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Bosnia and Herzegovina travel guide

About Bosnia and Herzegovina

Despite a tumultuous background, Bosnia-Herzegovina has emerged as a compelling, multi-faceted travel destination. Most notable amongst the country's many charms is its lush, mountainous landscape, best seen from the vantage point of one of its national parks.

Bosnia-Herzegovina still bears the legacy of war, but there are plenty of positives to take from the country's urban centres, especially the cosmopolitan capital of Sarajevo. With its rich history and lively nightlife, this diverse city has become one of Europe's most curious, unique capitals. The old town of Sarajevo is divided between the evocative Ottoman quarter of historic mosques, little streets filled with cafes and craft workshops, and the trendy Austria-Hungarian quarter built during the late 19th century – truly a case of east meets west.

Sarajevo also has several museums explaining its history, while climbing the steep hills rewards you with a stirring view of the city. One oddity is the colossal bobsleigh track from the 1984 Winter Olympics that runs through the forests of Trebevic mountain; it was destroyed during the Siege of Sarajevo in 1990s and is now a canvas for local street artists.

Beyond Sarajevo, much of the country is relatively undeveloped, but there are several historic fortresses to see, no shortage of splendid old mosques, and a number of monasteries and Catholic shrines. The second city (at least by reputation), Mostar is also increasingly popular with tourists. Perhaps above all else, it is the city’s 16th century Ottoman bridge that symbolises both the past and a positive new beginning for the country. Destroyed during the war, it has since been painstakingly reconstructed, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Key facts


51,129 sq km (19,741 sq miles).


3,798,672 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

75.6 per sq km.




Federal democratic republic.

Head of state:

Chairman of the Presidency Denis Becirovic since 2024.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Borjana Kristo since 2022.

Travel Advice

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Bosnia and Herzegovina Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Passport validity requirements

To enter Bosnia and Herzegovina, your passport must:

  • have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive – if you renewed your passport before 1 October 2018, it may have a date of issue that is more than 10 years ago
  • have an ‘expiry date’ at least 90 days after the date you plan to leave

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid, undamaged travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You can travel without a visa to Bosnia and Herzegovina for up to 90 days within a 6-month period. This applies if you travel:

  • as a tourist
  • to visit family or friends
  • to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events
  • for short-term studies or training

For all other types of travel, check the conditions for temporary residence or contact the Bosnia and Herzegovina Embassy in the UK.  

Make sure you get your passport stamped on entry and exit. 

If you’re a visitor, border guards will look at your entry and exit stamps to check you have not overstayed the 90-day visa-free limit. If you do not have a stamp, the Border Police may fine you when you leave.

Staying longer than 90 days in a 6-month period

If you want to stay longer than 90 days within a 6-month period, apply for a residence permit. You must provide a document showing that you have no criminal record in the UK. The British Embassy is not able to issue such a document. You can get a copy of your police records before you travel.

For more information, see the Bosnia and Herzegovina government’s page about residency and work permits.

Vaccine requirements

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Bosnia and Herzegovina guide.

Registering your stay

All foreign nationals must register with the police within 72 hours of arrival, at a local police station. Hotels and some hostels will usually register their guests. If your accommodation is not arranging this, you need to contact the nearest field centre (‘terenski centar’) for the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs.

Travelling with children

Children aged 17 and under who are travelling unaccompanied or with an adult other than their parents, must carry a notarised letter giving permission for travel. The letter must be signed by a parent or guardian and give the name of the accompanying adult.

This also applies if only one parent is accompanying the child, particularly if they have a different surname to the child’s.  

For further information contact the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the UK.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into and out of Bosnia and Herzegovina. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.     

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Terrorist attacks in Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot be ruled out.

Previous attacks have included firearms attacks on government, law enforcement interests and the public. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

Political situation

Public protests occur from time to time and can cause traffic disruption. Protests are normally peaceful. There is a risk of violent incidents linked to locally controversial issues, usually from the conflict of the 1990s.

There has been an increase in anti-UK rhetoric from some politicians in the Republika Srpska (one of the entities that makes up the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina). This could translate into wider anti-UK sentiment. Monitor local media so you can avoid planned political demonstrations and move away if you see protestors gathering.


Protecting your belongings

Beware of pickpockets and bag-snatchers on public transport and in the tourist and pedestrian areas of Sarajevo and other cities. Make sure personal belongings, including your passport, are secure. Obvious displays of wealth, including large quantities of cash or jewellery and luxury vehicles can make you a target for opportunist thieves.

There has been an increase in thefts from cars in popular tourist areas in and around Sarajevo, particularly on Mount Trebevic. Make sure your vehicle is locked and your belongings are out of sight. Take particular care in areas popular with foreign tourists and in crowded public venues.

Old landmines and unexploded weapons

Landmines and other unexploded weapons remain from the 1992 to 1995 war. While highly populated areas and major routes are largely clear, there is still a risk in less populated and rural areas. Do not step off roads and paved areas without an experienced guide. Take care near:

  • the former lines of conflict
  • the edge of roads
  • the open countryside
  • destroyed or abandoned buildings (including in towns)
  • neglected land
  • untarred roads
  • woods and orchards

For further information, see Mine Action Centre.

Laws and cultural differences

Personal ID

Always carry your passport or official photo ID with you. 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.

Dealing with the police

Local police do not always have English language skills and you may need the services of a translator.


Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The dates vary by year and country.

You should:

  • check opening hours of shops and restaurants
  • be aware that if hotels and restaurants are providing food or drink in fasting hours, they may separate you from other guests
  • follow local dress codes – clothing that does not meet local dress codes may cause more offence at this time

Get more advice when you arrive from your tour guide, hotel or business contacts.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but LGBT+ communities continue to report incidents of discrimination and even violence. Showing affection in public is likely to be frowned upon and may receive unwelcome attention.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

Check that your travel and medical insurance cover you for any adventure activities and sports.


Diving off Mostar bridge is dangerous and has resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.


Take care when white-water rafting in rivers or close to waterfalls. Currents can be extremely strong.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Bosnia and Herzegovina, see information on driving abroad and check the rules of the road in the RAC’s Bosnia and Herzegovina guide. The guide lists driving regulations and other legal requirements you need to be aware of.

Your UK driving licence is valid as long as you’re driving your own vehicle or a car hired outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina. If you’re renting or using someone else’s vehicle within the country, you must also have the 1968 version of the international driving permit (IDP) with you in the car.

You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

Check if you need a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK

If you’re staying longer than 6 months, you will need to get a local driving licence. See living in Bosnia and Herzegovina for more details.

Contact the Bosnia and Herzegovina Embassy in the UK if you have questions about bringing a vehicle into the country. The British Embassy will not be able to help if you do not have the correct documentation.

If you are involved in an accident, stay at the scene and do not move your vehicle until the police arrive. Traffic police can impose on-the-spot fines for any traffic offence.

Border insurance

It’s illegal to drive without at least third-party insurance. The Border Police can request printed documents to show you have it.

Check your insurance is valid in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If it’s not, you can buy ‘border insurance’ at the crossings at:

  • Bijaca
  • Crveni Grm (south)
  • Izacici (west)
  • Kamensko
  • Karakaj and Raca (east)
  • Samac (north-east)
  • Zubci (south-east)
  • Doljan

Winter equipment requirements

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

Between November and April you must:

  • have tyres with an MS, M+S or M&S mark and a stylised symbol of a snowflake – the tread should be at least 4 millimetres deep
  • carry snow chains and use them when road signs tell you to


Official taxis in Sarajevo and the major towns are well-regulated and metered. Taxi drivers from the Republika Srpska might refuse to drive to a destination in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the same from the Federation to the Republika Srpska.

Do not use unlicensed taxis.

Air travel

Sarajevo (Butmir) International Airport is prone to fog, causing flights to be delayed or cancelled during the winter months, particularly in December and January. Many airlines will not arrange accommodation when delays are caused by bad weather. You may need to find and pay for somewhere to stay.

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards.


Wildfires are common in Herzegovina (the southern part of the country) during summer heat waves, mostly in inaccessible areas. Fires are normally kept under control, but if they get close to populated areas, road closures are possible.


Flash floods and landslides are a risk in all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina after heavy rain. Follow instructions from local officials and traffic police.


Earthquakes and small tremors are recorded throughout the year, usually without serious consequences. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 124 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including biting insects and ticks.

High levels of air pollution can happen across the country. See air quality guidance on TravelHealthPro.


Pharmacies may not recognise prescriptions issued in the UK. Take your prescription to a local doctor who can issue a prescription to use in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

Healthcare in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) do not cover Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ensure that you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation.

FCDO has a list of medical facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina where some staff will speak English.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ambulance: 124

Fire: 123

Police: 122

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Bosnia and Herzegovina and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Sarajevo.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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