Updated: 12th March 2019
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Underrated and thus relatively undisturbed, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a treasure trove for adrenaline junkies seeking adventure activities in The Balkans. Right now, with still a pretty much under the radar status beyond Mostar, that means epic hikes into crowd free wilderness and white water rafting with friendly price tags.
Sure, the Albanian Riviera is touted as the next big beach destination, and Kotor in Montenegro seems on the path to becoming the next Dubrovnik, yet Bosnia and Herzegovina so far seems to have avoided most of the spotlight. Trust me when I say though, it won’t be long until all of this countries best bits are discovered. I’ve made no secret that BiH is one of my favourite countries in the world, and I really hope you’ll make the visit to discover why.
Ten adventure activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Don’t get me wrong, there are many reasons to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina beyond the unspoilt nature, but if you’re an addict for adrenaline or craving fresh mountain air with a touch of history and culture thrown in, then perhaps this Balkan nation should be your next adventure holiday. Here’s what to expect.
1. White water rafting on crystal clear waters
What better place to start your Bosnia and Herzegovina adventure than in my favourite small town of The Balkans; Konjic.
Lining the banks of Konjic are a handful of guest houses and a couple of beautiful Mosques, but just moments away along the Neretva river you’ll find raging white water rapids that then relax into tranquil waters, so clear you can see the bottom and so clean, I’d say it’s drinkable.
Visit Konjic have fast become one of the premier adventure activity suppliers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I highly recommend the half day rafting with a BBQ lunch on route. You’ll enjoy a mix of adrenaline and relaxation and the views on the way down the river back to Konjic are seriously dreamy as these photos prove!
2. Skiing without breaking the bank
Bosnia and Herzegovina is, in my opinion, an ideal Ski destination for numerous reasons.
One, the nearest ski resort to Sarajevo, is just over 40 minutes drive away, and secondly, the cost is a lot more palatable here than the likes of central Europe. This makes it appealing for both those who want to hit the slopes and those that just want a snowy mountain air getaway.
The two largest resorts in the county are Jahorina and Bjelasnica, hitting a peak altitude of around 2000 metres.
3. Mountain hiking and ethnic villages
The mountains throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina are stunning, and I found them to be surprisingly devoid of hikers even in the summer.
Sticking to the semi-beaten path is the best idea here though, as landmines are still being discovered in parts of the country, a tragic reminder of the nations relatively recent past. If you want to really work your boots out, hire a local guide to enjoy the best roots.
Again, I went with Visit Konjic along the route through Lukomir, one of the last remaining ethnic villages in the country. Not far from Sarajevo, the simple stones houses and farming way of life in the mountains offers an insight into a more traditional way of life.
4. Cycling across borders and ancient train lines
The CIRO cycling route is an impressive project, and I’m seriously surprised it hasn’t had more coverage in European news.
The old Austria-Hungarian railway, which ran through the country is long gone, but the route it followed now links Mostar with Dubrovnik in neighbouring Croatia. If you don’t want to pedal across the two borders, you should aim to do at least part of the route which takes you past hidden gems and stunning countryside.
My personal favourite part of the route runs through Zavala. You can likely count the population here on one hand, but the old train station has been converted into a boutique B&B and between the monastery on the hill, incredible star gazing, local wine and the Vjetrenica caves, it makes for a great overnight cycle stop.
5. Exploring caves with unique biology
Located in Zavala, the Vjetrenica caves are a must visit if you find yourself travelling nearby.
The Vjetrencia caves are the largest in the country, stretching over 7000-metres into the rock face, but with only around 2000-metres open to the public. The formations of these caves have a few important qualities. Firstly, the chimney like holes throughout the caves creates a micro-ecosystem and constant breeze and wind, while unique wildlife, such as the ‘human fish’ with four legs lives in the caves waters.
6. Canyoning lesser explored lands
During the summer months, the Rakitnica river plays host to groups of adventure lovers who want to head Canyoning into its rocky waters.
Heading off from the village of Kašići, you can float along the angry waves through tiny rocky gaps and canyons. Professional gear and guides are a must here.
The deep rocky gorges, with green mossy sides, makes for an epic setting and while the water is reasonably cold all year round, a wet suit and sense of adrenaline will keep the chills away.
7. Crazy bridge jumping in the name of tradition
The famed Stari Most, the old bridge in Mostar which has been reconstructed, plays host to a pretty unique tradition.
For hundreds of years, young men have taken the nearly 25-metre leap from the top of the bridge, with the intention of impressing girls. Nowadays that tradition has subsided, and you’ll more often see people taking the jump for money, with hat collections taking place before locals plunge into the water below.
For those who are brave enough, you can take on this (dangerous) Mostar bridge jump yourself. The Mostar Diving Club can provide assistance and training before the jump, given some people cause serious injury, and deaths have been reported, doing this under local supervision is obviously recommended. While it will be over in moments, it’s a pretty cool adrenaline rush and story to remember your trip to Mostar by.
8. Mountain Biking epic landscapes
Taking it a level up from the more casual CIRO cycling route, those who want a bit of an adventure challenge can explore the mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina on more heavy hitting bikes.
There are plenty of places to head Mount Biking, popular locations include Bitovinja and Zlatar, although the route around Bjelašnica and the village of Lukomir I mentioned above is perhaps one of the most scenic in the country and also blends in that cultural and historical touch.
9. Tubing, boating and jet skiing
With so many incredible lakes, rivers and waterfalls in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you can tailor your adventure activities to suit your level of chill or thrill.
Kravica Waterfall provides a relaxing setting to lounge around in the water, while Scit lake, with its monastery in the middle, its a stunning spot to hire one of the few local Jet Skis.
Seriously, road-tripping this country will take you through many unbelievably coloured water spots, so although the coastline of Neum is tiny in Bosnia and Herzegovina, water adventures are most certainly in!
10 Skydiving at Banja Luka
If you fancy taking to the skies and getting an aerial view of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are a few places you can do this.
One of the most popular is Banja Luka skydiving club, and given the spectacular countryside you’ll be high above, it is not surprising.
The club has been around for decades and was where the first Skydive in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place. Your jump will provide a birds-eye view of the lush green countryside and multi-coloured hues of greens and blues from the many lakes throughout the mountains.
Bonus: Continue the canyon road trip to Montenegro
If you are road tripping through the Balkans, I highly recommend continuing your journey to Montenegro, especially the stunning north of the country.
Shortly across the border is Pluzine, and the route linking the two countries takes in some stunning rafting locations including the impressive Tara Canyon. To find out more about exploring Montenegro, read my Montenegro Road Trip guide.