Bosnia and Herzegowina Overview
In addition to its rich and fascinating cultures, the country has stunningly beautiful landscapes in the form of mountains and green rivers. There are countless opportunities to experience the outdoors here, either through rafting, kayaking or hiking. Bosnia is also a great country to visit if you're hoping to take part in some winter sports. Sarajevo actually hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984.
The country is divided into several different regions, with the most frequently visited being the Sarajevo Region. The capital city is a popular destination for its rich culture, traditional old town, and historic nature. Herzegovina, to the south, is traditionally inhabited by the Croats and is a popular destination because of the famed Mostar Bridge. The landscape in the area is also quite beautiful, so if you have time to visit other parts of the region, definitely do. Other regions include the Bosanska Krajina to the northwest, Posavina which follows the Sava River, and the northeast and central parts of the country.
Traveling around Bosnia is best done by bus. There's a very good bus system that will take you almost anywhere in the country. The trains are another option, but many are quite old and slow. The tracks have also been heavily damaged so there is frequent disruption in the service.
At A Glance
- There is still a threat of landmines throughout most of Bosnia. If you're driving in the area it is best to remain on paved roads. If you're hiking, stay on marked trails that are well frequented. When in doubt, ask a local and they will likely be informed on the area. Generally, stay away from areas where you know there is a concern for landmines and you should be okay.
- It is very easy to travel to Bosnia by bus from the nearby countries. Most buses will drop you off at the main bus station in Sarajevo. There are frequent buses from the more popular destinations including Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Belgrade, Rijeka and Pula, among others. The buses are usually modern coaches that are in good condition. Breakdowns are rare.
- Hitchhiking is an option in Bosnia, but like elsewhere, do stay hyper vigilant regarding your safety. It's a great way to meet locals who you are unlikely to interact with otherwise. Also, stay aware of the landmine threat and make sure your vehicle does not leave the paved road. Generally, you don't have to wait long to find a ride, but along less popular routes it can be a challenge.
- It is best to exchange your money within the country, or withdraw cash from an ATM, as this will likely give you the best exchange rate. There are many different cash exchange venues in the larger cities. Also make sure you exchange all of your konvertibilna marka back to euros or dollars before leaving the country. If you don't, you're unlikely to find anybody outside of the country who will change the money for you.
- Many people enjoy shopping in Bosnia as there are many local items that make interesting souvenirs. There are some great larger shopping malls around where you can get typical, western clothes and items, but if you're looking for something that is locally made, head to the markets and old towns. There are many different crafts, fabrics, and kitchen goods available. Prices are usually negotiable so you can have fun trying to haggle with the shopkeeper as well.
Top Tourist AttractionsMostar's Old Bridge: This famous and quintessential sight in Bosnia signifies unity in the country. It's a very scenic and historic bridge that crosses over the Neretva River. It was destroyed during the war in the nineties, but has since been rebuilt and is now a popular destination for travelers.
Jajce: This beautiful small town is famous for the waterfalls that are in its downtown area. The town is quaint and historic, dating back to the fourteenth century. It's located in the central part of the country and is relatively easy and convenient to reach from most of the major cities.
Sarajevo's Old Town: Sarajevo is a wonderful mix of old and new. It has a diversity of cultures, activities, and entertainment. One of the most attractive areas is the old town, which has many of the most recognizable sights and best shopping opportunities. It's possible to find accommodation in a local home in or around the old town, which can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Popular FoodsBosnian cuisine includes many delicious and richly flavored dishes. Almost every dish includes some type of meat item, so vegetarians will be hard pressed to find something traditional that they can eat. Even vegetable dishes are often flavored with bacon or pork, so inquire before you order. Meat dishes include kebabs, pastries, and patties that are quite hearty and filling.
Cevapi: This is a Bosnian kebab dish that is made from ground beef and lamb and served with pita or rice. It uses many popular spices and has a strong, but excellent flavor. It makes for a great lunch or dinner option.
Borek: This is a filo pastry dish that is filled with beef and spices or feta and spinach and served with sour cream. It's a popular "fast food" option. It's usually formed into spirals on a large, flat baking sheet and served in small, local restaurants. It's a good, cheap option if you're looking for something filling.
Sarma: This is a traditional cabbage and meat dish that is served with spices. It is a great dinner option and is available in many different restaurants.