No visa needed
We passed this area of Bosnia and Herzegovina for a bit on our way to Dubrovnik. It's the only seaside town. This area has a special agreement so no visa is needed to go through. We stopped here to get something to drink and use the toilet for an hour or so. You can use both Croatian Kuna and Euros to buy stuff here.
I always wondered why when the Croats and Bosnians had spent much of the war knocking the crap out of each other , the Croats allowed the Dalmatian coast to be bisected by Neum ( Bosnian territory ). This was answered by the way that when the bus stopped in Neum , we gained several computers and vatious other taped up boxes which sneakily avoided Croatian V.A.T but no passengers before scooting back into Croatia.
The Bosnian Ocean
"Sold to the Turks in 1699"
If you are looking for magnificent sandy beaches and breathtaking nature then please take a flight to Turkey or the Canary Islands. You will not find it here. Apart from the lack of sand, the sea is wonderful, always calm in a small bay and some of the cleanest water you can find in the Adriatic. It is also less expensive and not as overcrowded as surrounding Croatia, so this is a great base to discover the islands and the hinterland.
Balkan maps are full of surprises. After the Great Turkish War, Dubrovnik gave control of Neum and its 20 km coastline to the Ottoman Empire, thus granting them access to the Adriatic. At the same time it gave Dubrovnik protection from the expanding Venetian Republic in the north.
In the 70s this area was in the news regarding the involvement of Sarajevo politicians in some questionable holiday home building activities, and if you ask me, it looks like they are still at it.
"What is missing on this picture?"
No beach. For me it is perfectly ok to jump right off the hotel terrace and swim but if you need the postcard unspoilt nature setting for a couple of hours, then go to Croatia's Peljesac Peninsula right across the bay and check out the Zuljana beaches (the nicest ones are at the campground in the back). Remember to return to Bosnia for dinner in order to support the local economy.
"A moment of Yugonostalgia"
Hotel Zenit was built by the steel works of the central Bosnian town Zenica in the 80s for employee holidays. You can still see the old factory logo ZZ (Zeljezera Zenica) at the main entrance. It still looks a lot better than most hotels I have seen that were built for the Central European middle class in Mallorca or Turkey. According to my wife, who spent her first hotel holiday here as a teenager, it was a true socialist holiday paradise.
You will find more relicts of worker welfare along the path at the coast leading south from the hotel and past the other big Hotel Sunce, with a recreation area e.g. for the "Forest Workers of Mostar". This is the nicest walk in this municipality, because most other beach front is private property.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is an interior country. to allow an access to the sea, Croatia has been cut with a narrow stripe of land, about 20km wide. I was expecting a large concentration of industrial and naval buildings but couldn't find them. Even the touristy structures are discreet. Neum, where we just stopped, seems to be the largest town in the coast, with touristy facilities, and a reasonable commerce.
Neum is probably the only beach in Bosnia. And you still have to cross the boarder from Bosnia to Croatia, and then from Croatia to Bosnia to get there. I find it very odd but I still had a good time there, so it's ok :)