After having just returned from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), I realize that there is practically no useful information in travel guides or online.
I’ll sum it up here and add links wherever necessary. The post is divided into:
- General information
Currency: Konvertible Mark (BAM): 2KM=1Euro
prices: 2km=beer/cup of coffee/ pack of cigg. 7km=cevap+drink/burek+yogurt drink 30-50km=hostel/motel
Basic vocab: zdravo (hello), hvala (thank you), oprostite (excuse me), mozete li me pomoci? (can you help me?), gdje je to? (where is it?)
Food: local traditional foods include- cevap, burek and yogurt drink, bosnian coffee, baklava. It is not customary to tip.
General Advice: lose the street maps. You don’t need them. Bosnia is about walking around and if you walk around any of the places mentioned for just 1 hour, you’ll see everything without even trying. In Mostar I recommend turning into random little streets and climbing up old stair cases. Actually- I recommend that for all places.
Transportation: as a general rule in Eastern Europe- bus is always preferable to train. The view is usually much better, it’s much quicker, it’s cheaper and it gives a better feel of the country. I recommend doing that whenever it isn’t too big a hassle= direct bus lines between where you want to go.
Bosnia is a country for coffee/tea stops. You’ll most likely be doing that every hour 🙂
Bosnians are incredibly warm and friendly people. Talk to them, ask them anything. Even the ones that can’t speak english will end up having a 2 hour conversation with you!
The main train and bus stations are right next to each other. Between them is the central post office (Posta).
There’s an ATM next to the bus station.
All hostels and motels are downtown. To get there you need to take tram #3.
Directions to get to the tram: if you stand with your back to the station, to your right will be a a building with blue neon writing Sparkasse and next to it an importanne center.
You walk toward it and you’ll notice that along the walk is the american embassy (huge american flag is a giveaway).
You’ll see the tracks in front of you, you want to take the ones going away from sparkasse (you need to cross the tracks for those).
Best to get off the tram at the first stop after it makes a u-turn. To your left you’ll see the famous fountain.
Tram Tickets: at many of the tram stations you’ll find a little booth (blends in with the station so search well!) with a man inside. A 10-ride pass will cost you 12.81km. Otherwise, you can get tickets at many of the local kiosks. Ticket checks are frequent and make sure you get on at the most front or most back door- which are closest to the stamping machine.
Be sure not to miss out on the large cemetery next to which runs a steep uphill route to a lookout over the city.
Other useful info:
Sarajevo street map
Bus station website (not very reliable), phone number: +387-33-213-100
English to Bosnian translation website
Lay of the land: Sarajevo (a city of 600,000 ppl) is a long strip between 2 mountains. Along the strip runs the river. At one end is Downtown, at the other end is the Turkish University complex.
Buses leave Sarajevo every 2 hours from Platform 12. NOTICE- there is only 1 bus every day that goes back to Sarajevo. It leaves at 16:00 from platform 4. You’ll probably have already befriended the driver’s aid on the way to Mostar so most likely he’ll call you over with a smile 🙂 (2.5 hour ride in each direction).
Taking the 8:15 bus leaves you off at Mostar at around 11:00, which gives you plenty of time to walk around before the bus back.
Price: 24km for a return ticket.
From Mostar it’s also possible to continue to Dubrovnik (Croatia) by bus.
Once in Mostar, if you stand with your back to the bus station, start walking left. soon enough you’ll come to a grey, blown-up building with lovely art (whatever survived) on it’s walls. Walk down the street to its right and you’ll reach a city map right outside the memorial garden, further down is the river.
NOTICE there is only 1 bus a day from Sarajevo to Srebrenica. It leaves at 7:10 from platform 11. There is also only 1 bus a day that goes back to Sarajevo. It leaves at 16:30 from Srebrenica’s bus station (4 hour ride in each direction).
Price: 32.50km for a return ticket.
Make sure to ask the driver to leave you off at: Do Memorijalnog Centra Potocari. It’s the cemetery and memorial center, 10 minutes away from Srebrenica. Once you’re done there, it will be no problem catching a taxi right outside that will take you to Srebrenica (3km)- ask the taxi driver to drop you off at the Muzej.
In Srebrenica are several mosques, churches, and a Muzej (museum) with archeological items that had been dug up locally. When you reach the building, walk to your left and climb to the second floor.
Outside, to the right of the building, is a little cafe. After which you can head down in the direction of the bus station. Next to it is a restaurant Zora where you can have lunch and wait for the bus back.
The big white mosque near the museum is beautiful, ask to be let in.
Outside the memorial center is a souvenir shop– they sell some books and documentaries in english- I recommend the documentary Beyond Reasonable Doubt and the book The Broken Childhood of the Children of Srebrenica.
**I haven’t included info on sites to see- those can be found in guides/online and aren’t actually that necessary as you’ll see everything alone, and there are english explanations near most of them**
Mostar, Herzegovina (Photo by: Tahel Ilan)
Have a wonderful trip!