Bosnia campervan roadtrip - all you need to know | Nest Campers

Bosnia campervan roadtrip - all you need to know

Campervan road trip to Mostar bridge
15. April 2020

Ever considered Bosnia and Herzegovina for a campervan road trip destination?
No? Think again.

A bit forgotten, overlooked, and known mostly for all the wrong reasons, this Balkan country is great for camping and road trips, just waiting for you to explore it with a motorhome.

Same as our lovely Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina is often overshined by our common big brother Croatia. We love Croatia and also covered the country wide and far in our previous blogs, but now it is the time to jump behind the wheels of our favorite campervans and drive a bit further.

Don't worry, the fuel prices go down as we go down south.
 

Balkan road trip with a campervan
Cuckoo campervan spotted close to Una national park, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
 

With its more than eventful history, Bosnia and Herzegovina might not seem too appealing or even safe to travel.

But this Balkan jewel is much more than a former battlefield and a war zone, which is what usually comes to mind when somebody mentions Bosnia. 

We will leave the dark history for you to discover and rather make it our mission to present this hidden treasure in its well-deserved glory, seen through the eyes of a traveler and a campervan enthusiast.

 

There are a few quick tips before we dive into serious information

1. The most important thing you need, if you wish to even enter Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a Green Card.

This is a document, produced by car insurers to prove that you, as a driver, have adequate insurance cover for driving abroad. The card can be purchased via your preferred insurance company or also on some of the border crossings to Bosnia. That is a solution you can use, if your insurance company does not issue Green cards and you just want to buy it as you go. 

For all of our Nest Campers costumers, these worries do not apply, as we got all the coverage and documentation included to your rental.
Curious about what we offer and cover? Follow the link and check out our insurance and extras to compare and see what would be the best solution for your next trip. 
 

2. Also, a very important thing to note is to carry your passport, driver's license (also the international one), and all car documentation with you at all times. The Bosnian police have a certain reputation of being really strict and will not let you pass just on your lovely smile. We probably don't have to add the need to stick to speed limits and road signs.
 

3. It is a good idea to always keep some small bills in Bosnian home currency - 'marka'.

They usually accept Euros, but not everywhere and ATM machines are not easy to find, when out of big cities. 

 

Camping in Bosnia - how and where?

The best fact about Bosnia and Herzegovina, which we love and does not apply for most countries, but wild camping is completely legal!

However, there are still a lot of landmines scattered around the country, so NEVER CAMP on land which has not been tended in a long time. There are some “Beware of Mines” signs, so obviously you won’t be wild camping there, but even where there are no signs, please, have this in mind!  

We will include some good spots and our pics for your trip, but on top of that, there are currently 53 official camping sites in Bosnia with all the amenities (season 2020), see more here.

 

Turkish coffee in Bosnia.
Don't forget to start your day with traditional Turkish coffee.

 

 

Now that we are equipped, packed, and informed - strap your seatbelts, Balkan, here we come!

But before the trips, some basic information about Bosnia and Herzegovina must be covered.

Bosnia is located in southern Europe in the Balkan region. It has a population of 3.5 million people and is surrounded by Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. It has three official languages - Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian and the currency is 'marka' (BAM).
 

When to visit?

The weather swings from hot summers to cold and snowy winters, which are not ideal for campervanning or camping.
We suggest visiting Bosnia from April to October when the weather allows you to enjoy all the activities to the fullest.

 

In the middle, the country is covered in mountains, which flatten out as we approach borders. Its landscape is perfect and caters to all preferences, but the crown jewels of the country must be the waterfalls.

From afar, it may look like Bosnia and Herzegovina is a landlocked country, but it does have 20km of coastline. The town Neum is the only town in Bosnia located by the sea and also the only point of contact with the Adriatic Sea.

town neum, bosnia motorhome campervan, bosnia travel, bosnia road trip, balkan travel
Bosnia and Herzegovina is proud to have its own little slice of the Adriatic, even if it is only a 20km strip. 
 

The country may not have the beaches and sea, but it has so many other natural beauties, you should not miss it.

And we have handpicked a few just for you!

 

Sarajevo and it's fooooooood!

The Capital - a must see in every country and especially in Bosnia.

Full of major historic sites (Landmark Latin Bridge aka the place that sparked the 1st World War) and museums it is a perfect place for history lovers.

If you like the buzz and the charm of the city and need to practice your bargaining skills, Baščaršija, the local market, and bazaar, in Sarajevo’s Old Town is the most historic part of the city and THE place to visit. 
 


Sarajevo market in the evening
 

And for the foodies? Ćevabdžinica  Nune, Aščinica ASDŽ, Buregdžinica Bosna for something filling, and Baklava Dućan for dessert.
 

Bosnia food, campervan bosnia, bosnia road trip, cevapcici, cevapi balkan food
Čevapi (ćevapćići) is a variation of the Arabic kebab found in all Balkan countries. Delicious!
 

After all that heavy food, you will need some coffee. A strong one. The local cafe Miris Dunja comes highly recommended. 

Overall Sarajevo is the place to see, stay for a couple of nights, and really take in all the charm, history, and the way of the people.

 

Mostar

Located south-west of Sarajevo, Mostar is the most picturesque of the Bosnian cities.

The main attraction, Stari Most (the Old Bridge), connects both banks of the river Neretva. For the brave ones, it is also a great platform to jump off into the refreshing river stream.

Mostar is the place to stay a few days, go rafting, canyoning, or simply swimming in the river. Explore the lovely old town's streets and bazaar. Admire the Ottoman architecture and finish the day in a traditional restaurant overlooking the famous bridge, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you wish, wild camping is legal, but if you prefer to be a bit more comfortable, there are plenty of campsites along Neretva River, to find a perfect spot for your nest on wheels.

Mostar town in Bosnia, roadtrip with Nest campervan
Picturesque Mostar town in Bosnia, with beautiful Neretva river.

 

Počitelj

A quick 30 min drive from Mostar, there is another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Počitelj is a historic village that turned into an open-air museum. Make your way up to fort ruins, look down on stone houses, and Hadzi-Alija Mosque.

You will realize how throughout history every major leader left his mark on this strategically important landmark. As of that, we can find this humble village on the list of the world's 100 most endangered cultural heritage sites in the world.

It has been under protection since the year 2000. With all the history behind its walls, it is a stop you have to make.

Make it a cultural or educational day trip and enjoy a great cup of coffee in a local cafe. Forget Starbucks! The Turkish influence is still strong and the coffee is the real proof of it.


Town Počitelj with its famous mosque

 

Kravice waterfalls

Another short drive away from Mostar, on Trebižat river, there is a place of a natural rarity, with quite a funny name.

Waterfalls Kravice, which literally means a small cow (there is a true story behind it), is a spot you need to pin in your GPS.

The falls of Kravice are 28m high and stretch across 120m. This hidden gem has been under protection since 1954 and is also known by the name Oasis in Stone.

Easy to reach via car, campervan, taxi, or tours (no buses yet), eco friendly with low daily entrance fees, plenty of parking options, boat trips, paragliding, swimming in clear freshwater, and just good old fun in the sun. To top it off with low restaurant prices, another waterfall a short walk down the stream, and a variety of camps along the river, you simply have to visit and stay for a day...or more.
 

Waterfalls Kravice in Bosnia
Kravice waterfalls are such an amazing spot in Bosnia!

 

Blagaj

From natural to historical and manmade place of peace - Blagaj village has it all.

Situated by the spring of Buna river, just a 15 min drive from Mostar, the village's most distinguished mark must be the Blagaj Tekkija.

A Dervish Monastery, with a rich history, starting 600 years ago with the Ottoman empire, was built into a karst wall and upkept until today.

Filled with carpets and pillows, it has a feel of a real place and it is still looked upon as a holy place. It has become a tourist attraction, easy to visit for just a few Bosnian 'marks' (just don't forget to cover up and take your shoes off).

Besides the Monastery, there are just a few stops in Blagaj, which won't take up much of your time. A few restaurants and photo stops with some spectacular views, the old bridge, and the old Blagaj Fortress are the things to see. 

 

Blagaj with river spring
Blagaj with cave spring of Buna river.

 

Pliva Lake and Waterfalls

A quick break to stretch your legs on a long journey, or an intentional visit from Jajce.

Pliva river and twin lakes with their waterfalls are a perfect parking spot for your campervan. They are not the biggest and most beautiful, but they are still on the list of the National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

That is for their cultural and historical significance. The reason for this nomination is 24 wooden watermills on the Pliva River, dating back to the Second World War. A leisured wonder between these lovely cottages, following the pathway around lakes, and enjoying a relaxing lunch in one of the lakeside bistros does sound like a good idea, doesn't it?

The best thing about Pliva lakes is its tranquility, as not many people know it is a place to go and maybe even spent a night snuggled in a campervan or a nearby campground.


Kravice waterfalls as seen from above.

 

Srebrenica

We have been avoiding history and the grim facts about Bosnia and Herzegovina, but we will make a stop in Srebrenica.

The small town, located in the far east of Bosnia, just about 10km from the Serbian border, was the place of the biggest genocide after the Second World War.

It all started with Yugoslavia falling apart, countries pushing for their borders, and rising tension between Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims. It ended tragically for Bosnian Muslims, which were almost erased from Srebrenica in 1995. The situation involved big names, political and army leaders, and still, until this day many questions remain unanswered and bodies unfound.

This war is the dark reality we cannot look away, but neither will we tell you the whole story.
Our advice is to jump behind the wheel and discover what really happened for yourself.

Srebrenica monument
The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide was the July 1995 genocide of more than 8,000 Bosniaks, mainly men and boys.

 

Sutjeska National park 

As the name applies, we are heading back to nature, visiting the oldest National Park in Bosnia.

Right on the border with Montenegro, the park covers 17.500 hectares of land in which we can find another UNESCO heritage site - Perućica Forest Reserve.

With 1.400 hectares, Perućica Forest Reserve is one of the last remaining primal forests in Europe still to be seen.

A true and rare find is also Trnovačko lake, which is shaped in a form of a heart! Located in a different country, Montenegro, it is still easily accessible from Sutjeska national park. In one of our blogs about Croatia, we covered an island-shaped in a heart, but this lake has the upper hand being surrounded by forests, waterfalls, and mountains. A show stopper.

Trnovacko lake, bosnia road trip, travel balkan
The heart-shaped glacial lake is situated at an altitude of 1517m, in the northwest of Montenegro, and very close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
 

For the hikers out there - this lake is also the best starting point to climb the highest mountain in Bosnia, called Mt. Maglić, measuring over 2,386 meters. Do we need to say more?

 

Sutjeska national park
Sutjeska National Park is one of the oldest parks of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the most diverse ecosystem in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

Una National Park

From the oldest to the newest of Bosnian National Parks.

A bit closer to 'home', just a step before the Croatian border, you'll find the National Park Una.

It was established in 2008 and it is named after the river Una, star of the show with her big waterfalls in Martin Brod, Štrbački buk, Troslap, Dvoslap, and Ripač fall. Each of them is spectacular and worth visiting.

Camping, variety of water sports, hiking, fly-fishing, or cycling - ACTIVE is the name of the game and National Park Una is THE place to be.

Parks entry fees are divided by visitor areas and ticket types, but not expensive, see here.

If you liked Kravice Waterfalls, you will simply love National Park Una, and what a better way to finish your Bosnian trip than with a grand finale!

Una river, national park, campervan roadtrip
Una river in Una national park

 

Hopefully, our goal was achieved and we raised at least a little bit of curiosity and a spark of wonder about exploring Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Bosnia really is a beautiful country full of hidden gems, contrasts, and cultural diversity. Even though the country has seen a fair share of disruption, corruption, and low times, the local people are as friendly and warm as they come. They care for their land and cherish the natural blessings they have. Three different cultures living side by side, finding common ground, and helping each other despite the history they share is amazing and inspiring.

We encourage you to take the trip with an open mind, open heart, enough memory on your camera, and a full tank of your campervan.

Eat, drink, and get to know the locals! After all, you are in the Balkans.

 

BOOK YOUR CAMPERVAN.

Written by: 

Martina Mestek

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