Day 36: Pliva Lakes, Bosnia Hercegovina

by - September 27, 2011

Pliva Lakes, near Jajce
The town of Jajce only really had enough sites to keep us entertained for one day, but the good value and comfort of the hostel we were staying in convinced us to stay on for another day.  To the north of the town are two connected lakes, called the Pliva Lakes, that are supposedly some of the cleanest in Europe.  According to the Pliva Lakes website, the stillness of the water is because the lakes are filled with ‘heavy water’, where each molecule of water contains an extra hydrogen atom.  This seemed to be a bit of an odd claim as from what I vaguely remember hearing about heavy water, it is extremely rare, but we thought we would check it out anyway.

Pliva Watermills, near Jajce
The Pliva lakes are a part of the Pliva river, which is the river that flows off the waterfall at Jajce, so we walked alongside it from the town centre to the lakes themselves, along the edge of a main road with no footpath.  It didn’t take us long to get to the lakes, but a lack of signposts meant that we struggled to actually get down from the main road to the waterfront.  Lonely Planet recommended having lunch at the “Restoran Panorama” but unfortunately when we arrived we found that it was empty, so we carried on north in search of somewhere to get some much needed food.  The lakes are very pretty, but in a pleasant rather than a dramatic way - it was a long way from Lake Ohrid for example.  After grabbing a bite to each at a campsite restaurant we found the (totally un-signposted) watermills that are a popular tourist site in the region - a tour party was there which had come all the way from the Czech Republic.  The tiny watermills are picturesquely placed amongst a section of rapids which divides the two parts of the river and, having become disused, are beginning to merge into the foliage and rushing waters around them.  As with the lake itself, the watermills were pleasant to explore for half an hour or so, but probably wouldn’t be worth visiting unless you had a spare day in Jajce.

The walk back was a lot more pleasant as we found a way along quiet backroads rather than the main highway.  We went back to the Temple of Mithras on the outside chance that it would be opened but unfortunately it remained closed - maybe when we come back the town will have got its UNESCO status and there will be a few more tourists around to have the sites open for.  In the evening we cooked our last meal in Jajce and reflected that the town was probably the most unique and unspoiled place that we had been on the entire trip and that we would probably try to come back to see the waterfall in full flow.

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