Bosnia & Herzegovinia
An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983.
Standing at the western edge of the Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina combines beautiful mountain scenery and enchanting rural charm. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s rich history has left its mark on the country, with a mix of Ottoman and Slavic influences represented in the country’s architecture, cuisine and culture. Join Odyssey Traveller as we take you on a journey through this fascinating country.
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. The bus network in Bosnia and Herzegovina is fairly extensive, with bus routes covering the length of the country. Train services are also available, though are slower and are more limited in both availability and transportation coverage.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography environment and weather
Bosnia and Herzegovina covers an area of 51,197 square kilometres, and is almost entirely landlocked, with only 20 kilometres of coastline along the Adriatic Sea. The region of Bosnia comprises nearly four-fifths of nation’s territory, with Herzegovina constituting the southernmost portion of the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina is largely mountainous, with mountain ranges such as the Dinaric Alps and the Kozara, Vlašic, Plješevica ranges criss-crossing the country. Much of Bosnia and Herzegovina is covered by forest, with forest making up two-fifths of the country’s surface.
Aside from the Mediterranean climate experienced in the country’s far south, most of Bosnia and Herzegovina experiences a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Depending on when you intend to travel, check the weather reports and dress accordingly.
World Heritage sites
There are 3 properties in Bosnia and Herzegovina listed on the World Heritage List. You can view the listed properties here: (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/ba). Bosnia’s listed properties include:
Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad, which stands as an outstanding example of Ottoman-era civil engineering
Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar, which features a striking mix of medieval Bosnian and Ottoman-era architectural sytles
Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards, which contain thousands of distinctive medieval limestone tombstones.
Festivals and events
Numerous festivals and events dot the calendar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the largest cultural events in the country is Bascarsija Nights. Held during the month of July in Sarajevo, Bascarsija Nights features many live performances, including opera, ballet, and theatrical shows, as well as film screenings and literary evenings. Summer on the Vrabas, an athletic carnival held in July, plays hosts to many sporting competitions, including soccer, basketball, beach volleyball, diving, and even competitive fishing. For a glimpse of the region’s medieval past, the Stolačka Tarča festival is worth a look. A medieval fair held in the town of Vidoško, it features archaelogical displays, dance performances and mock fights between costumed performers.
Bosnia, by Ivan Lovrenović
Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Bradt Travel Guide, by Tim Clancy
The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return, by Kenan Trebincevic and Susan Shapiro
Bosnia in Limbo: Testimonies from the Drina River, by Borja Lasheras
Eating and Drinking
Bosnian cuisine bears many of the hallmarks of Balkan culinary traditions, as well as incorporating influences from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Ćevapi, which is a sausage made from grilled minced meat, is the most popular street in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is generally served with pita bread, chopped onions and sour cream. A common accompaniment to many meals in Bosnia and Herzegovina is ajvar, a relish made from red peppers. Stews feature prominently in Bosnian cooking, including djuvec (an oven-baked stew made with onion, tomatoes, eggplant, and meat such as chicken or lamb) and begova čorba (a slow-cooked chicken and vegetable stew). Sweeter offerings include tufahija, which is poached apples stuffed with walnuts, and baklava, which is a layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and honey.
Like elsewhere in the Balkans, coffee is immensely popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is often enjoyed with meals or served to guests as a sign of hospitality. Stronger beverages found in Bosnia and Herzegovina include slivovitz (plum brandy) and medovina (mead).
Health and safety
Generally speaking, Bosnia and Herzegovina is safe to travel in, though always exercise common sense while travelling. Be advised however that land mines and unexploded ordanance is an occasional hazard, especially in more remote areas in the mountains and the country.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. The electricity supply in Bosnia and Herzegovina runs at 230V and 50Hz. Bosnia and Herzegovina uses Type C and Type F electric plugs, so make sure you have the right travel adaptor with you.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a single time zone, Central European Standard Time (UTC+1). Daylight savings in Bosnia commence on the last Sunday of March, and conclude on the last Sunday of October.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services. Tipping is not obligatory in Bosnia and Herzegovina, though it is always appreciated. It is fairly common to round up the bill for taxis and bar services, while in upscale restaurants a 10% tip can be left if you feel particularly pleased with the sevice.
Wifi is widely available in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and should be freely accessible in most hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Bosnia. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Responsible travel tips for Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although some locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of convertible marks in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.