Bosnia and Herzegovina Backpacking Guide

Welcome to the travel guide for Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country located in the heart of the Balkans that is not yet as popular with tourists, but offers the opportunity for enjoyment and experiences at very affordable prices. What characterizes this beautiful country is the combination of culture, history, and tradition, alongside stupendous landscapes and nature that will leave you in awe.

Let me just say: Bosnia and Herzegovina is completely underrated!!

In this guide I will be sharing my own experience travelling around. It goes beyond the famous Mostar and its beautiful bridge. I have also added an itinerary suggestion, a map for better planning, and tons of information I wish I would have had before coming here.

What can you expect? As you travel through this country, you will see a combination of Ottoman architecture, Austro-Hungarian influence, and remnants of Yugoslav history. I highly recommend taking a stroll through Sarajevo, especially its lively streets where you’ll be greeted by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. In these same streets, you’ll hear a blend of church bells and the call to prayer from nearby mosques – because Sarajevo is indeed a fusion of different cultures. Oh and here in Sarajevo, you can stay in a very special “War Hostel”.

Bosnia and Herzegovina also boasts stunning, green mountains intersected by rivers where you can enjoy rafting or simply relax in the beauty of nature. Don’t miss Mostar either – a city adorned with one of the most beautiful bridges spanning the Neretva River.

But above all, Bosnia and Herzegovina are its people who will go out of their way to host you as best they can. This mostly involves constantly offering you food and coffee, as this is how they express hospitality.

So, if you want to experience an interesting adventure, enjoy nature and socializing without large tourist crowds – pack your bags and head to Bosnia and Herzegovina as soon as possible.

What to Expect: A simple Overview

On a backpacking journey through Bosnia and Herzegovina, you’ll experience diverse adventures. The blend of history, nature, and culture in this country captivates every visitor. Here’s a simple overview of what to expect:

  1. Diverse Landscapes: From the rugged peaks of the Dinaric Alps to serene lakes and swift rivers below, Bosnia and Herzegovina boasts varied landscapes that entice nature enthusiasts. Expect stunning vistas, challenging hiking trails, and opportunities for adrenaline-fueled adventures like rafting and rock climbing.
  2. Rich History: Delve into the complex history of the region as you wander through ancient cities and UNESCO World Heritage sites. From the Ottoman architecture of Sarajevo’s old town to the iconic Stari Most bridge in Mostar, each landmark tells a story of the nation’s past.
  3. Cultural Fusion: Experience the unique blend of cultures that converge in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sample traditional Bosnian cuisine, influenced by Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Balkan flavors. Engage with locals who are eager to share their traditions, music, and hospitality.
  4. Affordable Travel: Backpacking in Bosnia and Herzegovina is relatively budget-friendly, with affordable accommodations, meals, and transportation options available. Hostels, guesthouses, and homestays provide comfortable lodging for budget-conscious travelers.
  5. Warm Hospitality: Prepare to be welcomed with open arms by the friendly and resilient people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Whether you’re sipping coffee in a buzzing café or sharing stories with locals in a mountain village, you’ll find warmth and hospitality at every turn.
  6. Safety and Accessibility: While Bosnia and Herzegovina may still be off the beaten path for some travelers, it offers safe and accessible travel opportunities. Public transportation networks connect major cities and attractions, making it easy to navigate the country.

Story time on how safe it is: The first time I visited, I came with a camper van. I went to Sarajevo and could not find any good overnight parking so I stopped in front of a closed shop. The owner lived nearby and came out to greet me. I told them I am looking for an overnight spot to stay with the camper. They offered their own backyard. And on top of that, they came later to bring me some local food. It was an amazing experience you cannot plan.

Overall, backpacking in Bosnia and Herzegovina offers a blend of adventure, history, and culture that promises to leave a lasting impression on every traveler who ventures into its embrace.

Travel Costs: Detailed Breakdown

In this country, your budget can and will stretch surprisingly far. With about $20-$30 a day, you can cover accommodation, food, and transportation. For extra comfort, $40-$70 a day allows you to enjoy more luxurious experiences without breaking the bank.

Suggested Budget per Person per Day

  • Low: $20 – $30
  • Middle: $40 – $70
  • High: $80+

Detailed Costs


  • Low: Hostel dorms provide an affordable and social option, with prices ranging from $10 to $15 per night. Ideal for solo travelers and groups looking to meet fellow backpackers.
  • Middle: For those seeking a bit more comfort, mid-range hotels or boutique accommodations typically cost between $30 and $50 per night.
  • High: Luxury hotels or upscale resorts start at $60 per night and can go much higher, offering premium services, exquisite locations, and often breathtaking views of Bosnia’s landscape.


  • Low: The street food scene and local eateries in Bosnia and Herzegovina offer an authentic taste of the country’s culinary delights, with meals ranging from $2 to $5. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional dishes like ćevapi or burek.
  • Middle: A meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost between $5 and $15, allowing you to explore a broader range of Bosnian and international cuisines in a more comfortable setting.
  • High: Dining at high-end restaurants or opting for international cuisine can start at $20 per meal, perfect for those special nights out or when you want to indulge in a gourmet experience.

Things to See and Do

Here’s a guide to the must-see attractions and activities that encapsulate the very core of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Absolute Top Cities

Sarajevo: They call it the “Jerusalem of Europe,” and when you wander the streets of this city, especially Baščaršija, you’ll understand why it earned that title. Sarajevo is essentially a blend of history and tales of cultural diversity and resilience.

Mostar: You’ll be captivated by the iconic Stari Most, symbolizing unity and reconciliation, set against the scenic backdrop of Ottoman-era architecture and the adrenaline-fueled tradition of bridge diving.

Banja Luka: Nestled amidst lush greenery and historical landmarks like the Banja Luka Fortress, it’s renowned for its distinct charm and dynamic cultural scene.

Trebinje: Indulge in the scenic splendor of Trebinje, where the Trebišnjica River winds through Mediterranean-like landscapes, offering a tranquil retreat enriched with wine tasting and spiritual exploration.

Historical Landmarks

Stari Most (Old Bridge), Mostar: This iconic 16th-century Ottoman bridge in Mostar symbolizes unity and reconciliation, spanning the Neretva River with its elegant arch and historic significance.

Sarajevo City Hall (Vijećnica): Vijećnica, once a symbol of Sarajevo’s multiculturalism and intellectual hub, bears witness to the city’s resilience, having survived the destruction of the 1990s siege and painstakingly restored to its former glory.

Počitelj: This medieval village perched on a hillside showcases Ottoman architecture and provides panoramic views of the Neretva River, offering a step back in time to Bosnia’s rich heritage.

Jajce Fortress: Sitting majestically atop a hill overlooking the Pliva and Vrbas rivers, Jajce Fortress boasts centuries of history and breathtaking views, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Travnik Fortress: Once a stronghold of the Ottoman Empire, Travnik Fortress offers a glimpse into Bosnia’s Ottoman past and provides panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside from its elevated position.

Natural Wonders

Kravice Waterfalls: Nestled amidst lush greenery, these cascading waterfalls near Ljubuški offer a serene retreat and a glimpse into Bosnia and Herzegovina’s natural beauty.

Una National Park: With its pristine rivers, cascading waterfalls, and dense forests, Una National Park offers outdoor enthusiasts opportunities for hiking, rafting, and wildlife spotting in a stunning natural setting.

Vrelo Bosne (Spring of the Bosna River): Discover the enchanting Vrelo Bosne park near Sarajevo, where the Bosna River emerges from a series of natural springs amidst dense greenery, offering a tranquil escape and scenic walking paths.

Jajce Waterfall: Be awestruck by the stunning beauty of the Jajce Waterfall, where the Pliva River cascades over a 20-meter cliff into the Vrbas River below, creating a mesmerizing spectacle and a charming backdrop for the historic town of Jajce.

Sutjeska National Park: Explore the pristine wilderness of Sutjeska National Park, home to the last primeval forest in Europe, as well as the majestic peaks of the Dinaric Alps, including Bosnia and Herzegovina’s highest peak, Maglić. Hike through lush forests, encounter diverse wildlife, and discover cultural landmarks like the WWII Battle of the Sutjeska memorial.

Cultural Experiences

Bosnian Coffee Culture: Experience the art of Bosnian coffee drinking in traditional cafes (čajdžinica), where locals gather to socialize, sip strong Bosnian coffee, and enjoy the relaxed pace of life.

Bosnian Traditional Music (Sevdalinka): Engage in the deeply moving melodies of Sevdalinka, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s traditional music genre, characterized by poignant lyrics and hauntingly beautiful vocals, reflecting the joys and sorrows of life in the Balkans.

Bosnian Cuisine: Indulge in a culinary journey through Bosnia and Herzegovina, savoring delicacies like cevapi (grilled minced meat), burek (flaky pastry filled with meat or cheese), and baklava (sweet pastry dessert), each reflecting the country’s diverse cultural influences.

Rafting: Experience an adrenaline-fueled rafting expedition down the Neretva and Una Rivers, where thrilling rapids and breathtaking scenery await adventurers seeking an unforgettable experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Itinerary Ideas

Here are some itinerary ideas to inspire your backpacking journey through Bosnia and Herzegovina.

4-Day Itinerary: Heart of Bosnia Tour

  • Day 1: Sarajevo

Explore the historic Baščaršija district, visit the War Tunnel Museum, admire the cityscape from the Yellow Fortress, and experience the cultural fusion at Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque.

  • Day 2: Mostar

Marvel at the iconic Stari Most bridge, explore the cobblestone streets of the old town, savor traditional Bosnian cuisine at local restaurants, and witness daredevil divers leap from the bridge into the Neretva River below.

  • Day 3: Travnik

Wander through the historic old town, explore the medieval fortress, admire the colorful architecture of the Sulejmanija Mosque, and indulge in traditional Bosnian coffee at one of the charming cafés.

  • Day 4: Jajce

Enjoy at the breathtaking Jajce Waterfall, explore the ancient Jajce Fortress, stroll along the delightful Pliva Lakes, and lose yourself in the town’s rich history and natural beauty.

7-Day Itinerary: History, Culture, and Nature

  • Day 1: Sarajevo

Explore the rich history and cultural diversity of the capital city, visiting landmarks such as Baščaršija, Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, and the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum.

  • Day 2: Travnik

Engage yourself in the Ottoman-era charm of Travnik, exploring its historic old town, medieval fortress, and the exciting marketplace, while also sampling the local delicacies.

  • Day 3: Jajce

Be amazed at the majestic Jajce Waterfall, explore the ancient Jajce Fortress, and stroll along the scenic Pliva Lakes, soaking in the town’s rich history and natural beauty.

  • Day 4: Konjic

Visit the historic town of Konjic, explore its charming streets, and tour the fascinating Tito’s Bunker, an underground Cold War-era nuclear shelter.

  • Day 5: Mostar

Discover the iconic Stari Most bridge, wander through the charming old town, and witness the traditional diving spectacle, while also visiting nearby attractions like Blagaj Tekija and Kravice Waterfalls.

  • Day 6: Trebinje

Explore the charming town of Trebinje, where lovely landscapes, historic architecture, and fine wine converge in a tranquil setting along the banks of the Trebišnjica River.

  • Day 7: Sutjeska National Park

Explore the stunning wilderness of Sutjeska National Park, hike through lush forests, and visit the iconic Sutjeska River Canyon and the WWII Battle of Sutjeska Memorial.

14-Day Itinerary: The Ultimate Bosnian and Herzegovinian Adventure

  • Day 1-3: Sarajevo

Explore the capital city’s rich history, culture, and landmarks such as Baščaršija, Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, and the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum. You can also visit spring of the river Bosna.

  • Day 4: Travnik

Visit Travnik to explore its Ottoman-era architecture, medieval fortress, and energetic marketplace.

  • Day 5: Jajce

Journey to Jajce to see its magnificent waterfall, historic fortress, and beautiful Pliva Lakes.

  • Day 6: Konjic

Travel to Konjic and visit the famous Tito’s Bunker, an underground Cold War-era nuclear shelter.

  • Day 7-8: Mostar

Explore Mostar’s iconic Stari Most bridge, old town, and nearby attractions like Blagaj Tekija and Kravice Waterfalls.

  • Day 9: Trebinje

Visit Trebinje to explore its charming streets, historic sites, and enjoy local wine.

  • Day 10-11: Sutjeska National Park

Journey to Sutjeska National Park for hiking, exploring the stunning wilderness, and visiting the iconic Sutjeska River Canyon and WWII Battle of Sutjeska Memorial.

  • Day 12: Tuzla and Visegrad

Discover the historical and cultural significance of Tuzla and visit the iconic Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Visegrad.

  • Day 13-14: Bihać and Una National Park

Conclude your tour with a visit to Bihać. Explore the spectacular Štrbački buk waterfall in Una National Park.

Where to stay on a Budget in Bosnia and Herzegovina

It is easy to find budget-friendly accommodations. While hostels are more commonly found in cities like Sarajevo and Mostar, in other areas and places, traditional guesthouses and apartments per day are your go-to for a cozy stay.

Few Hostels we love

In Sarajevo, we can recommend Hostel Balkan Han and Hostel Franz Ferdinand, both are a great start for your Bosnian trip. In Mostar, you can stay at Hostel Miran and Hostel Majdas.

Here are my guides to both cities:

Hostel Franz Ferdinand, Sarajevo
Hostel Franz Ferdinand, Sarajevo
Hostel Miran Dorm
Hostel Miran, in famous Mostar

How to get around Bosnia and Herzegovina

Getting around Bosnia and Herzegovina is relatively easy and can be done through various transportation options:

Car Rental

Renting a car is a popular choice for travelers who want the flexibility to explore the country at their own pace. Major cities like Sarajevo, Mostar, and Banja Luka have several car rental agencies, and the road network is generally well-maintained, making it convenient to travel between destinations.

Public Transportation – Buses and Trains

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a decent public transportation network, including buses and trains. Intercity buses are a convenient and affordable way to travel between major cities and towns. Train services connect some parts of the country, although they may not be as frequent or extensive as bus routes.


Taxis are readily available in urban areas and can be hailed on the street or booked through taxi companies or ride-hailing apps. They are relatively affordable for short distances within cities but may be more expensive for longer journeys.

Cycling and Walking

In cities and towns, cycling and walking are viable options for getting around, especially for short distances. Many urban areas have bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly streets, making it easy to explore on foot or by bike. Some cities like Sarajevo and Zenica also have options for bike rentals, too.

Best Time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina

The best time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to do:

Spring (April to June):

Spring is a beautiful time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, with mild temperatures and blooming landscapes. It’s an ideal time for outdoor activities like hiking, exploring national parks, and enjoying the lush greenery.

Summer (July to August):

Summer is the peak tourist season, with warm temperatures and long daylight hours. It’s perfect for exploring cities, enjoying outdoor festivals and events, and swimming in rivers or lakes. Keep in mind that popular tourist destinations can be crowded during this time.

Autumn (September to November):

Autumn offers pleasant weather, with cooler temperatures and colorful foliage. It’s a great time for hiking, visiting cultural sites, and tasting seasonal specialties like chestnuts and mushrooms. Tourist crowds begin to thin out compared to the summer months.

Winter (December to February):

Winter brings cold temperatures and occasional snowfall, especially in mountainous regions. It’s an excellent time for winter sports enthusiasts, with skiing and snowboarding opportunities in destinations like Jahorina and Bjelašnica. Cities like Sarajevo and Mostar take on a magical atmosphere during the holiday season, with festive decorations and traditional markets.

Overall, the best time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina depends on your interests and preferred activities. Whether you enjoy outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or winter sports, you’ll find something to enjoy throughout the year in this diverse and beautiful country.

Backpacker Essentials & Safety Tips

Safety Tips

Bosnia and Herzegovina is quite a safe country, much more than what you might have heard back home. Nevertheless, here you have some safety tips.

Stay on Designated Trails: When hiking or exploring nature, stick to marked trails and avoid venturing off-path to prevent getting lost or encountering wildlife hazards.

Stay Connected: Inform someone you trust about your travel plans and check in regularly, especially if venturing into remote areas with limited communication coverage.

Respect Nature: Leave no trace by packing out your trash, respecting wildlife and natural habitats, and following local regulations for camping and outdoor activities.

Be Vigilant: Keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas, watch out for pickpockets, and stay aware of your surroundings, especially in tourist hotspots.

Emergency Contacts: Save emergency numbers such as police (122), ambulance (124), and fire department (123) in your phone and know how to seek assistance if needed.

Cultural Norms

Hospitality: Bosnians are known for their hospitality, so accept offers of food and drink graciously when visiting someone’s home. It’s customary to remove your shoes before entering a Bosnian home.

Religious Respect: Bosnia and Herzegovina is a diverse country with Muslim, Orthodox Christian, and Catholic populations. Respect religious sites and customs, such as covering your shoulders and knees when entering mosques, churches, or monasteries.

Conversation Topics: Avoid discussing sensitive topics like politics, religion, and the Yugoslav Wars unless the conversation naturally leads in that direction and be mindful of different viewpoints.

Dress Modestly: Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or rural areas. Avoid wearing revealing clothing, particularly for women, to show respect for local customs and traditions.

Things Not to Do

When visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, it’s important to be mindful of cultural sensitivities and local customs. Here are some things to avoid doing to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience:

Don’t Discuss Politics or the Yugoslav Wars Lightly: The wounds of the Yugoslav Wars are still fresh for many Bosnians, so avoid making insensitive remarks or engaging in heated political discussions unless invited by locals who are comfortable with such topics.

Don’t Disrespect Religious Sites: Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to diverse religious communities. Avoid entering mosques, churches, or monasteries wearing revealing clothing, and always remove your shoes before entering religious buildings.

Don’t Assume Homogeneity: Bosnia and Herzegovina is a multicultural and multiethnic country with diverse traditions and identities. Avoid making assumptions about people’s ethnicity, religion, or cultural background.

Don’t Litter or Disrespect Nature: Bosnia and Herzegovina boasts stunning natural landscapes, so be sure to dispose of your trash properly and avoid damaging the environment. Respect nature reserves, national parks, and protected areas by following designated trails and leaving no trace.

Don’t Assume Everyone Speaks English: While English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas, not everyone may be fluent. Show patience and respect when communicating with locals, and consider learning a few basic phrases in Bosnian (or Serbian/Croatian) to enhance your interactions.

Don’t Expect Rushed Service: Service in restaurants and establishments may be more relaxed compared to Western standards. Avoid rushing or becoming impatient, and enjoy the leisurely pace of Bosnian hospitality.

Don’t Drink Alcohol in Public: While alcohol consumption is common in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it’s generally not acceptable to drink alcohol in public places, especially in religious or conservative areas. Stick to designated areas like restaurants and bars.

Resources and Planning

Find all our favorite websites and apps for travel planning here.

Unfortunately, there are currently no useful travel apps that we could recommend to help with traveling in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Traveling in Bosnia and Herzegovina offers a intricate weave of history, landscapes, and hospitality. From Sarajevo’s lively streets to Mostar’s iconic bridge, each destination unveils a unique story. Whether exploring ancient fortresses or savoring Bosnian cuisine, visitors are absorbed in authenticity and charm. With its diverse cultural influences, Bosnia and Herzegovina offers a captivating journey through time. In reality, it’s a place where past and present converge, inviting travelers to discover its hidden gems and embrace its enduring spirit.

Safe travels!