If there’s one country in Europe that can call itself a “Hidden Destination Secret”, it’s Bosnia and Herzegovina. We came with no expectations – and in the end we were quite enthusiastic.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is rich in culture and scenic incredibly impressive. Bosnia is a country for explorers. There is so much to explore, so many places you’ve never heard of before. And: Bosnia is still a fairly cheap travel destination. Sounds a little too good to be true? Bosnia is an insider tip – we say so.
If you’re like us until recently and you have no idea what to expect in Bosnia, then you’ve come to the right place on our travel blog. We introduce you to the most beautiful travel destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and give you practical travel tips for planning and preparing your road trip.
1. Bosnia and Herzegovina: FAQs, Travel Time & First Travel Tips Exciting facts about Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of the Balkans and has a good 3 million inhabitants. The Capital and largest city of the country is Sarajevo (just under 386. residents). In rural areas, Bosnia is sometimes extremely sparsely populated. You often drive for hours on mountainous roads and only occasionally pass villages.In the 90 years the country was shaken by the Bosnian War, which estimated .000 claimed human lives. The war may be over, but the wounds are visible – just from the bullet holes that can still be seen everywhere. Since the end of the war (1995) is the country is quasi divided: There is the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the one hand and the Republic of Srpska on the other. More on that in a moment.Bosnia and Herzegovina is actually by the sea. The coast is just 20 Kilometer long. Croatia has claimed the rest of the coast for itself (and just recently built a modern bridge to bypass Bosnia.) The interior of Bosnia is partly very mountainous and is served, among other things, by Dinaric Mountains coined. The highest mountain in the country is Maglić with 2. 386 meters altitude. You should know this before your trip to Bosnia 1. There is much more to discover than you think. Bosnia – that’s the country with the famous Bridge and Sarajevo as the capital. And otherwise? Apart from that, are there any highlights at all?
If you find yourself in these thoughts (yep, we felt the same way), then we can promise you: Bosnia will blow your mind. There are so, so, so many more highlights than you would expect.
There are imposing mountains and gigantic waterfalls, lively cities and remote mountain villages, ancient mosques and opulent churches. The nice thing about Bosnia and Herzegovina: You can still go on a real journey of discovery here. So many places, so many regions you’ve never heard of before.
2. Tourism is in its infancy in many places. Hip hotels and restaurants? There is, but you have to look for it with the magnifying glass. Of course, Bosnia and Herzegovina is also home to very touristy places. Above all, Mostar should be mentioned here. The tiny, world-famous old town is lined with souvenir stalls.
By and large, however, Bosnia and Herzegovina (particularly in lesser-known, rural areas) is not touristy very accessible. This begins, for example, with the fact that official tourism websites in various regions often do not even exist – and if they do, then they are not always available in English.
Get up also point out that the standard for hotels is generally somewhat lower than in Central Europe. Of course, this applies in particular to the more rural areas. Don’t forget: Bosnia and Herzegovina is a poor country – and of course that is also reflected in the tourist infrastructure.
Very important: People smoke a lot in Bosnia. The fact that a bar can smell of smoke inside is something we have (fortunately) already forgotten about. It’s different in Bosnia. The smell of cigarettes is a constant companion. Fortunately, the legal situation has been tightening here for some time and the situation will look a little different in the future. But the fact is: there are still smoking rooms in hotels and that an apartment is smoke-free is unfortunately not a matter of course! (Yes, we also had to realize that painfully.)
3. Bosnia is basically divided in two. Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided in two ways: On the one hand there is the Geographical division of the country into the northern (much larger) part of Bosnia and the southern (much smaller) part of Herzegovina.
Much more important (and also clearly noticeable on site as a tourist) is the political split of the country into two so-called entities.
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Mostly Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats live here. Republika Srpska : Mostly Bosnian Serbs live here. One You only get a rough idea of how torn the country is when you are there. As soon as you travel from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Republic of Srpska, different flags fly, mosques give way to orthodox churches and that alone gives the townscape a completely different impression.
Best travel time If you want to make a round trip and explore multiple destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, then we recommend the months May to October, in which predominantly warm, dry weather prevails.
In midsummer it can get very, very hot in some regions. This includes Mostar, which is considered the hottest place in the country. The thermometer can also be set to Climbing degrees.
Since Bosnia and Herzegovina is fortunately not a very touristic destination (apart from some places like Mostar), the Summer not as crowded as you know it from neighboring Croatia. We ourselves were in Bosnia in July and can highly recommend this month.
2. The most beautiful travel destinations & highlights Sarajevo What a city! Sarajevo, the country’s vibrant capital, is one of those Bosnian destinations that should definitely be on your itinerary. The exciting mix of cultures is what makes Sarajevo so incomparable.
If you walk through the old town of Sarajevo, the so-called Baščaršija, you might almost think you have landed in Istanbul. It smells of charcoal, you can hear the muezzin calling and coffee is served in copper pots on every corner.
A sad historical event: During the Bosnian War Sarajevo was besieged for three and a half years. Thousands lost their lives. The war is long over and yet omnipresent. Several memorial museums commemorate the atrocities of that time. So, if you want to delve deeper into the country’s history (and we’d definitely recommend it), then Sarajevo is the place to be.
Here you can find our detailed blog article: Sarajevo travel tips
Mostar Besides Sarajevo, the small town of Mostar is probably the most famous tourist destination in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the most important sights and landmarks of the country is enthroned here: The Bridge of Mostar.
The striking one-arch bridge spans the Neretva River and provides what is probably the most iconic photo motif in the country. Strange but true: For centuries it has been a tradition to jump off the bridge 20 Meters to dare.
Mostar is a relatively tourist destination in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We would definitely recommend staying the night to be able to experience the old town in the evening or morning hours without day visitors.
Here you can find our detailed blog article: Mostar Tips
Blagaj The famous Dervish Monastery (“Tekija”) of Blagaj is another destination not to be missed on your trip through Bosnia and Herzegovina. The small town of Blagaj is located near Mostar and is ideal for a day trip.
Located at the source of the Buna (“Vrelo Buna”), the Dervish Monastery is already a real postcard motif from the outside. The majestic rock walls rise up directly behind them – what a backdrop!
It is definitely worth taking a look inside the monastery. You feel like you’re back in the old days and you can imagine how people used to live here.
Trebinje The picturesque town of Trebinje in the extreme south of the country was one of the biggest surprises on our trip. The spectacular location in front of the mountains as well as the magical and untouristy old town make Trebinje an extremely worthwhile travel destination in our eyes.
Trebinje also knows how to impress with some unusual sights. There would be al len first of all the Serbian-Orthodox monastery Hercegovačka Gračanica, which is enthroned on a hill above the old town.
Here you our detailed blog article: Trebinje Travel Tips
Travnik Another positive surprise! The small town of Travnik is one of the rather unknown travel destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With a view to the history of the country, however, Travnik is of great importance: In the Ottoman Empire, Travnik was once the capital of Bosnia.
One of the most important sights of Travnik also comes from medieval times: the well-preserved one Fortress. It is enthroned in an elevated position above the old town and is definitely worth a visit.
Also worth seeing is the Colorful Mosque (“Šarena džamija”), which got its name from the colorful window glass. You should definitely visit the inside of the mosque as well. For us, it is one of the most beautiful in the country.
Our tip: We had an excellent meal at the Ex Ponto Bar & Restaurant. You would otherwise expect such a hip bar in the capital Sarajevo. Here you can find modern cuisine at very fair prices.
3. Transportation in Bosnia: Getting from A to B It is possible though to travel by bus through Bosnia, but we would personally recommend the car because of the flexibility.
With your own Car through Bosnia and Herzegovina You want to travel to Bosnia with your own car? It works – we did it too. However, there are a few things you should be aware of.
Depending on where you live, the arrival may take longer. It takes about 9 hours from Vienna to Sarajevo, from Munich 11 Hours. If you start further north, it will of course take longer.
Also good to know: You are crossing several countries and therefore tolls due – more precisely in Slovenia, Croatia and of course Austria.
Important for crossing the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina is the so-called “green insurance card” for your car. The card proves that you have valid insurance. If you can’t find it (it is usually sent with the policy), you can request it from your insurance company.
The card may not be checked, but if it is and you don’t have it with you, you will have to take out additional insurance for your car at the border.
Tips for booking a rental car Experience has shown that traveling with a rental car is much more relaxed – provided, of course, that it is insured accordingly. In this respect, our first important tip: When booking a rental car, make sure you have fully comprehensive insurance with no deductible or with reimbursement of the deductible by the rental company.
Sarajevo is a good starting point for your road trip. Here is the country’s largest international airport, which is served directly by various cities in the German-speaking area.
For safety reasons, we never choose the smallest rental car class. Especially in Bosnia we would recommend a mid-range car as you spend a lot of time on country roads.
You can search for cheap rental cars here: Sunny Cars
Traffic on the roads & road conditions First of all, the good news: We found driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina to be relatively relaxed. You often drive on well-developed country roads. It is not uncommon for the roads to lead through very mountainous areas, so that it is not exactly easy to move forward. In general, you should be prepared to travel at a comparatively slow pace.
The motorway network in Bosnia is currently under construction. Some sections of the motorway have already been opened. In this case, you are happy to pay the toll because you really can reach travel destinations much faster.
Sometimes roads are littered with potholes. In any case, you should always be prepared for this and adjust your speed accordingly.
What can also happen: Suddenly landing on an unpaved (i.e. not asphalted) road. If you are looking for your route using Google Maps, then we recommend taking a look at the roads to be driven. For main traffic routes between cities, you don’t have to worry by and large. In any case, we were able to reach all destinations on paved roads.
You can find helpful tips and legal requirements (including alcohol limit, maximum speed, etc.) on the ÖAMTC -Website: Travel Info Bosnia.
4. Eating & Drinking in Bosnia We would like to warn you at this point : Bosnian cuisine is quite hearty. Bad news for everyone who eats vegetarian food: Most specialties are prepared from meat. You can always find vegetarian options, but unfortunately you can’t eat really varied in the long run.
Eating out in Bosnia is a very cheap undertaking. For about five euros per person you can often eat really well. A little tip: It is customary to give a tip of around five to ten percent.
Bosnian specialties Ćevapi: Probably everyone knows. The grilled meat rolls are something like the No. 1 fast food in Bosnia. They are served on every corner, preferably in the so-called “Ćevabdžinicas”.
Burek: Burek is another popular snack for in between meals. Traditionally, this puff pastry dish is stuffed with meat, often rolled into a kind of snail, and then baked. There are also bureks with other fillings, but these are not called bureks, but according to their fillings (e.g. “Sirnica” for cheese.) Restaurants that specialize in preparing bureks are called “buregdžinica”.
Dolma: Dolma is stuffed vegetables (“dolma” = “stuffed”). Mostly peppers, but also onions or tomatoes are used and filled with a combination of meat and rice.
Bosanski Lonac: This rich stew is one of the national dishes of Bosnia. It usually consists of meat and vegetables and is cooked for hours.
Tufahije: One of the most popular desserts in Bosnia and Herzegovina is tufahije. An apple stuffed with walnuts awaits you here, which is steamed in sugar water and then served with syrup and whipped cream.
Bosnian coffee: Served at everyone Corner and drunk at any time of the day: Bosnian coffee. It is reminiscent of Turkish coffee, but is a little milder (still very tart!) and is served in a copper pot. When the coffee grounds have sunk, pour the coffee into small mocha cups. Traditionally, there is a piece of sugar and Lokum, an oriental sweet.
Bosnian Coffee Burek 5. Accommodation in Bosnia The accommodation Offer in Bosnia varies greatly depending on the destination. For example, while there are modern hotels run by international chains in Sarajevo, it is much more difficult to find great accommodation in some more rural regions.
The prices for accommodation are quite cheap. However, one must also be aware that the standard in Bosnia and Herzegovina is generally a bit lower than in Central Europe.
Important tip: Particularly in private apartments, it is not uncommon for to smoke. ! Therefore, always read the room description very carefully and, if in doubt, it is better to ask. For example, we booked an extremely well-rated apartment in Travnik, which stank terribly of stale smoke. In no evaluation we would have found any reference to it.
Tips for accommodation Mostar: Shangri La Mansion A family-run, stylish boutique hotel in the heart of Mostar. The rooms are very comfortable and furnished to a high standard. A highlight is the roof terrace, where you can spend relaxing hours, especially after sunset. You can reach the famous bridge of Mostar in just three minutes on foot. Great!
You can book the hotel here: Shangri La Mansion
Trebinje: Herceg Vila A jewel in the south of Bosnia! The nicely furnished hotel is run by a Bosnian-Canadian couple and is an absolute feel-good place. You will hardly find a better price-performance ratio anywhere else in Bosnia.
You can book accommodation here: Herceg Vila
Sarajevo: Hotel Sana A nice city hotel in Sarajevo , which could hardly be better located: You can reach the Baščaršija (old town) in two minutes on foot. The rooms are quite small, but you have everything you need. We felt very comfortable.
Here you can book the hotel: Hotel Sana
Herceg Villa in Travnik Shangri La Mansion in Mostar 6. Travel expenses Bosnia: This is how much money you need Currency & Payment in Bosnia and Herzegovina The currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Convertible Mark. It is abbreviated by the abbreviation “KM” or “BAM”. 1 Convertible Mark will turn into 100 Fening.
The Exchange Rate is conveniently on pegged to the euro. (Once it was the Deutsche Mark.) 1 Euro equals 1,90 Convertible Mark. So the conversion is hnen relatively simple on site, because you only have to divide the price by two and you know the euro amount.
Even if the euro is not an official means of payment, is often accepted. (Famous attractions sometimes even have euro prices listed.) We’d still recommend getting Konvertible Mark though.
With an EC card (bank card) you can easily withdraw money locally in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Please note that there are fees or .Expenses may apply. In Bosnia, the fee for withdrawing from us was about 3 euros. Alternatively, you can also change money. We would always do that on site in Bosnia – not in your home country, because you usually get a much worse exchange rate there.
Travel costs in Bosnia and Herzegovina Good news for you as a traveller: Bosnia and Herzegovina is a very cheap Destination – especially in European comparison, but also in comparison to other countries in the Balkans. Croatia and Montenegro, for example, are significantly more expensive.
You can save especially on accommodation and eating out. Of course, there are also higher-priced options here, but if you have to/want to be on the lookout for money, you can still find real bargains in Bosnia.
What is the cost in Bosnia and Herzegovina…? Overnight stay in a pretty double room: approx. 50 Euro per night (ie approx. 35 Euro per person)Rental car (medium class) for one week: approx. 300 until 400 Euro Main course in a nice restaurant: 10 until 35 KM (approx. 5-10 Euro) Burek (large piece): 4 to 6 KM (about 2 to 3 euros) Bosnian coffee: 3 to 4 KM (about 1.5 to 2 euros) Entrance fee to Kravica Waterfalls: 20 KM (approx. 10 Euro) per personAdmission Dervish Monastery Blagaj: 09 KM (about 5 euros) per personTicket cable car Sarajevo ascent and descent: 11 KM (approx. 11 Euro) per person 7. Security in Bosnia and Herzegovina The terrible war in the 90s it is “thanks” that Bosnia and Herzegovina has still not really been able to free itself from the image of a dangerous country. And that’s just incredibly unfortunate, because the opposite is the case.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a safe travel destination. For a current, objective assessment of the security situation, we would like to go to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Austria) or the Federal Foreign Office (Germany).
An important note: You should definitely keep in mind that in Bosnia there are still uncleared landmine fields exist! On hiking trails, for example, you should always stay on the marked paths.
Otherwise, the same safety tips apply to Bosnia and Herzegovina as everywhere else in the world: carry valuables close to your body, none Leave valuables in the car and ideally park the car in a guarded parking lot.
A few more words about our own experience: We never felt uncomfortable or unsafe in Bosnia – quite the opposite! We have consistently had positive experiences and found the locals to be incredibly friendly and helpful.
8th. Internet: stay online during your trip Important to know: Bosnia and Herzegovina is not part of the EU and data roaming is therefore not free. On the contrary! It can even cost you quite a bit if you accidentally surf the web in Bosnia with your mobile data.
We have gotten so used to being able to research something online (e.g. restaurants nearby) when we travel, so that we no longer want to do without it. If you want to surf mobile in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you have two options.
Variant 1: You buy a roaming package for Bosnia and Herzegovina via your mobile phone provider. Because the value for money here usually leaves a lot to be desired (read: few data for a lot of money), we would only recommend this option if you are staying in the country for a short time.
Variant 2 (our tip): You can get a local SIM card in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For example, we recommend the haloo SIM card, which you can get in many shops (supermarkets, post offices, etc.). For just a few euros you can surf practically throughout your entire trip. Important: Your smartphone must be activated for all networks. And: If you only have one SIM card slot, you can of course no longer be reached on your regular telephone number.
Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you ever traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina? Which travel destinations can you particularly recommend and which travel tips would you like to add? Maybe you are planning your road trip and you still have questions ? We are happy to your comment!38859