The Heart of the Balkans
One would be hard-pressed to find a better European candidate for the concept of “where the East meets the West” than Bosnia and Herzegovina. To say that the the country’s history is complex would be an understatement. However, it is this complexity that gives the triangular-shaped land, in the heart of the Western Balkans, its beauty and the richness that makes it the burgeoning tourism magnet it has become.
The timeline of the former Yugoslav republic, which declared independence in 1992, includes the presence of, if not occupation by, the Romans, Byzantine Empire, the Ottomans, and the Austro-Hungarians. As the crossroads between empires, the reminders of each culture—through architecture, food, customs, sites of memory, and, in some cases, all of the above—are clearly present across the country, which borders Croatia to the west and north, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro in the south.
Like its culture and religions—Muslims, Orthodox Christians, and Catholics are the largest three faiths—Bosnia and Herzegovina has a varied landscape. A mountainous country, the Dinaric Alps runs through its center and lakes and rivers can be found across its undulating landscape. As well, there is a 20-kilometre stretch of coastline in its southern half, known as Herzegovina.
How to get there?
Visitors can reach Bosnia and Herzegovina by car, plane—with international airports in Sarajevo, Mostar, Tuzla, and Banja Luka—bus, and train. Active travelers can also pedal through the country by bicycle, which crosses the border through the EuroVelo 8 route, or trek on the Via Dinarica hiking trail, which traverses the entire Western Balkans region.