Bosnia and Herzegovina: mountains, rivers and bridges
Until very recently, Soviet tourists were crazy about the narrow streets, cozy restaurants and colorful mosques and churches of one of the most beautiful republics of Yugoslavia. At that glorious time, Bosnia had a solid income from numerous travelers from all over the continent. Then, when the Yugoslav friendship of nations crumbled like a paper boat on the waves of the Adriatic, the Balkans fought each other and no one thought of tourism.
When the conflicts in the North of the Balkan Peninsula subsided, Bosnia’s neighbors, Croatia and Montenegro, quickly rebuilt the entire tourism infrastructure, thanks to the sea coast and the lack of minefields. Bosnia and Herzegovina, where internal conflicts lasted long enough and the sea coast is very small, had a much harder time. The war destroyed many Byzantine and Ottoman monuments, and even more historical sites had to be rebuilt. All this time-consuming and unhappy business has pushed Bosnia away from its tourist-friendly neighbors for a decade.
Despite the difficulties, today Bosnia is ready to welcome tourists and offer them something special that is not seen in other European countries:
- An amazing cultural mix of Islam, Christianity of different denominations, while the people of all nationalities of the country are Slavs;
- beautiful nature and excellent ski resorts;
- hospitable people, who are very well aware that only tourists can affect the speedy development of the economy of the country;
- delicious and authentic cuisine;
- low prices for accommodation, transport and food.
All these advantages of Bosnia and Herzegovina make this forgotten country very attractive, interesting and inexpensive for tourists.
Russians are free from the hassle of obtaining a visa to Bosnia. But travel expenses are quite high. It is not about the price of tickets, the flight from Moscow to Sarajevo and back costs no more than 200 euros, and the fact that there are no direct flights. All of them have a change (in Belgrade, Vienna, Munich, Istanbul, Zurich), and the waiting time in the intermediate airport may be 10 and 14 hours. Such a long stay at an airport terminal is connected with food, which is not cheap in such places.
The solution: do not hesitate to take sandwiches in your hand luggage to buy only water or coffee at the airport.
Where to live?
The most expensive accommodation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in the city of Neum, the only seaside resort in the country. Outside the high sea season apartments that can freely accommodate at least 4 people cost no more than 25 euros / day.
In other cities of Bosnia it is easy to find housing for 12-15 euros. But the best way out is to rent an apartment. In this case, the costs will be quite small, and complete freedom and the ability to cook by yourself in a fully equipped kitchen will make your visit to the country truly carefree and comfortable.
Where and What to Eat?
The cuisine of Bosnia and Herzegovina is quite special. You can find many cafes and restaurants that offer Mediterranean cuisine, there are places with food “halal” (for believing Muslims), there are Italian, Greek and French establishments.
Seafood is not the most interesting thing in Bosnia. Meat, on the other hand, is used to make amazing dishes with a special flavor:
- shish – that’s the name of the Bosnian shish kebab;
- güvec – Slavic look on pilaf, an unusual and very tasty dish;
- pleskavica – chopped cutlets of enormous size.
Among the Bosnian sweets are particularly interesting:
- strukli – cheese casserole with nuts and plums;
- alva – nuts boiled in honey;
- priganica – sweet doughnuts.
Prices for meals in Sarajevo or Trebinje are distributed as follows:
- breakfast costs 3 to 4 euros;
- Lunch in a restaurant – 6-8 euros;
- Dinner with wine not more expensive than 10 euros per person.
If you buy products in supermarkets or on the market and eat on their own, the daily budget will not exceed 5-6 euros per person.
Where to go and what to see?
Academy of Art in Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot boast an abundance of international airports. Almost all tourists enter the country through Sarajevo, in which the following sites should be seen:
- The Latin Bridge, Bosnia’s most famous landmark, which is nothing special. If it had not occurred to Gavrila Principle to shoot the unfortunate heir to the Austrian throne on this very spot. Now all the guides in the country make sure to stop at this small and unremarkable bridge and tell the heartbreaking story of the place. It is possible to go to the bridge for a few “selfies”, but there is nothing else here that would make an impression;
- Moricha Khan is much more interesting. This is an ancient inn for caravans loaded with eastern goods bound for western Europe. Nothing remains of the original 16th century structure, but the layout of the old inn has been perfectly preserved: it is a small town with little streets and courtyards. There is no hotel here now, but there are mostly all sorts of offices of religious organizations, but there is a cafe with hookah and a restaurant of national cuisine. Do not pass by the store under the sign “Isfahan”, they sell amazing handmade Persian carpets;
- Mosque Gazi Khosrevbei – the most ancient and interesting in Bosnia. Anyone can enter (ticket – 1 euro), and of interest to tourists is the interior of the Bosniak (Slavic-Muslim) Muslim house of worship, mosaics, Mirhab (signifying the side where Mecca is) with gilded quotations from the Koran, the graves of great rulers and statesmen of Bosnia. There is also a marble fountain and the remains of an old theological school;
- Markale Square is the noisiest and funniest place in the Bosnian capital. The history of this market square goes back to the oldest times in the history of Bosnia. Bosnians remember the events of the late 20th century, when a horrific explosion took the lives of dozens of civilians here, but there are no monuments or signs telling about the tragedy. The square is now buzzing with the richest bazaar in the country. Here are the best fruits and vegetables, meat delicacies and sweets;
- The National Museum is entertainment for amateurs, of course, but the institution is known for its rich collection of artifacts and works of art.
The city is located in the south of Bosnia and is popular among tourists, thanks to the proximity of the Croatian border, which can be reached by shuttle bus. But the city itself will interest travelers with its beauty:
- The Arslanagic Bridge is an example of 16th century Ottoman engineering. The fateful crossing, which contributed to the birth of the city, here was the point of collection of money for the use of the stone crossing. The bridge has been moved several times, and for some time it was under water. But each time the structure was restored with great care. Even today, this famous bridge looks quite ancient;
- The cathedral church is the main center of Orthodoxy in a multi-confessional city. It is interesting to go in to see the interiors and unique mosaic floors, so rare in Orthodox churches. Bright iconostasis and unusual placement of icons – will surprise and make most experienced travelers admire;
- Central Square – to the market, located here, arrange trips from neighboring Croatia. Prices for souvenirs and wine, fruit and sweets here are very low, and the quality of goods is excellent;
- Tvrdos Monastery is 4 km from the town. It is the oldest Christian monastery founded by Constantine the Great in the IV century. After numerous reconstructions the monastery has kept its ancient charm and rich wine cellars. There is burial place of Vasiliy Ostrozhskiy, a great companion of the monastery.
“Old bridge” over the Neretva River in Mostar.
Of all the cities in Bosnia, Mostar is probably the richest in the cultural sense. Multinational and multi-faith environment of this city attracts tourists with its uniqueness and richness of cultural monuments of all kinds:
- The historic center of the city – bridges, churches, mosques. An ancient Byzantine fortress, several picturesque markets, Tito’s palace – all these are the main treasures of Mostar;
- Synagogue – destroyed during the war, still not fully restored;
- The Turkish bath – an architectural monument of the last century. Today there is a spa center whose services are inexpensive;
- The outskirts of the city are just as interesting. In any tourist shop you can buy a tour of the surrounding towns, which have something special, unique, inimitable: Chaplina, Pocitel, Jablanitsa are all bright pearls in the necklace of towns and villages of Mostar.
We also recommend you to read the article Top 5 inexpensive cities with beautiful architecture. From it you will learn the architectural sights of five European cities such as: Bucharest (Romania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Budapest (Hungary), Krakow (Poland) and Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic).
Neum is a seaside resort in Bosnia and the most popular place for lovers of summer sea pleasures. In addition to the usual beaches and resorts for the Mediterranean coast, there are few attractions. A few markets, a dozen stores. Besides the local population, a hundred or two tourists live here all the time.
The aromas of the local cafes reach the border of Croatia, which is located very close. The things that attract tourists to Neum are security, low prices for food and lodging, original souvenirs, pebble beaches and warm sea.
Neum. Adriatic Sea coast.
From Bosnia to other countries
The easiest way to get from Bosnia to Montenegro and Croatia. In the first and in the second case, it makes sense to use regular buses: the trip does not take more than two hours, the cost of the fare one way – 3-4 euros.
You can get to Dubrovnik or Split, excellent seaside resorts of Croatia. To see the main sights and return back.
To avoid bureaucratic misunderstandings at the border crossing it is better to book a one-day tour to Croatia or Montenegro in any agency of Bosnia (from 20 euros per person).
We also recommend you to read the article Google maps – an indispensable guide and travel guide for the thrifty tourist. From it you will learn: how to plan routes of trips and walks in all cities and countries with the help of Google Maps, how to reach attractions on your own, economically and quickly.
Unpleasant features of the local police and customs
No matter how attractive the country is for the budget tourist, it is necessary to be aware of some peculiarities of the local zealots of order:
- When crossing the border Russian tourists may have inexplicable difficulties with border guards and customs officers. The guards of legality may be “incompetent” and demand a “visa”. In this case, feel free to demand the head of the greedy officials. In this case, everything is resolved quickly and without delay;
- Bosnia’s police do not mind making money on naive travelers. In case your guard starts demanding a “fine”, boldly declare that you will pay only at the police station. In 99% of such cases the interest of dishonest public order guards vanishes, and you will be wished a “pleasant stay.
The population of Bosnia is very friendly to tourists. The security level here is the usual European level. But you should not travel through the countryside unaccompanied. Alas, not all of the picturesque fields and hills of the country are completely free of mines. Use the services of travel agencies if you decide to explore the beauty of “inner” Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia is almost the last European country, which has kept its prices unchanged since the 90s. Let them not have the same level of comfort as in Italy or France, but the rest here will be nice for those who can not live without exploring the local cultural masterpieces, and those who most of all love the sun, sea and good food.
Holidays in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country that has suffered from two major wars, but has managed to preserve its cultural, architectural and natural monuments. The historic and cultural center of Sarajevo with its east-west vibe, the delightful Kravice waterfall, the beach town of Neum, upscale ski resorts and a difficult military past. All about Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful country, a little-developed tourist destination, but gaining more and more popularity every year. Picturesque nature, picturesque architecture and interesting culture of the country attract thousands of tourists from all over the world. Sarajevo is an ancient capital in the oriental style, Mostar with the Old Bridge, Banja Luka with sulfurous springs, mountainous Jaice and many other interesting places.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a small country in the southeast of the Balkan Peninsula, bordering Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Undeservedly forgotten for a few years because of the Balkan wars, more successful tourism policies of neighboring countries and visa regime. However, over time, everything has changed and today it is a popular holiday destination among Europeans and Russians. Here are great beaches, a rich, largely undiscovered historical heritage, delicious national cuisine and beautiful nature.
Resorts of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina have a high level of service and are relatively new to most Russian tourists. The country has only one beach resort, located in the south, on the coast of the warm Adriatic Sea. It captures the peninsula Klek, due to which the total length of the beach line is 25 kilometers. Holidays at sea in Neum distinguishes lower prices compared with similar resorts in other European countries. There is warm clearest water, picturesque nature and a lot of entertainments.
The north of Bosnia and Herzegovina is famous for its ski resorts: Jahorina, Vlasic, Belasnica and Kupres. They were built for the 1984 Olympic Games, but every year they improve their infrastructure, so they keep up with the world’s famous winter resorts.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is interesting for its sights, photos of which can be found online. Most of the architectural sites are concentrated in the capital city of Sarajevo, while natural attractions are scattered throughout the country.
Among other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the capital Sarajevo is the most famous and most visited among tourists. It intertwines the history of 3 peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs and Muslims. This variegated city with an eastern-western charm has something to show its visitors.
The bridge, infamous for its history, is today one of the most visited sites in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was there in 1914 that the event that unleashed the First World War – the double assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife – took place. Here you can take a commemorative photo and visit the small Latin Bridge Museum.
The Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina has literally all the artifacts on the culture, history and traditions of the country. In addition to the exposition inside the building outside is interesting neoclassical architecture of the twentieth century. The main values of the museum are the Roman and Illyrian inscriptions and the Jewish book of the XIV century – the Haggadah.
This is the busiest part of Sarajevo, the main market square of the country. The rows of merchants have been there since the Middle Ages, when traders from all over the Balkans set out with their Adriatic goods. Not a single unfortunate event, especially the bombing of the square in 1994, interrupted the market life. Here you can buy traditional products and any souvenir products.
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The central shrine of Sarajevo and the largest Catholic church in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its exterior is noteworthy – a mix of Romanesque and Neo-Gothic styles. Only some people notice a familiar handwriting in the architecture. The creator of the cathedral was the legendary master craftsman Josip Vancas, who realized the project of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
The sad legacy of the famous war in Bosnia. The besieged inhabitants of Sarajevo were forced to dig a tunnel from Butmir to Dobrynja for months, in several shifts every day, to accept humanitarian aid. Today, tourists can walk only 20 meters of the 700 excavated Tunnel of Life.
The Old Bridge is the central attraction of the city of Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It spans the Neretva and connects the two parts of the city. The bridge was built by the Turks in the 15th century, but in the 19th century it was destroyed in the war, and in the 2000s it was rebuilt and open for viewing. Its highest point is 21 meters above the ground, which is not typical for traditional low European bridges of that time.
Kravice Waterfall is an incredibly picturesque place, more like South America than Bosnia and Herzegovina. With a height of 25 meters and a width of 120 meters, the waterfall has the shape of a semicircular amphitheater, and the water does not fall in one stream, but in several cascades. At the bottom there is a clear lagoon, in which in the summer everyone can swim.
Attractions of the country are not limited to the listed sites, they are much more. Historical monuments and picturesque natural sites of Bosnia and Herzegovina are worth seeing – Tekija, Visegrad bridge, Sutjeska National Park, Vranduk fortress, Medugorje and many other sights.
Cuisine and Shopping
Cuisine in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not exclusively national. The basis of most of the dishes local chefs adopted from neighboring Turkey, Montenegro and Serbia. This means that a tourist can try the traditional dishes of all Balkan countries in the country, appreciating the local version of cooking. Meat dishes are grilled, mostly from lamb and beef. Also, in the kitchen there are a lot of greens, vegetables, cheeses and dairy products. Fish is often seen on the menu of coastal regions.
Judging by the reviews, the vacation in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be nicely diluted by the local shopping. Stores in the cities are open weekdays, from morning to evening, and souvenir shops – every day, from early morning until night. Here you can buy great things to remember the ceramics, embroidered home textiles, copper products, covered with silver, leather clothing and shoes. Of the “edibles”, it is worth taking away a bottle of local white and red wine and the Balkan drink rakija.
To travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina for Russians in 2019 will not require a visa if the duration of the holiday does not exceed 30 days. However, it is worth taking care of the registration of a medical policy, which may be required to present at customs.
The Mediterranean subtropical climate shapes the southern regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina with comfortable weather, with hot long summers and mild wet winters. The summer temperature ranges from +25 C…+27 C, and the water in the sea warms up to +25.5 C. The rest of territory of the country has moderate continental climate with daytime air temperature in the mountains in summer +12 C … +18 C, in winter – 4 C … -7 C. The best time for a beach holiday is from June to September, for skiing – from December to March.
5 things to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Get to know the diversity of cultures at Baščarsija Square, Sarajevo.
- Learn the history of the Captain’s Tower in Bihac.
- Swim at Bosnia and Herzegovina’s only beach in Neum.
- Picnic against the backdrop of the Kravice waterfall.
- Climb the peak of Mount Maglić.
Book tours from Montenegro to Bosnia and Herzegovina at unbeatable prices with tour operators “Open Balkans”. An unforgettable vacation awaits you in one of the most undiscovered countries in Europe – interesting excursions, popular ski slopes, delicious cuisine and luxurious beaches.