Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most underrated countries in Europe. Hidden in the shadow of more popular neighbors, especially Croatia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina also has a lot to offer and is worth your time and effort to get there.
While the majority of tourists go to Sarajevo and Mostar only you will find so many other interesting cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I put together for you the list of best places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina that will hopefully inspire you to travel to this amazing country.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is like a drug to me. From the very first visit I fell in love with the country and I keep returning there on every occasion, sometimes even a few times per year. While I mostly spend my time in Sarajevo I’m always on a hunt for new things to see in Bosnia.
I was lucky to explore Bosnia a bit but there are still few places I have to go to – that’s why I asked fellow bloggers and travelers for help so I could create the most comprehensive list for you (and I’m sure some places are still missing here).
Is it safe to travel to Bosnia?
But before I tell you about what to visit in Bosnia let’s start with the most important thing – safety.
As we all know Bosnia and Herzegovina was in the very center of the cruel Yugoslav War in the 1990s and made it to the news around the world often at that time. Learning about Sarajevo history only is heartbreaking but the whole country was a scene of the tragic events.
That said the war has ended over 20 years ago and, even if you can still see numerous remnants around, Bosnia safety is not an issue for travelers anymore. Getting around and sightseeing, especially in the most popular locations, is just fine. Use your common sense and remember about the normal precautions and you will be good. Well, I should mention my passport was stolen from my backpack in the old town in Sarajevo but I don’t blame the city for it as this could have happened just about everywhere…
There is just one thing that you should be cautious about when visiting Bosnia – landmines from the wartime. The clearing is underway but there are still few thousands of mines located all over the country, most often in the remote areas. So keep in mind that wandering freely in the forest or field is not always the best idea in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even mountains around Sarajevo are not the safest area but going to the well-known places like the bobsled track is all good.
Best places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina
But let’s leave serious things behind and talk about best places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina, shall we?
The capital of the country and one of the most fascinating cities in Europe – Sarajevo is a must when you visit Bosnia and Herzegovina! This is literally where East meets West and a distinctive sign on the street tells you exactly when that happens. Within a few minutes’ walk you can find the Catholic cathedral, the Orthodox cathedral, the mosque, and the synagogue.
For such a low-key city Sarajevo has been in the center of the turbulent history too many times: that’s where the World War First started, that’s where 1984 Winter Olympic Games took place, that’s where the longest siege in the modern history took place. You can see the remnants of these events spread all over the city.
For me Sarajevo is the city of sunsets – they are the most stunning here and the amazing location, in the narrow and long valley with surrounding mountains around, helps to admire the colors in the sky.
Click on the posts below to read more about Sarajevo:
Technically it’s a suburb of Sarajevo where you can get easily by tram. Ilidza is known for being a spa and for its charming park with recreational area and spring of River Bosna. To get there you have to cross a long alley lined with trees that is closed for vehicles and only every now and then a carriage from the Austria-Hungary times passes by (if you don’t feel like walking you can take the carriage for the ride, the price should be around 10 marks).
In Ilidza you will also find old, fancy hotels from the turn of the 19th and 20th century – in one of them the Archduke Franz Ferdinand spent his last night before being assassinated on 28th July 1914 (this event is known as the beginning of World War I).
Mostar is a legend and probably the best-known city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of us have seen the pictures of the Ottoman old bridge hanging above the turquoise waters of the Neretva river. Sadly Mostar was also a scene of the cruel war and the famous bridge, built in the 16th century, was destroyed on 9th November 1993.
The Old Bridge and its beautiful surroundings made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005. The best place to admire the area is from the minaret of Koskin-Mehmed Pasha’s Mosque – climbing up can be a bit thrilling but it’s worth the view!
Mostar is more than just the Old Bridge so be sure to see also other parts of the city, especially the Sniper’s Tower and the park with the statue of Bruce Lee!
Located not far from Mostar, Blagaj is known for the spring of Buna river (that goes directly from the rocks) and the Dervish monastery built in 1520. Both of these are located next to each other, creating a very photogenic spot, especially when you stand across the river from the monastery.
While you’re there it’s possible to visit the Dervish house inside too to admire well preserved Ottoman and Dervish remnants and see the place from another perspective.
It’s actually easy to miss Pocitelj when driving to/from Mostar – the town is glued to the hill and the stone buildings might disappear in the lush green vegetation. The peak of the prosperity for Pocitelj came between the 16th and 18th century and you can find remnants of the medieval and Ottoman architecture here.
It feels like the time has stopped in this fortified town, if you’re lucky you can have the place mostly to yourself and that’s the best way to fall in love with Pocitelj. For such a small town there are surprisingly many sights to see: houses, mosque and the ruins of the fortress. From the last one you can admire views of Pocitelj and the surrounding area.
This is one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Located close to the border with Croatia and not far from Mostar, Kravica Waterfall is a popular attraction and a summer getaway for both tourists and locals. As soon as you will see the place you will understand why – the area is just stunning!
In the summer time, Kravica is a busy spot but it can be a blessing in the hot day. You can easily spend here a few solid hours: swimming, relaxing and just enjoying the place. There are bars and restaurants on the spot so you don’t need to worry about such trivial things.
A little gem located not far from Dubrovnik, Trebinje is such a pleasant city to visit. With the population of a bit over 30.000, no one is in hurry here and you can spend an enjoyable time just wandering around the old town with the Ottoman architecture or relaxing in one of the cafes in the shadow of plane trees Trebinje is known for.
For the best view of the town head to the Nova Gracanica monastery (copy of the monastery with the same name from Kosovo) – it’s located on the hill that offers a beautiful panorama of Trebinje and surroundings.
Located in the very center of the country Travnik is a surprisingly pleasant city, worth spending at least a day in. Dating to the beginning of AD, the times of the prosperity in Travnik happened between the end of the 17th century and mid-19th century when the town was the capital of the governors of Bosnia.
Today you can visit the impressive fortress offering an amazing view of the city and surroundings as well as admire numerous buildings from the Ottoman times. Travnik is the only city in Bosnia and Herzegovina with two clock towers, it is also known for the colorful mosque that is among the most unique ones in the country.
It is also said that the best cevapi in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in Travnik – I’m a vegetarian so I can’t confirm it but the smell of the grilled meat was present all over the center.
I spent two days in Travnik and enjoyed them a lot – it was such a perfect place to slow down and just enjoy the place.
Not far from Travnik you can find Jajce – another picturesque, laid-back town. The center is surrounded by walls, with the citadel built high above. It’s worth to climb there to admire the beautiful view of the town and the surrounding area.
While I preferred Travnik, I enjoyed Jajce too. It was so calm and quiet, such a pleasant destination. Don’t miss the little waterfall just below the town’s center too – it’s best seen from across the river.
Technically I didn’t visit the city (even if I really wanted to but the public transport connections are really poor) but I did saw its biggest attraction – the Ottoman bridge over the Drina river. This UNESCO listed site is famous thanks to the Nobel prize winner – Ivo Andric – and his bestseller book “The Bridge on the Drina”.
The famous bridge is indeed spectacular but there is more to see in Visegrad. The town has a stunning location, surrounded by lush hills. Visegrad is also home to Andricgrad – an artificial town dedicated to Ivo Andric and created by the famous movie director Emir Kusturica.
Una National Park
Una National Park is the youngest of the three national parks in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Established in 2008, the park has plenty to see and do, and it’s one of the country’s leading natural attractions. A region characterized by clear rivers, ancient forests and karst formations, Una National Park, boasts a tremendous variety of wildlife.
In addition to all this natural wealth, there’s also a fascinating cultural-historical side to Una National Park from archaeological sites to religious buildings. One great spot in the park is Martin Brod, located at the confluence of the Una and Unac Rivers. The name of the area means ‘Marta’s Boat.’
According to a local tale, the area is named after a young girl, who fell in love with a curly-haired man who lived on the opposite side of the river. Marta’s disapproving parents refused their love, and one day when Marta was sneaking across the river to meet him, she tragically drowned while crossing the river to reach her lover.
But the key must-see sight in the park its the Štrbački Buk Waterfall. Štrbački Buk, a collection of spectacular waterfalls and cascades which is the place to be for all photographers as it’s the tallest waterfall you can access in the national park.
Contributed by SJ from Chasing the Donkey
One of the longest and deepest canyons in the world, the Tara Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must see destination for outdoor lovers. The final sections of the canyon form the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. Due to the canyon’s location and depth, the best way to experience the canyon is from the water, on the Tara River.
The Tara River cuts through the canyon and is a popular destination for white water rafting in the summer months. With crystal clear blue water, dense forest to the water’s edge, sheer cliffs and waterfalls to see along the way, hopping in a raft to float down the river is a rewarding and memorable experience.
There are a number of rafting companies with accommodation set up on both sides of the border alongside the river. The rafting season runs from April till October, with the highest water flows between April and June for extreme adventure seekers. The best time for families is between July and September when the lower water levels offer a gentler trip down the river.
Contributed by Rachel from Adventure and Sunshine
The sleepy town of Stolac can be found on the road from Mostar to Montenegro and Dubrovnik on the banks of the Begrava River in Bosnia (BiH). Right in the centre of town is Čaršija Mosque with it’s captivating full frontage mural. The mosque, along with most of Stolac’s historical buildings, was destroyed in the fighting of 1993. It has been painstakingly and beautifully rebuilt from original material.
Take a pretty upstream riverside walk to Ćuprija Mosque and the cute stone Inat Ćuprija bridge with it’s three stone mill-races. Downstream from Čaršija Mosque a switchback track leads up to the ruined Vidoška Fortress and great views.
The Mostar road passes through the striking Radimlja Necropolis, 3km west of Stolac. Make time to look at the 110 grave markers. They are an unforgettable sight.
6.5km west of town, Badanj Cave has paleolithichorse drawings dated as 16,000 BC. Don’t be fooled by the small size of the site as this is one of few similar sites in the whole of Europe and by the way, a good spot for a BYO picnic.
War is never far from the surface in BiH and 33.2 km from Stolac on the road to Ljubinje is a stark reminder in the bombed out village of Žegulga.
Contributed by Jan from Budget Travel Talk
Less than 40 years ago, Medjugorje was just a tiny village with a small Croat population in the Herzegovina region. But in 1981, six children playing on a hill saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary and now Medjugorje is a city catering to 1,000’s of Catholic pilgrims a year. The Catholic Church hasn’t accepted Medjugorje as a sacred site and the Pope has not visited, but Popes have sent envoys to visit and it certainly doesn’t stop the pilgrims from coming.
At the center of town is the large church with seating for 100’s. The church also has outdoor seating and confession booths in multiple European languages. In the garden behind the church are statues and mosaic grottos.
The most famous statue is the “Statue of the Risen Christ”. This bronze statue attracts pilgrims because it has been “crying” for some time. First, a liquid started dripping from his knee. On my recent visit, there were infrequent drips coming from the left hip of Jesus, with pilgrims trying to catch them in a napkin.
The energetic can hike up Apparition Hill, where there have been multiple visions of Mary after the original discovery by the children. Dozens of gift shops in town sell any sort of relic you want from rosary crosses to life size Virgin Mary statues.
Even if you are not Catholic, Medjugorje makes an interesting stop on a Herzegovina itinerary.
Contributed by Lisa from The Hotflashpacker
For a visit to a place in which time stands still, Lukomir should be on your list. Situated high above the tree line in the mountains above the Olympic ski jump venue outside of Sarajevo, Lukomir is so remote that the Serbs deemed it of no strategic value during the 1990s war. As such, it is an intact time capsule.
Home to semi-nomadic Muslim herders, the village’s buildings are low-slung with steep pitched roofs to accommodate the region’s heavy snowfall. Most of the residents relocate during winter to the city, but during the summer when you visit, life goes on in the way it has for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
It’s best to visit Lukomir with an organized tour, as the access is rugged. Don’t miss the ancient medieval stecci gravestones in the cemetery at the edge of town. You’ll also want to climb the ridges and perhaps hike the cliffside trail for incredible, high-altitude viewing of the Rakitnica Canyon, part of the Dinaric Alpine range.
Locals will want to invite you in for a coffee, or to view their hand-crafted knitted goods. There is a small “restaurant” in the village where you can enjoy a taste of local burek served with a fresh, liquid yogurt drink. Overnight stays can be arranged as well, in a comfortable communal building with basic amenities.
Contributed by Betsy from PassingThru
Located about halfway between Mostar and Sarajevo, Konjic is a pretty little town most tourists haven’t heard of. But that doesn’t mean you should skip it!
Konjic is most known for being the location of Tito’s bunker. During the 1950s, Josip Tito, the ruler of Yugoslavia, had an impressive underground bunker built as an escape in case of nuclear attack. The idea was that he and some of the elite could hide out down there and survive the aftermath, if such a crisis occurred. Today you can take a tour to see it just on the outskirts of Konjic.
If you’re more into outdoor activities, you can find several rafting tours in Konjic along the Neretva River, as well as hiking trails and waterfalls. The town itself is cute and calm. You could easily enjoy a few hours wandering through the local fresh market to buy some local produce, strolling along the river and admiring the old bridge, and relaxing at a cafe with a pretty view of the town.
Contributed by Ali from Ali’s Adventures
A few years ago the military airport in Tuzla opened up to Europe’s budget airlines making it possible to start or end your trip in Bosnia in the small town of Tuzla. It is only 3 hours away from Sarajevo, but it is a destination in its own right that is worth to visit for a day or two.
Tuzla is one of Bosnia’s most multicultural cities and the third largest in the country. It is famous for its salt lakes and one of them is in the center of the city offering a great place to swim in summer. The old town is small, but beautiful and a great place to wander through the colorful streets and visit one of the mosques.
Few foreign tourists decide to stay in Tuzla and therefore it feels like a hidden gem. Your visit will be a very local experience. There are plenty of popular restaurants to try Bosnian food and people are very friendly. If you prefer off the beaten path places, Tuzla will be a very worthwhile city to explore.
Contributed by Ellis from Backpack Adventures
Traveling to Bosnia – practical information
How to get to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Unfortunately getting to Bosnia and Herzegovina isn’t the easiest but also not impossible. There are three international airports: Sarajevo (served by traditional airlines as well as Wizzair flights from Budapest), Tuzla (with Wizzair flights from numerous destinations) and Banja Luka (with Ryanair flights from Belgium, Germany and Sweden). You can find the best deals on flights to Bosnia and Herzegovina here.
Of course the best would be to fly to Sarajevo as the airport is well connected with the city and from the capital you can get to most of the places in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If you happen to book a flight to Tuzla keep in mind that sometimes getting out of the airport is more expensive than the plane ticket itself – no matter if you opt for the transfer directly to Sarajevo or to the city of Tuzla.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is neighbors with Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro and there are some decent international bus connections from all these countries. When searching for buses to Sarajevo you might look for Istocno Sarajevo too – the east part of the city that is already in Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic -that is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina), the bus station there serves most of the connections from Serbia and Montenegro.
Currently there are no international train connections to/from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Getting around Bosnia and Herzegovina
The best way to get around Bosnia and Herzegovina is by car really so if you can – rent a car and drive around. This way you can really see a lot! You can compare prices and rent a car here.
If, like me, you need to rely on public transport then in most of the cases buses will be your default mode of transportation. There is at least one connection per day between main cities, the buses aren’t the newest one but they are fine enough and the journey, even when it lasts few hours, is comfortable enough to survive.
There is only one issue with travelling around Bosnia and Herzegovina by bus. As you probably know the country is divided into Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbian Republic and the connections between these two parts are almost no-existent. Even if it’s not too far away you can’t really go for a day trip from Sarajevo to Visegrad or Trebinje, you need to plan everything carefully.
If you plan to go from Sarajevo to Mostar or the opposite direction you should take the train. This is one of the most scenic railway journeys in Europe. This is actually the only train connection you should consider in Bosnia and Herzegovina – the railway network is very poor and the trains, except this one, are rather slow and old.
Is Bosnia and Herzegovina expensive?
To give you a quick answer – no, it is not. The local currency is Bosnian mark, 1 Euro is 1,955 BAM. You can easily take money from ATM, there are plenty of them around. Just be careful as some of the ATM might charge you a fee.
Some of the example prices:
- Sarajevo – Mostar bus ticket: 20 BAM
- Cevapi for lunch: under 10 BAM
- Croissant in the bakery: 1 BAM
- Burek in the bakery: 2 BAM
- Small bottle of Coca-Cola: 1 BAM
- Big bottle of water: under 1 BAM
- Cable car in Sarajevo: 20 BAM for the return ticket
- Tram ticket in Sarajevo: 1,60 BAM
- Bottle of local beer: 1 BAM
Best time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina
I would personally plan my Bosnia trip for early/late summer, like June or September. The popular destinations are less crowded (although it seems like there are always tourists in Mostar) and, what’s most important, summer in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be really hot and dry. Visiting Bosnia at that time can be a real challenge. If you can travel to Bosnia off-season then do it.
If you’re looking for the best Bosnia travel guide I can recommend Bradt – they always have very well researched books on less known destinations and I use them wherever I can. You can get your copy on Amazon – click here!
You can also read more about Bosnia and Herzegovina in those articles I wrote:
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