Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country located in South Eastern Europe, is probably one of the most underrated travel destinations in Europe - the world even. Beautiful architecture, breathtaking scenery, scrumptious food (yes, the best Muslim-friendly eateries you have to visit), friendly locals, and many more! What makes Bosnia so unique is the fact that its culture and architecture are heavily influenced by both the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian Empires?
Get ready because once you’re done reading this article, you will most definitely want to immediately pack your bags and book flight tickets to Bosnia – this I guarantee!
1. Stari Most, Mostar
Ahh, the Mostar bridge. The first thing you will see when you Google “Bosnia” – and I’ll tell you why. It’s beyond beautiful. The bridge was built by a prominent architect during the Ottoman Empire but was unfortunately destroyed during the devastating civil war in Bosnia in the 90’s. It has been rebuilt after the war and is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Credit: The World on Facebook
I can only tell you one thing about the Mostar bridge: the photos you see of it do the bridge absolutely no justice whatsoever. I have seen photos of the bridge everywhere and it’s so much more beautiful in person. Not gonna lie - a tear or two rolled down my cheeks the first time I laid eyes on the bridge.
Not to mention the unbelievable view you have from both sides when you’re on the bridge itself.
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes surrounding the bridge, I highly recommend having lunch or coffee there (or both, really). There are, on both sides of the bridge, long rows of shops that sell souvenirs so you can bring a little piece of Mostar home with you?
#HHWT Tip: For the best views, walk around and look for mosques (there are a few around the area). Pay them a visit and climb up the minaret (you may have to pay but it’s nothing too expensive) and you can have a view of the Mostar bridge as gorgeous as this:
2. Tekija Blagaj
Blagaj is an old village (about 30 minutes drive from Mostar) and the Tekija is a Dervish monastery on the side of the cliff, on the basin of the River Buna.
A place so serene and beautiful in its stillness, this place is a must see for those visiting Mostar? Add this to your travel bucket list and I promise you - you will not regret it.
There’s just something about the crystal blue waters, the beautiful white stoned cave and the simplicity of the place as a whole. The simplicity of it all is exactly where the beauty lies.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby that offer you delicious authentic (not to mention relatively affordable) Bosnian food with a view you will remember all your life?
3. Kravice Waterfall
The Kravice waterfall is breathtaking; a very well known place for swimming and picnic and is frequently visited by tourists all over the world during summer. It is quickly becoming the top places to visit in Bosnia, alongside Sarajevo and Mostar.
There are many cafes and restaurants that offer scrumptious food with a view of the crystal clear water and the crashing waterfall. There are countless of shady places surrounding the waterfall for picnics, which is highly recommended for families with kids and the elderly!
Swimming or dipping your toes into the water is the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day, however swimming during days other than in summer will be extremely cold – do it at your own risk!
Sarajevo - Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital city is definitely a must see for every single individual who visits Bosnia. The well-established coexistence in Sarajevo has led to a very unique, rich and enchanting mix of cultures, which is the main reason why the number of tourists here is on the rise?
During an easy ten-minute stroll through the center of the town, you’ll see Orthodox and Catholic churches, mosques and synagogues all at the same time – precisely the reason why Sarajevo’s most popular nickname is European Jerusalem, which serves as a model of coexistence in Europe.
Here are some of the key places you have to visit when in Sarajevo:
Baščaršija is a bazaar located in Bosnia’s capital city, Sarajevo, and is one of Bosnia’s main tourist attractions!
It’s my personal favorite place to visit when I go back to Bosnia, simply because you automatically feel like you’ve been transformed to the Medieval Age.
You can shop for souvenirs for your family and friends back home, or just for yourself ?
You can also sit down, have a cup of Bosnian coffee (which is something you have to try if you’re a caffeine addict such as myself) or a plate of ćevapi – a Bosnian delicacy consisting of beef “sausages”, bread, onions and if you’re adventurous, a cup of yoghurt.
Žuta Tabija (directly translates to “Yellow Fortress”), which is just a short 20-ish minute walk from Baščaršija. It is a fortress up a mountain with a view of Sarajevo that no words of mine can ever describe how stunning it is.
Vrelo Bosne (directly translated to Bosnia Spring), is a park which has breathtaking landscape and crystal clear pools of water from River Bosna that is situated at the outskirts of Sarajevo.
Entrance is extremely cheap and definitely worth every penny! A must see for someone who loves being surrounded by nature and animals☺️ There are plenty of ducks and swans you can feed and you mustn’t forget to ride the horse carriages through the tree-line lane.
You have to pay extra for this but hey, why not spend a little extra for something that’ll make you feel like a king/queen for 10 minutes on the horse carriage, am I right? ?
5. Fortress Stari Grad, Travnik
Travnik itself is a wonderful city, especially the old town where the fortress is located. It’s a well preserved town, with a rich history and unique architecture. It truly is a remarkable and an unforgettable place to see!
The fortress resembles an important part of Bosnian history, specifically the history of the town and region. It captures the influences of the past rule, particularly the Ottoman Empire. It’s a little bit of a climb to enter the fortress and for a very small fee, you can enter the fortress and see everything from within!
And let me tell you, the view of Travnik once you’ve climbed to the top of the fortress, is breathtaking ?
6. Vlašić and Bjelašnica Mountain
Both these mountains are arguably Bosnia’s most popular mountains. Vlašić is more popular during the warmer months, and Bjelašnica is more popular during the colder months. I would recommend planning your visit to the mountains around this time!
Vlašić is located in the very centre of Bosnia, and is very near to Travnik. Horse riding, biking and hiking are the most popular activities to do here☺️
It’s a magnificent place to go for someone who loves being surrounded by nature! The view you get when you’re driving to the mountain is unreal, too. Make sure to make multiple stops when you’re on your way to the mountain to take photos and believe me when I say your friends and family will be amazed when you show them the photos. I know mine were!
Bjelašnica mountain is a mountain very popular among the locals in Bosnia all year long but especially during winter time. This mountain did, after all, host the men’s alpine skiing events during the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo?
You can go sledding, skiing, paragliding, hiking and so much more! The nature, tall trees, clean air – everything about this mountain is simply spectacular ?
Don't worry if you're visiting during the warmer months - there are stil countless of trails where you can go hiking and biking!
7. Pliva Waterfall
Locals claim the Pliva Waterfall to be “among the 12 most beautiful waterfalls in the world”. I don’t know the credibility of this claim but I honestly agree! The Pliva waterfalls, located in the Bosnian town of Jajce is truly dreamlike ?
The best thing about this waterfall is that it is beautiful all year long, regardless of the weather. There is a small park surrounding it where you can take a stroll with the sound of the waterfall in the background. It's simply magical!
Don't miss out on the watermills, which are around a 10-minute walk from the waterfall. They look like unique little houses but are actually old mills with propellers inside. Though they’re around 200 years old, they are still functioning!
8. Rafting on Neretva River, Konjic
This is not necessarily something to see, but it’s something you have to do when in Bosnia. This one’s more for the adventurous folks out there! Neretva River is well known for its whitewater rafting adventures and is among the best outdoor activities in Bosnia.
The usual length of rafting path is 25km, starting from Glavatičevo Village to Konjic and passes through a stunningly beautiful canyon, with the view of the waterfalls. The water extremely clear, the nature breathtaking, the experience unforgettable. Give this one a go and I promise you won’t regret it!
I personally think that a tour guide is necessary for this experience, and highly recommend this tour guide. He is a professional in what he does so you’re definitely in safe hands! The price depends on the number of people, and is very reasonable. The offer typically includes transportation, barbecue lunch, rafting safety equipment, coffee break, insurance, photo-shoot and many more!
Pocitelj is a small town about 30 kilometres to the south of Mostar and is a stunning medieval town which truly makes you feel like you’ve travelled back in time to the Ottoman days, with the old houses made of stone and thick stoned walls very well maintained over the years.
It would be useful to keep in mind that going around this town requires a lot of climbing and walking! Climbing up to the fort and mosque on the top is something tourists typically do and there’s a reason for it – the view you get up there is absolutely amazing ?
You can see the Neretva river with piercingly green nature surrounding the town (if you go during the warmer months, of course). This is definitely an experience you will never forget!
Srebrenica isn’t typically a town tourists visit when on holiday in Bosnia, because of its sensitive nature as well as history to Bosnians. But I added Srebrenica to this list as I believe that though Bosnia is a beautiful country, everyone should still be aware of its dark, historical episodes because “those who do not know history are only doomed to repeat it" - Edmund Burke.
Visit the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial, which is a very powerful and moving memorial-cemetery complex in Srebrenica set up to honour the 8,372 Muslim victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.
Its location and compactness give you a very deep emotional experience. Just walking around the graves of the victims moves you into another dimension. The memorial site is surrounded with beautiful nature so it’s rather hard to believe that the horrible crime against humanity had been committed there.
#HHWT Tip: While you're here, patronise the souvenir shops surrounding the memorial site as your purchases can help support the survivors and the mothers of the victims.
Author's note: Photos are mostly taken by my father, my sister and myself during our Bosnia trip during the Summer of 2016. Others are taken by Nedim and Ehlimana on Instagram – their work is incredible and very underrated!
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