There’s a distinctive blend of eastern and western atmospheres in Bosnia and Herzegovina, influenced by its rich historical past. Many people still associate the country with the civil war of the 1990s, and the scars of that period are certainly still noticeable. However, travelers today will remember Bosnia and Herzegovina for the friendliness of the locals, the breathtaking scenery, and the beautiful rivers.
You can stroll through colorful marketplaces, explore centuries-old architecture, trek up snowy mountains, visit magnificent waterfalls, or take a dip in one of the world’s most impressive hot springs. If you’re looking for adventure, you can raft rivers or ski down crisp-white slopes. Whatever attractions you see and the activities you do in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you are sure to remember this adventure for the rest of your life.
Trg Slobode, which translates to “Freedom Square,” lies in Trebinje, the southernmost city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the banks of Trebišnjica River. Reminiscent of the south of France, you’ll see chestnut trees, old stone buildings, wrought-iron ornamentation, and appealing cafés in this delightful plaza. If you want a moment of peace to soak up local life, there’s no better place to do it than among the stone-flagged pavements of Trg Slobode.
This fabulous attraction reopened in 2018 after being destroyed in the civil war. By taking this nine-minute scenic ride up the side of the majestic Mount Trebević, you will arrive at the viewing point at the height of around 3,819 feet. The view of the snowy mountainous terrain is breathtaking. Just a short walk from the viewpoint, you’ll find the ruins of the 1984 Olympic bobsled track.
The crowning attraction of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second-largest city, Banja Luka, is this small but spectacular mosque dating from 1579. Like other sites in this nation, the original building became destroyed during the war. But by using 16th-century building techniques and mostly-original masonry, it was reconstructed to all its glorious splendor in 2016.
The Trebižat River crashes over the rocks in a wide 80-foot-high arc and splashes into the gorgeous emerald-colored pool beneath. In springtime, you’ll experience Kravica's dramatic fury in all its splendor. But in the summer, the fall is a gentler cascade. Whatever time of year you visit, you’re sure to be bowled over by this outstanding natural wonder in Herzegovina.
Situated in Central Bosnia, southwest of Sarajevo is the mighty snowcapped mountain Bjelašnica. If you want to get some exercise, you can do several hikes throughout the rugged terrain. One trail approaches the Bjelašnica main summit, at the height of approximately 6,781 feet. If you’re looking for more fun activities, you can visit the Bjelašnica ski resort.
This spooky-looking Gothic fortress lies nearly two miles above the Una River Valley. The view from atop Ostrožac Fortress is terrific, but there’s plenty to explore inside as well. You can climb the musty-smelling towers, walk the ancient ramparts, and visit the manor house that’s on the verge of collapsing. Once you’ve had enough of the fortress’s ghoulishness, you can take a pleasant stroll around the site’s sculpture garden.
Nicknamed “Pigeon Square” by tourists, Baščaršija is the heart of Old Sarajevo. At the center, you’ll discover the ornate Sebilj drinking fountain, which dates from 1891. But it’s the market that draws tourists and locals alike. The word “Baščaršija” means “main market” in Turkish. As well as being lined with colorful stalls, the area is brimming with coppersmiths’ alleys, grand mosques from the Ottoman period, and inviting restaurants and cafés.
The visual centerpiece of Mostar city is undoubtedly the world-famous Stari Most, which translates as “Old Bridge” in English. Construction of the bridge’s swooping arch started in the 16th century, but sadly, it was destroyed in the 1990s during the civil war. However, the bridge was painstakingly reconstructed at the start of the 21st century, using original building techniques and stone from the original quarry. Today, this UNESCO world heritage site has become a popular spot for divers. You can take in the view of Stari Most by relaxing at any one of the numerous cafés and restaurants surrounding it.
Surrounded by cliffs and deep-green flora is the turquoise-colored Buna Springs. The water of the Buna River flows through deep caves in a gorge and the springs lie at the foothill. There’s also a beautiful house on the site called Dervish House, which adds to the charm of the setting. With such a mixture of natural beauty and delightful architecture, it’s no wonder Buna Springs is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital city, Sarajevo, is a place everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. The capital is a magical blend of old-world and new-world, and east and west. Due to its cultural and religious diversity, Sarajevo is often called the “Jerusalem of Europe.” Stroll down narrow walkways like Ferhadija Street to see beautifully-crafted architecture influenced by the Austro-Hungarian style, and then visit the impressive Sarajevo City Hall, one of the city’s most significant landmarks. Other notable places to visit include the National Theater, the old Main Post Office, and the neo-Gothic Sacred Heart Cathedral.