So what is the first thing you think about when you hear of Bosnia?
When I told my friends that I was planning a trip to Bosnia, they thought I was crazy. Unfortunately, when people think of Bosnia they still think of horrible images that they may have seen from the war that happened years ago. The truth is far from this stereotypical image that many people seem to have. I am convinced that Bosnia is one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
It is also much safer than many people tend to think. Unlike many other parts of western Europe that people generally don’t associate with crime (like Paris), I never felt unsafe when I was there (for more information about crimes in Europe you can read my article about personal safety in Europe or my article about common scams). If I would have listened to my friends, I would have probably missed what turned out to be one of my favorite places in Europe to travel.
What is there to see in Bosnia?
There is a TON to see and do throughout Bosnia from extreme sports such as white water rafting to exploring pyramids (yes that’s right pyramids!) and other historical sites. One of my favorite places in Bosnia in Sarajevo.
Here you can find everything from the bridge in which World War I was started to the oldest public bathroom in all of Europe. You can see the old tunnels where Bosnians took food and supplies in and out of the city, eat great Bosnian food in many great restaurants, or maybe relax drinking Turkish style coffee in a local cafe.
I once read somewhere that there were a lot of landmines in Bosnia. The truth is that I never saw any dangers of this type. I was told that landmines are ONLY found deep in the mountains where there are no people. So you really DON’T need to be worried about this.
Bosnia is a safe peaceful place. War has been over in Bosnia for a long time now. It is safe to visit, and the people are wonderful. While you can clearly see the devastating effects that war has had (take a look at the number of graves you can see on the top photo), the country is starting to thrive again. Tourists and backpackers alike are rediscovering Bosnia’s beauty.
I was surprised to find that I did not encounter a whole lot of crime when I was anywhere in Bosnia. While like whenever traveling it is important that you are careful and watch your things closely, I have found that crime is a lot less prevalent than in many other places that people are not as afraid to travel to in Western Europe.
Bosnian people are some of the most hospitable people I have ever met. The people I met are anxious t0 show about their history and way of life and love to talk to you (even about such sensitive topics regarding politics). Personally, I was lucky to have met my friend Irfan who showed me around the city and told me much about the Bosnian way of life.
Yes, you heard me right, PYRAMIDS! Bosnians are showing even more hope for a brighter future after a recent discovery that some historians believe will change history. Recently they found objects that many believe to be the first pyramids ever found in Europe (of course there is still some dispute about this)! The man that discovered them claims that they are as old as or older than the ones in Egypt and HUGE. For more information about the pyramids, you can read a National Geographic news article.
How to get around:
Generally, when you travel throughout Bosnia (unlike the rest of Europe) people use buses instead of trains. Bus and train tickets are much cheaper than in Western Europe. You don’t have to book too far in advance to get tickets. Rail Passes won’t work in Bosnia because they are not yet part of the European Union. (*I stand corrected… you can now use your rail pass in Bosnia… thank you 🙂
Whenever I travel, my best experiences have always been when I meet someone who lives in the area to show me around.