Perfect for adventurers, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country with a delightful fusion of East and West in the heart of the Balkans. The country is most captivating for its East-meets-West surroundings, which has been blended with Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian pasts. With an abundance of medieval ruins, unique towns and cities, stunning mountains, waterfalls and rivers, Bosnia and Herzegovina has plenty of major draw cards for all travelers. This brief Bosnia And Herzegovina Travel Guide will give you some brief insight to the country and ideas on what to see and do.
When to Visit
Summers throughout the whole country are hot and dry. Bosnia enjoys cool evenings in the mountainous regions whereas Herzegovina has an arid Mediterranean climate that makes summer sunny and hot. The high season for touring Bosnia-Herzegovina is the summer season (July–August). However, the prices of accommodation and food double. For hiking, the best time to go to Bosnia-Herzegovina is May, June or September, as it is less hot.
Given that much of its transport infrastructure – particularly the rail network – was damaged during the war, Bosnia-Herzegovina isn’t the easiest country to get around. However, things are improving. The train services available have limited routes and are often out of service. However, between cities, they cost 1-2EUR than the bus services. The bus service is more frequent compared to the train service. Decent bus services are almost everywhere to take you where you wish to go to. The average cost of buses and streetcars is 1-2EUR
How to Reach Bosnia And Herzegovina
Given the past war, most of the rail lines of Bonia and Herzegovina as such, accessing the country by train is fairly difficult. There are currently no trains from Belgrade or Budapest into Bosnia. However, there is a daily train service from Zagreb in Croatia, which runs through Sarajevo and Mostar en route to Ploče. Currently, there are no direct flights from the UK to Bosnia Airport in Sarajevo, but a number of budget carriers fly to Zagreb, Zadar and Dubrovnik, from where you can get an onward bus. Bus connections are more numerous and points of origin include Belgrade, Split and Dubrovnik.
This vibrant capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a city that embraces life. Its historic center blends East and West. Tourists can feel they’re in Vienna one minute and Istanbul the next.
Known for its tree-lined avenues, gardens, parks, and boulevards, Banja Luka has a rich culture and is an important tourist center. Several museums like the Museum of Bosanska Krajina, the Museum of Modern Art of Republika Srpska, and others are located in Banja Luka.
This city is one of the country’s most multicultural cities and thus has a rich and eclectic culture. Europe’s only salt lake is located in the city and is visited by nearly 100,000 people per year.
This is the fifth-largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and spans both sides of the Neretva River. Mostar is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most spectacular cities, with prime Ottoman-era architecture and its famous Stari Most (Old Bridge).
One of the real gems of the Republika Srpska side of Bosnia Herzegovina, Trebinje reflects beautifully against the waters of the winding Trebisnjica River as it cuts through the heart of the city’s historic centre. There’s also the pretty arched bridge of Arslanagic to see on the edge of town, along with a gorgeous Serbian Orthodox cathedral on the ridges above.
Considered to be one of the most beautiful places to see, Stolac is filled with amazing must-see sights such as Roman Diluntum , he haunting tombstones of the Radimlja necropolis
Do bring cash and some coins. Bosnia is a cash-based society. ATMs are available where you can expect to pay up to 7% in fees, conversions, and commissions. Not all places accept credit card. Ensure you bring cash.
Do bring a map and follow marked signs. While on most of the tours especially the National Parks in Bosnia & Herzegovina, be aware of your surroundings as it is easy to get engrossed in the views and natural surroundings
Do take a stroll in Mosta. As the fifth-largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this city has an interesting history as well as a striking layout.
Do go on a spiritual journey in Medjugorje. Medjugorje is the city in Bosnia and Herzegovina for relaxation, religious reflection, and cultural sightseeing. Visit the Apparition Hill where Mary was reported to have been seen and St. James Church in Medjugorje for a moving service in a beautiful setting.
Don’t rely on people accepting foreign currency. Tourists are allowed to pay in USD or Euros but at an unfavorable exchange rate. As such, do convert your money to the official Bosnian currency EUR. If you do need to change more, several exchange offices are along Ferhadija Street.
Don’t stray from roads and paved areas. Free Walking Tours are available in Sarajevo and Mostar. Always go on tours with local guides. They will take you around these areas while explaining the main sights in a historical and cultural context.
Don’t expect great road conditions and great speeds while driving. Owing to the mountainous terrain and the poor infrastructure maintenance, patches of labored driving are bound to be there.
Don’t forget your camera when you visit the Sutjeska National Park. One of the oldest parks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a perfect tourist attraction, this park will introduce you to nature and draw you closer to its warmth.
Don’t be afraid of Bosnia’s past. Once a country in war there are still signs of the war all around the country. However, there is really nothing to fear these days. In fact the people are really friendly and lovely.
Price Range for Hotels
The different cities have different prices for their accommodation and cost of meals. However, on an average you can get a dorm bed in a hostel for less than 18EUR a night. The price of budget accommodation ranges from 13 to 28EUR. Apartments and budget hotel rooms with a private bathroom cost slightly higher with prices closer to the 26EUR mark. 3-star hotel room with A/C and double bed costs 18-40EUR while most top hotels in town are under 100EUR
Cost of Meals
Food and drink in Bosnia aren’t expensive and eating out can cost as little as 3-4EUR.
Plates of cevapi and Bosnian coffee typically cost 13EUR in Sarajevo’s Bascarsija and Mostar’s Kujundziluk. Main dish in a restaurant with a bottle of wine cost 6EUR. If you are on a tighter budget and have the option to cook, you can buy frozen cevapi from the supermarket at half the price and get fresh produce at one of Bosnia’s markets. Most bakeries sell cheese, spinach and meat bureks for around 2EUR. A single burek is like eating a meal.
Top Places to Visit
Take a walk in the Blidinje Nature Park
This park’s has a wide plateau that connects the Cvrsnica and Vran peaks in the south-western edge of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It remains one of the nation’s less-trodden and off-the-beaten-track natural gems.
Experience the Lukomir Mountain
The rocky mountains of Bosnia are fantastic but nothing compared to this. Not just for hiking and climbing, this mountain allows you to go paragliding and mountain biking.
Explore the Mostar old town
Wander through all the cobblestone streets, down narrow alleyways and past busy bazars full of locals selling their wares. See the beautiful Stari Most in the centre of Mostar
Visit the Vjetrenica cave
As the biggest and most important cave in Bosnia Herzegovina, Vjetrenica cave is over 6km long, has an average year-round temperature of 11’C. It is known as the “blow hole” cave with its main inhabitants being the human fish otherwise known as salamanders
Swim in Kravica (Kravice) Falls
This is a true photogenic wonder of Bosnia’s backcountry that cascades in countless streams over the verdant ridges south of Mostar. You can also take a swim so don’t forget your swim suit and towel! Not a big water person? There is a cafe located by the falls where you can have a coffee and just enjoy the beautiful waterfall.
Tour the Tunnel of
This is a tunnel that ran straight through the city of Sarajevo, underneath the city’s main airport and runways, connecting east and west. It was the only lifeline between the fully surrounded city during the Siege of Sarajevo.
Hike or Bike Hum Mountain
Situated just outside Mostar, Hum Mountain is most famous for the unmissable 33 meter high cross that is perched on top the highest point. Hike or bike up this incredible mountain and enjoy one of the most spectacular panoramic views in Bosnia.
Step back in time and visit the Ottoman-era fortress village of Počitelj which includes a beautiful Mosque that dates back to the 1500s. It’s a smaller village so it makes a perfect stop on your way to or from Mostar.