A Day in Bosnia & Herzegovina

A Day in Bosnia & Herzegovina

What was supposed to be a day trip to Mostar from Dubrovnik ended up as a tour around Bosnia & Herzegovina. Let’s rewind. About 3 weeks prior to my trip, while I was in Bolivia, I received an email indicating that Turkish Airlines would only service direct flights from Dubrovnik to Istanbul once a week. That meant that I no longer had a flight back to Istanbul from Dubrovnik. Turkish Airlines refused to put me on a connecting flight as I booked a direct itinerary. I ended up purchasing a direct flight from Sarajevo to Istanbul on Pegasus Airlines to continue my itinerary. So here I am. I now have to find a way to get from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo. A direct journey from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo by bus is about 6 hours. I did not want to waste an entire day trying to get from point A to point B. I decided to do a day trip from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo. 


Must Know Before You Go

When to Visit: Shoulder months (May, September – October) have pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Busiest time is June – August and temperatures are hot. Off-season is November – April. The weather can be extremely cold, icy, or wet.

Visas: The United States and most Western countries do not need to apply for a visa; a valid passport with 90 days validity is required. 

Language:Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian. In tourist areas, people speak some English. 

Currency: Konvertibilna marka (BAM). Euro is accepted in most establishments. Exchange Rate as of April 2024. 

  • $1USD=BAM 1.84
  • $1CAN=BAM 1.33
  • $1AUS=BAM 1.19
  • £1=BAM 2.29
  • ¥100=BAM 1.20

Credit Card vs. Cash: Cash is mostly used in Bosnia. Credit Cards are used in some restaurants but I would not expect that. 

ATMs: ATMs can be easily found in touristy areas. ATMs are located on almost every block in Sarajevo city center. 

Tipping: 10% is customary in many dining and service-related establishments. Some restaurants may already include a service charge on the bill. 

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Mostar, Old Bridge Mostar

National Parks: Una, Sutjeska, Drina


Funky Tours:

I booked a private tour through Funky Tours. They offer several one-way packages from Croatia to Bosnia. Most of their tours are small groups with no more than 8 people but I requested a private tour. Their small group tour is about €95/per person. My private tour for three people cost €480 which included all entrance fees, transportation, and a tour guide. That is about €160 a person. The tour was worth every penny. It was hands down the best tour I have experienced. 

Border Control

Funky Tours hired a driver in Dubrovnik to get us across the border into Bosnia & Herzegovina. The driver picked us up at 8 am. The drive to the border was quick and took us maybe 10 minutes. There were no lines in immigration. We got our passports stamped and our driver proceeded to a convenience store. Here, we were picked up by our tour. 


Tour Guides:

We were picked up by two local Bosnians. They transferred our bags into our new vehicle. The vehicle was nice and spacious for 3 people. Our guide introduced themselves and gave us a quick rundown of the tour. They quickly started spewing facts. They told us that it would be information overload. That was fine by me as I did not know much if anything about Bosnia. We later found out that our driver has been a tour guide for only 2 years and our other tour guide was brand new. We were her very first tour. She was a cultural major and knows quite a bit about Bosnia. Honestly, I thought they both had about 10 years of experience each, if it was not for their youthful faces.

I appreciate having two tour guides. They had great chemistry and I appreciated the tag team. Unfortunately, their tours are not generally like this but I am pleased that our tour was. 

Driving in Bosnia:

The drive in Bosnia can be quite windy as we were traveling around mountainous roads. I used a motion sickness patch to ease my nausea and it worked perfectly. There is mostly one lane each way during our drive. Since there is only one lane, the drive was quite easy, and straightforward. We drove along a river on the left-hand side most of the way. The drive is breathtaking. 

Where to Stay:

We stayed in a beautiful AirBnB in Sarajevo. It was so beautiful that I wished I stayed there longer. The place was massive. It had a cute little lobby when we entered the room. It was 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom. The living room was comfortable. The AirBnB was right in the middle of the city center. I highly recommend it here. 





1. Kravice Waterfall

The first stop we had was Kravice Waterfall. This is one of the most popular stops in Bosnia from Dubrovnik. During the summer months, people would come here to swim; however, the weather in Bosnia has been terrible and the waterfall has flooded the area. What you cannot see is that there is a quick-bite cafe at the foot of the waterfall. The cafe is halfway underwater. This is so crazy. Our guides were so shocked that they were snapping photos! The waterfall was so powerful. I found this waterfall so impressive even if there was an overcast. The drive from Dubrovnik to Kravice Waterfall is a little over 2 hours with no traffic. 



2. Počitelj

After Kravice Waterfall, we traveled 35 minutes to Počitelj, a medieval settlement town. There is a fort that was built between the 15th and 18th century. From the fort, there are impressive views of the Neretva River. Also here, is the Mosque of Sisman Ibrahim Pasa. Many tour groups are dropped off by the Mosque. That means that those travelers must climb up the fort for the views. The tour vehicles are too large to start from the top. Our tour guide dropped us off at the top of the fort and met us at the bottom so we did not have to climb up.

One of the most impressive things about Počitelj is that people are still living in the region. Residents waved at us as we walked by. Also, there is a water dispenser where we can fill our water bottles. 


bosnia   bosnia

3. Blagaj 

After exploring Počitelj, we drove 30 minutes to Blagaj. Here, we were welcomed by a powerful river. There were restaurants along the side of the river but the water levels were so high that the patio area was submerged. This is where we will have lunch but first, we decided to visit a Dervish House. In Blagaj, there is a Dervish house located on the side of a cave. Dervish is a member of the Muslim religion. With that said, we had to remove our shoes and women had to wear headscarves in the Dervish House. They had headscarves for us to wear. 

In the house, our guide told us about how the Dervish lived. The top floor was where the women stayed. The bottom floor was for the men. He showed us a table where people ate together. The table was round and could be folded and stored away. This was common in households back then as people slept in the same room as they ate. He showed us a cold room. They did not have fridges and store their food in a room. He said anything that did not fit in that room was tied down in the cave. The lessons I learned here were fascinating!




4. Mostar

After lunch, we traveled 30 minutes to Mostar. The famous old bridge and the old city are a part of the UNESCO. I was looking forward to this city the most; however, due to the flooding, (like anything else) we could not get great views of the bridge. The Mostar bridge was first constructed in 1557. In 1993, Croatia bombed the bridge and the remnants are still in the river. The current bridge was reconstructed in 2001. During the summer months, people would launch themselves off of the bridge into the river. 



The weather took a turn for the worse while we were there. Our tour guide escorted us to the museum to try to wait out the rain. We visited the Bosnaseum, a small museum that detailed the turbulent history of Bosnia from its earliest records to today. We watched a video about the earlier history, the Bosnian war, and then walked through several rooms that displayed artifacts from different decades. The rain picked up so our driver grabbed the car and scooped us up at the front. 



5. Jablanica 

This and the next stop were just quick observations. We stopped at Jablanica, which was about a 45-minute drive. We stopped here for the Bridge on the Neretva landmark. It is located next to the Museum Battle for the Wounded on Neretva River. This bridge has been destroyed 3 different times throughout its lifetime: as a ruse, during a WWII attack, and in a movie scene. Located in front of the museum were old trains and items from WWII. 



6. Konjic

Our last stop of the tour was Konjic, a 20-minute drive. We spent most of the time on the bridge that resembles the bridge in Mostar. I absolutely love this town and I wish we had more time here. The old stone bridge was built in 1682 but in 1945, it was bombed. The bridge was reconstructed in 2003. The bridge has captivating views of the water and the mountains in the backdrop. 

By the time we arrived in Konjic, it was iftar. The town launched cannon noise to notify its residents that it was time to break fast. It startled me. My guide told me its significance. She told me a story about how people who have experienced war would freak out because of their PTSD. If a cannon blast startled me, I cannot imagine those who have encountered war. 


7. Sarajevo

After taking in Konjic, we made our way to our accommodations in Sarajevo. It was about an hour drive. Once we arrived in Sarajevo, we said our farewells to our incredible tour guides, checked into our AirBnB, and immediately made our way to the city center. The city center was decked out in lights. There were ATM in every corner. We were getting hungry so we decided to find a place to eat. We had dinner at Nanina Kuhinja. After dinner, we roamed around some more before we headed back to our AirBnB and we called it a night. 



Where to Eat:

Lunch in Blagaj: Mlinica Restaurant

→ Blagaj BB, Blagaj 88201, Bosnia & Herzegovina

For lunch, we ate at a restaurant next to the Dervish House that overlooked the river. I ordered the chicken skewers (18BAM), cola (4BAM), and OJ (4BAM). I found that the chicken skewers were pretty bland. Our driver recommended the trout. My niece ordered it but she found it to be plain as well. The restaurant is cash only. They take Euro and BAM

One thing to note is that there is an aggressive cat here. She will jump on you and scratch you. I got my legs scratched and our guide had her arms scratched. Our server told us that he had a guest the day before. He tried to get rid of the cat but she ended up scratching his eye. The cat does not belong to the restaurant. It is just a wild cat. We tried to distract it by throwing food at a distance but she was not having it. Just be careful of this cat. 



Dinner in Sarajevo: Nanina Kuhinja

→ Kundurdžiluk 35, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

We originally wanted to go to another restaurant but we did not have cash at the time. By the time we had cash, they did not have any more seats. We settled for Nanina Kuhinja due to the reviews we saw online. When we arrived, there was nobody there. We were surprised. But the service was great. They also take cash and card. Here, I ordered the Bosnian Pot (veal, beef, various vegetables 15,90BAM). The portions were large! The food felt homey. They specialize in making food that feels like grandma’s house. It did for a moment until we ordered dessert. We were shocked to find our server running outside to get our dessert. So note, do not order the dessert here! 


Where to Go Next:

Here are a few places that I would visit next time I’m in Bosnia:

  • Una National Park – Largest National Park in Bosnia. Located in the northwestern part of Bosnia. 5 hour drive from Sarajevo.
  • Blidinje Nature Park – Located in the mountains of Central Dinarides. Located in west-central Bosnia. Near Jablaica and 2 hours west from Sarajevo.
  • Vrelo Bosne – Popular natural landmarks in the outskirts of Sarajevo. 
  • Pliva Waterfall – A spectacular waterfall in the middle of a medieval town, Jajce. 2.5 hours northwest of Sarajevo. 
  • Međugorje – Apparition site located 2.5 hours southwest of Sarajevo near Mostar. 
  • Kocusa Waterfall – Impressive waterfall that is located near Međugorje. About 3 hours from Sarajevo. 
  • Spilja Vjetrenica – the largest cave in Bosnia and part of the Dinaric mountain ranges. It is about 3.5 hours south of Sarajevo and pretty close to Dubrovnik. 

Of course, I would re-visit all the places I have experienced but I would take it in a little bit longer.