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5 Reasons Why Bosnia & Montenegro Should Be Your Next European Adventure

Updated: Jan 31

Much like Serbia and Albania, Bosnia and Montenegro is affordable (and way less crowded) than that European alpine destination you see on Instagram. We traveled in the winter, and let me tell you, this Balkan duo is worth the visit in the shoulder season.

Waterfront Strolling with Our Lady of the Rocks as Witness
Celebrating our tenth anniversary in Perast

Bosnia & Montenegro isn't just Instagrammable, it's affordable, and unforgettable. I'm about to give you 5 reasons why it should be your next European adventure.

  1. Time Travel on a budget: Skip the crowded Colosseum queues and pricey Paris croissants. Here history isn't confined to glass cases. Wander through Ottoman bazaars in Sarajevo, and Venetian streets in Budva.

  2. A Culinary Melting Pot: melt over burek pastries, and sip locally brewed coffee. Bonus points for discovering hidden gems like honeycomb cake in Trebinje – your taste buds will thank you.

  3. Unfiltered Europe: authenticity is served. Chat with locals over strong coffee.

  4. Mountains Meet Turquoise Beaches: Bosnia and Montenegro promises adventure beyond the sand. Drive past emerald canyons carved by rushing rivers, hike through pristine national parks bursting with alpine meadows and ancient forests.

  5. Beyond the Hype: Forget the tourist traps and curated experiences. Bosnia & Montenegro is a land waiting to be discovered, a place where genuine connection replaces staged encounters.


ITINERARY FOR TRAVEL TO BOSNIA & MONTENEGRO

Day 1-5 land in Sarajevo and drive around towns in Bosnia Day 6-9 cross border over to Montenegro and drive around some parts of the country, fly back home from Podgorica

TABLE OF CONTENTS
FLIGHTS + VISA

We flew from Dubai to Sarajevo, flew back from the capital of Montenegro.

Visa was on arrival and FREE of cost as we used our multiple entry B1/B2 visa for both countries.

flying over Turkey to go to Bosnia
LANGUAGE

Given how touristy both countries are, we had no issues with language. Most cafes and hotel personnel speak English.


BEST TIME TO VISIT

Not a fan of Europe in general, so winter travel is our go-to for this continent. It was empty and we thoroughly enjoyed the lack of crowds.


CURRENCY

We used Euros and card across both countries. Cards accepted everywhere.


HOW LONG TO SPEND

It is best to plan for 9 or 10 days for both countries, if you are planning to drive and take it slow.


WHERE WE STAYED

In Sarajevo, we chose a very cool air bnb Casa Artee In Trebinje, we stayed in SL Panorama

In Budva and Kotor, we stayed for two nights in Hotel Bracera In Podgorica, we stayed in Ramada by Wyndham


COSTS + CAR RENTAL

This isn't a trip that will break the bank - yay. The car rental, including cross country drop off cost us EUR 480 for 9 days.


I got asked whether it was better to do a guided tour to these countries. Unlike Albania and Serbia, this was a bit more touristy. You will save and have flexibility by going on your own - plus, Bosnia & Montenegro are easier to navigate than the other two Balkan countries.


VEGETARIAN FOOD

Since language was no issue, and it is Europe, local pastries and delish veggie food was a breezee. We tried a lot of different cakes and treats every day.

HIGHLIGHTS - BOSNIA
Sarajevo

From strolling down the streets of Ferhadija, to exploring the colorful cobblestone alleys, it’s a walk down history. I loved that we went in the winter where there were practically no tourists… just our kind of vibe.

Must-see places: The tunnel of hope, proof of this country’s survival spirit Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque - a testament to the city’s multicultural past Bascarsija Bazaar - for Bosnian coffee and souvenirs

Eternal flame The yellow fortress for views of the city The latin bridge, where the sparks of the WW 1 ignited

Bonus: the snow-capped peaks are a poetic backdrop to this historic and iconic city!

Exploring Sarajevo's Vibrant Craftsmen Paradise
Mostar

Next stop on our Bosnia adventure was the iconic Mostar. Stari Most is undoubtedly the highlight of this little town but the hidden gems like the Bazar Kujundžiluk are equally charming.

You also cannot miss Kriva ćuprija, the ‘Crooked Bridge,’ a quiet masterpiece, its arch gracefully reflecting in the Neretva River.

Witnessing Centuries-Old Craftsmanship in Mostar's Bazaars

Wandering Mostar’s mahala Old Town cobbled lanes and bazaar alleys beyond the legendary UNESCO bridge will leave you hypnotized, it’s where Mediterranean meets Ottoman-era artisans. The town’s bustling charms span chilled out cafes perfectly positioned for Stari Most photo-opp stalking with some strong Bosnian coffee and cold pastries.

Pocitelj & Blagaj

The drive up to Pocitelj, a hidden fortress ruin set against stunning mountain vistas, is a stunner in the Fall.

The Pocitelj fortress is set against the backdrop of stunning mountain vistas and the stunning clock tower stands tall against the winter sky. Rumor has it that the clock’s ancient hands move at their own pace, as if to savor every moment of the season. We climbed the steps of the Haji-Ali Mosque to enjoy panoramic vistas of the Neretva River below.

Blegaj is yet another hidden gem just a stones throw from Mostar. You will find enchanting Dervish house carved into the cliffs and a humongous waterfall. Legend has it that the sound of the nearby Buna River echoes through the walls, creating a spiritual symphony. I definitely believe that. Blagaj was mesmerizing with its sprawling terracotta-roofed hillside abodes surrounding the turquoise Buna River spring pouring from a cliffside cave.

Pro tip: plan for a 2 hour trip, don’t miss the local delicacies in the cafe there - watch the emerald water burble endlessly while you dig into your Bosnian dessert.

Trebinje

The small-town charm of this little place in the winter is adorable. No fancy places to check out, just a simple sleepy town with a monastery, cute colorful houses and magnificent views of the Trebinjica river.

I highly recommend hiking up the mountains for a panoramic view of the town.

Highlights - Montenegro Budva

It was endearing to walk the empty strands of Budva’s famous old town.

This town is a vibrant mix of sandy beaches, ancient buildings lined with Venetian-inspired architecture. We indulged in basque cheesecakes and hot chocolate as we walked through the old town and watched the sunset over the Adriatic sea.

Perast

Nestled on the shores of Bay of Kotor, this is a small town with immense beauty.

We were welcomed by empty picturesque narrow winding streets, complete with red-roof architecture, and charming stone houses. It might have been the the prettiest we visited during the trip.


Things to do:

Climb the bell towers of the stunning Church of Our Lady of the Rocks

Marvel at the panoramic views of the bay, dotted with small islands that seem to float along endlessly in the azure waters.

Dig into pastries and wine

Kotor

As far as settings go, the Adriatic village of Kotor is said to have some of the most stunning coastline in all of Europe. Perched on the Bay of Kotor and overlooked by limestone cliffs, this UNESCO-listed destination features gorgeous medieval preservations.

Within the walled Kotor Old Town is a labyrinth of alleyways home to café-framed squares, palaces, museums, and theaters. The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, Kampana Tower and Maritime Museum of Montenegro are major highlights.

Going in winter presents you with a unique opportunity to explore this town without crowds - I loved the authentic experience. Highly recommend going in November or December


Ostrog Monastery

The last place we visited happened to be our favorite place in the country. It also happens to be one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Montenegro.

Cut into a cliff, this spectacular monastery has centuries of fascinating history. The dramatic setting aside, it was also a special drive with Fall foliage at its very best. The views from the top were simply magical. I couldn’t recommend it enough, especially in the shoulder season.

Not only was the site majestic, the drive up the mountains was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Don't miss this one.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Look, Europe's great and all, but it can get a bit predictable, right? Well, Bosnia & Montenegro in the winter is the antidote to all that while being very pretty and postcard perfect. We hiked through small towns where we could practically smell the history, drove through mountains that looked like movie sets, and talked to locals who were extremely friendly.

From sipping strong coffee overlooking Ottoman bridges in Mostar to haggling for handwoven rugs in Sarajevo's bustling bazaar, was budget-friendly without the overpriced visa charges and plane ticket. We're talking history that's still alive, not stuck behind velvet ropes, and scenery that'll make many people to scream "Photoshop?!"

This isn't about ticking off tourist boxes; it's about feeling the pulse of two historic countries that are as vibrant as the colors on a Mostar bridge.

Budva: Sun-Kissed Beaches and Crystal-Clear Waters Await
Budva, Montenegro

Thanks for reading. Leave your questions and comments below.

Lots of love,

Anki


To explore more destinations in the region, be sure to check out other blogs for additional insights into our other similar adventures

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