Should You Drive In Bosnia
The burning question on all travelers’ minds, is if it is safe to drive in Bosnia or any other Balkan country. The answer is yes, but as long as you are patient and cautious while driving through the winding single lane roads. More often than not, you may find yourself stuck behind a slow-moving truck or passenger buses where you can’t see far enough ahead to pass. But you will have no problems as long as you refrain from taking any unnecessary risks
My rental car was from Sarajevo Airport Enterprise rent-a-car, the daily rental cost was about US$ 38, in addition to that, I had to pay extra 100 KM (US$ 54) to get the ‘Green Card” (Zeleni Karton) insurance which is for an international driver’s license. If you are part of a group, then a rental car is definitely the best option. One of the many advantages is that you can stop whenever and wherever you like and take your time to enjoy and soak in the beautiful scenic view of the countryside, take pictures, meet the locals and experience their lifestyles.
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Tips: While driving, always keep your headlights on to avoid getting pulled over by cops. Don’t forget to obey the speed limit as it does not make sense to take the risk.
I met few local Bosnians and found that the wounds they experienced from their painful past are still too young to heal. They are very quiet and extremely nice people.
Road Trip: Sarajevo – Konjic – Donja Jablanica – OstroŠac – Mostar
Best Time to Visit Mostar
Bosnia and Herzegovina have relatively dry climates with very hot summers and very cold winters. Spring is typically the best time to visit as the temperature is pleasant between May – June. During this period, it’s warm but not overly humid and the nights are much cooler. Mostar is in the lower valley of Neretva river where the climate is like the Mediterranean. In summer between July – September, it gets hotter and winter is relatively milder.
Driving Experience From Sarajevo To Mostar
Sarajevo is such a fascinating city that it was difficult for me to just drive away from there without taking a final stroll through the old town. Since Mostar was only 2 hours and 30 minutes away (about 126 km) I was in no rush to leave. Early start to the day, I drove to Baščaršija, the old town market for a final tour and to take a few nice photo opportunities. After wandering the streets for a while and spending some time taking pictures around the area I have decided to start the next adventure.
On the highway, I have to admit that I was completely dependent on the GPS but luckily, minus a few hiccups in the rural areas, I did not have any major issues with finding my way. I think driving is the easiest and most scenic way to travel to a beautiful country like Bosnia because you are able to fully capture its culture, history and natural beauty.
As always I was driving solo in Bosnia & Herzegovina
The route to Mostar was breathtakingly scenic, I drove on a two-lane highway for most of the time, and passed many small villages surrounded by mountains, scenic lakes, and rivers running alongside the road as well as beautiful minarets of mosques. I don’t think anyone driving on such a scenic route will be able to make it straight in 2.5 hours from Sarajevo to Mostar because you will find the need to make many stops just to enjoy the beautiful views. Roadside restaurants will also attract you even if you are not a hardcore foodie. Passing through these small towns, I am absolutely positive that your curiosity and eagerness will make you take a few pitstops in order to experience the local activities and enjoy the unspoiled culture of rural Bosnia.
A good friend of my mine recommended having lunch at a local restaurant and I enjoyed the location because it was right by the scenic river and overlooked the lush green mountains.
First Stop Was At Konjic
After about 50 kilometers of driving southwest from Sarajevo, I arrived at a small town called Konjic with a population of 26,000 people. The city was surrounded by green mountains. The beautiful small town was almost 4000 years old with settlements on both sides of the Neretva river bank which was breathtaking.
If you are driving, then you won’t miss it, Konjic is a perfect place to make a stop, apart from the many mosques you will enjoy near the Neretva river and the Konjic bridge connecting both towns. This bridge is also one of the National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is definitely worth a visit.
Sudden Stop At Homemade Chicken BBQ Joint
Was not expecting to see something like this on the highway so it was easily missed, but I did make a U-turn to come back to this roadside homemade chicken BBQ joint. How could I have missed it! Delicious food and one that you will have to take my word for.
Next Stop Restoran Orahovica, Orahovica
This is the best place to enjoy food en route to Mostar. Restoran Orahovica is in the perfect location, only 5 km southwest of Konjic along the highway M17 and on the bank of Jablanica Lake, only 1 km from the town of Orahovica.
My plan was to have lunch at my next stop in Donja Jablanica. There I could not resist looking at their open-air seating arrangement on the deck overlooking a gorgeous view of the lake. I tried one of their recommended dishes called Ćevapi – Bosnian kebabs, small grilled meat sausages made of mixed lamb and beef; served with onions, sour cream, ajvar, and Bosnian pita bread (somun)
They also have accommodations available, in which, all the rooms are equipped with TV, bathrooms, shower, and air-conditioning. The hotel also had a private beach with paddle boats, which is a great way to relax on the lake. If you are planning to stay overnight then it is a great place for unforgettable adventures like cycling, mountaineering, rafting, hunting, and fishing.
Next Stop – Beautiful view of Ostrozak, Bosnia
Since I was already there, I quickly stopped to enjoy the beautiful view of Jablanica lake. The nearest town is called OstroŠac and Glodnica is located on another side of the lake. I didn’t spend much time exploring here as it was past noon and I still had 55 km to cover to get to Mostar with a stop for lunch at Restoran Kovacevic in Donja Jablanica.
Final Stop Restoran Kovacevic in Donja Jablanica
After driving about 26 km southwest from Konjic I arrived at this restaurant by the highway M17. This was in a great location and the dining area of this restaurant had a view of the beautiful lush green mountains of Prenj with its reflection on the water of the Neretva river. The small town of Donja Jablanica was also visible in the distance.
Also, another restaurant recommended by a friend for lunch was known to be one of the best to enjoy traditional Bosnian dishes. I was not so hungry as I tried a few pieces of Ćevapi at my previous stop but by looking at the traditional way of making Jablanica Lamb Roast, I couldn’t help but feel hungry again.
It was definitely worth to have your lunch here, nothing can beat having Jagnjece Peenjo (Grilled Lamb) in a pleasant atmosphere moreover its surroundings will add value to your memorable journey.
One of my Favourite dishes and cost:
Jagnjece Peenjo (Grilled Lamb) 1 kg (US$ 16.00) 30 KM or 300 gm (US$ 6.00) 11 KM
Teleci Kotleti Sa Prilogom (Veal Chops with a side dish) 12 KM (US$ 6.00)
Beer Sarajevsko 3 KM (US$ 1.50)
Finally at 3:00 pm I arrived in Mostar and pulled over in front of the hotel Bristol, I quickly checked in and hit the streets on foot to explore Mostar.
The driving experience from Sarajevo to Mostar was unforgettable. If I get another chance I would definitely like to do it again.
My Opinion and Tips
Have you been to Mostar? Any additional tips to share?
Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge.
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