Exploring canyons, rafting Neretva river or hiking in the Bosnia mountains …there are so many thrilling things to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Get ready to travel to Bosnia – land of adventure.
With turquoise rivers cutting through dramatic, rocky mountains that carpet most of the country, Bosnia and Herzegovina features finest outdoor pursuits Balkan peninsula has to offer. There are very few tourists who visit Bosnia each year, keeping the experience sweet and authentic for those who choose the path less taken. Hiking trails, gorges, and mountain villages are packed with opportunities for adventure and discovery.
I spend 10 amazing days in Bosnia, starting from Sarajevo, all the way to the southernmost town of Trebinje. My trip was filled with adrenaline and stunning views as I spent most of my days up in the mountains. One morning, I was awoken by a flock of sheep passing by under my window. It could have been nearly a hundred of them! Nowadays it isn’t easy to find such unspoiled places in Europe. Untouched, pristine nature is only one of the reason why you should visit Bosnia.
People sometimes tend to associate Bosnia and Herzegovina with war and think of the place as it was back in the 1990s, but a lot has changed over the past two decades. I found the country easy to travel through, with the local people being warm, friendly and incredibly welcoming.
TRAVEL TO BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The most convenient way to travel to Bosnia is by airplane. There are low cost flights landing in Tuzla International Airport (from Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia), but it is a bit off the map. Landing in Sarajevo airport can safe you plenty of time.Find best price with Kiwi.com.
If you are going to visit Bosnia from other European destination, you can do it overland as well. There are two daily trains running from Sarajevo to Zagreb (10 hours) as well as various long distance buses: to Belgrade, Kotor, Ljubjana and several other cities in Croatia (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Pula and Dubrovnik).
Bosnia offers nearly endless opportunities for adventure travellers, longing to experience nature and the wild outdoors. During my trip, I got to experience some of the most adrenaline filled tours.
These are the most adventurous things to do in Bosnia:
01 | Canyoning
If you love the adrenaline, accept the challenge of Bosnia’s longest and deepest canyon. A tour through Rakitnica canyon takes 8 hours of climbing, hiking and sliding through water. This was really one of the highlights of my trip, although I certainly reached my own physical limits. This canyon is really spectacular!
It was the first time I used the hydrospeed – a water sled that supports one’s body. It saved my life as it helped me avoid crashing into major stone formations (some at least:-) ). The water pressure in Rakytnica is quite high, with many rapids and waterfalls.
This tour organised by Visit Konjic costs EUR 75 per person. Equipment, lunch package and transportation. Ask for Armin, he is really experienced.
02 | Rafting
Mastering the wild river in a large rubber boast is probably the most popular outdoor activity and a must-do in Bosnia. Tara river should be the most challenging. I did the calmer Neretva and really loved it. The river is emerald-green and carves through a deep rock valley. What a scenery!
The rafting trip takes the whole day (from 10am to 7pm), but it is
more relaxed than canyoneering. There were some rapids on the way, the rest was just about paddling and enjoying the landscape. And, the lunch was a delicious BBQ on the bank of the river.
Thanks to Aldin and Anel from Visit Konjic for being great guides and keeping us safe. The tour costs EUR 50 per person.
03 | Hiking
The unspoiled nature and the picturesque mountains were the real highlight of my travel to Bosnia. Speaking for myself, I loved Bjelasnica mountains the best, but there are a lot of hiking possibilities. This country is really perfect destination for hiking!
I tried these three:
Hike from Umoljani to Lukomir village
My first and favourite hike. The starting point is in Umoljani, about one hour drive from Sarajevo, at about 1900 meters above sea level. After mastering several mountains and valleys (the views are just stunning), we finished the tour in Lukomir, the highest mountain settlement in Bosnia at 1,469m. There were really lots of sheep on this trip 🙂
Practical info: 4 hours hike, 8 kilometres hiking distance. I did it with Superb Adventures, the trip cost EUR 50 including an overnight stay in Lukomir and two meals. Thanks to our entertaining guide Faruk 🙂
Hike to Hajdučka vrata arch
This hiking trail is located on Mt Čvrsnica, known as a popular skiing spot during the winter. The hiking trail starts at 1458 meters above sea level, going up at a moderate steep to 2003 metres. At the end, there is the spectacular Hajdučka vrata, a more than four meters wide natural stone arch formed by carts and limestone. From there we returned the same way, but there are other options as well.
Practical info: This is a 9 kilometres hike. If you are interested in this trip, Visit Konjic has several options for this tour. The highest mountain house in Bosnia is also near there.
Along the border with Montenegro
Southern Herzegovina has some great hiking, too. You can pair this trip with visiting the charming town of Trebinje. It’s an easy six kilometres hike connecting several old Austro-Hungarian military spots and graves of Austrian soldiers. Advanced hikers can climb Jastrebica peak at 1864 meters. The fun part is that you are actually at the Montenegro border, so you might just cross it and come back. Don’t forget your passport:-)
Practical info: The hike to Jastrebica takes 3,5 hours. When arranging tours around Trebinje, contact Sinisa from Walk with me. He can guide you from EUR 10-20.
05 | Mountain biking
Mountain biking is another cool thing to do in Bosnia. It’s a great way to have fun and do something for your health as well. No matter if you choose the easy or difficult one, I can only give you one piece of advice – take care and don’t use your breaks on the stones. Because well, I did – and I can tell you that falling down wasn’t so great (mountain bikes seem to be my enemy, I already fell in Austria). Luckily, my experienced guide rescued me and then I could continue the trip!
We cycled from Ruište-Boračko lake onwards, only part of the trail that normally leads to Konjic, 40 kilometers in total.
Practical info: This trip with Visit Konjic costs EUR 60 including the bike rental.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN BOSNIA
Still not enough? Here are other sports if you have enough time – and the strength to do so!
Kayaking (and rafting) at Una Valley: waterfalls, hundreds of kayaks and rafts following a three-day course from Kulen-Vakuf to Bosanska Krupa.
Skiing at Bjelašnica: skiing slopes available just 30 minutes from Sarajevo airport. 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics were held here.
Jumping from Mostar bridge: bungee jumping without the rope. People jump from 20m straight into Nerevtva river. Please be aware, this is risky.
Climbing: beginners go to the rocks of Dreznica near Mostar with a climbing centre. More advanced climbers accept the challenge of Cvrsnica, a 1300 meters high cliff on Cvrsnica.
Paragliding: There is lots of spots where you can enjoy the scenery of Bosnia and Herzegovina from above. Find your spot on map here.
Mostar itself is an amazing place too. There are at least 10 reasons to visit Mostar.
Although it can be rather uneasy to reach this corner of Europe (17 hours bus drive from Czech Republic), once you get there, it goes much more smoothly. These are the things to keep in mind:
- Don’t go off the beaten path when hiking, be aware that due to the constant landmine threat that is really dangerous. With an experienced guide who knows the area, you are much safer. And there is less danger of getting lost!
- Choose a reliable travel agency. When you do adrenaline filled travel sports, you should not just go blindly with the cheapest thing available. You need good equipment and good service. There should be no compromises, when it comes to safety.
- Be ready for rain at all times – the weather changes quickly, especially in the mountains. There were two hikes with sunshine all day long, that eventually ended with rain shower. Don’t forget those when packing:
- Waterproof jacket
- Extra clothes in plastic bags
- Waterproof cover for the backpack
- If you travel during Ramadan, it can get harder to get alcohol at restaurants. I had no success with claiming that a small beer is no alcohol. 🙂
HAVE YOU BEEN TO BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVIA? WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE OUTDOOR ACTIVITY?
This spring I got a bit Balkanized – before Bosnia I also travelled to Serbia (check my other post on what to see in Belgrade), and the Balkans for me are really like unexplored corners of Europe. I wonder whether you have been to the Balkans, too?
Looking forward to read your comments! If you enjoyed the article, share it on Facebook. Thanks!
Canyoning pictures are by guides from Visit Konjic.
Rafting pictures are by Zana Jaganjac from World of a travelholic.
Picture of me during the cycling accident is by Anika from Miss Maps and Marvels.
Text edited with kind help of Jo Klabisch.