Among the prejudices we have heard about Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is a particularly tenacious one: Bosnians would be rough, closed people, living in a country always in the grip of conflicts… Obviously, this is totally FALSE! You only have to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina to realize that this country, now at peace, offers an incredible diversity: nature, culture, history… Everything can be found there, and we loved it!
Visa and border crossing
For French citizens
What to see in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Visit the historical cities
Our passage in Bosnia and Herzegovina led us through several cities: Trebinje, Mostar, Konjic, Sarajevo, Zenica, Banja-Luka, Gradiska… But among them, only two will be remembered for their charm and history:
The multi-cultural capital Sarajevo
Assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914 (which will mark the beginning of the 1st World War), Winter Olympic Games in 1984, Sarajevo’s siege during the Independence war (1992-1995)… History, with a capital H, has left many remains in Sarajevo!
Mostar and its legendary bridge
A must-see city well-known for its famous bridge, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and old town architecture made of stone and wood, its cobbled streets, 16th century mosques and old Ottoman-inspired houses… Not forgetting the beautiful Neretva, the blue-green river whose banks welcome you to better admire the bridge!
Discover the unusual Bosnia and Herzegovina
The railway bridge that has been destroyed three times
Did you know that in Jablanica, there is a railway bridge… that has been destroyed 3 times? Taking advantage of a short break on the road along the Neretva river, it was not difficult for us to see this rather… unusual attraction!
Explore the nature
How can we forget the impressive canyon drawn by the Neretva river and the green, almost supernatural water color, that boosts these sad winter landscapes? In Konjic, its tumultuous waters delight rafting enthusiasts during springtime!
Kravica waterfalls (not done)
Just a few kilometers from the Croatian border, you can admire waterfalls of the Trebižat River day and night! A must-see if you travel through the beautiful Herzegovina region!
Jajce (not done)
Another charming village with impressive waterfalls, halfway between Sarajevo and Banja Luka, that our host Amar warmly recommended to us… But that we didn’t have the opportunity to see, because of a very bad weather!
Our hit from Bosnia and Herzegovina
Did you know?…
Bosnia, without forgetting Herzegovina!
We tend to call this country Bosnia by shortcut, but we will have to change our habits: this is Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country that includes the region of Bosnia (northern region, very green with many rivers) and Herzegovina (a mountainous region in the south, more arid).
One country and… 3 communities
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, you will meet Bosnian Muslims, Croatian Catholic and Serbian Orthodox people. These populations do not really mix, like the entities they form and which govern the country: the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Serbian Republic of Bosnia. But that’s not all…
One country and… 3 presidents
Three presidents elected by each community (Bosniac, Croat or Serb) and serving two times 8-month terms each, for a total of 4 years. This unique presidency by each of the three representatives guarantees equality between the communities and is called a triumvirate… but we rather call it a can of worms!
A fragile balance
As you may have guessed, this country’s balance seems very fragile, and tensions are still being felt. What probably shocked us the most was the different school regimes to which some students are subjected (Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian schools): the history of the country is approached in a totally different way, making the reconciliation process very complicated!
Let’s play Raub
Raub is a very popular card game in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose rules are reminiscent of other traditional card games (i.e. tarot): you start at 21 points, the goal is to reach 0 first. The dealer gives two cards to each player, turns one card over to the middle and gives another 2 cards (each player will have 4 cards in hand). To win a round, you must play as many cards of the same suit as the one turned over (called trump). You can retrieve the rules here.
Take off your shoes!
Before entering your Bosnian host’s house, be sure to take off your shoes at the door: small slippers will be lent to you, so don’t worry about your feet!
Traveling alternatively in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Our daily budget (per person): €3.30
- Bank with no extra-fees with a foreign MasterCard: all those we have tried
- Currency: Bosnian Mark (€1 ~ 2 BAM)
It was quite easy for us to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina on a small budget thanks to a not very high cost of living (for a European standard), some locals generosity and hitchhiking working quite well! To enjoy your stay without ruining yourself, we also advise you to:
- Cook fresh products bought in markets (cheaper and better than in supermarket!) or picnicking, with fresh pastries such as burek sold in the bakery or delicious ajvar to spread on bread.
- Enjoy the Free Tour in Sarajevo, a tip-based 2-hour tour by a certified guide!
2,30 – 2,60 BAM
Hitchhiking in Bosnia and Herzegovina (don’t hesitate to join the hitchhikers community on the Facebook group Hitchhiking Balkan) has proved to be relatively easy, as the practice seems to be quite widespread even among locals. On average, the wait did not exceed 30 minutes. In case you have some issues, carpooling solutions are available through the Facebook group Trazim-Nudim prevoz (beware, most of the posts are in Serbo-Croatian or Bosnian! Look for posts beginning with “Nudim” = offer)
As for hospitality, you will find several offers on the traditional hosting networks or volunteering websites. Otherwise, Bosnians are very hospitable people: you won’t have any problem to be invited!
In the end, we keep a very good memory of our passage in Bosnia and Herzegovina and honestly, we were always very well received in this country, even to the point of being interviewed by a local journalist for our first interview abroad during our stay in Konjic.
And what about our tops? Here they are:
More about Bosnia and Herzegovina:
* Post written according to our personal experience *