Copper coffee sets, Bosnia

Insider Tips: Best of Bosnia

It’s one of Europe’s best kept secrets – for now.

Bosnia is one of the great unsung destinations on the planet, a winning blend of natural scenic splendour and human interest stories. The hulking mountains are as craggy and expressive as the faces of elderly men gossiping in coffee bars, the ruins of medieval castles crown the hilltop towns which adorn the green hillsides and the cities, rich with Ottoman history, artistically blur their modern and ancient influences in every street.

But where are the best places to start, what’s not to miss, and where do you go to unlock Bosnia’s secrets?


City Chic: Mostar

“Mostar is fantastic!” says Emma Garrick, Discovery programme manager, without a moment’s hesitation. “It’s one of the most beautiful yet dinky cities I’ve ever visited.” Lose yourself in the winding cobbled streets of the Ottoman quarter, quieter in the evenings just as the trinket sellers are saying farewell to the day trippers. A highlight for cyclists is seeing the city come into view as they descend from the mountains.

Brew up: Bosnian Coffee

If you like a good caffeine hit, then search out a good coffee shop, according to product manager Tom Wilkinson. “Local coffee, very similar to Turkish, is lovely.” It’s made in a similarly complicated and elegantly slow process, but the resulting rich, aromatic drink vies for the title of best in the world. Want a little something to go with your drink? Emma recommends burek. “It’s this meat-filled pastry, but they also do it with salty, soft cheese which reminded me of feta. It’s to die for.”

A Melting Pot of Influences

Rural Bosnia

“Most people probably don’t know Bosnia is predominantly Muslim, though in reality it’s quite mixed, mosques and churches sit side by side.” Says Tom, who is such an advocate for Bosnia he’s travelled there multiple times himself and is planning a ski trip this winter. “It’s a lovely, warm place full of rich history and largely undisturbed natural beauty. Some of the remote communities really are like stepping back into the past.”

Nature Lovers: Mountains Galore

Hikers in the mountains, Bosnia

Bosnia has an embarrassment of photogenic peaks. The jagged limestone peaks dominate the skyline through many national parks, where winding footpaths and mountain bike routes and rural, traffic-free tarmac form an interconnected web of routes for the active explorer. And if it’s an underground world which you’re looking for, then Bosnia’s caves are calling. “Vjetrenica Cave is wonderful,” agrees Emma. “There are two massive chambers with incredible stalactites and stalagmites. It’s really impressive.”

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