Craggily beautiful Bosnia and Hercegovina is most intriguing for its East-meets-West atmosphere born of blended Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian histories filtered through a Southern Slavic lens. Many still associate the country with the heartbreaking civil war of the 1990s, and the scars from that time are all too visible. But today’s visitors are likely to remember the country for its deep, unassuming human warmth, its beautiful mountains, numerous medieval castle ruins, raftable rivers, impressive waterfalls and bargain-value skiing.
Major drawcards include the reincarnated historical centres of Sarajevo and Mostar, counterpointing splendid Turkish-era stone architecture with quirky bars, inviting street-terrace cafes, traditional barbecue restaurants and vibrant arts scenes. There’s plenty of interest to discover in the largely rural hinterland too, all at prices that make the country one of Europe’s best-value destinations.
Eating and Drinking
Food. You will find that the region’s traditional cuisine exhibits Turkish influences, with plenty of grilled meat dishes. You may want to try national specialities such as jagnjetina (flame-grilled lamb or mutton), bosanski ionac (meat stew cooked on an open fire), cevapcici (small sausages made from a lamb and beef mix), burek (layered meat or cheese pie made with filo pastry), Baklava (sweet nuts and honey in pastry) and tufahije (apple cake).
Drink. Spirits made from fruit are popular, so look out for sljivovica (homemade plum brandy) and ioza (made from grapes).
Turkish-style coffee is also widely available. Popular wines to try are zilavka (white) and blatina (red). All drinks such as bottled water or soft drinks are at your own expense at all times and are fairly inexpensive. Alcoholic drinks vary in price, with wine and beer generally being the cheapest options.
It is customary to give round up the taxi fare and leave an extra 1-2 Euro extra at restaurants. Tipping guides at the end of excursions is always appreciated and your tour leader will advise you on the amount for this.
The Australian Government provides up to date information on the safety of travelling to various countries, and all travellers should take note of this advice. Liberty Tours recommends that all travellers take out appropriate Travel Insurance to cover the entire duration of their absence from home. Liberty Tours can assist with obtaining Travel Insurance.
Advice on health risks and vaccination recommendations can also be found using the same link.
The best time to visit most of Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely the towns in the hilly area and in the inland northern plain, is from June to September. Given that some hot days are possible in July and August, you may prefer June and September if you don’t like the heat. The summer weather is often sunny, but thunderstorms can break out in the afternoon. Normally, nights are cool.
The short coastal stretch, because of its Mediterranean climate, is good for a beach holiday in summer (especially in July and August).
In the lower valley of the Neretva River, in Mostar or Medjugorje, where the climate is almost Mediterranean, you can choose May, June, and September. In July and August, rainfall is rare, but it can sometimes be hot. From October to April, and therefore even in winter, the weather is usually mild, but sometimes it’s windy, and in addition, the rains are abundant.
What to pack
In winter: for Sarajevo and inland areas, bring warm clothes, such as a sweater, a down jacket, a hat, gloves, and a raincoat or umbrella. For the plain of Mostar and the coast: warm clothes, such as a sweater, a coat, and a raincoat or umbrella.
In summer: bring light clothes, T-shirts, but also long pants, a light jacket and a sweatshirt for the evening and for cooler days, especially in inland areas; an umbrella.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one hour ahead of Greenwich Meant Time
220 volts AC, 50 Hz. Two-ping plugs are in use
Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. The Croats and Bosniaks use the Latin alphabet, whereas the Serbs use the Cyrillic.
45% Muslim, 36% Orthodox, 15% Roman Catholic, 4% Protestants, Jews, and other denominations.