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Former Yugoslavia: Bosnia-Herzegovina for Solo Travel:
The former nation of Yugoslavia has been a crossroads over much of history. In the 20th century at Sarajevo, the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife triggered World War I. After years of Soviet domination, when Yugoslavia split into diverse independent countries, Bosnia-Herzogovina saw years of extended war. In the 21st century, while other former Yugoslavia nation states such as Croatia, and later Slovenia and Montenegro, have become increasingly tourist destinations, Bosnia-Herzegovina is still largely unknown.
Why go to Bosnia-Herzegovina?
- For history buffs, there are many sights from Sarajevo to the Old Bridge/Old City of Mostar to see as well as many museums reflecting primarily the country’s war-torn past.
- For outdoor enthusiasts, there is fishing, river rafting, hiking, biking and some (rather limited) skiing in the mountains.
- Adventure seekers will want to save time to explore the Vjetrenica Cave.
- Along with national parks, other attractions are cascading waterfalls, including Kravice Falls, Pliva Falls and Krupa Water Falls.
- For bargain hunters, Eastern/Central Europe, and especially Bosnia-Herzegovina, still have great low prices. In Old Mostar, I found top-rated lodging for between $55-$75 night.
- As I discovered, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, it is easy to see more than one country during a single vacation by adding on Serbia, Croatia and/or Montenegro. I did all of those as well as connected to Greece and Turkey from Belgrade.
Maximizing Your Safety When Visiting Bosnia-Herzegovina: A Guest Post by Jane Roberts:
Between January and September 2019, more than 1.2 million tourists touched down in Bosnia-Herzegovina which was a year-on-year increase of more than 11%. Aside from Bosnia-Herzegovina being a beautiful European destination, it’s also a safe one which makes it a great place for solo adventurers. However, when you’re heading to this Southeastern European country, there are still steps you should take to improve your safety.
Take out travel insurance
Many solo travelers in Bosnia-Herzegovina enjoy exploring the rocky mountains and having fun rafting and paragliding. However, these activities can put you at increased risk of falling ill, so it’s crucial that you protect yourself while you’re away. Health and travel insurance should be two of the first things you take out after booking your trip as they will cover the cost of any healthcare you require. Don’t assume that the health insurance you have in place back home will cover you abroad either as many policies don’t. Medical providers in Bosnia-Herzegovina typically require payment immediately after treatment is given, so it’s essential you’re organized and have all the required paperwork with you throughout your adventure. You should also make sure that your routine vaccinations are up to date and that you’re protected against hepatitis A and measles. (For more insurance options, click here.)
It’s estimated that there are 80,000 uncleared landmines in Bosnia-Herzegovina which sadly still regularly take the lives of innocent civilians. But there’s no need to let these mines stop you from exploring all that the country has to offer. Mosta, for example, is home to stunning architecture, the famous Old Bridge, The ‘Don’t Forget’ Stone, and Kravice Falls, all of which are worth exploring. For optimum safety and to avoid putting yourself at risk, you should stick to marked, official hiking trails during your time in Bosnia-Herzegovina and only drive on marked roads as these will have all been cleared of mines. Abandoned buildings, wooded areas, and derelict villages should also be avoided as there’s no guarantee that these areas will be free of mines.
Be aware of pickpockets
The good news for travelers is that the crime rate in Bosnia-Herzegovina is ranked low to moderate, however, there is one crime that tends to get travelers time and time again: pickpocketing. As a traveler, you’re likely to carry around a sizable sum of cash, especially as ATMs are only available in larger cities. Plus, you’re instantly recognizable to pickpockets by your backpack. To avoid becoming a victim, carry as little cash around with you as possible, be aware of where your cash is at all times, and be wary of strangers trying to distract you while they or an accomplice pickpocket steals from you. On the plus side, Bosnia-Herzegovina is very affordable with meals out costing as little as 3-5 Bosnian Marks, so you won’t need as much cash as you think. Plus, the locals are exceptionally friendly, so if you ever need their assistance, you can be sure you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
As a general rule, tap water in Bosnia-Herzegovina is safe to drink, but it’s still possible to develop Traveler’s Diarrhea as a result of the water being treated slightly differently to the water you drink back home. To avoid this nasty illness, it’s best to boil any water before consuming it as this will remove bacteria. The water in the various creeks and rivers in Bosnia-Herzegovina isn’t safe to consume either as it won’t have been treated and could even be polluted.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is a great place for solo travelers as it’s low cost, safe, and packed full of friendly locals. Plus, it’s home to multiple beautiful sites, cities, towns, and villages where you can enjoy your break away by taking in the breathtaking views and indulging in some adventurous activities. But to ensure that you stay as safe and as healthy as possible during your visit to the country, it’s best to protect yourself with travel insurance, stay away from landmines, keep your cash close at all times, limit the amount of money you carry, and only drink from trusted water sources.