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Hutovo Blato is one of the largest bird wintering grounds in Europe. This big sub-Mediterranean marsh occupies an area of 7411 ha and the birding is excellent.
Hutovo Blato Nature Reserve is located in southeastern Herzegovina, on the left side of the Neretva River. The area is about fifteen kilometers away from the Adriatic Sea, so it is greatly influenced by the Mediterranean climate. Pouring into the valleys and depressions of karst sinkholes and surface water from the surrounding areas create a greater number of lakes. The Krupa River is the main watercourse of Hutova blato and takes the waters of Upper Mud and Svitavsko Lake to the Neretva River.
Hutovo Blato is located on the migratory path of birds from North and Central Europe to Asia and Africa. Birds find plenty of food, quiet and peace for rest. The largest number of bird species is registered during the autumn and spring migration, and also a large number of bird species dwell on wintering and nesting. According to the latest research 240 species of birds from 39 families were recorded. In the winter period, birds can stay up to tens of thousands. Among the birds you can see here are Pygmy Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Ferruginous Duck, Garganey, Eagle Owl, Common Crane, Red-backed Shrike, White Stork, Whiskered Tern and Black-headed Bunting. And many more, see the birdlist below.
The easiest way to reach Hutovo blato from Sarajevo or Mostar is to take a train or a bus to the town of Čapljina where you will than have to take a taxi to the Nature Park. If traveling to Čapljina with a car, don’t worry about missing it as Hutovo blato is marked with clear signs on the M-17 road. Organized tours are both available from Mostar and from Sarajevo. Entrance fee to Hutovo Blato Nature Park is about 1 euro per person. This fee has to be paid by all visitors and it includes parking space and walking some trails. You can book a guided tour or boat safari to explore the area. The park has 4 large boats (for up to 25 people), 3 small boats (for up to 4 people), bicycles and canoes for rent and guided tours in English language. The shortest, around 45 minutes long, photo safari tour by boat costs around 30 euros, but longer and more demanding tours are usually more expensive and can go from 60 to 100 euros per ride. See the website below for info on tours and prices.