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Exploring canyons, rafting wild rivers, or hiking in the Bosnian mountains… There are so many thrilling things to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Get ready to travel to Bosnia, the land of adventure.
With turquoise rivers cutting through dramatic, rocky mountains that carpet most of the country, Bosnia and Herzegovina features some of the finest outdoor pursuits the 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.
Bosnia’s unspoiled nature enchanted me. One morning after a night in a mountain village at 1400 meters, I was awoken by a flock of sheep passing by under my window. There were at least a hundred of them! Now tell me, how many other places in Europe can offer this kind of experience?
Bosnia, the land of adventure, offers nearly endless opportunities for travelers longing to experience nature and the wild outdoors. During my 10-day trip, I tried a number of adrenaline-boosting activities.
These are my favorite adventurous things to do in Bosnia:
If you love getting your adrenaline flowing, accept the challenge of navigating Bosnia’s longest and deepest canyon. A tour through Rakitnica canyon takes eight 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 a hydrospeed, which is 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 flow in Rakitnica is quite strong, with many rapids and waterfalls.
This tour organised by Visit Konjic costs 75 Euros per person. Equipment, lunch, and transportation are included. Ask for Armin, he is very experienced.
Mastering a wild river in a large rubber boat is probably the most popular outdoor activity and a must-do in Bosnia. Tara River is probably 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 spectacular scenery!
The rafting trip takes an entire day (from 10am to 7pm), but it is more relaxing than canyoneering. There were some rapids along the way, but 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 50 Euros per person.
The unspoiled nature and picturesque mountains were the real highlight of my trip to Bosnia. Speaking for myself, I loved Bjelasnica mountains the best, but there are a lot of hiking possibilities. This country is really a 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 conquering 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-hour hike, 8 kilometres hiking distance. I did it with Superb Adventures, The trip cost 50 Euros per person 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 1,458 meters above sea level, going up at a moderately steep incline to 2,003 metres. At the end, there is the spectacular Hajdučka vrata, a four-meter-plus wide natural stone arch formed by karst and limestone. From there we returned the same way, but there are other options as well.
Practical info: This is a 9-kilometre hike. If you are interested in this trip, Visit Konjic has several options. 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-kilometre 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 for 10 to 20 Euros per person.
4. 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 whether you choose an easy or difficult route, 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 60 Euros per person including the bike rental.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN BOSNIA
Still not enough? Here are other adventure 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: ski slopes available just 30 minutes from Sarajevo airport. The 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 Čvrsnica, a 1300 meters high cliff on Čvrsnica.
Paragliding: There are many spots where you can enjoy the scenery of Bosnia and Herzegovina from above. Find your spot on this map.
GETTING TO BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The most convenient way is to get a flight to the Sarajevo airport. Low cost airline Wizz Air operates several routes to Tuzla International Airport (from Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia), but it’s a bit off the map. Alternatively, you can travel to Bosnia overland from other European destinations. There are two daily trains from Sarajevo to Zagreb (10 hours) and various long distance buses from Belgrade, Kotor, Ljubjana and several other cities in Croatia including Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Pula and Dubrovnik.
Although it can be rather uneasy to reach this corner of Europe (it’s a 17-hour bus ride from the Czech Republic), once you get there, it goes much more smoothly. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Don’t go off the beaten path when hiking. Be aware of the very real threat of landmines. 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 partaking in adventure sports, you should not just go blindly with the cheapest option 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. I went on two hikes that had sunshine all day long, but eventually ended with showers. Don’t forget the following when packing:
– Waterproof jacket
– Extra clothes in plastic bags
– Waterproof cover for your backpack
If you travel during Ramadan, it can be 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 WAS YOUR FAVOURITE OUTDOOR ACTIVITY?
The Balkans really is an unexplored corner of Europe. Have you been to this region before? Where did you go and how did you like it?
Looking forward to read about your Balkan experience! If you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook. Thanks!