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Underrated European Travel Destinations: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Why you should add Bosnia and Herzegovina to your next trip itinerary

The+skyline+of+Mostar+is+one+of+the+most+iconic+AND+picturesque+scenes+of+the+Balkan+Peninsula
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Underrated European Travel Destinations: Bosnia and Herzegovina

The skyline of Mostar is one of the most iconic AND picturesque scenes of the Balkan Peninsula

The skyline of Mostar is one of the most iconic AND picturesque scenes of the Balkan Peninsula

The skyline of Mostar is one of the most iconic AND picturesque scenes of the Balkan Peninsula

The skyline of Mostar is one of the most iconic AND picturesque scenes of the Balkan Peninsula

Originally a part of Yugoslavia, a communist nation in Europe that arose after WWI and lasted through most of the 20th century, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a cultural crossroads of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian tradition. Often a forgotten corner of the Balkan Peninsula, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia for short) is a fascinating nation with a deep-rooted history. Although this nation’s recent past was plagued by such tragic events as the Bosnian War from 1994-1995, this up-and-coming nation is ready for visitors and offers one of the most unique and exciting cultural experiences in Europe.

Sarajevo

Sarajevo’s skyline is a beautiful mix of red-tiled roofs, rolling hills, and metropolitan high-rise buildings

Located in a picturesque valley and surrounded by the Dinaric Alps, Bosnia’s capital city, Sarajevo, is the country’s most populous and one of the many fascinating destinations the nation has to offer. The heart of Sarajevo dates back to the 15th century when it was founded by the Ottoman Turks. In the old town, an interesting location to explore is the Ottoman bazaar, where the air is filled with the smells of spices and roasting meats coming from local vendors and stalls. Around the old town, visit one of Sarajevo’s most important sites, the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque. The mosque dates back to the early 1500s and is one of the largest mosques on the Balkan Peninsula.

Another great place to wander is the main pedestrian street of Ferhadija where there is a variety of shops, bakeries, and coffee bars. Tourists should also visit Copper Smith Street, where coppersmiths form many traditional Bosnian goods and souvenirs right in front of you. Copper metal works are the most popular and unique souvenir from the country.

The Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque is an architectural masterpiece and one of Sarajevo’s most beautiful and interesting sites

No stay is Sarajevo is complete without a stop at the scenic Latin Bridge where WWI began when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was assassinated. As a perfect way to cap a trip to Sarajevo, visit the Yellow Fortress where you can witness stunning views of the city sprawling over the hills.

Mostar

Considered one of the most alluring and engaging sites in all of Bosnia, as well as the entire European continent, Mostar is the place to see if you only have time to visit one location in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most people know this city from its picturesque arching bridge which spans the city’s azure river and often appears in photographs on social media. Above all, this city is the perfect location in the country to explore winding old lanes of cobbled stones and witness historical architecture.

The combination of the azure river flowing through the heart of Mostar with historical buildings and mosques lining the bank make this city exquisite

The iconic bridge in the heart of the city was the first single-arch bridge built in the world by the Ottomans in the 1560s. From this bridge, witness the exciting event of daring divers jumping into the river below once they have been paid a small fee by tourists.

To fully immerse in the cultural and historical traditions of this city, go to the Biscevica House where you can experience a traditional Turkish style home common in the city’s past. This particular home is one of the few preserved examples of Turkish home design remaining and was built in the 1600s.

A diver jumps from the arch bridge down into the blue waters of the river

Founded by the Ottoman Turks and located at a historical crossroads between the European and Middle-Eastern worlds, Mostar’s skyline is lined with the towering minarets of numerous mosques. One of the most beautiful of these mosques to visit is the Karadoz Bey Mosque whose interior is filled with a gleaming rainbow of lights streaming from vibrant stained glass windows. This mosque also offers fantastic views out over the city and river.

Similar to Sarajevo, Mostar also has a popular shopping street, Kujundžiluk, where copper smiths craft traditional Bosnian souvenirs for tourist to purchase.

Blagaj

A Dervish Monastery dating back 600 years, Blagaj-Tekke is one of the most visually stunning locations in the Balkan Peninsula. The monastery is located at the bottom of a tall cliff edge and is adjacent to the source of the Buna River. This location is most worth a visit because of the views of the monastery set along the turquoise water of the river that can be taken in from multiple vantage points around the site.

Dervish monastery Blagaj Tekke, with its scenic waterside location and aesthetic white walls, is a must see location while in Bosnia

While at Blagaj, you can actually enter the monastery and explore the many colorful and historical rooms of this religious site. Currently, the monastery is still an operating religious sanctuary and offers an inside look to the religious culture of the Balkan Peninsula. Also, visitors can explore the cave from which the Buna River flows by boat.

 

 

 

Kravice Waterfall

The landscape of Kravice Waterfall is truly mystical, and transports you to a world of fantasy

The beautiful turquoise waters flowing through Bosnia and Herzegovina are  best appreciated at the stunning Kravice Waterfall. This gorgeous natural site is located in a serene natural environment completely separate from urban buildings or human structures. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery with trees, bushes, and mosses practically hanging over into the falls. The waterfall is not only a wonderful place to visit if you are seeking to view exceptional natural beauty, but also if you are seeking a relaxing day of fun and enjoyment. At the falls, you can camp, swim, raft, and enjoy a meal at the lake-side café.

This natural site is almost never crowded with tourists, and is easily accessed via tours offered from major cities in Bosnia as well as neighboring Croatia. The water of the falls is always cool and offers the perfect place to cool down during the hot Balkan summers.

Medjugorje

Saint James Church is the religious heart of this holy site

Another interesting site worth visiting is Medjugorje, a small town where every year an apparition of the Virgin Mary appears. Apparently, the apparition has been appearing since 1981 and comes to six residents to whom she reveals secrets of the world. This site has become internationally recognized as one of the holiest places on Earth, and has attracted nearly 40 million visitors. Travelers from a variety of religious backgrounds come to the site in hopes of having a spiritual awakening.

 

Imagine hating a country so much that you name it Bosnia and Herzegovina”

— Rachel Maile, AMHS Senior

Hopefully these stunning locations from around Bosnia and Herzegovina inspire you to add this often overlooked destination to your next European travel itinerary.

 

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