One of the most overlooked countries in Europe, Bosnia isn’t on too many people’s travel radars. But this tiny country has a lot of heart both literally and figuratively, as the landmass is in fact, shaped like a heart. It’s also a great place to start a road trip through the greater Balkans region.
While you may picture a war-torn country that was the center of much conflict following the referendum for independence from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the area has since been fairly stable politically and is projected to be one of the top three fastest growing tourist destinations by the year 2020.
The name is derived from “Bosana,” an old Indo-European word meaning water, which the country certainly has no shortage of. Ideally located near the Dalmatian Coast and the Adriatic Sea, it is one of the most diverse nations in the world.
Differing opinions may been cause for conflict in the past, but they appear to have accepted one another and learned to coexist, with everyone appreciating the haunting beauty of a country they fought so desperately to protect.
The capital of Sarajevo boasts a picturesque Old Town with a large market, abundant cafes, and architecturally significant places of worship. Set to a backdrop of hills and towering mountains, few other places on earth feature an Orthodox and a Catholic church, a mosque and a synagogue all within a few blocks of each other. While you could spend your entire trip studying the fascinating history of the region, there are plenty of modern conveniences and attractions, as well.
A true melting pot of religions, cultures and architecture, Sarajevo exemplifies influences from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires of the east along with the Roman, Venetian, and Austro-Hungarian empires of the west.
The bridge in Mostar gained popularity thanks to Instagram and the perfect circle it’s reflection makes. The original structure was destroyed in the war but it was rebuilt in 1993.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of perseverance. Standing 23 meters tall, daredevils love jumping off the bridge into the icy waters below. There’s even a local dive club!
A day trip to nearby Balagaj is a lesser known scenic excursion and also worth a visit. A 600-year old monastery hidden in the cliffside, remove your shoes and explore this magical hidden gem.
In short? It’s time to give this classically beautiful European capitol another look. It is one of the World Historic Cities, after all.
- Want to check out more of the area? Check out the ultimate Balkans road trip.
- Here are 8 more reasons you should visit Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Looking for more hidden gems in Europe? Check out this post.
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