This summer, add Bosnia and Herzegovina to your travel list!

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With its unspoiled nature, rich history, and welcoming people, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Did you know that the Old Bridge in Mostar, one of the country’s most iconic symbols, is a UNESCO World Heritage site? Or that Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to some of Europe’s last remaining primeval forests?

Introduction to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nestled in the heart of the Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina boasts a rich history and diverse culture. The country offers a wide range of attractions, from historical landmarks to beautiful natural landscapes.

The country’s complex history dates back to ancient times, serving as a crossroads for various cultures and civilizations, including the Romans, Ottomans, and Austro-Hungarians. These influences are still evident in the nation’s architecture, traditions, and customs.

History and culture

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s history is both rich and turbulent, stretching back to prehistoric times. Over the centuries, the region has been ruled by many different powers, including the Romans, Ottomans, and Austro-Hungarians. Each of these dominations has left a lasting mark on the country’s culture, architecture, and traditions.

One of the most striking features of Bosnia and Herzegovina is its cultural diversity. The population comprises various ethnic groups, including Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. This diversity is reflected in the country’s language, religion, cuisine, and music.

Natural beauty and landscapes

Bosnia and Herzegovina is dotted with mountains, lakes, rivers, and national parks. One of the most notable natural attractions is the Neretva River, which flows through the country’s stunning landscape.

Another remarkable destination is Una National Park, renowned for its crystal-clear rivers and waterfalls. Here, you can enjoy activities such as rafting, kayaking, and hiking. The park also offers opportunities to spot rare wildlife, including bears, wolves, and lynxes.

Famous landmarks and tourist attractions

Bosnia and Herzegovina boasts a wealth of famous landmarks and tourist attractions. One of the most iconic is the Old Bridge in Mostar, dating back to the Ottoman period. The bridge is not only an architectural masterpiece but also a symbol of reconciliation and unity after the war in the 1990s.

Another popular destination is Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Sarajevo, you can immerse yourself in the country’s rich history by visiting sites such as the Old Town, the Latin Bridge, and the National Museum. The city is also known for its vibrant cultural scene, hosting festivals, concerts, and art exhibitions throughout the year.

Sarajevo City Hall, photo credit: Pexels / papatyayameftun

Traditional dishes and culinary highlights

Bosnian cuisine is a rich blend of diverse culinary traditions and flavours. One of the most beloved dishes is ćevapi, a type of minced meat roll served with onions and flatbread (lepinja). Other popular dishes include burek, a savoury pastry filled with meat, cheese, or spinach, and klepe, dumplings filled with meat or potatoes.

Bosnian cuisine also makes extensive use of local ingredients such as lamb, beef, potatoes, and peppers. Spices like paprika, cumin, and oregano are often used to flavour dishes. A meal in Bosnia and Herzegovina isn’t complete without a cup of strong Bosnian coffee, served with a sweet treat like baklava.

Adventurous activities and outdoor opportunities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

If you’re an adventure enthusiast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the perfect destination for you. The country offers countless outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, rafting, and mountaineering. One of the most popular spots for adventure seekers is Mount Bjelašnica, renowned for its challenging hiking trails and stunning views.

Another remarkable destination is the Kravica Waterfall, a breathtaking cascade surrounded by lush greenery. Here, you can swim in the crystal-clear waters, relax on the nearby beaches, and take in the pristine natural surroundings.

Popular festivals and events

Bosnia and Herzegovina boasts a vibrant festival scene, with events taking place throughout the year. One of the most renowned festivals is the Sarajevo Film Festival, which annually attracts thousands of filmmakers and film lovers from around the world. The festival serves as a platform for emerging talents and features a wide range of national and international films.

Another popular event is the Mostar Summer Festival, which offers a variety of cultural activities and performances, including theatre, music, and dance. Held in the historic old town of Mostar, the festival draws thousands of visitors each year.

Practical travel tips and information for visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina

If you’re planning a trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are a few practical details to consider. The country experiences a temperate continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters. It’s advisable to bring light clothing for the summer months and warm clothing for the winter season.

The currency used in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Bosnian Convertible Mark (BAM), though euros are also widely accepted. It’s a good idea to carry some cash, especially if you plan to visit remote areas where credit cards might not be accepted.

Travelling from the Netherlands to Bosnia and Herzegovina

To travel from the Netherlands to Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are several options available:

  • Flying via Zagreb: You can fly from Amsterdam to Zagreb and then take a domestic flight from Zagreb to Sarajevo.
  • Flying via Belgrade: Alternatively, you can fly from Amsterdam to Belgrade and then catch a domestic flight from Belgrade to Sarajevo.
  • Direct Flights from Germany or Belgium: Direct flights to Sarajevo are also available from Germany or Belgium.
  • By Car: A road trip through Germany, Austria, and Slovenia to Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful route, with an overnight stay in Austria being a great option for breaking up the journey.
  • By Train and Bus: It’s also possible to combine train and bus travel through Germany, Austria, and Croatia to reach Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Unique and lesser-known attractions

In addition to the well-known landmarks and attractions, Bosnia and Herzegovina also offers some hidden gems that are less frequented by tourists. One such gem is the Sutjeska Canyon, a natural area famous for its steep cliffs and crystal-clear waters. Here, you can hike, swim, and enjoy the tranquillity and beauty of nature.

Another hidden treasure is the town of Jajce, located in the central part of the country. Jajce is known for its historical sites, including the medieval fortress and the impressive Pliva Waterfall. It’s a perfect destination for history and architecture enthusiasts.

Off the beaten path and value for money

Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes visitors with open arms, away from the hustle and bustle of typical tourist hotspots. Here, you will find great value for your money, unspoiled nature, and a warm welcome from the locals. The climate is pleasant, and the scenery is simply stunning!