Bosnia and Herzegovina - hidden gem of the Balkans
In the heart of Europe - so close and yet a world away in atmosphere - a stay in Bosnia & Herzegovina is a journey back in time, exploring nature, culture and history.
The former Yugoslavian nation of Bosnia & Herzegovina is a magnificent country, whose ancient and tumultuous history has left its traces throughout the country. Many remember the country for the heart-breaking events of the civil war in the early 90’s, but a visit will leave you filled with memories and love for the warm and welcoming people of Bosnia, and attachment for this wonder hidden in the Balkans. Its extensive natural beauty and treasure trove of architectural sights remain away from the beaten tourist track, which is becoming increasingly rare in Europe!
Discover Sarajevo - the “European Jerusalem”
Begin your stay in the vibrant capital, Sarajevo, where you can see places of worship of all of the world’s most important monotheistic religions: Orthodox and Catholic churches, synagogues and mosques – a place where Orient meets Occident in the heart of the Balkans. The coexistence of the religions highlights the cordial nature and charm of the Bosnians which you too can experience.
The fascinating city of Sarajevo
Take a stroll around the lively Baščaršija area, the bustling Old Town of Sarajevo. Sitting in the heart of the old town, full of character and culture, try the traditional Bosnian coffee, eat the fresh Cevapi and Burek - an experience not to be missed. Admire the 15th century architecture as you walk in the footsteps of the locals and enjoy a glimpse into local life as you see families and friends getting together after work and school. Bosnia offers the perfect balance of your Islamic duties and your downtime: an abundance of delicious halal food and easy access to the many historic mosques nearby.
HalalBooking offers a good choice of Sarajevo halal-friendly hotels with no-alcohol policy, halal food and ladies-only pools & spa centres:
Malak Regency Hotel (5*) - 9.3 – Superb
This Muslim-friendly contemporary 5-Star hotel offers wellness and spa facilities, ladies-only pools and private-use massage facilities. Breakfast is also included in your stay and with halal food available, you will always be sure of a good choice of food.
Pino Nature Hotel (4*) - 8.8 - very good
Become one with nature in this serene one-of-a-kind hotel, with the interior design rivalling the outdoor views. With a good range of ladies-only wellness and pool facilities, you can also experience luxury in the forest with secluded hot tubs/jacuzzis in some rooms.
Villa Glamour (5*)
Spend time with your loved ones in this secluded villa boasting beautiful views from its full-length glass windows. Enjoy the privacy and luxury of an indoor pool and a sauna, and experience a fun holiday to the max.
Villa Rose (5*)
Enjoy your halal-holiday in this tranquil 4 bedroom beautiful villa with on-site parking. With a sun terrace, sauna, indoor pool and halal food nearby, all you could ever want on a holiday is in this one place.
What to see and do in and around Sarajevo
Visit Sarajevo’s largest Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque, built in 1532 and hear the call to prayer in the atmosphere of the old town. Be sure to take a trip to the well-known Sebilj Fountain, which has been the meeting point for locals since the 15th century - it gives you an incredible old world feel. Explore the corners and alleys of Bezistan, built around 1540 during the Ottoman period where textiles were once traded under its intricate architecture. Enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the city and enjoy a meal sky high in the Avaz Twist Tower and witness the magnificent building of the National Library, repaired to its former glory after being destroyed during the war.
Learn about the Bosnian War and the role of the Tunnel of Hope (Tunel Spasa) in Ilidža, constructed during the Siege of Sarajevo. It was the only link between the city - which was otherwise entirely cut off - and the rest of the world. It is the tunnel that kept wartime Sarajevo alive.
Pay a visit to the grave of the “Wise King”, Alija Izetbegović, first President of the newly-independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who led the Bosnians during the Bosnian War.
Explore the Sarajevo Town Hall, an icon of the diversity of Bosnia - the beautiful Moorish style building takes inspiration and stays true to the Muslim heritage in Bosnia, although it was built during the Austro-Hungarian occupation. It is now a monument to the world's civilisations and represents unity and hope for the East and the West.
Visit the Latin Bridge, an Ottoman bridge over the river Miljacka, and the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914, which provoked World War I.
Visit the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Srebrenica, officially known as the Srebrenica–Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide. It was set up to honour the mor than 8,372 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, mostly male Bosnians.
Discover delicious Sarajevan cuisine and authentic stores
There is nothing more rewarding on holiday than being able to contribute to the small businesses of the locals. Visit the Ministry of Cejf in the Old City, offering mouthwatering breakfast and aesthetic Instagram-worthy coffee art. Take a trip to the artisan boutique of Bazerdzan, with handmade products and home decor to take home as gifts and souvenirs. Have a satisfying dinner at Metropolis, where you can enjoy all your classic pizzas, pastas, specialist coffees and desserts all in one setting.
Explore Bosnia & Herzegovina’s natural beauty
Bosnia & Herzegovina is blessed with a lush natural environment, offering opportunities for fishing, kayaking, caving and bird-watching. You will be enchanted by the National Parks such as Vrelo Bosne or Sutjeska, which has one of the two last primeval forests in Europe. Rivers give birth to magnificent waterfalls, the most famous being the Kravice Waterfall near to Mostar.
Uncover a preserved village in between Sarajevo and Mostar
En route to the warmer climate of Mostar, you will find the hidden treasure of Pocitelj in Capljina, the ruins of a 500 year old Ottoman village. This open-air Museum overlooks the Neretva river, and is known for its restored castle - all which makes up a UNESCO heritage site. Visit for a flashback in time to the world of the past.
Discover Bosnia's world-famous town Mostar and experience its local atmosphere in the Old Bazaar, dating back to the Ottoman era in the 16th Century. Enjoy the vitality of the workshops, the little restaurants, where you can taste excellent traditional dishes, and the crowded cafes. Fulfil your Islamic duty of salah in the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, with stunning views of the river and nature. There is nothing more peaceful than hearing the Adhan whilst walking in the halls of this ancient small 17th century mosque. Lastly, take a trip to the Tekija Blagaj, a dervish monastery set at the base of cliffs looking on to the striking Mostar azure waters from the Neretva River. This tranquil setting was created during the Ottoman rule and looks almost the same as it did back then. You can even take a trip in a small boat and explore the cave nearby.
HalalBooking offers a selection of halal-friendly hotels in Mostar:
This halal-friendly hotel offers a selection of luxury amenities including an outdoor pool, and secluded hot tub and massage facilities. With halal food available, you will be able to appreciate the beauty of Mostar at a relaxed pace.
This beautiful and quaint villa is perched upon a hill overlooking the natural surroundings of Mostar. With a partially-secluded outdoor pool and a garden terrace, you can enjoy your holiday as a group and take in your surroundings.
Bosnia's most beautiful Ottoman Bridges
The Ottoman bridges in Bosnia and Herzegovina are authentic architectural masterpieces, which are remarkable due to their massive pillars, pointed arches, and circular openings. The UNESCO-listed Stari Most is one of the most important pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans and the connection between the two parts of the city across the river Neretva. The city and its bridge were rebuilt after being destroyed during the Bosnian war.
Explore the legends that surround the Šeher Ćehaja Bridge which joins Sarajevo across the River Miljacka. One legend tells the tale of how the bridge was apparently built with a diamond inserted in the exterior. The diamond then went missing shortly after it was built, and it was found by the police: a young man had stolen it to propose to his girlfriend. The judge who heard the story pardoned the man but the diamond was never replaced.
If you visit in the summer months, you will get the chance to appreciate the locals taking a dive from the iconic bridge into the shimmering water below.
When is the best time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina?
The weather in Bosnia and Herzegovina is varied across the country. The best time to visit for ideal warm weather is around April to August where in the peak of summer, temperatures can reach up to around 30°C. The countryside of the country is blooming with wild flowers, and people start to come out after sheltering from the cold winter breaks.
For any skiers interested in a winter break, the mountainous regions of Bosnia experience a lot of snow perfect for skiing in January to March, on the mountains of Bjelašnica, Igman and Jahorina.