Medjugorje, a town located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the first truly religious site on my mom and I’s travels this year. Having decided to explore three sites of religious significance, Medjugorje appealed to us because of its history as a site of holy pilgrimage and the belief that the mother of god was sighted here atop a hill.
Yet the religious significance of the site wasn’t all that appealed to us. Located in a very scenic area with beautiful hills surrounding it (two of which are important for its religious significance), it is a traveling destination for those looking to escape from the pressures of everyday life in its own right.
We’re here to tell you what is important about the place, why you should come here, and what you can see.
Medjugorje is a religious place. Since it was first mentioned in 1599 as a Catholic Congregation, the place has been thought of as a place of pilgrimage and respite.
It is seen as such a holy pilgrimage site due to the belief that the mother of god appeared here. This hasn’t been accepted by the church yet, but it is thought that it will be soon. Despite its unofficial status, millions travel here every year in hopes of paying their respects and being healed.
How to Get There
The best way to get here is by taking a bus from Split. You should buy the bus tickets from the bus stop and not online (they’re actually cheaper, surprisingly). You should also note that you’ll have to pay 1 euro for each item of baggage which you’ll want to store on the bus. The journey should last around 3 hours, however, when we went, the trip ended up taking over four and a half due to a huge traffic jam on the way in.
As a sneaky trick, you can try giving the bus driver a large note to pay for the luggage storage and he’ll end up letting you store your suitcase for free. When we were there he wasn’t able to break the large note which we gave him and he ended up just letting us skip the luggage fee.
What to See
Whilst the majority of the area’s sights of interest are religious in nature, that shouldn’t stop any normal traveller for at least making a short stop here. There are also some fantastic and beautiful sights and buildings around the town. It’s the perfect place for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Saint James Church
Saint James Church is one of the iconic structures in Medjugorje. It’s a beautiful building with two clock towers and some interesting artwork. It’s much more modern looking than you might otherwise have thought, but it still has a relaxing feeling to it. Moreover, the hotel which we stayed in (Hotel Grace), was just a quick walk over the road.
Every day we attended the Saint James Church. I didn’t pray quite as much as my mom, but I still managed to seek confession and attend mass. It was an incredible experience for me and one which I’m glad that I experienced.
The church was a great place to reflect on my life and how things have been recently.
Climb to the top of Krizevac Hill to see a statue of a cross. This is one of the area’s most significant pilgrimage sites.
Of course, for those looking to take it easy, it may take a while to make it to the top of the hill. Whilst the climb isn’t too bad, it’s the highest hill in the area. Once you make it to the top though, the views will let you know that it was worth the effort.
The cross actually was made by the townspeople in order to help pray for a series of storms which befell the area, to stop. Despite a long period of toil and hardship, trying to complete the cross despite the adverse weather conditions, the townspeople finally made it and the storms stopped.
Whilst it may not be quite as high as Krizevac Hill, this is the site where the mother of god is believed to have appeared all that time ago. It is now the most important pilgrimage site in the area. Also known as Podbrdo by the locals, this is usually the reason why people visit Medjugorje.
If you’re looking for a place to just tuck away for a while and relax, then we definitely have to recommend Restaurant Viktor.
Normally I’m not a big fan of cow milk coffee, but something here was a little different. It wasn’t the same as what I’m used to drinking at all. I have a sneaky feeling that it’s because they used chocolate milk (and I do have a bit of a sweet tooth!).
On top of the coffee, the staff here were really nice and the Wi-Fi was pretty fast! Whilst we recommend staying at the hotel Grace, the coffee here was the best in Medjugorje. Definitely recommended.
A Peaceful Place with a Youthful Twist
Whilst the area is normally quiet and peaceful, every year, a Youth festival takes place between the 1st and 6th of August. Young people gather in the area to pay their own respects and celebrate their faith. The town comes alive. Music is played, dances are made, and people rejoice. If you’re interested in spending a bit of time in this beautiful town and having a lot of fun, make sure to visit next year during the festival (Unfortunately it’s over for this year).
Overall the town was really nice and a great escape for both my mom and I. The town itself had a lot of small shops, restaurants, and cafes (we recommend Restaurant Vicktor). The people here were really nice and welcoming, and the place we stayed, Hotel Grace, was fantastic.