Having just returned from my first solo backpacking adventure, my biggest highlight, and one which I find myself looking the most fondly upon, is my time spent in the charming country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Nestled in the Balkans, and a member of the former state of Yugoslavia, Bosnia has it all. Blessed with dramatic mountains, draw dropping scenery and appealing cities, this country even has it’s own small coastal resort along the Adriatic coast.
Travelling around this much overlooked country is shockingly easy and cheap. One of the best ways visitors may prefer purely for their comfort, but also for the opportunity to behold the many wonders that fill the surrounding country side, is by bus.
Driving through this still untouched country, a country which only twenty years ago was crippled by a shocking and unthinkable war, you are able to witness the scars which still cover much of this recovering country.
I found travelling by bus was an excellent way to fully see and witness life, and to imagine what life in Europe was like in the not so distant past.
But there is so much more to do than just admire the country’s beautiful surroundings. Filled with a dazzling selection of cities and towns to cater to a range of tastes, there really is no excuse not to visit this gifted country. From adrenaline junkies to history buffs, this country has it all.
Any visit to this country is incomplete without a visit to the diverse and yet addictive city of Sarajevo. Falling deeply and passionately in love with this compact city is inevitable, and will take hold often without warning. For me this feeling took hold whilst people watching from a café courtyard.
The Old Town should be one of the first points of call while sightseeing. This section of the city makes an excellent starting point to get acquainted with the diversity, but also as a location to splurge on unique souvenirs, stunning antiques and bargain silverware. The street Kazandziluk located just off the Sebilj Square (pigeon square) makes an excellent stroll admiring all the stalls selling beautifully made coffee pots.
Sebilj square appears to be the main heart of the Old Town, and popular hangout for local teenagers. and packs of stray dogs. Never the less, a trip to see this iconic fountain is essential in saying you’ve been to Sarajevo. The best times to visit are early morning of late afternoon when there’s a sense of stillness about the square. Grabbing a coffee at one of the nearby cafés is an equally advisable way to witness the busyness that surrounds the fountain.
The recent history of the country and the suffering which the country has behold is apparent when walking around the city. Bullet holes, and craters mark the streets, whist roses can be spotted dotted about the city marking the site of citizen massacres. One museum which gives visitors an insight into the lives of citizens in Sarajevo, and the conditions they had to live under is the Galerija 11/07/95.
Showing videos of life for ordinary citizens and photos of the destruction of the city really makes you question how such crimes could have occurred in the 20th century.
When you think of this country, even those who know little about its location and its history can often admit knowledge of the Stari Most bridge in Mostar. This UNESCO world heritage site is without a doubt the main attraction of Mostar and possibly the whole of Herzegovina.
Full with tour groups, day trippers from neighbouring countries and locals relaxing in street cafes, Mostar is the place to go to relax and unwind whilst also marvelling in the beauty of the famous landmark. Reopened in 2004 after being destroyed in 1991 by Croat forces, this replica can be appreciated from a number of locations. Whether from below along the rivers edge, above from either the Halebija and Tara tower on either side of the bridge, or for those unnerved by high heights the minaret at the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque offers incredible views for those who dare.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is an exciting and diverse country. A country with so much to offer its’ visitors, sites suggested in this article are merely the essentials in trying to get to grips with the complexity of the country. This country has a fair way to go before becoming a house hold name in terms of holiday destinations. Those visitors who look past the recent events and see a country full of beauty are those who will be rewarded through their experiences in this charming and impressionable country.