Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Balkan country bordering Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro. Being part of the Ottoman Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire over centuries and having a mixed population of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, diversity is what defines the country best. Its population is around 3.2 million and the official languages are Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.
Bosnia and Herzegovina offers a wide range of experiences and beautiful places to enjoy during your trip, from stunning mosques and lively bazaars to jaw-dropping natural beauties to unique architecture that combines different styles from around the world.
Attractions in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo is a boisterous and diverse city that combines Slavic culture with Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian notes. In some places, the Ottoman aura is so dense and heavy that Sarajevo has come to be informally named the Slavic mini-Istanbul.
The Turkish presence is best felt in the Old Town that abounds in singing minarets, bazaars, kebab restaurants, carpet shops and cafés offering finely ground coffee. As you leave the animated Old Town and head west, you will enter the Austro-Hungarian quarter dominated by buildings with fine plasterwork façade and churches.
You will encounter on the city streets marks of the communist era as well in the form of burnt-out buildings and scars of mortar bomb explosions left as a memory of the bloody war of the 1990s. You can learn more about those tragical events by visiting the Historical Museum. There is an exhibition that shows how the city managed to survive the four-year siege.
Mostar is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sometimes, people skip Sarajevo to spend their day-trip in this culturally and historically rich city. The main attraction of Mostar is the iconic bridge that was destroyed during the war and reconstructed recently. Being a mix of Ottoman, Mediterranean and west European architectural styles, the bridge is a symbol of peace and coexistence of culturally diverse ethnic groups.
The photogenic river crossed by the arch bridge is by far the most photographed place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moving on, Mostar offers other attractions, such as the Old Bazaar, mosques, restaurants serving local food, and cobblestone streets lined with Ottoman houses.
Jajce is the perfect destination for people who are equally in love with history and nature. Its main place of interest is the 17-metre waterfall located right in the centre of the town. The place has an observation platform where you can enjoy the mesmerizing cascade and the hilltop houses in the background. In addition, you can explore the town and learn more about its long history as a medieval stronghold.
About 5km east from Jajce are the pristine Pliva Lakes which make a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty. The lakes’ banks are dotted with restaurants and hotels. You can find additional accommodation in Jajce which is a short drive from the picturesque lakes.
Banja Luka is the second largest city of the country and the administrative centre of the autonomous region inhabited by Serbs. Just like other Bosnian cities, Banja Luka didn’t escape the influence of the major powers, coming to be today a mix of different cultures and architectural styles, though Serbian and Christian traditions prevail.
A peaceful stroll along the wide boulevards and parks will help you understand the city better. Some must-see places include Kastel Fortress, Christ the Savior Cathedral, Ferhat Pasha Mosque and Museum of Contemporary Arts.