Adventures in Herzegovinan spelunking (Vjetrenica Cave and Stanica Hotel in Ravno, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

We decided to check out Vjetrenica ("Wind Cave") in Herzegovina, and it was, well, windy.


Lately, it seems our family has done nothing but drive around Bosnia and Herzegovina, visiting tourist sites and eating at restaurants. Well, the trip we just came back from was for work, so we didn’t get a choice in the matter. Upon returning home, we found ourselves in an 85-degree (29 C) home with three screaming children, desperately wishing for school to hurry up and start. So naturally we looked for an opportunity to get everyone out again. Because if things are bad in the home… surely getting out will make them better.

As I had begun to grow quite impulsive from the constant presence of The Heat and The Screams, I decided that the 1-hour-and-45-minute drive to The Cave would be tollerable, and so we set out from our home in Mostar on Friday afternoon. The Cave was impressive, and it did provide a respite from The Heat, but we are still in search of a remedy for The Screams.

Tyler and me before the Great Cave Adventure.

Vjetrenica Cave

The castle at Stolac brought a brief bit of relief from The Screams, but they returned as we headed around the bend. In general, the scenery was quite beautiful, and the wonderful road, with it’s many curves and bumps and holes, requires one to drive so slow that even the driver can appreciate the view.

Even before entering, The Cave makes its presence felt via strong gusts of wind blowing out from its entrance — hence the name Vjetrenica (“Wind cave” or “Blowhole” in English). The air coming out is 11 degrees C (52 F), which means that everyone must wear pants and shoes, regardless of the temperature outside.

I will say that the air inside The Cave was a welcome relief from the air outside, which was well over 90 F (32 C). The temperature inside The Cave is constant, and the wind is created because of the great difference in temperature.

Inside Vjetrenica Cave.

 

A rock formation that we decided is “The Dinosaur” of Vjetrenica

At the end, I wished that I had been able to get more good photographs, but the darkness did not allow for it. It did allow, however, for The Screams to return and increase, as the enclosed space and hard rock created a terrific echo effect.

An Olm, or, as Bosnians call it, “Human Fish”.

The Cave was not disappointing. It is surprisingly well developed inside, and our guide was very good and informative. If you are looking for a one-time adventure, and don’t mind the drive (since Zavala is not really near any place where people seem to live), Vjetrenica Cave is worth the price. The short guy selling tickets at the cave’s entrance was less than helpful, but the tour guide was excellent.

A few details for those who might actually go:

  • Tours at Vjetrenica Cave are conducted at the top of each hour. 
  • The last tour is scheduled at 6:00pm every day. 
  • Tickets cost 15KM (7.50 EUR) for Adults and 8KM (4 EUR) for children over 4.
After the cave. Tyler quickly assumed his best Slavic pose.
The obligatory family picture.

Stanica Restaurant and Hotel in Ravno, Herzegovina

After The Cave, we stopped at Stanica restaurant and hotel, in Ravno. The actual village of Ravno is ironically located up on the hill behind the restaurant (“Ravno” means “flat” in Croatian/Bosnian/Serbian). This place opened last summer, and I would highly recommend it. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any photos of the place, so I included a couple of theirs from Booking.com.

Stanica restaurant/hotel in Ravno

“Stanica” means “station” in English, and this building was at one time a railway station, on the original rail line from Dubrovnik to Vienna. There is even a piece of the original railway under glass, in the sidewalk in front of the building.

Besides eating and sleeping, the big thing to do here is rent bikes, as the hotel is located on the new-ish Ćiro bike trail. The trail is mostly an old railway bed (hence the convenience to a place like Stanica). The food was absolutely, really, very good, and the outdoor seating area is very nice.

The outdoor dining area behind the Stanica restaurant/hotel.

After stanica, we hopped back in our car and decided to drive on the Ćiro trail most of the way back to Mostar, going by Hutovo Blato, Čapljina, and then home. It took a little longer, but we decided the longer we had the children stapped to seats in the car, the better.

So there you have it — another adventure. It was real, and it was fun, and provided us with a diversion as we draw ever closer to the beginning of another school year. The year that is makes us long for the year to come.

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