Bosnia-Herzegovina— The Basics
A true crossroads, blending eastern, western, and Ottoman designs, Bosnia-Herzegovina is a distinct destination in Europe. You’ll find beaches, mountains, dense forests, shimmering lakes, and everything in between in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This country is a delightful culmination of natural beauty and urban elegance. Home to a linguistically, religiously, and culturally diverse population, you’ll run into many exciting, enthusiastic folks on your adventure in Bosnia-Herzegovina!
Sights and Attractions
If possible, try to travel to Sarajevo! The capital has numerous enticing landmarks. A testament to the old reign of the Ottoman Empire, the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque is a must-see for anyone passing through. Few Mosques so beautiful exist in Europe, and it harkens back to a turbulent era of kings and sultans. Over 450 years after its construction, the monumental mosque stands proud over the capital.
While you’re in Sarajevo , don’t miss out on the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Theotokos ! The design of this Orthodox cathedral is not something you would expect to see in Western Europe. The three domes of this baroque-basilica design tower over the surrounding landscape. The cathedral is another awe-inspiring sight in a country full of them.
Lovers of the outdoors fit right in when they visit Bosnia-Herzegovina. The golden beaches on the Adriatic coast are the perfect place to take a dip. Not only is the water warm, but it’s also very transparent. This part of the Adriatic is almost like the Caribbean. It’s the perfect place to take a dive. A bit further above sea level, travelers have the opportunity to hike the impressive Dinaric Alps. Old fortresses, castles, and battlegrounds litter the Dinaric Alps to this day.
Anyone who drinks has to down a few shots of Rakia. This fruit brandy is drank throughout the Balkans, and it’s pretty flavorful. Be careful though. It tastes good, but at 80 proof, it’ll hit you as hard as vodka or whiskey. If you’re fortunate enough to befriend a local Bosnian, you may even get a taste of homemade Rakia. This is even stronger than what you’ll find in a bar, so brace yourself!
Bosnia-Herzegovina Travel Tips
Bosnia-Herzegovina Currency Considerations
Bosnia uses the Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark. That’s a mouthful. The mark is not accepted in other countries, so don’t convert your money for too many marks. Bosnia currency exchange services can be found in airports, banks, and urban centers. You’ll have no problem exchanging your money if you plan to travel to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s capital.
Furthermore, money can be exchanged at most locations that see many tourists. Bosnia-Herzegovina is the cheapest place to travel in the region. Your dollar will go a long way, and most countries have a pretty favorable exchange rate with the convertible mark.
Anywhere you go in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the hotels and hostels will be very budget-friendly. Even if you travel to the capital of Sarajevo, you will spend much less on a Hotel than most other capital cities. In any major city, your hotel will have plenty of English-speaking staff. In rural areas and small cities, do your research and make sure you can find a hotel that suits your linguistic needs.
Flights and Transportation
The capital has an international airport if you plan to travel to Sarajevo directly. The cities of Mostar and Banja also have international airports. Sometimes public transit runs late, but in the cheapest place to travel in Europe, that’s not a huge deal. Relax and chat with a Bosnian while you wait. Bosnians are very welcoming to outsiders.
They can let you in on some of the lesser-known secrets and hotspots in the country. They’ll certainly let you in on something that you didn’t know before. No oversea travel adventure is complete without chatting with the locals. They can be extremely helpful, especially in the cases of delay. They often know when and for how long the bus in their city may be delayed. Bosnia is not a part of the European Union, so have your passport ready when you reach a border.
Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian are the three official languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The standard versions of these languages are mutually intelligible. There are no official numbers, but many people in Bosnia-Herzegovina can speak English at a basic level. Language won’t be much of a barrier during your oversea travel adventure.
In case of communication troubles, keep your phone handy and download a translation app. If that doesn’t work, try to gesture what you want. A lot can be said with just a little movement. Pictures help, too. Older generations can speak Russian to a decent degree. If you know some Russian, it may help overcome the language barrier with older people.
Sarajevo, the capital, is pronounced like this: “Sarr-Ah-Yay-Voh.” It’s a tricky one, and locals will be happy to hear you pronounce their capital’s name correctly.
While Bosnia-Herzegovina is a former Yugoslav republic, don’t call Bosnia-Herzegovina or its neighbors “Yugoslavia.” Yugoslavia dissolved in 1992. How did that happen? An extremely bloody, violent, and costly war. Those scars run deep, and much of the population was alive for that horrible conflict. Therefore, Yugoslavia is now a politically loaded term. Unless you want to bring up unpleasant memories of a more brutal time, avoid the subject of Yugoslavia. In the same vein, don’t imply that a neighboring country or its people are better than Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Less than three decades ago, these people were slaughtering each other. Tension is still there. For the love of all things good and decent, do not take a side if the Bosnian war comes up in conversation. As a foreigner, you can read about it, but only they can honestly know what it was like.
Don’t refer to every person in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a Bosniak. Bosniaks are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group within Bosnia. Bosniaks are almost always Bosnian, but not all Bosnians are Bosniaks. Confusing terminology, but it’s necessary to know if you don’t want to offend anyone. If invited into a Bosniak’s home, take your shoes off. Wearing shoes indoors is a big social faux-pas among Bosniaks.
The rules that apply to most Muslims apply to Bosniaks as well. It’s in poor taste to bring up Muslim terrorism, and you also shouldn’t openly insult God, Allah, or the Qur’an in front of Bosniaks. You wouldn’t want someone to come to your country and badmouth your beliefs. Follow the golden rule.
When counting, don’t put three fingers in the air. With your thumb, forefinger, and middle finger out, you’re making the three-finger salute. This was a common gesture among Serbian nationalists in the Yugoslav wars. The three-finger salute is extremely offensive to people in Bosnia. It’s like doing the Hitler salute in Europe. Don’t do it. It won’t end well, and it will ruin everybody’s day.
For those who want to go on an oversea travel adventure, the cheapest place to travel to in the region is not a bad choice. Make sure to get your Bosnia currency needs in order! Your money will take you far. Don’t miss the sandy beaches, colossal cathedrals, and ornate mosques in this hidden paradise. Visit Bosnia-Herzegovina for the trip of a lifetime.
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