Sceneries so magical you feel as if you were inside of a dream. Food so tasty you can’t stop eating even if you’re full. People so welcoming you suspect they’re faking, but they aren’t. Prices so low you expect low quality, but then you get surprised how good the things you paid for are. That’s Bosnia-Herzegovina, the forgotten piece of Europe, one of the least visited countries in the continent. Why? Mostly because of its tragic history, the wars that torn it apart in the 1990’s and stereotypes that followed. It’s time to break them though and realize Bosnia-Herzegovina, with its spectacular nature and rich culture, is a perfect travel destination. Here are six reasons why you should visit it.
Breathtaking landscapes in Bosnia-Herzegovina
The land is so beautiful you simply don’t know where to look: down at the deep gorges, to the sides where countless trees grow proudly, or up at the blue sky. Bosnia-Herzegovina is relatively small (51,129 sq.km), but each little piece of it is stunningly wonderful. The Tara River Canyon, with its 1,300 meters of depth, is the deepest one in Europe. It’s also very long (82 kilometers), so you can enjoy its beauty for quite a while when you drive through the country.
Only the Grand Canyon in Arizona is the longest than the Tara River Canyon, so it’s the second longest canyon in the world. Cut by the river, it’s a source of incredible sceneries. Wherever you stop, it’s going to be a fantastic spot. It’s a great place for water sports enthusiasts. Neretva, Una, Drina and other rivers are made for rafting, canoeing, and kayaking. Because of numerous mountains and hills, Bosnia-Herzegovina offers fabulous hiking and skiing opportunities as well.
Authentic warmth of the locals
The residents of Bosnia-Herzegovina are charming. Their hospitality is genuine, no hidden agendas behind it. Since tourism there isn’t exactly blooming, they don’t have the fake warmth so typical it very touristy places. If they are welcoming, it’s because they feel like it, not because they want to get something from you. And they are exceptionally welcoming. Humble but proud, strong but simple, the locals are admirable. They like to eat well, drink a lot and share all the goods with visitors. Great sense of humor and bewitching smiles add to their charm.
The history of Bosnia-Herzegovina is long and in many parts tragic. Not long ago the country was still struggling with war. Conflicts are still present, and so are the tensions between people. Nevertheless, the situation now is stable. You’ll notice reminiscences of the turmoil, you’ll most likely hear about it from the locals, but most of all you’ll see how fascinating the country’s culture is. Bosnia-Herzegovina is the place where West meets the East, where different religions and philosophies coexist. Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox. Serbians, Croatians, and Bosniaks. That’s what brought the country to catastrophic chaos, but that’s also what now makes it a culturally captivating place.
The food in Bosnia-Herzegovina is hearty and delicious. Go to any restaurant, and you’ll be surprised not only by the flavors but also the amount of food you’ll be served with. There isn’t such a thing as a “small portion” in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Each dinner is a feast. One plate would make three people full, but you’ll eat it all anyway because it’s simply too good to be left unfinished. Try Ćevapi, the Bosnian kebab, Burek (a pastry filled with meat or cheese) and anything with Kajmak (a yummy dairy product reminding a mixture of cheese and butter). After that, have a shot of rakija – for better digestion, you’ll need it after all this food.
Enchanting towns and villages
First of all, there’s Sarajevo, the alluring capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It’s not large for a capital, there are approximately 400,000 residents, but the city’s lively and vibrant. Sarajevo recovered from most of the damages caused by the Yugoslav Wars and became a cosmopolitan, international city. It’s a safe, colorful and alluring place, where many cultures and religions mix with each other. For relaxing holidays, visit Jajce, a lovely town in the mountains. It’s historical and scenically located.
Surroundings are pleasant, but even in the center, you’ll find lots of natural beauty, such as the impressing waterfall (yes, a waterfall in the city center, that’s a rare gem). Banja Luka has great nightlife, Mostar is a lovely town with a famous, medieval bridge, Teslic is a great spa resort, in Neum, you’ll find gorgeous beaches, Tuzla has a magnificent old town – many towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina are worth discovering. The countryside is lovely too. You can simply wander around villages, chat with locals, admire the nature and soak up the unique rural atmosphere.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of the cheapest countries in Europe. For an equivalent of USD 3, you can get a huge meal, a night in a hostel will rarely cost more than USD 10. If you’re a fan of skiing and a frugal traveler at the same time, Bosnia-Herzegovina is your dream destination. Nowhere in Europe will you find resorts as affordable as there. The same rule applies to other sports as well. What the most interesting is, are the low prices going together with high quality? You can enjoy some real luxuries without spending much.
Are you convinced yet? Add Bosnia-Herzegovina to your bucket list! And share this article with your friends, because this country deserves to be noticed.