Between the Adriatic Sea and the River Sava, one of the most fascinating countries of the Balkan Peninsula is hidden: Bosnia and Herzegovina - a melting pot of cultures. It is a very young state, which was established after the civil war in the early nineties - and yet it is characterised by the ethnic division between the Bosnian Federation and the Serbian Republika Srpska. In the historic old towns of the country, historical monuments testify to the country's eventful past, while untouched nature invites you to relax and slow down. Embark on an exciting journey through wooded mountains and culturally rich places, where you'll often find yourself transported back in time.
Facts & Figures
Official name: Bosna i Hercegovina (BiH) Location: Southeast European state with a short Adriatic coastline Area: 51,197 km² Capital: Sarajevo Population: 3.5 million (2016) Religious and ethnic groups: 63% from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 35% from Republika Sprska, 50.7% Muslims, 30.7% Serbian Orthodox, 15.2% Catholics Language: Bosnian, Serbian (with Latin alphabet), Croatian (with Cyrillic alphabet) Geography: mostly wooded low mountain landscape; in the south and the Sava lowlands also flatter regions that are used for agriculture. Highest point: Maglić (2386 m) Time zone: UTC + 01: 00, UTC + 02: 00 (March to October) Currency: Convertible Mark (current exchange rate can be found on the internet)
Arrival and departure
Visa: Vaccinations: Travelling on site: The road network has been partially affected by the war, however, the main roads are passable. The roads usually have only two lanes. There are good, cheap bus connections within cities as well as overland.
Climate and best time to travel
In Bosnia and Herzegovina there is a mixture of Mediterranean and continental climate i.e. the winters can get very cold, while the summers are mostly warm and dry. Especially at the high altitudes, snow can fall until April. Winter average temperature: -2 ° C / 6 ° C (min. approx. -4 ° C in January) Summer average temperature: 12 ° C / 25 ° C (max. approx. 26 ° C in August) Water temperature: max. 24 ° C in August
The summer months, May to September, are ideal for a beach holiday on the Adriatic Coast as well as for hiking or cycling in the mountains, thanks to the refreshing summer breeze. Winter sports enthusiasts will enjoy snowy slopes from December to March with even up to two metres of snow, depending on the altitude.
The most beautiful holiday regions
Is the tap water drinkable? Although tap water can generally be used for brushing teeth and cooking, bottled water is recommended for drinking. Do I need an adapter? In Bosnia and Herzegovina type F sockets are used, which means that those coming from the UK and outside of the EU may need an adapter. What about medical care? Medical care in the country is still not up to the EU standards and it is problematic in many ways. Comprehensive, worldwide health insurance coverage with a return option is strongly recommended.
Public holidays and celebrations
In Bosnia and Herzegovina due to lack of legislative coherence there are no official public holidays. New Year (1. and 2. January), Epiphany (6. January), Orthodox Christmas (7. January), Republika Srpska Day (9. January), Independence Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1. March), Good Friday (March / April), Easter Sunday (March / April), Easter Monday (March / April), Labour Day (1. and 2. May), Victory Day (9. May), Oath- al-Fitr (Feast of Fast Breaking - alternating), Eid-al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice, - alternating), All Saints Day (1. November), Day of the Dayton Peace Agreement (21. November), National Day (25. November), Christmas (25. December), Christmas / St Stephen's Day (26. December)
DOs and DON'Ts
• Drink Rakija. The fruity brandy is popular in all the countries of former Yugoslavia but especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina as it is a national drink which is a must at every celebration.
• Wear appropriate clothing in churches. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a religious country so shoulders and knees have to be covered, especially when visiting Orthodox and Catholic churches. In some Orthodox monasteries even covering the head is required.
DON‘Ts • Don't leave your money and baggage without supervision. In some regions poverty is unfortunately so severe that it leads to increased theft rates. You should keep your wallet and ID on you and be cautious.
Sarajevo – the capital and a melting pot of cultures with a turbulent past Adriatic coast - a small piece of the Adriatic Sea at the 1950s resort Neum Northern Bosnia and Herzegovina - marvellous atmosphere in traditional thermal spas
Top tips and discoveries
Sutjeska National Park Rugged cliffs, crystal-clear lakes and endless forests: the Sutjeska National Park invites visitors to hike and relax in unspoiled nature. It was founded to protect one of the last primeval forests in Europe and is an important retreat for many endangered species such as wolves and brown bears. The highest peak in the country, the Maglić, rises at the eastern boundary of the park and it is a great challenge for experienced climbers. Hikers, however, are advised to explore the Mount Zelengora. Along the marked trails there are rustic mountain huts to take a break and enjoy regional specialities. A particularly popular hiking destination is the waterfall Skakavac, which plunges 75 meters into the depths.
Banja Luka The capital of Republika Srpska is located in the north of the country and is the cultural centre of the Bosnian Serbs. Despite the civil war, the cityscape has hardly changed: the typical avenues and beautiful parks make it worth its green city image and the ruins of the Roman fortress wall reflect the extraordinary cultural wealth. As a city of high-quality thermal springs, Banja Luka is now known primarily as a popular spa and wellness destination. Guests from all over the world visit the classical thermal baths, to improve their wellbeing or alleviate problems with joints, muscles and bones or the cardiovascular system. The wellness offer includes aromatherapy, relaxing massages and invigorating scrubs – all you need to forget the stress of everyday life.
Mostar The cityscape of the historic heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina is characterised by diverse architectural styles and historic sites. The most popular landmark of the city is the bridge Stari Most ("Old Bridge") from the 16th century. During the civil war it was completely destroyed, however it has been rebuilt and restored to its original splendour. Today, the bridge is even a part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Other attractions include the Karadjoz Beg Mosque, the Christian Basilica and some Orthodox churches. It is not only the cultural wealth of the city that attracts tourists, but also the fact that Mostar is the sunniest place in the country.
(Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information, SpaDreams cannot be held responsible for any outdated, incorrect or incomplete information.)