Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), and, in short, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west, and south; Serbia to the east; Montenegro to the southeast; and the Adriatic Sea to the south, with a coastline about 20 kilometres (12 miles) long surrounding the city of Neum.

Establishment history

  • Banate of Bosnia c. 1154
  • Kingdom of Bosnia c. 1377
  • Ottoman conquest c. 1463
  • Austro-Hungarian Empire occupation 1878
  • Secession from  Austro-Hungarian Empire 29 October 1918
  • Creation of Yugoslavia 4 December 1918
  • National Day 25 November 1943
  • Independence from SFR Yugoslavia 1 March 1992
  • Constitution 14 December 1995

Geography

The country is mostly mountainous, encompassing the central Dinaric Alps. The northeastern parts reach into the Pannonian Plain, while in the south it borders the Adriatic. The Dinaric Alps generally run in a southeast-northwest direction, and get higher towards the south. The highest point of the country is the peak of Maglić at 2,386 metres (7,828.1 feet), on the Montenegrin border.
Major mountains include Kozara, Grmeč, Vlašić, Čvrsnica, Prenj, Romanija,   Jahorina, Bjelašnica and Treskavica.

Overall, close to 50% of Bosnia and Herzegovina is forested. Most forest areas are in the centre, east and west parts of Bosnia. Herzegovina has drier Mediterranean climate, with dominant karst topography. Northern Bosnia (Posavina) contains very fertile agricultural land along the River Sava and the corresponding area is heavily farmed. This farmland is a part of the Pannonian Plain stretching into neighboring Croatia and Serbia. The country has only 20 kilometres (12 miles) of coastline, around the town of Neum in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton. Although the city is surrounded by Croatian peninsulas, by international law, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a right of passage to the outer sea.

Sarajevo is the capital and largest city. Other major cities are Banja Luka in the northwest region known as Bosanska Krajina, Bijeljina and Tuzla in the northeast, Zenica and Doboj in the central part of Bosnia and Mostar, the largest city in Herzegovina.

  • Capital and largest city Sarajevo
  • Official languages Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian
  • Total area 51,197 km2 (19,767 sq mi) Water (%) 0.8%
  • Climate:
  • hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast
  • Population 2013 census 3,531,159
  • Density 68.97/km2 (178.6/sq mi)
  • Currency   Convertible mark (BAM)
  • Time zone          CET (UTC+1)
  • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
  • Drives on the  right
  • Calling code   387

Infrastructure

Bosnia & Herzegovina is well connected to other countries in Europe. The main bus station of Sarajevo has its own website. The main provider of international bus connection in Bosnia & Herzegovina is Eurolines. There are routes to Croatia, Germany, Austria, France, Netherlands, Montenegro, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Serbia. Despite Bosnia & Herzegovina’s geographical closeness to Serbia, there is only one bus a day, which takes more than 8 hours due to the lack of proper roads.

Airports: Sarajevo International Airport, Tuzla International Airport, Mostar International Airport, Banja Luka International Airport

Sarajevo International Airport (IATA: SJJ, ICAO: LQSA), also known as Butmir Airport, is the main international airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina, serving Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located 3.3 NM (6.1 km; 3.8 mi) southwest of the Sarajevo railway station in the Ilidža municipality, suburb of Butmir. Sarajevo (Butmir) International airport is prone to fog from October to March and particularly during December and January. If you are travelling into or out of Sarajevo during winter, make sure you have enough money if you are forced to extend your stay, as many airlines won’t take responsibility for accommodation due to delays caused by adverse weather.

Tuzla International Airport (Bosnian: Međunarodni aerodrom Tuzla/Међународни аеродром Тузла; Croatian: Međunarodna zračna luka Tuzla) (IATA: TZL, ICAO: LQTZ) is an airport near Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tuzla International Airport is second largest airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina, right after Sarajevo International Airport. The airport is known as a low cost airline hub of Bosnia and Herzegovina, since is used from people from whole Bosnia and Herzegovina and travelers from neighboring countries Croatia and Serbia.

Safety and security

Crime

The level of crime is generally low, and crime against foreigners is particularly low, but you should beware of pickpockets on public transport, and in the tourist and pedestrian areas of Sarajevo and other cities. Be vigilant and make sure personal belongings including your passports are secure. Excessive displays of wealth, including large quantities of cash or jewellery and luxury vehicles can make you a target for opportunist thieves. Make sure your vehicle is locked and your belongings are out of sight. Take particular care in areas popular with foreign tourists. There have been a number of recent incidents of foreigners being the target of robberies and vehicle break-ins on Trebevic, the mountain closest to Sarajevo.

Report all incidents of crime to the local police station and get a written report. Local police don’t always have English language skills and you may need the services of a translator.

Road travel

It is obligatory to have your Drivers’ Licence with you at all times when driving in/through Bosnia and Herzegovina. A EU driving licence is valid as long as you’re driving your own vehicle or a car hired outside of Bosnia. If you’re renting or using someone else’s vehicle within the country, an International Driving Permit is required.

You need valid insurance to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina in a vehicle. If you don’t have the correct insurance, you’ll need to buy border insurance when you enter the country. The border police should be able to direct you to the insurance company office at the border crossing. Euros are accepted, but credit card payment is not always possible.

You can’t buy border insurance at all border crossings. The border police advise travellers to use the recently upgraded crossings at: Bijaca, Crveni Grm (south), Zubci (south-east), Karakaj and Raca (east), Samac (north-east), Kamensko and Izacici (west).

You can’t buy border insurance at the Neum border crossing. If you’re entering Bosnia and Herzegovina via Neum, you should be able to buy insurance at the Doljani border crossing.

Make sure you have original vehicle registration and ownership papers with you as border guards, customs or the insurance company may want to see them.

Take care when travelling outside the main towns and cities, especially in winter when road conditions can worsen quickly.

Between 15 November and 15 April you are legally required to use winter equipment on your vehicle.

This means:

  • all tyres must have an MS, M+S or M&S mark and a stylised symbol of a snowflake; the tread should be at least 4 mm deep
  • snow chains should be carried as their use is compulsory in winter conditions or if the relevant sign is displayed

You must drive with dipped headlamps at all times, not just after dark. Apart from the outskirts of Sarajevo there are no dual carriageways in the country. Take great care when driving at night as many roads are badly lit or have no lighting at all. Avoid long-distance travel at night. Take care when overtaking and when approaching traffic lights as local drivers have a habit of braking suddenly when traffic lights change to amber. If you are involved in an accident, stay at the scene until the police arrive. The police may breathalyse those involved. Traffic police can impose on the spot fines for any traffic offence.

Air travel

Sarajevo (Butmir) International airport is prone to fog from October to March and particularly during December and January. If you are travelling into or out of Sarajevo during winter, make sure you have enough money if you are forced to extend your stay, as many airlines won’t take responsibility for accommodation due to delays caused by adverse weather.

Local laws and customs

Carry your passport with you at all times. You must be able to show some form of identification if required, including when checking into hotels. For more information, see the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina website.

Visas

Bosnia and Herzegovina can only be entered with a valid passport. EU, American and Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter the country for a total period of no longer than 90 days within a period of 6 months following your first entry. Most other people do need a visa, and getting one is possible through the Bosnian embassies in your respective countries. Fees for visas issued by diplomatic/consular offices.

Make sure your passport is stamped when you enter the country. If you don’t receive a stamp, the Border Police may fine you when you leave.

Passport validity

Your passport should be in good condition and valid for a minimum period of 90 days from the date of your exit from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Registration

All foreign nationals must register with the police within 72 hours of arrival. Hotels and registered hostels will usually arrange this for their guests.

Travelling with children

Children under 18 years of age who are not Bosnian nationals and who are travelling unaccompanied or accompanied by an adult person other than their parents must carry a notarised letter from their parents giving permission for the child to travel. The name of the accompanying adult must be clearly stated. If the child is accompanied by one parent, particularly if the parent has a different surname to the child’s, the accompanying parent should carry a notarised letter from the other parent giving permission to travel.

Health

Medical and dental facilities, particularly outside Sarajevo and major towns are limited.

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) doesn’t cover Bosnia and Herzegovina. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance, including cover for evacuation by air ambulance, before you travel.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 124 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Money

Most transactions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are in cash. The local currency is the Bosnian Mark. Cashing travellers’ cheques is possible at some banks. ATMs are available in the larger cities. Credit and debit cards may be accepted outside Sarajevo, but you should make sure you have enough cash with you when travelling outside major cities.

Important phone numbers

  • 122 Police
  • 123 Fire department
  • 124 Emergency
  • 1282 Roadside Assistance– BIHAMK
  • +387 International Dialing Code of BiH
  • 033 289 100 International Airport Sarajevo

 

For more information about Embassies in BiH visit link