Often overlooked for nations such as Croatia and Bulgaria, Bosnia may be your biggest surprise if you’re travelling through Europe. With unbelievable architecture, picturesque scenery and a deep, interesting history. It’s also your crossover from West to Eastern Europe, as tourism is finally starting to boom in this ‘untapped’ country. Have a read through my list of things to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Image by Milo van Kovacevic
This isn’t one that will be pointed out straight away in your tourist book. The population is low in the area and it might only keep you occupied for a day or two, but this is a must-see if you’re in the country. With the views overlooking the Neretva river, you can spend the day exploring the fort ruins.
It is blindingly obvious this area was ruled over by the Ottoman empire, with the stone buildings styled just how you would imagine. Unfortunately, many of these buildings were damaged during the Bosnian war, only 25 (ish) years ago. Now we can however be grateful that UNESCO has named it a World heritage site, meaning its cultural heritage will be protected for the foreseeable future.
2) Mostari Stari Most
Image by Jennifer Boyer
Close to Pocitelj on your travels, this was another one which took the brunt of the war in 1993, however it was rebuilt in 2004 and is now a national monument. Mostar is a very small town, with incredibly nice people, however I’d stay a few extra days here. There are a huge amount of people that visit the place for a single day, but I don’t think they get to truly experience the city, so if you can you should aim to stay for 2-3 days.
3) Kravice Waterfalls
Image by Brian Eager
Whether you like to swim or not, this is a brilliant place to spend the day. I find the waterfalls incredibly therapeutic, while it’s hard to stop myself from jumping in every five seconds. The hotels around the waterfalls are a little bit pricey, as they know you are limited on choice, but they are very good at arranging transportation and guidance around the tourist attraction. One word of warning, try to visit when the water is a bit warmer. It would be cruel to go all the way there and not to jump in because it was a little bit nippy.
4) Sarajevo Film Festival
Image by Filmfestival Linz
Occuring every year in August, if you happen to be there then you should embrace the community feel and have a few cheeky drinks while you’re there. You might not understand the language, but some of the films have English subtitles and some others are even played in English. Admittedly, the language barrier was an enjoyment barrier for me, but I just loved the atmosphere.
Image by NH53
One of the things Bosnia is known for is its mountainous scenery, offering you the opportunity to rock climb, mountain bike, ski…or just plain hike. Canyoning has also become a popular activity among tourists, however my fear of heights Is stopping me from giving this a go. Please do send me a picture if you’ve given this a try. I was way too scared! So which area should you be visiting if hiking is your thing? I’d go for Travel Sobek.
6) The River Buna in Blagaj
Image by Martijn.Munneke
Close to Mostar, you will be left gobsmacked with how stunning the view is of Dervish House, alongside the natural springs. Remember to be respectful in the area as it is known for its religious heritage, however this shouldn’t stop you from taking a dip, as it’s the largest karst spring in Europe. It is all topped off with the 200 metre high rock that overlooks the river, creating a perfect backdrop for your photo.
7) Try some Bosnian coffee
Image by Dan Brickley
I’m a massive coffee fan, however there was a pause of confusion when I first ordered one in Bosnia. It came in a copper beaker, with loose ground coffee and oddly shaped sugar put in the mug before I had a choice in the matter. It seems everyone there has sugar in their coffee, so many cafés and restaurants offer creative shapes of sugar, just to add to the holiday feeling. It certainly feels different to your ‘average Joe’ coffee from Starbucks!
Image by Alen Djuderija Photography
As someone who is agnostic, religion doesn’t play an important role in my life, however I’ve always been impressed and fascinated by religious buildings and believe in respect for others religious beliefs. This is what amazes me about Sarajevo, with its cosmopolitan, multi-cultural lifestyle. Nicknamed the ‘Jerusalem of Europe’, due to the blend of religious followings in the capital, you will see mosques, churches and synagogues right next to each other. With everyone living in complete peace and complete respect for one another, this feels like the way it should be. I had a photo of three people in their separate religious clothing talking to each other, sneakily taken outside of a mosque, which I thought was beautiful, however I lost my camera along with all my pics, so sadly it will never see the light of the day (unless the thief uploaded it to their Facebook profile).
9) White Water Rafting
Image by SarahTz
OK, I have something to admit, you will find this on almost all of my lists for destinations that offer this as an activity, as I LOVE white water rafting. It was top of my list of things to do before I die, however I’ve definitely ticked it off several times over. Croatia is well known for some great rivers to go white water rafting in, which is probably why the most well-known one here is Bihac, along the border to Croatia.
10) Neum Beach
Whenever I go on holiday as a group, there is always 1 or 2 people who will demand a beach along the way, so this is for you (who am I kidding, I love a beach). The only beach in Bosnia is Neum, however the quality of the beach certainly makes up for the lack of them. Expect sandy beaches with a hill overlooking, so you can mix walks with a beach day.
So was there anything you felt I missed out? Something you can’t believe didn’t make the list? I will attempt to update this list over time, based on recommendations from you, so please do email me with suggestions!