Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the most confusing recent histories in the world and for a long time will be best known for the brutal war that took place there in the early to mid ‘90s. The war is long over, but this is still a challenging place to visit. English is not widely spoken within the tourist infrastructure even as many local youths speak it fluently. The cities are calm enough, but the estimated 5 million landmines left over from the wars don’t make exploring the wilderness terribly appealing.
What To Do
Sarajevo is the capital and largest city. It’s a modern European capital with definite Eastern influences that make it feel unique. The Old Town in particular is a fascinating mix of West and East. The mosques and Middle Eastern shops give this area an exotic feel for a modern European capital. The Sarajevo Tunnel Museum near the airport shows the tunnel that was the lifeline to the city, bringing in supplies during the wars.
Mostar is a 90-minute train ride from Sarajevo and is another city that is of interest to visitors. It was heavily bombed during the wars, but restoration is underway and its famous Ottoman-style bridge has long be reopened. It’s interesting to walk along the Front-line, where the city was divided with the Croats on one side and the Muslims on the other. Bombed out buildings are still very visible throughout this district.
Sarajevo is accessible by train and long distance bus, but if you are coming from more than a country or two away you’ll want to book a flight into Sarajevo Airport (code: SJJ).
Where To Stay
There are hostels in Sarajevo and of course many hotels to choose from. There are also hostels in Mostar for your sleeping convenience. As with anywhere, the better places tend to book up early, particularly in high season, so plan ahead.