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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Many come for to Sarajevo to see the city’s fascinating confluence of East and West. Here, Muslims, Jews, Orthodox Christians and Catholics once lived in harmony and you can see all their imprints on the skyline – minarets, domes and campaniles.

Look down and you’ll see traces of the past in the artisan workshops where coppersmiths continue to create tea sets by hand. And in beautiful second-city Mostar, walk over the iconic bridge at the start or end of day, when the day-trippers have departed, and you can imagine yourself back in Ottoman times. But for a real taste of Europe as it once was head out into the countryside of Bosnia and Herzegovina where in small, isolated villages like Lukomir, shepherds still tend their flocks.

In the countryside you’ll also find an amazing abundance of fresh water: turquoise waterfalls, lakes and rivers such as the raging Una, which make Bosnia & Herzegovina a prime spot for rafting, kayaking and canoeing. With forest that still cover 50% of the country, national parks such as the Unesco-listed Hutobo Blato Bird Reserve and some of the most impressive peaks in the Dinaric Alps, Bosnia & Herzegovina is also paradise for hikers and nature-lovers. History lovers will find layer upon layer to discover, with abandoned forts, mysterious carved stones and Medieval watermills. And after an active day you can relax with a glass of wine from one of the excellent wineries.

Yet despite all these attractions, the country remains little visited and is seriously underrated. Go now before the crowds arrive.

You can’t miss

Many come to Sarajevo to see the city’s fascinating confluence of East and West. But, whether your interest is history, culture or nature, there is so much more to discover in this underrated country.
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Latest Bosnia and Herzegovina articles

Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian
3.5 million
Int. dial code
British nationals don’t need a visa to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina for a total period of no longer than 90 days within a period of 6 months following your first entry
Time zone
Bosnia and Herzegovina dinar

Wanderlust recommends

Discover Sarajevo’s best cafes, artisan workshops and picturesque streets with our guide to walking the capital.

Visit the Unesco-listed Hutovo Blato Bird Reserve – the largest migration centre in southeast Europe and permanent home to owls, Greek partridges and heron.

Hike along the Rakitnica canyon, just south of Sarejevo, for spectacular views of mountains streams, waterfalls and the Dinaric Alps.

Be mesmerised by the turquoise river running under Mostar’s elegant Stari Most (Old Bridge).

Take a dip and go for a picnic by the stunning Kravica waterfall.

Catch a glimpse of how Europe used to be in Lukomir – Bosnia and Herzegovina’s highest and most isolated village.

Wanderlust tips

Bosnians tend be very friendly but if you’re engaged in a political or historical conversation be aware of who you are speaking to – tensions can still run high. While in Hergzegovina do not refer to Bosnia & Herzegovina as just Bosnia. If you are entering a church or mosque make sure you are respectfully attired. Women should cover their heads with scarfs when visiting mosques and both men and women should remove their shoes.

When to go to Bosnia & Herzegovina

Climate in Bosnia & Herzegovina: Bosnia & Herzegovina’s climate varies dramatically depending on where you are in the country. Herzegovina – the area in the south near the Adriatic enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm, sunny, dry weather and mild winters. Bosnia in the north has more continental conditions – warm summers and very cold, snowy winters. However, microclimates surround individual mountains. Unless you’re planning on going skiing, summer is generally the best time weather-wise to visit Bosnia & Herzegovina and unlike other more established tourist destinations, you don’t have to face “high season” prices and crowds.

Festivals in Bosnia & Herzegovina: Sarajevo holds an international film festival in August, a theatre festival in October and a jazz festival in November. During the mont h-long Bascarsija Nights festival held in July, the city hosts a range of cultural events from whirling dervishes to Viennese concerts. Mostar also holds a summer festival in July.

International airports

Sarajevo (SIJ), Banja Luka (BNX) and Mostar (OMO).

Getting around Bosnia & Herzegovina

The Belgium train network is efficient and extensive, with most stations served by a train at least once every hour or half hour.

Buses in Belgium are much slower than trains and not much cheaper. They are only of real use in rural areas such as the Ardennes where the train services fizzle out and you should expect lengthy waits at bus stops.

Outside of peak hours and coastal areas on fine summer weekends, Belgium’s roads are easy to drive, although rental coasts can be high and the Belgians do have a reputation for aggressive driving.

Bosnia & Herzegovina accommodation

Hotels can be found in all major cities. Many of the large ones built in the socialist period aren’t all that pleasant so it’s worth having a scout around for family-run private rooms and apartments. Feel free to knock on the door where you see a sign saying sobe/ zimmer/ rooms/ camere. There’s huge potential for eco-tourism in Bosnia but unfortunately few campsites. There are however numerous mountain huts which make good bases for hikers. For more information on these contact the Mountaineering Union of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Bosnia & Herzegovina food & drink

Meat-lovers are well-catered for in Bosnia & Herzegovina and will enjoy specialities such as Cevapi (a lamb and beef concoction somewhere between a kebab and sausage)

Jagnjetina (spit-roasted lamb) and Begova Corba (a veal and vegetable soup).

Vegetarians will have a tough time of things since even so-called vegetable dishes are often cooked with bits of bacon or smoked meats.

Local wines and beers are very cheap in Bosnia & Herzegovina, but the alcohol of choice is, as elsewhere in the Balkans, Rakija – a very strong fruit brandy to be consumed slowly. Turkish-style coffee is very popular.

Health & safety in Bosnia & Herzegovina

There are no legal requirements for vaccinations in Bosnia & Herzegovina but its sensible to be up to date with hepatitis A, tetanus and diphtheria jabs. Healthcare in Bosnia is not of the standard in Western Europe. In case of emergencies, contact your embassy. The biggest danger in Bosnia & Herzegovina is uncleared landmines. Steer clear of taped-off areas and abandoned villages. If you’re planning on going hiking or wandering off paths in rural areas, make sure you go with a guide or local who knows the terrain. Beware of pickpockets in large cities.