- Time: 3 days
- Expenses: less than $22 or 20€ per person per day (excludes airfare, rental car)
- Season: all year around
Money and time-saving tips:
- Haggle in private stores when shopping
- To save time rent a car to get around
Traveling to Bosnia and Herzegovina is not exactly on the destination radar compared to other countries on the Balkan peninsula. It’s surrounded by three beautiful countries Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, that’s probably why it’s overlooked by most travelers. It has a rich and turbulent history with extremely friendly people and that’s why it should be on your bucket list.
A tight budget is easily doable and accommodations, main Bosnia attractions, and food are mostly cheap and easy to find. A night in an okay hotel located a 5-minute walk away from the main Bascarsija street/bazaar will cost you from $10 to $16 (9€ to 15€) and a nice meal around $5 (4.5€).
Things you need to try are local foods like Cevapi, burek, Bosnian kebabs and local drinks like Turkish coffee and a traditional fruit brandy called Rakia (native: Rakija, “rah-key-ya”) in many flavors and strong anywhere between 40% and up to 90%. English is not widely spoken, but the people make an effort to make your stay comfortable.
The best way to get around is by renting a car. Gas prices are lower than in most European countries. The highways are pretty rare, however, the main regional roads are mostly in good condition. It can take you a little bit longer to get from one place to another, so be patient and enjoy the landscape.
Our 3-day itinerary:
- day – Sarajevo
- day – Jablanica and Mostar
- day – Jajce and Banja Luka
Day one – Sarajevo
Let your adventure start here. Explore the old city, cross the river Miljacka, walk through Bascarsija, an old Sarajevo’s bazaar, where you will find the oldest mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina the Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque built in the 16th century, an old fountain named Sebilj and the Sahat Kula (a clock tower) above you.
Sarajevo’s east architecture is influenced by the Ottoman Empire (a Turkish Empire) compared to the west, where the influence of a former existed country Austro-Hungarian is present. Things to do include walking around the city and getting lost in small streets, finding a bar where you can try Turkish coffee and tasting the delicious local food. Other attractions include visiting the abandoned Olympic site from the 1984 Olympic games. Remember the video of downhillers racing down the abandoned bobsled track? This is where it happened. For an evening drink, we can’t recommend the Sarajevo’s Brewery enough. Good lager beer and a live vocal and piano performance make a fantastic atmosphere.
Day two – Jablanica and Mostar
From Sarajevo, head south with your rent a car or public transport. After an hour long car drive, the first stop on the way is a city called Jablanica, with the beautiful emerald colored river Neretva flowing through it. One of the main attractions is the ruined bridge, a replica of the collateral remainings of World War II. The original bridge was blown up by the Partisans when fighting the Nazis. The replica you see there today was made and blown up during the filming of the biggest movie production of the former Yugoslavia, The Battle of Neretva. The old steam Locomotive used in the movie is there as well. The other main attraction is the museum of The Battle for Wounded of Neretva, it’s definitely worth your visit, the entrance fee is around 1€.
After exploring the city of Jablanica, the next stop is a city named Mostar. The main attraction is the (new) old bridge, you’ll see why it’s pretty amazing. The 427-year-old bridge was demolished in 1993 by the Croatian military. In 2004 it was renovated and placed under Unesco’s protection. Near the bridge, there are a lot of shops with native clothing, souvenirs, and jewelry made out of stones from the original bridge. There are a lot more of great bridges around, built in the time of Austro-Hungarian so be sure to explore the city, enjoy the beautiful views, good food and coffee.
You should have enough time in the evening for another night out in Sarajevo. Explore the different restaurants and food you absolutely need to try. Remember you are never too tired for delicious food.
Day three – Jajce and Banja Luka
Located north of Sarajevo, after a two and a half hour long car drive, you’ll arrive in a city named Jajce, the first stop for the day. Roam the city center, see the mosques like Esma Sultana and don’t forget to “hike” to the bell tower on the main hill to get a beautiful view of the city and look around the remains of the Ottoman fortress.
Jajce is also an important historical city. During the second world war on the 29th of November 1943, the equality of nations of Yugoslavia was established, an anti-fascist council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia, eventually leaving behind the Museum of AVNOJ, with the entrance fee around 1€. There is also a 21 meter (69 feet) high Plitva waterfall on the edge of the city.
The last stop, an hour drive away is the city Banja Luka, it takes an hour drive from the city Jajce. Tourists most often stop by the Ferhadija Mosque, Banski Dvor and Kastel Fortress and do some shopping at bazaars and stores.
For us, this was a magnificent budget trip, filled with rich history and delicious local foods and coffee. We hope we gave you an idea on how and which things to enjoy when visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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