It’s time to avoid the overcrowded tourist destinations in Europe and head over to Bosnia & Herzegovina; a treasure tucked away between Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro.
As a destination, Bosnia & Herzegovina is hard to beat. It has ancient cities; the east meets west blended culture, iconic bridges, delicious cuisine, all at a meager cost compared to cities like Paris and London.
Some tourists travel into the country from Croatia to Mostar or from Serbia to Visegrad. The easiest option is to fly into Sarajevo, the capital city and start your journey there.
You’ll find a blended east and west culture almost everywhere in Bosnia & Herzegovina, but the historic city of Sarajevo is where eastern and western civilization met and clashed. Today this charming city showcases centuries-old buildings left by the Ottomans and Austrians, and even the cafes exemplify the east and the west.
When in Sarajevo, start your tour with a visit to Bascarsija, the old town. Sarajevo’s historical and cultural center oozes charm and allure. Bascarsija is a Turkish word. It means the main trading center. It was founded in 1460 by the Ottomans, and the Austrians took over in 1878. Both left their mark in the old town. Check out the following in the old town:
- Sebilj – the Moorish fountain
- Husrev-Bey’s Mosque
- Old Synagogue (Jewish Museum)
- Cafes in Bascarsija
- Restaurants serving local fare in Bascarsija
- Gazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque
- The Cathedral of Jesus’ Sacred Heart
We recommend going on a guided walking tour when visiting old town Sarajevo. To learn more about the Siege of Sarajevo, join a Glimpse of the War for a tour that will take you to chilling places like the Tunnel of Hope, the abandoned Sarajevo Bobsleigh track, landmines and more. Hear the chilling stories told by a local as you check out the places related to the war.
For a complete list of things to do in Sarajevo, read our article 7 Best Things to Do in Sarajevo.
Since the summer of 2017, the Talgo trains resumed its service from Sarajevo to Mostar, and it’s the best option if you like traveling independently. For ease of travel, join a tour from Sarajevo to Mostar. This scenic ride through many tunnels from Sarajevo to Mostar offers views of mountains, lakes, rivers, farms, and small towns.
One of the most famous architectural structures in Bosnia & Herzegovina is in Mostar. The Stari Most or Mostar Old Bridge is a stone bridge built by Suleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century. Unfortunately, the original bridge was destroyed during the war in 1993. The reconstructed bridge, completed in 2004 still holds a large audience each year. Tourists from all over the world come to see the unique bridge and to photograph jumpers taking the 78 feet plunge into Neretva River.
Another fun thing to do is hunt for gifts, have coffee and have lunch at Kujundziluk Old Bazaar.
Bosnia & Herzegovina is a land of ancient Ottoman bridges. Besides Stari Most in Mostar, there is the magnificent Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 591 feet in length and has 11 arches. Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge was completed in 1577 is now closed to traffic.
The town of Visegrad is close to the Bosnia/Croatia border.
Located outside of Stolac on the way from Mostar to Dubrovnik is Radimlja, where you’ll find an important Bosnian medieval necropolis. There are 133 tombstones and 63 of which are decorated in bas-relief. These 15th-century tombstones were made of limestones and give a clue into the history of Bosnia prior to Ottoman rule.
Nature lovers will enjoy Kravice Falls or Kravica Waterfall located on the Trebizat River, 25 miles southwest of Mostar. This hidden gem is the mini version of Iguazu Falls. It is a series of waterfalls that plunge from a cliff at 90 feet high into a 400 feet wide natural amphitheater.
There are hardly any visitors at Kravice Falls, making it an excellent spot for relaxation. It’s a perfect swimming spot during warmer months of the year.