How awesome is Bosnia-Herzegovina – there are epic waterfalls, stunning clear rivers and charming little towns.
When considering a country in eastern Europe for a road trip, Bosnia & Herzegovina should be one of the first countries on your mind. This idyllic country often gets overshadowed by its neighbour, Croatia. Don’t get me wrong, Croatia is a magnificent country in itself but Bosnia & Herzegovina is just something else.
Nature-lovers will be astounded by the abundance of natural marvels that are hidden within Bosnia & Herzegovina. It is a surprise that it is often less travelled than its neighbours, but that also means that it is typically less crowded. This also means that you will be able to travel around without seeing the full effects that tourism has on the society. You can expect genuine, unforgettable experiences.
Even though this post has a recommended itinerary for a road trip in Bosnia-Herzegovina, we recommend not making concrete plans but having a rough idea where you want to start and end. Enter Bosnia, go find a river and drive along it.Check Car Rental Prices in Bosnia-Herzegovina
We drove along the Drina and got to see some of the most amazing scenery on our rented car. On our second trip here, we explored the area around Una and Krka rivers in our Camper van.
Believe it or not, the above picture hasn’t been edited and these colors are real. This place was right along the Drina river a few hours after crossing Visegrad.
Yes, “Bosnia and Herzegovina” is a pretty long name, so throughout this article, we often mention just “Bosnia” or “Bosnia-Herzegovina” instead of using the full name. Yes, these are acceptable nicknames for this lovely country, pars pro toto!
Starting Point for Bosnia & Herzegovina Road Trip:
Most people start their Bosnia road trip from Croatia and it makes total sense to start at Una National Park, which is barely 30 kilometers from Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes. Both these countries share a long stretch of border with each other and it is a good idea to combine a Croatia road trip with Bosnia & Herzegovina. Be sure to read the post about our Croatia road trip.
In case you’re flying to Bosnia-Herzegovina, then your starting point will be Sarajevo and from there you can rent a car and do this itinerary in a loop. This way, you can return your rented car back in Sarajevo. The first time we rented a car here, we were quite stupid and went from one car rental shop to another at the airport to compare prices, cars and what not. We wished if there was a SINGLE website we could go to in order to compare everything. We know better now, of course there is a website and it is a pretty reputed one. If you want to compare car rental prices for different destinations, you can do this here on this website.Check Car Rental Prices in Bosnia-Herzegovina
In case you’re entering from Serbia or Montenegro, your starting point will be Visegrad, it is situated close to both Serbia and Montenegro borders. The first time we visited Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was on a road trip from Serbia and we drove to Montenegro right after that. Check out this ultimate Balkan road trip itinerary to see our trip.
Una National Park – 2 Days
Una National Park is situated just off the border shared with Croatia and is much easier to get to while driving. It was established to protect the Una River; which is it centered around; Krka River and the Unac River. This park is known for its tufa formations. Picture stunning limestone formations but more porous; with holes that allow water to flow through and create magical waterfall systems.
At Una National Park, you will feel like you have escaped to a shrouded wonderland surrounded by lush flora and the sound of the powerful cascades. There are also many spots around the park where you can stop to set up a picnic for the day or camp for the night.
Jajce – 1 Day
Jajce is a medieval town characterised by its fortress that sits atop the city and the waterfalls that flow beneath. Jajce is an interesting place to stop at on your Bosnia road trip not only because it’s breathtaking sites, but also the historical importance of this town.
It once was a bustling capital of the Bosnian Kingdom and Jajce Fortress was the home of the last Bosnian King before it fell under Ottoman rule. Nowadays, the landmark is a great place to catch memorable views of the sunset.
The waterfall that is “under” Jajce is called Pliva Waterfall and it is located right next to the town so it is very easy to get to. Lots of people opt to cross the river in order to get a photo of the Jajce Fortress, the town, and Pliva Waterfall together in a composition that looks almost unreal.
Mostar – 2-3 Days
Our next stop on this Bonia Road Trip is to Mostar, a city most known for the impressive Stari Most Bridge. Mostar Bridge is a well reconstructed and preserved Ottomanesque bridge that is impossible to miss while in Mostar. If you are lucky enough to be in Mostar at the end of July, you will have the chance to witness the local diving competition. This is a tradition where the bravest, young men take on the 24 m leap into the Neretva river.
Mostar was exposed to a variety of different cultural influences in the past which can be seen in the architecture as you wander the streets of the Old Town. The traditional food here is no different, sampling flavours from Middle Eastern dishes with a Central European twist.
Lastly, Mostar is a town that loves the arts. There are countless galleries, museums, and theatres to view works from Bosnian Natives and it is also the location of some really exciting summer festivals.
Blagaj – Day Trip from Mostar
During your three days in Mostar, you might want to explore a bit outside the city and Blagaj is the perfect place to go! A short 15 minute drive will take you to the small village of Blagaj which is the location of an ancient Dervish Monastery and Vrelo Bune; a captivating natural spring.
I’m sure we say it often enough but we love being in natural environments and Buna Spring will not fail to enchant you. Its main alluring feature is the contrast between the rigid structures of the building and the organic flow of the landscape surrounding it.
You can go into the Blagaj Tekija (the Blagaj Monastery) if you wish for two and a half euros or simply spend the day wandering the village. There are also a few restaurants next to the spring that you can stop at for a bite to eat before heading back to Mostar.
Kravice Waterfalls – 1 Day (stay in Studenci town or Međugorje for the night)
Another popular day trip from Mostar is to the incredible Kravice Waterfalls but we think that they deserve a longer visit. To experience the true beauty of the falls, consider spending the night in Stufenci town or Međugorje. This will allow you to spend as much time as you want to enjoy Kravice falls as well as explore the grounds after the tour bus crowds leave.
Kravice waterfalls are a system of tufa cascades surrounded by lush forests. The falls empty into a crystal clear pool which you are allowed to swim in. Aside from taking in the spectacular sites of the falls, there are numerous spaces to set up a picnic, a swing to get that perfect ‘gram photo, and spots to relax. We have a lot more information in our blog post about Kravice Waterfalls.
There are 4 major waterfalls in this area of land that’s shared by Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina – and they’re all spectacular and have tufa formations. These are Kravice, Plitvice (Croatia), Krka National Park (Croatia) and Una National Park (Bosnia) and out of all of them our best experience was at Kravice. It was because we could swim and experience the true beauty and it wasn’t as crowded as Croatia’s Krka National Park.
Vjetrenica Cave – Stop here for an hour on your way
Next on our Bosnia road trip itinerary we suggest heading to the southern part of the country and even staying in Dubrovnik, Croatia for a few days but first, stop by Vjetrenica cave.
Vjetrenica Cave is located outside the small village of Zavala and is completely worth a short visit while travelling around southern Bosnia. You don’t need to stop here for long but just do a little tour that will take you 30 minutes. It is one of those stops in your road trip itinerary where you can just stop for a snack and toilet and see something beautiful.
If you enjoyed watching BBC’s Planet Earth documentary series, then maybe you remember the episode about caves. It features a rare albino salamander, and I never imagined in my lifetime I’d get to see a creature as elusive as this, but I did in Vjetrenica cave. It is also sometimes called a “human fish” because of its skin color.
We highly recommend you take a tour into the first 600 metres of this massive cave filled with a unique biodiversity that you won’t be able to see anywhere else. Two hundred subterranean species call the 20 km of Vjetrenica cave home.
While here, you can also visit Popovo Polje which is an expansive karstic field unique to the region due to the nearby Trebišnjica River.
Dubrovnik – 1-2 Days
This is a great opportunity to fit Dubrovnik seamlessly into your travel plans as you would need to cross through Bosnia & Herzgovnia regardless to explore this 16th century seaport. Dubrovnik is well-known for having an old town that is reminiscent of the renaissance era that spread across Europe.
The charming cityscape alone attracts visitors to Dubrovnik with its romantic gothic and romanesque structures. Along with walking around the Old City, you can spend a day at one of the glorious beaches and dip your toes in the Adriatic Sea.
Any Game of Thrones fans won’t want to skip seeing the walls of Dubrovnik which you will probably recognize as King’s Landing. In fact, you can go on a walking tour around the city to all the spots that the series featured.
Višegrad – 1-2 days
The last stop that you should add to you Bosnia road trip is Višegrad. If you are coming in from Serbia, you are most likely going to want to stop here first and do this whole itinerary in reverse order.
Višegrad and its notable historical bridge is the setting of the book, “Bridge over the Drina” which was written by Ivo Andrić. Raised in Višegrad, Andrić went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature and gained recognition for the bridge that he once played on as a child; the Mehmed Paša Sokolovic bridge which is elegantly placed over the Drina river.
After you spend the day exploring the town of Višegrad, we highly recommend having dinner at Anika. Feast on some delicious dishes while enjoying a view of the bridge over the Drina at this locally cherished riverside restaurant.
Sarajevo – Optional
If you have extra time, you can visit the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina on your road trip. Sarajevo, much like the rest of Bosnia, displays remnants from the Ottoman era. For any history buffs, the city is filled with significant local history to learn about and there are no shortage of interesting museums to visit.
Sarajevo is said to be an interesting stunning city, but honestly, we haven’t visited it despite our two road trips in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Big cities aren’t really for us, but we feel it is important to let our readers know about their options.
Tips for Driving in Bosnia & Herzegovina
We highly recommend driving around Bosnia with your friends if you have the option as it gives you so much more freedom with your itinerary. Here are just a few tips that you should consider before taking your own vehicle or renting one to start your road trip around Bosnia & Herzegovina.
We mentioned making a stop in Dubrovnik and if that is something you are keen to do, you need to make sure you have a green card for your car if it is a non EU registration. This basically just ensures that you have the proper vehicle insurance to cover cross-border travel.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has quite a few traffic control stops where we saw people being stopped for speeding. We luckily weren’t stopped but if we can take one thing from this – Don’t speed and make sure to read and follow traffic rules to avoid any mishaps with the authorities.
If you notice someone signaling you by blinking their headlights, then they’re probably trying to warn you of an upcoming police checkpoint. Keep your speed in check as soon as you see this.
Try to get a car that has the ability to keep your devices charged. We don’t know what we would have done without access to google maps to help ensure we were going in the right direction. The last thing you want to happen is to be lost with no access to your phone.
No matter where you go, be sure to stay on the paved road. This is what we heard from everyone and is because of the threat of landmines.
We have a post on our website with tips for traveling in Europe with a campervan, it has a country specific section about Bosnia. Make sure you check it out as well.
Best Time to Go to Bosnia-Herzegovina
To be honest, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country that you can enjoy anytime throughout the year because each season offers its own unique set of experiences. Some of the most popular times to go are during the spring from April to June as those months see the mildest temperatures and are perfect for enjoying the natural wonders of Bosnia.
Since most of the destinations mentioned on our Bosnia-Herzegovina road trip itinerary are natural wonders, then we highly recommend the time from April to September.
The county sees its hottest temperatures in July and August and its coldest in January and February. If you love to partake in winter activities, Bosnia during the wintertime is a dream and the months of February and March will offer you longer days to play in the snow.
The Food in Bosnia-Herzegovina
I will be honest, I did not enjoy a lot of my food in Bosnia & Herzegovina because most of it was meat. I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan – I just love eating vegetables and dislike meat. The vegetables were very hard to find except in salads.
If you enjoy meat then you won’t have a hard time in Bosnia-Herzegovina. You can eat the famous ćevapi, which is like a kebab or ćufte, which is like meatballs or kofte. This is what San usually ate while we were traveling here and he loved it.
You can also try burek – which is a pastry that’s usually filled with minced meat but I often found vegetarian options that were stuffed with spinach and cheese, which is usually called zeljanica. You can buy burek in most of the cafes and bakeries.
A really good vegetarian food option in Bosnia is tarhana, which is a simple soup made with homemade pasta. It tasted divine! I had tarhana as a part of one of our best meals in Bosnia was home cooked and prepared for us by our Bosnian hosts while we were in Una National Park.
Is Bosnia-Herzegovina Safe to Travel Alone?
Yes! Although we travelled together around this beautiful country, I would feel completely safe travelling around Bosnia-Herzegovina solo. While I was traveling solo in Turkey in 2010, I met a Chinese-American girl who mentioned she was traveling solo in Bosnia-Herzegovina just a few months before Turkey and she loved it.
A lot of people still think about the conflicts that occurred in the 90s and are concerned that this has deemed Bosnia unsafe but that is quite far from the truth.
If you stick to the cities that we have recommended here, you will find yourself more often than not greeted by friendly faces. Travelling with a strong awareness and common sense is a given when making your way around Bosnia as with anywhere else in the world.
Where to go After Bosnia-Herzegovina?
If you didn’t go to Croatia before you embarked on your Bosnia & Herzegovina trip, then you should head here and travel around this country. There are so many interesting sites to see in Croatia and one of the best reasons to go is to soak up the sun on the Istria Coast.
With a relatively moderate climate all year round, Croatia is a favourite amongst travellers within the Balkans for a reason. There are many small islands to explore as well, which means that there are plenty of opportunities to avoid crowds and find your own natural sanctuaries to relax in.
Following our ultimate Bosnia Herzegovina Road trip itinerary, we have led you right to Serbia which is only a half hour drive away from Višegrad. With bustling, urban cities, a rich cultural history, and flavourful local cuisine, Serbia is an amazing country to continue on to if you are travelling through the Balkans.
Also, if you are in love with all the natural wonders that you witnessed on your Bosnia & Herzegovina road trip and would like to see more, Serbia is ready to wow you. There are quite a few established and hidden natural sites to stop at while travelling this underrated country.
Our last suggestion is to head to Montenegro. It is one of the smaller countries in the Balkans, but don’t let its size fool you. There are tons of astonishing sites to behold while travelling this country. The Dinaric Alps make up a large portion of the north of Montenegro which shifts to plains the more south you go.
Montenegro is also the home of the popular and stunning, Kotor Bay. The diverse natural terrain and charming old towns within this country are enough reasons to head to Montenegro after completing your Bosnia road trip.
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Comparing Kravica Waterfall to Plitvice or Krka is ridiculous. Kravica is one single waterfall on a river, where people come to have a picnic and swim. Plitvice and Krka are extensive national parks, with Plitvice being unique in the world for its 16 cascading lakes and about 100 waterfalls, in spite of the crowds. On the other hand, the Krka NP covers a large section of the Krka river, a lake with an island and a centuries old monastery, Orthodox monastery, Roman ruins,and lastly, the Skradinski Buk Waterfall that you visited. Kravica is nice, but I would advise you to put things into perspective for your readers.
Of course it is ridiculous. 🙂 But sometimes a simple comparison helps a traveler who has limited time and can visit just one of these 3 places.