Nestled at the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, Bosnia and Herzegovina emerges as an enchanting tapestry woven with a rich historical legacy and breathtaking natural beauty. This land, often overlooked by travelers in favor of its more frequented European counterparts, conceals within its borders a treasure trove of cultural diversity, picturesque landscapes, and a resilient spirit forged through centuries of triumphs and tribulations. From the cobbled streets of Sarajevo, where echoes of empires past resonate against a backdrop of vibrant markets, to the azure waters of the Adriatic coast, where ancient towns whisper tales of maritime trade, this Balkan gem is a destination that transcends time. Here, travelers have the privilege of exploring Ottoman architecture harmoniously juxtaposed with Austro-Hungarian influences, while also immersing themselves in the lush wilderness of national parks and serene countryside. Hope you will enjoy our Bosnia and Hercegovina Bucket List!
Join us on a journey through the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where every cobblestone has a story to tell, and every mountain range beckons with its untamed beauty. In this travelogue, we will unveil the hidden gems, share cultural insights, and guide you through a land that promises to captivate your senses and leave an indelible mark on your wanderlust-stricken soul. So, pack your curiosity, open your heart to new experiences, and let’s embark on an adventure that promises to be nothing short of extraordinary.
History of Bosnia and Hercegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s history is a tapestry woven with diverse cultural influences and a resilient spirit forged through centuries of change. In antiquity, this region was inhabited by various Illyrian tribes, leaving behind traces of their rich heritage in the form of archaeological sites and artifacts. However, it was during the Roman period that Bosnia and Herzegovina first emerged as a defined territorial entity. The Romans established thriving urban centers, roads, and infrastructure, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape.
The medieval period witnessed a dynamic interplay of empires and cultures. From the arrival of the Slavic tribes in the 7th century to the influence of the Byzantine Empire, this region became a melting pot of traditions. In the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire conquered Bosnia, heralding an era of profound transformation. Over the ensuing centuries, the Ottomans left an enduring legacy, shaping the architecture, cuisine, and cultural fabric of the land. This influence is palpable in the minarets that punctuate city skylines and the rich tapestries of Bosnian cuisine.
Bosnia and Hercegovina in Modern Times
The Austro-Hungarian Empire’s annexation in the late 19th century introduced yet another layer of cultural complexity, leaving behind a legacy of elegant architecture and a cosmopolitan spirit in cities like Sarajevo. The tumultuous 20th century brought the horrors of conflict, culminating in the Bosnian War of the 1990s, which ultimately led to the country’s independence and the complex political structure that defines modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Hercegovina Bucket List
Bosnia and Herzegovina offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers, blending historical, cultural, and natural attractions. Here are some must-see activities and places. Remember, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s beauty lies not only in its landmarks but also in the warm hospitality of its people and the rich tapestry of cultures that have shaped this enchanting land.
Explore Sarajevo’s Old Town (Baščaršija)
Wander through the narrow, cobbled streets of the Ottoman-era bazaar. Visit historic mosques, sample traditional Bosnian sweets, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.
Visit the Latin Bridge
This historic bridge in Sarajevo gained notoriety as the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an event that sparked World War I. Today, it’s an important historical site.
Discover Mostar’s Stari Most
Marvel at the iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge) in Mostar, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Watch the daring tradition of bridge diving or explore the charming Old Town.
Nestled in the Herzegovina region, these stunning waterfalls cascade into an emerald-green lake. It’s a perfect spot for picnicking, swimming, and enjoying the natural beauty.
Visit the picturesque village of Blagaj, where the Buna River emerges from a stunning cliffside spring. Explore the historic Tekija (Dervish Monastery) built into the rock.
Journey to Jajce
Discover the historical town of Jajce, known for its dramatic waterfall that cascades into the confluence of the Pliva and Vrbas rivers. Explore the medieval fortress and the Mlincici complex.
Travnik and the Blue Waterfalls
Visit the charming town of Travnik and explore the historic fortress, colorful houses, and the nearby Blue Waterfalls, offering a refreshing escape into nature.
Trekking in the Una National Park
This park, known for its emerald-green Una River, offers opportunities for hiking, rafting, and exploring the stunning waterfalls, including Štrbački Buk.
Sutjeska National Park
Experience Bosnia’s oldest national park, home to the mighty Perucica Primeval Forest, as well as the stunning Skakavac Waterfall and the somber Tjentiste War Memorial.
A well-preserved medieval village, Pocitelj is perched on a hillside overlooking the Neretva River. Explore the historic architecture, including the Gavrankapetanović house.
Sample Bosnian Cuisine
Indulge in traditional Bosnian dishes like cevapi (grilled minced meat), burek (flaky pastry filled with meat or cheese), and baklava (sweet pastry).
Experience Bosnian Coffee Culture
Sip on a cup of Bosnian coffee, prepared in the traditional dzezva pot, and soak in the relaxed cafe culture.
Where to stay in Bosnia and Hercegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some recommendations for where to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- Old Town (Baščaršija): Stay in the heart of Sarajevo’s historic district to be close to iconic sites, bustling markets, and cultural attractions. There are numerous boutique hotels and guesthouses in this area.
- Marijin Dvor District: This central neighborhood offers a mix of modern hotels and apartment rentals, with easy access to shopping, dining, and cultural sites.
- Old Town (Stari Grad): Experience the charm of Mostar by staying in the Old Town, where you’ll find a range of guesthouses and boutique hotels within walking distance of the Stari Most and other attractions.
- Banja Luka:
- City Center: The city center of Banja Luka offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. This area is convenient for exploring the city’s parks, historical sites, and vibrant nightlife.
- Neum (Adriatic Coast):
- Beachfront Hotels: Neum is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s only coastal town. Here, you’ll find a range of hotels and resorts along the Adriatic Sea, offering beach access and stunning views.
Remember to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Additionally, consider factors such as proximity to attractions, amenities, and personal preferences when choosing where to stay.
How to get to Bosnia and Hercegovina
Getting to Bosnia and Herzegovina largely depends on your starting location. Here are some common ways to reach Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- Sarajevo International Airport (SJJ): This is the main international gateway to Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s well-connected to various European cities and a few Middle Eastern destinations. From the airport, you can easily reach Sarajevo city center.
- Banja Luka International Airport (BNX): Located in the northwest of the country, this airport primarily serves domestic flights and a limited number of international routes.
- Mostar International Airport (OMO): This airport serves as a smaller gateway to the country, with seasonal flights to several European destinations.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina is connected by rail to neighboring countries such as Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. The railway network is operated by the national railway company, Željeznice Republike Srpske (for the Republika Srpska entity), and Željeznice Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine (for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity).
- Bus travel is a popular and often economical way to reach Bosnia and Herzegovina from neighboring countries. Major cities like Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka, and Zenica have well-connected bus stations.
- If you’re traveling from neighboring countries with good road connections, driving can be a convenient option. Bosnia and Herzegovina has border crossings with Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and other neighboring countries.
Enjoy our discounts in Bosnia and Hercegovina
Useful information about Bosnia and Hercegovina
Travel tips to Bosnia and Hercegovina
- Language: Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian are the official languages. English is generally understood in tourist areas.
- Local Transportation: Within cities, you can use trams, buses, and taxis for getting around. In rural areas, buses and private transportation are more common.
- Currency: Bosnia and Herzegovina uses the Bosnian Convertible Mark (BAM) as its official currency.
Is Bosnia and Hercegovina safe?
Bosnia and Herzegovina is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. While the country has made significant progress in terms of stability and security since the 1990s conflicts, like any destination, it’s important to exercise standard precautions. Stick to well-traveled routes, avoid political demonstrations, and be aware of your surroundings, especially in urban areas. Additionally, it’s recommended to stay informed about local customs and follow any government travel advisories that may be in place. Overall, with reasonable precautions, visitors can enjoy the beauty and rich cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina without major safety concerns.
When is the best time to visit Bosnia and Hercegovina?
If you’re a fan of outdoor activities and milder temperatures, spring and autumn can be ideal. For beachgoers, summer along the Adriatic Coast is perfect. Winter is the best time for winter sports enthusiasts. Keep in mind that popular tourist destinations may be busier during peak seasons, so plan accordingly.
Best experiences in Bosnia and Hercegovina
Bosnia and Hercegovina has everything a visitor needs to have a great experience. Its natural beauty draws visitors from around the world- along with its numerous important sites and cultural heritage. As far as things to do in the place go, there are plenty of activities available for visitors. Hope you enjoyed our Bosnia and Hercegovina Bucket List!
Dear Traveller! Thank you for reading the latest article from Besides the Obvious. Please do not hesitate to subscribe to our newsletter, if you don’t want to miss our next travel story.