If you want fairy tale landscapes that are still one of the best kept secrets of Europe, then head to Bosnia Herzegovina. Here you’ll discover castles, waterfalls and crystal-clear waters straight out of a fantasy. Once a scene of terrible civil unrest, Bosnia Herzegovina is now revealing its beauty to the world two decades on from the war that tore it apart.
East meets west in this mountainous land shaped like a heart with a diverse culture influenced by both the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. Many areas are like stepping back in time with cobbled lanes, pretty streams, medieval towers and untouched nature. Here are some more compelling reasons to consider visiting this exciting yet mysterious nation.
The food here is a delight for foodies, as it’s nearly all organic and represents such diverse tastes including Ottoman, Balkan and Austro-Hungarian influences. Be sure to visit the Dveri restaurant in Sarajevo where you can enjoy such Balkan delicacies as stuffed veal, goulash and polenta. Meat lovers will be right at home here, but the vegetarians are not forgotten either. Try the Karuzo restaurant, a meat-free haunt that is so popular, it will require pre-booking.
For those who like to get the adrenaline pumping, bridge jumping is a popular sport in Mostar. This is not for the faint-hearted though, as participants hurl themselves form the parapet of the Old Bridge, falling over 20m into the River Neretva in front of large crowds. The original bridge from 1567 was destroyed but was recreated in the 1990s. Every summer a contest is held but non-professionals can also partake for a fee. Be aware that people have died doing this!
Enjoying the sights and tastes of Bosnia comes at a very reasonable price too. Sarajevo is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe and prices in the rest of the country are even lower. Fancy eating out for as little as two euros? Believe it or not, you can in Bosnia Herzegovina.
For those seeking a spiritual experience, a visit to Medjugorje is a must. Medjugorje is a town near the Croatian border where apparitions of the Virgin Mary first occurred in 1981 to six children and have happened many times since. The town is now a highly popular pilgrimage destination. For flights to Medjugorje from Airports in Ireland, visit https://irelandwestairport.com/
If you want to avoid the tourist crowds, this country remains one of the last largely undiscovered regions of the southern Alps. Tourism is increasing year on year though, so see it now before everyone else hears about it!
If you love history and can’t resist a good castle, then you’ll be more than happy with the offerings here. The Ottomans arrived in the 1400s, followed by the Austro-Hungarians, so expect to discover castles galore from different eras and of different architectural styles. Try to include Jajce Castle which sits on a hill overlooking the fortress town of Jajce. Tesanj Castle is another fine castle well worth a visit, also overlooking the city and offering incredible views.
Another essential itinerary item should be the Una River with its waterfalls and rapids. From calm and tranquil spots to wild, foaming rapids – this river is untouched natural beauty at its finest. Enjoy a glass of wine at one of the riverside restaurants that overlooks the Kostelski Buk natural waterfall.