CIRO Trail: Mostar – Dubrovnik

by Toni Zorić


The historic narrow gauge railway with a steam locomotive runs from Mostar along the Neretva River, through Čapljina, Popovo polje, Ravno, and near Ivanica, crossing the border with Croatia all the way to Dubrovnik. The construction of the railway began in 1898 and ended in 1901. During its existence, Ćiro connected places in Herzegovina and brought them life, and today the railway has been reconstructed into a bicycle path.

The Austro-Hungarian monarchy, which ruled the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, built a network of narrow gauge railways (0.76 m wide). It built railways primarily as strategic military facilities and they connected the southern Adriatic ports with hinterland cities and Central Europe. The railways in Herzegovina were built as part of the Southern Railway, and the first section of the railway from Metković to Mostar, 42.4 km long , was released on the market on June 13, 1885. while the railway from Gabela to Zelenika in the Bay of Kotor (Montenegro), 155.5 km long, with branches from Hum to Trebinje (16.7 km) and Uskoplje to Gruž in Dubrovnik in the Republic of Croatia (16.5 km) , put into operation in 1901. The narrow gauge railway served the people, connecting countries, regions, peoples and cultures. To the peoples of these areas, they were railways of salvation, enabled them a better life and overall progress, and left a trace of civilization in the places through which Ciro drove, roared, beat, whistled and let off steam for decades. trains pulled by soot steamers were called gemišteri (mixed trains), šnelcug (high-speed trains) and personal (passenger trains). The nickname Ćiro was imposed just before the abolition of narrow-gauge railways, but it remains recognizable to the people even today.

The narrow gauge railway or the Gabela – Zelenika narrow gauge railway was abolished in 1976. During its existence, the narrow-gauge railway changed five state arrangements.


Cycling starts in Mostar, where a visit to the Old Bridge is unavoidable, where you can drink Bosnian coffee or even have breakfast with a beautiful view of the Old Bridge.

After visiting the Old Town of Mostar, we cycle towards Blagaj, where we actually descend from the original Ćira route, but Blagaj is a beautiful destination to visit and therefore we have included it in our section. After visiting Blagaj, we cycle along beautiful sections through local villages along the river Buna all the way to the place where the Buna flows into the Neretva, when we return to Ćira’s railway. Here we continue to cycle along the right bank of the Neretva River through local villages where traffic is almost non-existent all the way to Čapljina where we have a separation on the left over the bridge to visit Hutovo blato and Počitelj, two beautiful destinations that we definitely recommend and consider a must visit.
Please note, these two destinations are not listed in the GPX route offered below in this article and we encourage you to contact us via email for directions.


After visiting Hutovo blato and Počitelj, we return to Čapljina on the original Ćira trail and drive further towards Dračevo, but on the way out of Čapljina we recommend that you stop in Mogorjelo (Roman VIlla Rustica) and visit this historical destination. From the village of Dracevo we have two options, one is to continue on the asphalt section (if you travel with a road bike), and the other is to turn right and descend to the macadam, which is the original Cirina route (recommended if traveling with a Gravel or MTB bike). The first road section has an ascent that is not too difficult, and again in the village of Hutovo you join the Ćira railway. The second macadam section is one of the most beautiful sections and will surely leave you breathless while cycling along it with a view of the beautiful Svitavsko Lake that stretches to the left. Also, this section includes crossing the Aiffel Bridge, as well as passing through 10 tunnels that are unlit, so we recommend that you bring a flashlight with you. Also, on this macadam section, which is 18 km long, we do not have sources of drinking water, so we recommend that you buy enough water in the local store located in the village of Dračevo, and before entering the macadam.

After the macadam section, we enter the village of Hutovo, from where there is asphalt all the way to Dubrovnik, except for a short macadam part in Ravno, where we again have two asphalt / macadam options to choose from. The section from Hutovo selo to ravno takes us through local villages, most of which are abandoned today, and the rest of the population that lives there is engaged in cattle breeding and agriculture. Arriving in Ravno, we recommend a tour of the Motel Stanica, where it used to be the station of Ćirina pruga, and today it has been renovated into a Motel and a restaurant. Here you can refresh yourself and have a coffee. After coffee we continue towards Zavala where you can visit the Zavala Monastery, Vjetrenica Cave or have lunch at the Zavala Inn, which is another Ćira station that has been renovated into a private motel / restaurant.

From Zavala we continue along the asphalt section and local villages that are mostly abandoned, cycling with a beautiful view of Popovo field all the way to the village of Hum where was the largest Ćira station. At this place we have a separation to the left towards the City of Trebinje and to the right towards Dubrovnik. Although our GPX record takes us further towards Dubrovnik, we definitely recommend a tour of Trebinje, a beautiful tourist town known for its local cuisine and wine cellars. If you decide to tour Trebinje, we recommend that you contact us for directions.


From Hum to Dubrovnik we drive along a path that does not include local villages and is quite deserted all the way to Ivanica, where the border with the Republic of Croatia is located. After crossing the border, there is a descent to Dubrovnik, a destination that is again special and that deserves to take a day / two to spend the night to visit this beautiful tourist / historical city. We end our journey in Dubrovnik. If you have a lot of 157km to cycle in one day, on our site you can find BikeFriendly facilities where you can spend the night or have lunch.




Although the trail mostly takes us through populated areas, on the section from Dračevo to Hutova selo you drive through an uninhabited area without drinking water, so we recommend that you supply a larger amount of water in a local store in Dračevo. This is especially important on summer days. On the macadam section, there is a sharp stone and the possibility of thorns in some parts, so it is necessary to bring a mini tool and a tool for patching inner tires. Due to the length of the tour, it is recommended to inform family or friends about cycling plans before going for a ride.
Helmet mandatory!





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