Bosnia-Herzegovina Country Guide

Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the hottest up and coming travel destinations on tourism maps. Wide open spaces, fresh mountain air and some of nature's finest displays are waiting to be explored. There are many exciting tours and activities to stimulate your senses, and a plethora of cultural events to enjoy.

Travellers to Bosnia-Herzegovina are treated to a variety of cheap accommodations, exquisite local cuisine and countless exciting tours and activities.

Our Bosnia-Herzegovina Country Guide will give you all the travel information you need to know to plan your holiday in Bosnia-Herzegovina, while our Bosnia-Herzegovina Travel Guide will give you some handy information about some of the exciting things to see and do during your holiday in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Joining a Bosnia-Herzegovina tour or activities is a safe and easy way to explore the country!

We recommend you read about travel in Bosnia on GoNOMAD.

Check out the latest travel information from YouTube.

We currently have a local connection in the following destinations:

- Medjugorje
- Banja Luka

-
Sarajevo

Follow the links below or scroll further down the page for some handy details to help you plan your Bosnia-Herzegovina holiday:

Average Costs Top

The Convertible Mark is the currency used in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bosnia-Herzegovina is more or less a cash-only economy and you will find that your credit cards may be hard to use. Travelling in Bosnia-Herzegovina is relatively inexpensive compared to other European countries. Transportation, accommodation and meals are generally more expensive in the cities than in rural areas.

Here is a guide to average daily costs in Bosnia and Herzegovina you can expect to pay:

- Beer €1-2
- Cocktails €3-5
- Pizza €4 - medium, €6 large         
- T-shirts €20
- Car hire approx €60/day
- Red wine bottle  €6-25
- Accommodation ranges from KM30-70 budget, KM70-100 mid-range and KM100-250 top-end
- Meals range from KM5-10 for budget, KM10-15 for mid-range and KM15-25 for top-end.

Climate/Weather Top

Check out our six-day Sarajevo weather forecast on our Bosnia-Herzegovina weather page. The page also provides climate details and information on the best time to travel Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Communication Top

The international dialling code for Bosnia-Herzegovina is 387. To dial internationally when in the country, you need to dial 011 plus the relevant country code and number.

Emergency numbers in the country are 112 for all GSM phones, as well as 124 for hospital, 122 for police, and 123 for fire.

Communication via mobile phones and internet is very much on. The mobile operators have roaming agreements with other international operators; however, the coverage is just average due to the non-uniformity in terrain. Internet cafes are there in few towns and now some hotels have begun to provide net connectivity as well.

As with many other less developed countries, internet connectivity can be scarce in some parts, but not hard to find in all the major towns and tourist destinations. The country is rebuilding well from the recent war, so decent coverage should be too far down the track.

Postal service is slow compared to the West, with normal post taking about one week to reach its destination. Heavier packages take up to 10 days. Coins, bank notes, narcotics, alcohol, precious metals and stones, firearms and ammunition are strictly not allowed via mail.

Currency/Money Top

The official currency is Bosnia and Herzegovina Konvertibilna Marka or BAM. 1 BAM equals 100 pfeninga. Notes are in denominations of BAM 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and coins are available in denominations of BAM 5, 2, 1, and pfenings of 50, 20, 10 and 5.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is still an economy in which cash is the preferred medium of transaction. Credit cards are generally accepted but most of locals will prefer cash and traveler's cheques are accepted only at select banks. While Euro and US Dollar are the preferred foreign currencies, Pound Sterling is rarely used. ATMs are common site and are available in many places.

Business hours for banks are usually 08.00-15.00 (Monday through Friday).

Click here to view the latest exchange rate from OANDA.com.

Electricity Top

Bosnia-Herzegovina runs off a 220V/ 50Hz system, with 2-pronged electrical socket.

Embassy Locations Top

To view a list of Bosnian embassies around the world, as well as foreign embassies within Bosnia-Herzegovina, check out http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/.

General Information Top

Population: 4,552,198 (July 2007 est.)
Total Area: 51,129 sq km
Capital: Sarajevo
Time Zone: UTC +1 hour

Click here to view the current time in Sarajevo.

Geography Top

Bosnia is a small country just one tenth the size of France. It is located in the Balkan Peninsula, south east of the European continent. Bosnia is ensconced by Croatia in the north and west, Serbia in the east and Montenegro in the south.

The northern part is mountainous and thick forests envelop the terrain. The land here is favorable for growing fruits and cattle farming. The southern region is rocky and interspersed with flat plains. This is the fertile belt of Bosnia and a variety of crops is grown here.

To view a map of Bosnia-Herzegovina, click on this link to WorldAtlas.com.

Health  Top

Tourists are strongly advised to equip themselves with travel and medical insurance before arriving at Bosnia. Inoculation regulations can change at short notice so immunising against hepatitis B, tuberculosis, tick-borne encephalitis and rabies is recommended.

As far as food hygiene goes, local vegetables, fruits, meat and poultry are safe. It is advisable though to wash and peel vegetables and fruits before consumption. Stick to eating cooked meat and fish only. Water is generally safe to drink but unpasteurised milk must be boiled before drinking. It is better to avoid dairy products as they are mostly made from unboiled milk.

Medical facility at arm's length is limited especially outside major towns, so stock up your medical kit.

History Top

Bosnia has been the play field for many empires over the years. It was ruled by different groups till in 1463 after which the Ottoman or Turkish army conquered it. At this time many Bosnians converted to Islam and became Muslims. The Ottoman Empire ruled till 1878, after which Austria-Hungary gained control.

World War I was sparked when a young Serbian student assassinated the Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo. From here on it was a steep downhill journey for Bosnia. After the war, the region of Bosnia-Herzegovina became a part of the country that was renamed Yugoslavia.

Soon World War II broke out and Germany and Italy invaded Yugoslavia. Bosnian patriots led by a young communist, Josip Broz Tito, fought heroically. The end of the war saw Bosnia-Herzegovina become one of six republics in the new communist state led by Tito.

Communism and Tito held the different ethnic groups together, but when Tito died in 1980, the country fell apart and old conflicts re-emerged. In 1990, the communist party lost control and Croats and Muslims in Bosnia voted for independence. Most Serbs opposed this move and wished to remain a part of Yugoslavia. Due to the clash in political interests a fierce civil war broke out in April 1992. The war ended with about two thirds of Bosnia falling under the control of the Bosnian Serbs.

The civil war and the ethnic cleansing that followed killed more than 200,000 people and rendered more than 2 million people homeless. Needless to say, the atrocities committed in the name of ‘ethnic cleansing' were inhumane.

In 1995, Bosnia was divided into two - a Muslim-Croat federation and a Bosnian Serb republic. The Muslim-Croat controlled 51 per cent of the country and the Bosnian Serb controlled the balance 49 per cent. A peace agreement was signed which allowed refugees to return home.

Since then Bosnian refugees have been returning, but to destroyed homes and sometimes no home at all. The country is slowly limping back to normalcy but it will be a while for wounds to heal and trust to set in.

In the meanwhile the government is doing its bit by promoting the country as a tourist destination. Efforts are being made to revive its past glory and give the country a face lift. This is indeed filling the coffers right now and will in future if the new found peace continues.

Language Top

There are three main languages spoken throughout the country: Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian.

People Top

The Balkan region has always been a simmering volcano, sometimes spewing too, because of its volatile internal and external relations. Bosnia, however, has been politically correct and managed to appease all. The three main ethnic groups are managing a peaceful co-existence. Before 1990, inter community marriages were quite common. However, all was not hunky dory when Milosevic rose to power in Yugoslavia in 1989. His government declared ‘ethnic cleansing' that left millions dead, wounded and homeless. Milosevic's shrewd and extremist political game resulted only in further distrust among the ethnic groups.

Bosnians are otherwise known for their warmth and hospitality. Visiting each other's home and hosting lunches and dinners are their favourite pastime.

Clothing

In winter heavy clothing and an overcoat are recommended. In summer light clothing will suffice but it is advisable to carry a raincoat just in case the clouds give way.

Traditions

It is customary to remove one's shoes and put on a pair of slippers once you enter a Muslim home. Three kisses on alternating cheeks is a customary form of greeting for both men and women. While visiting, the hosts are expected to serve a meal or refreshment.

Public Holidays Top

Follow the link to view a current list of public holidays in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Religion Top

There are a variety of ethnic groups and religions in the country.

The population is made up of Bosniaks 48%, Serbs 37.1%, Croats 14.3%, and other 0.6% (2000). However the term Bosniak has replaced Muslim as an ethnic term in part to avoid confusion with the religious term Muslim - an adherent of Islam.

The religious breakdowns are: Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, and other 14%.

Visas/Passports Top

US citizens that need to renew, add pages, change name, or just get a new US passport, can Apply for a New US Passport here.