Best time to visit Bosnia-Herzegovina


For hiking, the best time to go to Bosnia-Herzegovina is May, June or September, as it is less hot, although it never maxes out the thermometer in the same way as neighbouring Croatia. In winter you can have snow for up to six months, but February and March are perfect, with more sunshine and clearer days to take in the views. Sarajevo is surrounded by mountains, so always bring a coat, as you can get four seasons in a day. For hiking, spring brings a fiesta of fresh flora, and autumn sees the ancient woodland cover the gamut of glorious reds and gold.

Things to do in Bosnia-Herzegovina


Things to do in Bosnia-Herzegovina…

A mountainous country with ranges such as the Bjelašnica and Durmitor Mountains, both part of the Dinaric Alps, Bosnia and Herzegovina proffers plentiful walking vacations and almost empty hiking trails compared with the rest of Europe. Its rugged karst limestone landscapes are havens for waterfalls and turquoise lakes, so always pack a swimsuit in your backpack. As well as walking poles and strong boots. Peaks such as the country’s highest, Maglic Mountain (2,386m) in Sutjeska National Park are not just a walk in the park.
You get serious snow here, sometimes for five or six months of the year and, although it is not exactly famous for the skiing frenzy that hits the Alps or Pyrenees, it is worth remembering that Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1984. The iconic mountain of these games was Bjelasnica and, unknown to most, there are superb snowshoeing trails here, such as to Visocica Mountain and Crveni Kuk Peak (1733m)
Once the centre of the Ottoman Empire, and with medieval history pouring out of its capital cities, mountain villages, places of worship and local storytellers’ weighty canons, many people include neighbouring Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia on cultural trips to this region. Creating a tailor made itinerary with an expert tour operator is the perfect way to, say, combine coast with culture, peaks with peachy places to stay.

Things not to do in Bosnia-Herzegovina…

Don’t be too fussy. This is not Croatia – it hasn’t ever had a flurry of five star tourism. Bosnia and Herzegovina is still emerging slowly into the world of tourism and is, in many ways, all the better for it. It is still a very rural culture, with many people working in subsistence agriculture. So go slowly, respect local people and their cultures and don’t go looking for Moet in the mountains.
Don’t overlook the fact that this is a mountainous country and that hiking, skiing or snowshoeing here requires expertise and skill. Unless you are traveling with an expert mountain guide, and we recommend that you do, not just for safety but because it is a wonderful way to employ local people in a sustainable way, then take all precautions necessary.
Be sensitive about ethnicity and read up on the conflicts of the 1990s before you go. The three main ethnicities are Bosnian Serb who are mostly Orthodox, the predominantly Roman Catholic Bosnian Croats, and Muslims who are known as Bosniaks. And when you are in the Herzegovina section of the country, be careful about simply describing the country as Bosnia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina travel advice


Packing tips

Tom Wilkinson, snowshoeing expert from our Bosnia and Herzegovinian supplier, Exodus, shares his top travel advice: “People don’t tend to associate Bosnia and Herzegovina with mountains, but they are pretty impressive. If you’re going to snowshoe, don’t scrimp on the layers. Better to have multiple layers to take on and off, and check the conditions before you go. Also, it can get surprisingly hot in summer, perhaps not something people associate with BiH (it can of course have changeable mountain weather too, and rain etc) so you’ll need a different set of duds for walking around Sarajevo in August to when scaling Maglic, which is of course pretty high.”

Itinerary tips

Tom Wilkinson, from our supplier, Exodus; “Take time to wander around in Sarajevo, it’s worth it and if you’re going in winter Mostar will be fairly tourist-free so that’s worth a look too.”
“It’s the absence of other trekkers, aside sometimes from Maglic at the top, that makes this a great destination, coupled with some steepling gorges, remote, semi deserted mountain top villages that are a bit like stepping back in time, and of course the mountains themselves.”
Rosanna Neophytou, from our supplier Tucan Travel: “Bosnia and Herzegovina is perfect for those wanting a cultural adventure and is an excellent place to start for those who have not explored Eastern Europe. Visitors should not miss the vibrant capital of Sarajevo, often described as a living museum full of churches and cathedrals, or the Kravice Waterfalls, found on the Trebižat River. Another must-see is the iconic Stari Most old bridge found in Mostar, widely considered to be the most attractive city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With such a mass of beautiful architecture, passengers should not forget their camera in this region of Eastern Europe!”

Food tips

Tom Wilkinson, from our supplier, Exodus: “Try the local coffee (like Turkish coffee) – unless you don’t like strong coffee, in which case don’t!”
Photo credits: [Temp chart: Dom Crossley] [Helpdesk: Pero Kvrzica] "[Packing tips: NH53] " [Itinerary tips - Kravice waterfall: Sean MacEntee] [Itinerary tips - Sarajevo: BloodSaric] [Food tips: sundeviljeff]
Written by Catherine Mack
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