Bosnia and Herzegovina is the heart shaped land that lies in the heart of southeast Europe. It is here that eastern and western civilizations met, sometimes clashed, but more often enriched and reinforced each other throughout its long and fascinating history.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a long name for a country that measures just over 50,000 km2. Bosnia covers the north and centre of the country with its name probably derived from 'bosana', an old Indo-European word meaning water, which Bosnia has no short of.

The southern region of ancient Hum, ruled by Herceg Stjepan (Duke Stjepan),was later named Herzegovina after the region was conquered by the invading Ottomans. Perhaps what is most important for the visitor to know today, though, is that Bosnia and Herzegovinais a stunningly beautiful country with a vast array of landscapes, cultures, traditions and people. And as the old cliche goes 'people make the place' – and BiH prides itself on its hospitality and treating our guests as if they were family members. And family we take to heart.

Themine issue is an understandable concern: there are mines in Bosnia andHerzegovina and, with the clearing process progressing slowly, there will continue to be mines for the decades to come. But that does not mean that visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina is unsafe. So far, no visitor to Bosnia and Herzegovina has ever been involved in a mine incident. Mine safety is a matter of respecting a few rules:

- Highly populated areas, national parks and conservation areas are all clear of mines and safe to visit.
- Stay away from taped areas. Whether in yellow or red, whether themarkings are new or old: just simply never go there.
- If you arein the countryside, stay away from areas that are not obviously frequented by people. Look for cut grass, tire tracks, footprints or rubbish – all indications of safe areas. Obviously, areas in which people are walking, jogging, BBQ-ing et cetera are safe. Conversely, abandoned villages – however much fun it seems to explore them - may pose a threat.
- The most dangerous areas are the former lines of confrontation in the countryside. Many mountain ranges and some rural areas are still contaminated. As tourists and travelers would not normally know much about the location of these former confrontation lines, it is best to take a guide or a local who knows the terrain. Mountain associations and eco-tourism organizations are your best bet for a safe mountain adventure. There is plenty of safe hiking, walking, wandering and exploring to be done in Bosnia and Herzegovina – it is simply not wise to do it alone. For more information, you could visit the Mine Action Centre (MAC; Zmaja od Bosne 8 in Sarajevo) or visit the center's website (


Bosnia and Herzegovina has long had one of the most fragile mixes of religions and nationalities in the Balkans. The Ottoman Turks challenged Christian dominance after their 15th-century conquest, and today the population is a mix of Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats, and Muslims.

Inter-ethnic civil strife has had a devastating effect on the country since the spring of 1992, when the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina held a referendum on independence from the former Yugoslavia. The Serbs, with the support of neighbouring Serbia, answered with armed resistance. Their aim was to partition the republic along ethnic lines and to create, along with other Serb-held areas, a “greater Serbia”. A bloody civil war eventually ended with a settlement that divided the country roughly into two equal parts, at the same time keeping Bosnia and Herzegovina within its internationally recognised borders. NATO took control of the peace-keeping force under the terms of the Dayton Agreement in December 1995.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a largely mountainous country, with high massifs in the west and centre and vast expanses of barren limestone plateau to the south. Sarajevo, the capital, mirrors the country's eclectic history, with a strongly Turkish flavour in the old town and an Austrian sector of typical turn-of-the-century Central European-style municipal buildings. Mostar used to be famed for its 16th-century Turkish bridge, unfortunately destroyed by artillery fire in 1993, and the walled medieval city of Jajce is now remembered as the scene of some of the worst atrocities of the civil war. The country as a whole still has considerable tourist potential, but until its political problems are resolved, it is not a place that tourists can expect to visit safely or with any degree of comfort.

Entry Requirements
All nationals are advised to consult the foreign affairs department in their own country before travelling to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although Bosnia and Herzegovina is no longer at war with its neighbours, the Balkans remain politically unstable.

Emergency Phone Numbers
All travellers are advised to consult the foreign office in their country of residence before departure regarding emergency assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Time Zones
Central European Time (GMT plus one hour). Clocks are put forward one hour from the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the end of October.

Vehicle documents
Consult the foreign office in your country of residence before travelling to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Rules Of The Road
No current information is available.

Roads, Tolls And Speed Limits
Check local conditions before embarking on a journey.

Driving Tips
There are still many land mines scattered around Bosnia and Herzegovina. Do not drive off the hard shoulder of roads. Hijacking of vehicles and armed robbery are still very real hazards.

Electrical Devices
The electrical current in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 220 volts AC. Round, two-pin plugs are used.

Notes and coins
The official currency in the Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation is the Bosnian dinar, but in the Croat-dominated region of Western Herzegovina the Croatian kuna is more likely to be used. In the Serb Republic the currency is the Yugoslav dinar. The German deutschmark and US dollar are widely accepted for payment throughout Bosnia.

Currency exchange
Cash is the normal means of payment. Normal banking services are only gradually being restored.

It is best to top up bills to the nearest round sum.

Public Holidays
Public holidays and events are likely to be disrupted.

Travellers With Disabilities
Facilities for travellers with disabilities are likely to be non-existent.

Metro, buses and trams
There are bus services operating in and between cities. Trams operate in Sarejevo. There are no metro systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Camp sites Sarejevo

hoteliidza camp
City: Ilidza
Postcode: 71212
Address: Viteske brigade Ilidza
Hrasnicka cesta 14 Ilidza
Phone: +387 33 636 140
Fax: +387 33 636 141

City: Sarajevo
Postcode: 71000
Address: M.M. Baseskije 63/3
Phone: + 387 (0)61 800 263
Fax: + 387 (0)33 238 680

Before you go get covered for all events

Sarajevo used to be a byword for the rich ethnic mix of Bosnia and Herzegovina; now it is synonymous with the savage war that tore apart the country and its capital between 1992 and 1995. At least the city is now reunited and gradually returning to normal life. It is one of the prime centres of Turkish architecture in the Balkans, with some fine mosques and the Bascarsija bazaar quarter with its narrow alleys. Equally interesting is the juxtaposition of Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic, and Jewish religious buildings. The devastation all this suffered, however, will take many years to repair.Bosnia and Herzegovina has begun major construction on the C5 corridor that will link BiH with major motorway routes to the Croatian coast to the south and Budapest to the North.

Road conditions have drastically improved in the past year making driving throughout BiH a safer and more pleasant experience. The road system in BiH tends to be rather curvy as many of the main motorways are constructed through mountain valleys. Although you may not be able to travel by car at the speed of other European destinations, driving from town to town in Bosnia and Herzegovina is as pleasant as driving gets.

There is lots of beautiful scenery, the roads tend to be quiet, and there are plenty of quality places to stop for a drink or a meal. Some of the country's best restaurants are right next to a major road. There is little chance of running out of petrol in the middle of nowhere as there are many petrol stations along all major routes. Equally comforting is the number of garages. For relatively little money, the 'automehanicar' will make repairs and the 'vulkanizer' will fix your flat tire.

We do offer a few warnings whilst traveling by car in BiH:Take a good map with you. Road signs in some areas are frequent and accurate but they may suddenly be gone altogether.

Road signs in the Republika Srpska are mostly in Cyrillic.

› First-hand and second-hand spare parts for German-made cars are widely available. For other cars, spare parts may be a little more difficult to find.

› The law stipulates that you always have to carry a spare tyre, a jack, an extra headlight bulb, a first-aid kit, a tow rope and a hazard triangle. During a routine police check you may have to show that you do indeed have all that.

In the winter period, snow chains are vital.

Originally, the KM was pegged to the German mark. With the introduction of the Euro, the KM changed its peg without the least bit of trouble (1.95 KM for 1 Euro). VISA and Master will be accepted in most places, but it no guarantee with American Express. Make sure you have all the cash you need before leaving the major towns, as it is next to impossible to find a money machine or anybody who accepts credit card payments in smaller towns and villages.