Bosnia and Herzegovina showcases a fascinating East-meets-West culture that can only be found in a few parts of Europe. Traces of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires blend with a South Slavic heritage here to form an extraordinary destination for travelers who are looking to head off the beaten path. The history of this Balkan country is complex, and has been tragic at times (none more so than the civil war of the 1990s), but today Bosnia and Herzegovina is mending its wounds and focusing on the future.
While Sarajevo and Mostar make up the two biggest tourist attractions, these popular places are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what makes Bosnia and Herzegovina so special. The charming towns of Travnik and Jajce can be visited on day trips from the capital, and boast everything from impressive fortresses to majestic waterfalls. Then there is the Neretva River with its stunning turquoise waters and rafting opportunities. But the most compelling reason to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina is the people.
Whether you are in the city or venturing into the countryside, meeting the friendly locals who delight in sharing their culture and traditions is an experience you will never forget. Bosnians and Herzegovinians are known for their warmth, and love welcoming visitors with open arms. One such example is Edin from Meet Bosnia Travel. He runs this highly-rated company which helps people immerse themselves in the Bosnian and Herzegovinian way of life. Below is a list of the best tours Meet Bosnia offer.
Best Tours in Bosnia and Herzegovina
1. Sarajevo Free Walking Tour
Everyday the local guides at Meet Bosnia lead a free walking tour of Sarajevo. This two hour stroll takes you through Bascarsija – home to the old bazaar and historical center – and then to the modern part of the city. The capital is full of incredible architecture, with some of the highlights being: Kazandziluk, Old Orthodox Church, Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque and Morica Han Caravanserai. After this enchanting walk, you will get a deeper appreciation of why Sarajevo is called the “Jerusalem of Europe”.
2. Fall of Yugoslavia – Sarajevo Siege Tour
The Bosnian War was sparked by the breakup of Yugoslavia and the desire of Bosnian Serbs to create their own state within Bosnia (fueled by Serbian nationalism). This resulted in horrendous atrocities including genocide and war crimes. Not only was Sarajevo targeted under siege during this conflict but it is also where the assisination of Franz Ferdinad took place – leading to the beginning of WWI. On this, the most popular tour with Meet Bosnia, guests gain a unique insight into the city’s tumultuous yet resilient past.
3. Srebrenica Tour from Sarajevo
The Srebrenica Massacre was a genocide that occurred during the Bosnian War. Bosnian Serb forces attacked Srebrenica and over the course of several days, 8,000+ Bosniak Muslim men and boys were killed. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia later declared it a genocide. The massacre is considered one of the worst atrocities in Europe since WWII. This sobering tour educates people about the event and what post-war life was like. It also covers the full history and attractions of the town.
4. Mostar Tour – Full Day to the Amazing Herzegovina
Herzegovina is a hidden gem packed with natural beauty and cultural charm. With the team at Meet Bosnia, you can partake in a guided trip to the smallest and southernmost region of the country. In addition to discovering the historic Mostar and its iconic bridge, you will also marvel at the spectacular Kravice Waterfalls and check out the Ottoman village of Pocitelj (among other jewels). One thing Herzegovina is famous for is food and on this tour you will get the chance to sample delicious dishes.
5. Travnik and Jajce Tour from Sarajevo
Central Bosnia is a must on your trip and what better way to see it than by visiting a few gems of the area: Travnik and Jajce. The expert team at Meet Bosnia will transport you to these two historically significant towns and put together an itinerary that you will love. The high points in Travnik are marveling at the river Plava Voda (Blue Water) and the equally impressive medieval fortress. While in Jajce one can take photos of the Jajce Waterfall, and Pliva Lakes and Watermills – all wonders in their own right.
6. Bijambare Cave and Spring of Bosna River Tour
If you are interested in experiencing the best nature that Bosnia has to offer then you can’t go past Bijambare Cave and the Spring of Bosna River. During this tour, you will get the opportunity to explore one of the most breathtaking caves in the country – Bijambare Cave – and wander through a serene forest filled with oak, beech and pine trees. The walk boasts lovely views: small creeks and tranquil lakes can be seen throughout. The Spring of Bosna River, on the other hand, has picturesque bridges to enjoy.
7. Neretva Rafting Full-Day Tour
With its turquoise waters and dazzling waterfalls, Neretva is one of the most precious pearls of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A rafting adventure is, of course, the ultimate way to get close to the waters and luckily Meet Bosnia has the perfect rafting tour available. Feeling the rush of the rapids as you navigate through the twists and turns of the river is only matched by the lush scenery. After some adrenaline-pumping action, Meet Bosnia provides lunch to help you recharge your batteries before returning to Sarajevo.
8. Sarajevo Snowshoeing Tour – Bjelasnica Full Day Experience
Discover the Olympic history of Sarajevo at Bjelasnica, which was one of the venues for the 1984 Winter Games. Visiting this mountain with Meet Bosnia in winter (when there is lots of snow) allows you to give snowshoeing a try. This activity is less difficult than it sounds due to the technology that goes into each shoe. It’s an extremely fun thing to do as well. As you go snowshoeing from place to place, you will also learn some cultural and historical facts about the mountain – especially the Winter Olympics.
9. Sarajevo to Belgrade with 3 Stops Tour
If you want to visit Serbia after Bosnia and Herzegovina then going between the two is best done with Meet Bosnia. They will transport you in comfort and help you make the border crossing. Additionally, you get to stop by three intriguing destinations along the way: Visegrad, Andricgrad and Drvengrad. Visegrad is home to a UNESCO old bridge, while Drvengrad is a traditional village that the Serbian film director Emir Kusturica built for his film Life is a Miracle. It’s packed with award-winning architecture.
10. 9 Days Balkan Sightseeing Experience
The Balkans offers so much more than just Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on this nine day sightseeing tour with Meet Bosnia you will be able to visit Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia as well. The nine days will fly by as you check out the Croatian capital Zagreb, stand in awe of Plitvice Lakes National Park, swing by the gem of Western Bosnia Bihac, tick Mostar off your list, head to Kotor and Budva in Montenegro, and see the capital of Albania (Tirana) and the capital of North Macedonia (Skopje).
Final Tips for Visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina
First of all, come hungry. Bosnia and Herzegovina has mouthwatering cuisine to try such as cevapi, burek and dolma. Don’t hesitate to try new dishes and explore the local culinary scene. You won’t be disappointed. Another key thing to keep in mind is to dress appropriately – especially if you are visiting religious sites (churches and mosques). In general, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a conservative country, so it’s recommended to adopt similar clothing choices to the locals in order to fit in seamlessly.
When exploring the country, particularly in the rural areas, be respectful of the customs and traditions. Locals are known for their hospitality and kindness, so be sure to reciprocate with respect. Learning a few basic phrases, such as “hvala” (thank you) or “dobar dan” (good day), can also go a long way in making a good impression. Finally, be open to new experiences and be willing to learn about the country’s rich history. Visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina is more than just another holiday, it’s super educational.