywhere and see all the attractions with no problems. If you plan to visit Pliva Lakes (which I definitely recommend), it’s best to take a taxi or rent a bike (some accommodations offer those). Otherwise, it’s a 5 km walk one way from the center of Jajce.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

Where to stay in Jajce

If you decide to stay overnight in Jajce, there are a few accommodation options to choose from. Here are the recommended ones:

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

What to see in Jajce

Even if Jajce is a relatively small place, the town is packed with exciting places to visit. There are pretty many Jajce attractions so you should plan at least one day in Jajce to see them all.

The highlight of the place is definitely Jajce waterfall. If you arrive in the town by bus, it is located literally around the corner from the bus station.

You might not see it at first but you will definitely hear the roar of water falling down some 23 meters where the Pliva and Vrbas rivers meet. The Jajce waterfall is often called “the Bosnian Niagara Falls” and well, it is a bit exaggerated but nevertheless the Pliva waterfall (as the place is officially called) surely is impressive.

For a small fee, you can get close to the waterfall and feel the true power and force of nature.

You can get a decent panorama of Jajce waterfall from the place just above the waterfall, on the way from the bus station to the old town but the absolutely best view (and one of the most Instagrammable spots in Jajce) is from across the Vrbas river.

To get there, you need to follow the main road a bit and then you will find the path inside the forest where eventually you will get to the small clearing with a spectacular view of the Jajce waterfall and town in the background. Just be careful as there is no walking path along the road and the traffic might get busy.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

Once you are done visiting Jajce waterfall you can continue further, into the old town. Since Jajce is one of the oldest places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you can expect many remnants of the golden old times.

As soon as you cross the Pliva river, you will see the old city walls right away, with one of the towers leading inside the old town on your right. The town was fairly damaged during the 20th-century wars (especially in the 1990s) and today the old town has a rather casual look, where old Ottoman houses are mixed with the modern-ish architecture from Yugoslavia times.

But still, wandering around cobbled streets (that often turn into stone steps) can give you a feel of the town and its long history.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

Within the walled town, there are a few places you surely shouldn’t miss.

Right in the middle of the Old Town, there are ruins of St. Mary’s Church with St. Luke’s belfry. The church, dating back to the 12th century, used to be one of the most important sacral places in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It is believed that the relics of St. Luke the Evangelist were kept here, this is also where the last king of the Kingdom of Bosnia, Stjepan Tomasevic, was crowned. After the area was under Ottoman rule, the church was turned into a mosque.

Today, only a very few remnants of the temple remained. Currently, it is not possible to enter inside the ruins but you can peek through the window.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

Not far from St. Mary’s Church, you will find the catacombs from the 15th century. Most likely it was the place of the final rest of the local magnate Hrvoj Vukčic Hrvatinic and his wife Jelena Nelipićeva. When you enter the undergrounds you can see two unfinished carvings showing the couple.

The catacombs aren’t very impressive, to be honest. The place is a bit run-down, modern graffiti covers most of the place and spoil the overall look.

There are two levels in the catacombs, in the lower one you will find the altar with carvings of the cross as well as symbols of the Sun and Moon – this is probably the most exciting part of the Jajce catacombs.

To enter the place you need to pay a small fee, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it or not (I didn’t mind going).

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

The biggest highlight of Jajce is the impressive fortress, built in the highest part of the old town, towering above the city. Apparently, the hill the fortress is built on has the shape of an egg, hence the name of the city “Jajce” (“jaje” means “egg” in the Bosnian language).

The fortress was most likely built in the 13th century and was the seat of the rulers of the Kingdom of Bosnia before the area went under Ottoman, then Hungarian, and then again Ottoman rule. The fortress is really impressive, with almost 5.000 square meters of area, but today there is not much to see inside.

The main reason to climb all the way up and pay a small fee to enter the fortress is to see a wonderful panorama of Jajce and surrounding mountains. You can see both, the older architecture of the town (like the Sinan-Bey Mosque from the 17th century, with the wooden minaret) and modern neighborhoods. And, like in most places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, cemeteries with characteristic white tombs.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

On the way down from the fortress you can walk on parts of the city walls that will lead you to Banja Luka gate and the main street of the Old Town, named after Hrvoj Vukčic Hrvatinic. That’s where you will find numerous shops, cafes, eateries, and Esma Sultana Mosque.

It was built in the 18th century and is rather unique since it’s named after a woman – Esma Sultana, the wife of the vizier of Bosnia at that time. It is believed that this is the only European mosque that has a woman’s name.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

If you would like to visit museums, you can find some interesting ones in Jajce. The two most recommended ones are Ethno Museum and AVNOJ Museum.

The first one, located in the former schoolhouse from the time of Austria-Hungary, focuses on the local history and shows a collection of artifacts from the region.

In 1943 the second session of the Antifascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia was held in Jajce and it eventually led to the creation Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. That’s what the AVNOJ Museum is about. It should be especially worth checking for those who are interested in the 20th-century history of Yugoslavia and Tito.

Another, less-known attraction of Jajce, is the Mithraeum. The Temple of Mithras, dedicated to the Persian invisible sun god, dates back to the 4th century BC and was rediscovered in 1931. It is located a bit outside of the Old Town but if you have the time it’s definitely worth stopping by.

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

My favorite place to visit in Jajce was Lakes Pliva and Mlinčići. The place is located some 5 km away from central Jajce but it’s definitely worth the detour. I liked it so much that during my recent trip to Bosnia I’ve been there twice, within a few days.

Mlinčići is a complex of old wooden watermills, some of them as old as the mid-16th century. There are 26 watermills there and they are so small they look like a movie set. It’s really impossible not to fall in love with the place.

You can wander around the watermills on wooden paths right above the water and peek inside some of the buildings to see the old devices inside. Apparently, two of the mills are still working now.

When I visited the place in mid-September there was no one around and the place seemed even more out of this world.

The Mlinčići are located between Large and Small Pliva Lakes, where the lake water is changing levels. Once you are there it’s worth wandering around the surroundings too as it’s such a lovely recreational area.

In the part of the lake closer to Jajce, you can also stop at the “Love Bridge” that has a wooden path above the lake which reminded me a lot of Plitvice Lakes or Krka National Park in Croatia

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina

jajce bosnia and herzegovina .

Where to go next

Once you are done visiting Jajce, you can continue your journey in three directions:

  • north, towards Banja Luka and the border with Croatia; on the way you should stop at the viewpoint over the horseshoe bend of the Vrbas river and at the Krupa Waterfalls, the road itself is pretty scenic too
  • west, towards Bihac, Una National Park and Croatia
  • south, to Sarajevo or Mostar, with the stop in Travnik

bosnia and herzegovina

bosnia and herzegovina

bosnia and herzegovina

bosnia and herzegovina

things to do in Mostar

Sarajevo pictures

Travel Resources

Revolut bank card is the best way to save money when traveling. It’s a pre-paid service that offers very good exchange rates and no fees for ATM’s use. Click here to learn more and order your Revolut card.

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Bosnia and Herzegovina here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.


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