Bosnia’s new cycle trail is a big ‘open-air museum’

The Ciro trail, from Dubrovnik to Mostar in southern Bosnia, is encouraging tourists back to the empty green landscape that was largely abandoned during the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia

It had become routine, after a hard day’s cycling, to check our Bosnian wild camping spot for landmines. So I carefully tapped the area with a six-foot branch, as I’d been taught on a security course, to make sure the stubby grass was safe. Then I gave the all-clear to my companion, who bounded over – and straight into the path of an enormous black snake.

But we were used to surprises on the Ciro trail. The new 100-mile paved track, between Dubrovnik on the Croatian coast and the old town of Mostar in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, follows the route of the old Austro-Hungarian railway line. Closed in the 1970s after the abolition of the narrow-gauge railway, its proud station buildings stood empty until they – and the towns they linked – were obliterated by war in the 1990s.

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