Bosnia & Herzegovina
Average cost p/day: US $50
Time frame: 1 week
Currency: Bosnian Marks
A tiny country jammed inbetween Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina was horrifically impacted by the Yugoslavian war, the effects of which can still be seen and indeed felt across the country. The Bosnian people are kind and generous and keen to share their history and their culture with visiting tourists.
WHERE TO GO
I can’t even begin to explain how cool this place is. Mostar was badly hit by the Yugoslavian civil war. The damage, more than twenty years later, is still evident on many of the streets and buildings. The most famous sight in town is the Old Bridge. Standing 24m tall, it is a popular spot for jumping down into the cold, rapid river – if you’re feeling brave. Another must-see is the sniper tower. Covered in graffiti and kind of falling apart, it seems this building has not really been touched since the war. Not only will you get a brilliant view from the top, but it’s worth stopping to properly check out the many bullet holes that have been cleverly used in some of the art on the outside of the building.
Hostel recommendation – Hostel Nina (read about their day trip below, too!)
Day trips from Mostar
There are lots of things to see and do within easy reach of Mostar. My hostel (mentioned above) ran a really great day tour which took us to many nearby sights and was run by a local who told us his personal war stories. We drove up Hum mountain which looks over Mostar and after taking in the views, learnt a bit about the war. We then went through a huge tunnel created for the war, visited the Dervish house in Blagaj, swam in the Kravica waterfalls and climbed the fortress to get views of Pocitelj as well as the surrounding river and mountains.
Sarajevo itself only takes an hour or two to explore, but the war history just outisde of the city is fascinating. You can visit the bob sled track used in the 1984 Winter Olympics which later became a sniper vantage point. What’s left of it is now covered in graffiti. There’s also the the Tunnel of Hope, built to sneak from one side of the city to the other in the war. Be sure to get a local guide who can tell you give their personal insight to the atrocities of the war.
Hostel recommendation – Balkan Han Hostel