Bosnia and Herzegovina is definitely not a top tourism destination in the world, or even in Europe. However, during last two decades the influx of travellers has grown, since the country has become more easily accessible. In 2017 over 1.3 million people visited Bosnia and Herzegovina – that’s the population of Estonia! And the numbers are growing each year. That’s why the best time to visit is now. No kidding.
I won’t write how difficult it was during the war – I wasn’t there. We have all heard about it, but only people who’ve been through that can truly tell you the story. Trust me, if you go there, you’ll pick up a lot about the war – from local people, from your tour guide, in the museums you visit. You’ll see buildings with the bullet holes and places that still haven’t fully recovered. BUT! The war is over and people are moving on, so let’s not think of this beautiful country as a war-zone: it was over 20 years ago. B&H is safe, it’s beautiful and it’s waiting for you to come!
While we drove around B&H, we visited quite a few places. Here we put together a list of Top 5 cities to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Let us know in the comments if you’ve already been there and how you liked them!
That’s probably an obvious one (I know, the capital), but why is Sarajevo such a magnet? Because it’s easily accessible? Because it’s the largest city? Some people say that Sarajevo is a sad place, because of the recent history. But I found people in Sarajevo and in B&H in general anything but sad! Besides, if you don’t want to visit countries and cities with “sad recent history”, you might as well skip places like Vietnam, almost all of Balkans, some of the middle east, Ukraine.. the list goes on. Sarajevo is a very unique place, in my opinion. It has an interesting melt of cultures and religions; its architecture varies from medieval and Ottoman to Yugoslavian and modern; and of course Baščaršija, the old bazaar, has such a special aura – you won’t believe you’re still in Europe.
Tip: if you are into camping, explore options to stay a little outside the main city. Sarajevo is surrounded by hills and the nature is beautiful. We stayed close to the Sunnyland and woke up every morning with a panoramic view of the city. It might take some time to go down to the center, but it’s worth the effort!
Probably more of a village than a city, Počitelj has a population of under 1000 people. We found it very charming. A small market, few places to eat, and most important – beautiful fortress. You’ll find some houses built in 16th century and plenty of cute little stone streets. Located next to the river Neretva, Počitelj is surrounded by greenery and definitely worth a short visit.
Tip: there’s plenty of pomegranate trees growing in the Herzegovina region. Get some pomegranate juice or pomegranate honey – you’ll find them in many places.
This is another place everyone wants to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and mainly for one reason: its famous Old Bridge (Stari Most). That’s pretty much it. Don’t get me wrong – there are other things to see there. But if you’ve been to Sarajevo, then the old market in Mostar probably won’t surprise you; if you’ve been to Počitelj, you’ve probably seen streets that are even more charming and not as touristy. All that considered, Mostar is still quite a picturesque place, and that’s why it’s made it to our list.
Tip: at the old bazaar, try Turkish coffee or Turkish tea – you’ll get both, intense taste and a traditional atmosphere.
This small town is mostly famous for its monastery, Blagaj Tekija, which is nearly 600 years old. The whole ensemble is very unique: beautiful architecture together with the river, cliff and a cave. We didn’t find the inside of the monastery particularly interesting, but I think that’s something everyone should decide for themselves. One place we found amazing in Blagaj is actually a Blagaj castle, or Stjepan Grad. It takes a bit of time to get up there (loved it!), but the view from the top is beautiful and the ruins are quite impressive.
Tip: next to the river there’s plenty of restaurants. Try freshly caught fish in one of them.
There’s 2 main things to see in Jajce: Pliva waterfall and a medieval fortress. Waterfall is located just on the side of town and is easily accessible by the short walk. The fortification dates back to 13.-14. century and, of course, it’s not Versailles, but it’s quite impressive for those who are into medieval architecture.
Tip: it’s really more than just a castle – check out the catacombs, bastions, ramparts – it’s a whole complex of structures.
There’s plenty of other places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina, like Kravice, Medjugorje, Travnik, Višegrad and much more – but here was our personal top 5 cities to see. What’s your favourite city in B&H? Let us know in the comments below.
For other European destinations, check out our articles: