Adventure sports, gastrotourism, Instagram jump shots and mountains that turn hikers into ants. Visit Konjic invited bloggers from various backgrounds to experience the best of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I accepted with disbelief, ready (and simultaneously completely unprepared) for ten days unlike any other.
In February of this year, I visited Bosnia and Herzegovina for eight days on my own. I stayed with a couchsurfer for a few nights, a young man who’d studied the Balkans extensively and offered to be host, personal tour guide and history debriefer during my time in Sarajevo. During that first visit I’d visited Mostar’s Bridge, the Dervish Tekke of Blagaj, and stopped by Kravice Falls for a quick few photos. Snow fell on my second day in the country covering the surrounding mountains in a fine white powder, so although I’d heard how lovely it is to step into BiH’s nature parks, I hadn’t gotten the chance. Still, I felt satisfied and that I had a good grasp of the country’s recent past and that I’d seen its most important sites.
Visiting once may have felt like enough, but it wasn’t. Not even close.
By participating in this ten day familiarization trip organized by tourist agencies Visit Konjic and Turistički Klaster Hercegovina, I was introduced to the many sides of Bosnia and Herzegovina, beyond traditional tourist lures.
Canyoning, mountain biking, hiking.
Pita, prosciutto, kajmak, uštipci,rakia, wine.
Museums dedicated to woodworking, Tito’s bunker, ethno villages and wineries.
It’s all there to discover, and left remarkably undiscovered.
Not for long.
Click on an image and click through the gallery to view images of Sarajevo up-close:
A local guide met three of us at Hostel City Center Sarajevo on a Friday evening. We each introduced ourselves: a young Bosnian woman who’s spent her life in Denmark, an American gentleman living in the Balkans for ten years, and myself. We’d be joined in the next few days by other bloggers, but for the night it was us three.
After a quick stop at the nearby Cheers Bar where we met the owner of Visit Konjic, we continued on a walk through Sarajevo. Our guide grew up in the city and shared story after story of his time here. He told us of his schooling, his experiences during the war and his revelations afterward. To fill our stomachs, he invited us to dine at Ćevabdžinica Petica Ferhatović for what has become one of my favorite Bosnian dishes: ćevapčići. The moment he mentioned it, my mouth started to water. Little sausages tucked into a pita called somun, served with finely chopped raw onions, yogurt and a thick cream kajmak. A small amount goes a long way, and after washing it down with a cold can of Sarajevsko pivo, I felt as though I’d eaten enough to last the entire weekend.
Shortly lived was that thought, as the next morning Faruk, our guide and owner of Superb Adventures, met us for a return trip to old town Sarajevo. Stopping by Buregdzinica Asdz for breakfast, we grew eager as the cook silently showed us how she makes Sač, a dish of meats vegetables and potatoes cooked in a large metal pan and covered in coals to cook for several hours.
Click on an image and click through the gallery to view images of Bosnian dishes up-close:
She then calmly served us pita of various types: zeljanica stuffed with spinach, krumpirusa stuffed with potato, burek with meat and sirnica with cheese. We sampled each one, finding some more satisfying than others and realizing our eyes were larger than our stomachs once more. Still, one thing was missing from our morning meal: Bosnian coffee.
Up the hill we went to Zmajevac. Sitting at a window table with a spectacular view over the city, we sipped on traditional Bosnian coffee. Those more familiar with local traditions quickly taught us the correct Bosnian way to drink: First, skim the surface of your coffee with a spoon to remove sediments and pour from the pot called the dzezva into your fildžan, a small handleless cup. Next comes the fun part: dip a sugar cube into the strong drink, and nibble on the cube rather than fully submerging the entire sweet. Now you can enjoy your coffee as strong as it is and finish it off with a small rahat lokum – what is essentially a Bosnian turkish delight (but do NOT call it this while in BiH). So many specifics, and we’re only just beginning!
Click on an image and click through the gallery to view the images up-close:
With bellies now extremely full, blood pumping, caffeine rushing and enthusiastic spirits, we took to the road. Our first stop: Lukomir, an Ethno village serving as a blast from the past to all who dare hike the three hours to get there. Read all about our visit to Lukomir HERE!
Where to Stay:
Hostel City Center Sarajevo – beds from 9euro/night – Book Here
What to Do:
Book a tour with SuperB Adventures – Book Here – they’ll take care of the rest!
Just in case you’re still at a loss for what to do, take a look at 45 Reasons to Visit BiH compiled by the talented Journalist on the Run!
Any other tips or tricks you’ve found about BiH? Share them in the comments below!