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Bosnia and Herzegovina is seeing rapid growth in tourism as more and more people discover its many hidden wonders. Beaches, waterfalls, religious architecture and skiing are just a few of the country’s attractions. Its intriguing mix of religions and cultures makes touring the country by car a delight.
Visitors who choose to drive in Bosnia and Herzegovina should do so with care as many of the roads are poorly maintained. The vast majority of roads consist of two lanes, which can be quite narrow in places.
Driving licences: driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires a valid UK driver’s licence in addition to an International Driving Permit.
Which side does Bosnia and Herzegovina drive on: the right.
Motorways: 75mph (120kph)
Open roads: 50mph (80kph)
Built-up areas: 35mph (60kph)
Alcohol limits: 50 mg/ml (0.05 per cent) compared to the 80 mg/ml (0.08 per cent) limit in the UK. Measurements over this limit may result in penalties. A person under the influence of alcohol is not permitted to sit in the front seat as a passenger.
Driving age: 18 years.
Seatbelts: compulsory for everyone in the car, if fitted. Children under the age of five must sit on a child seat. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to sit in the front seat.
Mobile phones and GPS: mobile phone use while driving is prohibited unless using a hands-free device. Using GPS is allowed.
Cost of fuel in Bosnia and Herzegovina: the price of petrol is cheaper in Bosnia-Herzegovina compared to the UK.
Car hire and fuel payment: most major credit cards are accepted at petrol stations and car hire depots throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. Cardholders should notify their card supplier of their travel plans prior to travel.
Insurance: third-party insurance is included with car hire but excess insurance is recommended.
Traffic and parking: there is a charge for parking in most cities. Parking vouchers may be claimed from automatic machines or an official parking attendant and must be clearly displayed on the car’s windshield.
UK travellers can take the Eurostar train from London to Paris, from where connections to Munich, Budapest and Zagreb are possible. From Zagreb, there are links to Sarajevo with fares of around £20, with the total journey taking two days. Another option is to travel to Budapest and then catch a direct train to Sarajevo. Train travel within the country is comfortable and cheap; however, as a by-product of the war, the rail network is limited. There are only three railway lines leading out of Sarajevo though some of the routes, such as the southern route, are scenic.
It is easy to get a taxi in the big cities such as Sarajevo. In fact, the taxi service provided here is among the cheapest in all of Europe. Taxis can be summoned by calling one of the many taxi companies or they can be flagged down or procured at one of the clearly-marked taxi stands. Fares in Sarajevo start at around £0.60, rising by around £0.40 per kilometre travelled.
There are many bus routes and services operating in and around Bosnia-Herzegovina. International buses normally arrive and leave from the main Sarajevo bus station, which is located next to the main railway station. Services are cheap, with a typical fare from Zagreb being around £24 and fares of around £35 from Vienna. Sarajevo has a well-connected network of buses, trams and trolleys, enabling travellers to easily get around the city. Fares are low at around £0.70 or £2 for all day travel.
Most air travellers arrive at Sarajevo International Airport, but there are also airports at Mostar, Banja Luka and Tulza. There are no direct flights from the UK to Sarajevo or any other city in the country, but it is possible to fly from other European locations such as Vienna or Munich.
In 2006, Sarajevo was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 50 ‘Best Cities in the World’. Sarajevo has been called the ‘Jerusalem of Europe’ because of its religious diversity and coexisting faiths of Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism and Judaism.
Whilst visiting this dynamic city, it is important to visit the Bascarsija (Old Town) where it is impossible not to notice the influence that 500 years of Turkish rule had on the city, with its colourful bazaars still providing energy and life just as they did during the height of Ottoman rule.
Sutjeska National Park on the border with Montenegro is the famous site where the partisans defeated a massive German army during WWII. This park is also the home to Maglic Mountain, Bosnia’s highest peak, which has become a favourite destination for hikers and people who love nature.
Jajce represented the last stronghold of Bosnian rule before it was overrun by the Ottomans in 1528. This central region is also home to Pliva Lake and is known for its impressive waterfalls.
The climate in Bosnia-Herzegovina is as diverse as the terrain and the people who make up this country. In general, Southern Bosnia-Herzegovina shares the Southern European mild winters and long, hot summers. Meanwhile, the mountainous region of the north is covered in snow nearly year-round. In the capital city of Sarajevo, the average temperature in August ranges from a maximum of 26ºC to a minimum of 13º C. When travelling here, it is a good idea to pack both sun block and warm clothing.