Bosnia and Herzegovina Travel Guide
“When you go to Sarajevo, what you experience is life.”
– Mike Leigh
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Why You'll Love Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH for short) is often associated with loss and death. From the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which set WWI in motion, to the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre, BiH has long been viewed as a nation torn apart at the seams. But now more than ever, it’s equally a place of new beginnings and budding creativity – a place where you can feel life itself tingling on your skin.
In 1992, citizens voted in a monumental independence referendum and Bosnia and Herzegovina gained her independence. The dotted lines of autonomous republics, the intricate political system (often named the most complex in the world), and the very presence of the ‘and’ in the country’s name are a clue to the kind of diversity and contrasts you can expect today.
If there’s one thing I learned after five weeks travelling around BiH, it’s that the warmth of the people and the illustrious beauty of the landscape are the strongest uniting forces.
Bosnia Travel Essentials
when to go
Apr/May or Oct/Nov (spring/fall shoulder season). Feb/March for skiing.
how long in BiH?
2 full days for Sarajevo; 5-7 days for the highlights; 10 days to see everything.
Fly into Sarajevo or Tuzla, or drive/bus from neighbouring countries.
Things to Do in Bosnia and Herzegovina
In Sarajevo, BiH’s capital city, the line where Asia stops and Europe begins (or is the other way around?) is literally drawn in the sand. A plaque on the pavement separates the Austro-Hungarian-built part of the city, with its market halls and plasterwork facades, from the Ottoman quarter, with its public fountains and singing minarets.
Sarajevo’s Old Bazaar, Bascarsija, is pure magic. As you dart between tea houses, carpet shops and Buregdzinicas (bakeries specialising in burek), you move to the rhythm of tradesmen who still pound bronze with the same fervour as they did centuries ago.
As you cross the stone bridges in Mostar, Visegrad and Konjic, you begin to understand that not only is each one a proxy for a devastating chapter of Balkan history (which every traveller must take the time to learn about), it’s also a symbolic bridge between past, present and future.
From Jajce, the city with roaring waterfall at its centre, to Pocitelj, an almost-abandoned Ottoman town and the sweet city of Trebinje, between the Dinaric Alps, the Pliva Lakes and the ambling River Drina, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a way of making you feel alive.
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Via Dinarica Trail (Slovenia to Kosovo via BiH).
Cevapi (Balkan meatballs) and Burek (stuffed pastry) with Bosnian coffee & Tufahija (baked apple).
Watching the sunset over Sarajevo from Bijela Tabija (the White Bastion).