When is the best time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina?
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Last Updated on July 27, 2021
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a wonderful country steeped in history and natural beauty. Over 1 million tourists visit every year, many of which come from within the Balkan region. But visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Although the country benefits from year round tourism, choosing the best time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina is entirely dependent on what you want to do while there.
Like many places, it is busiest in the summer, but Bosnia in spring or autumn is the ideal time to visit for those looking to go hiking. If you prefer winter sports, then Bosnia and Herzegovina in the winter also has plenty to offer.
During summer in Bosnia’s capital of Sarajevo, visitors can experience where East meets West and have a cup of coffee outside amidst the sounds of the Adhan (Muslim call to prayer).
In the spring, head to one of the country’s national parks, take a dip in Kravice waterfall or cool off underground in Vjetrenica cave.
Whether you come for culture, hiking, history or delicious food, Bosnia and Herzegovina will not disappoint.
Here is a more in-depth look at what each season has to offer to help you decide the best time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina in Spring
Outdoor activities are the order of the day during springtime in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As the cold recedes, the weather becomes most pleasant for hiking and bicycling. If you’re accommodation is near one of Bosnia’s beautiful lakes, or close to Neum on the Adriatic Sea, there is also the option for swimming. Swimming season officially begins in late May. But for those who enjoy the rush of colder water you can go swimming as early as April.
If you happen to be city-based, then you can take advantage of the many walking tours available. On these, visitors can learn from the vast wealth of Bosnia’s history, hike through idyllic mountain villages, or bike across some of Bosnia’s many waterfalls.
May 1st is an important day for locals, as it marks Labor Day, an official Bosnian holiday which is celebrated across the country. Bosnians will take to the streets with picnic blankets, music and outdoor barbecues to celebrate. Plus, there will be a lot of alcohol flowing!
Spring is also an excellent season to visit Mostar – the heart of Herzegovina. Here you can enjoy, among other things, the Kravice Falls, the Dervish Monastery and Start Most – an Ottoman-style 16th century bridge that sits astride the Neretva river.
It’s safe to say that spring is one of the best times to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina for those wanting to get out and explore this beautiful country.
Bosnia and Herzegovina in Summer
If you’re looking to soak up some sun, then Bosnia has one of the best summer climates to take advantage of. There are very few rainy days during this time, with long periods of relative drought between them, and temperatures can reach up to 35-40°C (95-104°F) or higher.
Naturally these are the busiest times for tourism in the country. So make sure to book at least a couple of months in advance if you plan on visiting Bosnia for the summer heat, as accommodations book up fast!
As with spring, Bosnia in summer is all about exhilarating outdoor sports. River kayaking and whitewater rafting now become available in addition to mountain climbing and hiking. For those who love to grab their paddles and dive right in, Bosnia is home to the Tara River Canyon – the deepest river canyon in Europe.
If you’re in the nation’s capital and you’re feeling cultured, there’s also the Sarajevo Film Festival in July/August. It considered by some to be the most honoured festival in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo is a UNESCO City of Film, and this event has been held annually for over 25 years. It’s the perfect place to mingle with local and international stars alike!
Bosnia and Herzegovina in Autumn
This is the best time to visit Bosnia if you’re wanting to stay dry and avoid the snow and rain. That does come at a price, however. Bosnia in autumn can get very warm during the day, followed by brutally cold nights. Make sure you prepare a full range of possibilities for Bosnia weather. That being said, fewer people tend to visit Bosnia in autumn. So accommodation options will be more varied, accessible and cheaper than in the summer months.
With so much forestry and mountainous areas, the changing of the colours of leaves almost takes on a new meaning. Bosnia in autumn is a botanical cornucopia on display. However, as the nights start drawing in, autumn in Bosnia also becomes the perfect time to visit the country’s wealth of museums. Enjoy the Historical Museum, the Tunnel Museum, the National Gallery and more. All of which provide a fully comprehensive view of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s historical background.
If you visit Bosnia in the month of November, you can experience the annual Sarajevo Jazz Festival. Begun in 1997, this annual celebration of all things jazz has grown in popularity over the years, but it has managed to keep its grassroots vibe nonetheless. During this week-long festival, both classic and innovative styles can be heard late into the night in many venues throughout the city.
Bosnia and Herzegovina in Winter
Photo by Dagney McKinney
Fun fact: Bosnia in winter is really not that cold! The country benefits from a milder climate than many of its other Slavic peers, with daytime highs of 8-10°C (46-50°F). It is, of course, cooler in the mountains. Here the snow and the allure of smooth slopes brings in one of Bosnia’s main tourist groups: skiers.
Skiing and snowboarding in the Olympic Mountains is on a par with skiing in the Alps. So the majority of tourists leave the cities (which can have some difficulties with air pollution during winter, especially Sarajevo) for the peaks of Jahorina, Vlašić, and Bjelašnica. There are many delightful log cabins available to tourists, with inviting wood fires to keep you warm and cosy after a long day of sliding around.
Of course, as with many places, winter here means Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations. But in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are two of each! The more globally celebrated dates of December 25th and January 1st are joined by the Orthodox Christmas Day and New Year on January 7th and January 14th respectively, so there are plenty of days of festivities.
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