bosnia and herzegovina opening borders

Bosnia and Herzegovina Reopening for Tourism – All You Need To Know

Disclaimer: Travel rules and official government instructions are changing rapidly during the pandemic times and this article might NOT be up to date within a matter of hours. Therefore, you should always double-check the information with local authorities or your embassy in a given destination. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel during pandemic.

Located on the Balkan Peninsula, Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to medieval villages, historic landmarks, and beautiful Alpine countryside.

Here visitors can find relics from both the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, melding the cultures of both East and West.

In recent years, tourism to this once war-torn country has grown. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has put a damper on this.

Check out full list of countries reopening their borders after Covid.

The impact of the Coronavirus on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina have seen 14,498 cases of Covid-19 according to the latest records and 425 deaths.

Because the number of cases seemed to be stabilizing, on June 1st the government re-opened the borders to the neighboring countries of Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro.

Unfortunately, the number of cases seemed to increase again after that.

Nevertheless, the government has further re-opened the country to travelers from other European countries as of July 16th. They believe non-compliance with safety measures caused an increase in cases.

Therefore, they have cracked down on those who refuse to wear masks. Hefty penalties have now been imposed.

The lockdown has had a major impact on trade and manufacturing as well as tourism. In 2019 there were over 1.5 million tourists.

Their disappearance due to the lockdown has impacted the 50,000 Bosnians who work in the tourist sector along with those in supporting industries.

Bosnia and Herzegovina officially opened for tourists on July 16th

Bosnia and Herzegovina have been allowing visitors from a limited group of nations since July 16th. These include Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia as well as European Union members and Schengen nations.

While the US is not on the list, the Border police have been authorized to allow travelers with a multiple-entry Schengen visa to enter the country as long as some requirements are met.

These are that the person has spent at least 2 weeks in an EU/Schengen country and has had a negative Covid-19 test. Therefore, Americans can now travel to Bosnia Herzegovina if they can prove they have met these preconditions.

Requirements for Entry

International tourists may fly into the Sarajevo airport from the following cities: Vienna, Budapest, Cologne, Stuttgart, Belgrade, Zagreb, Istanbul, Kuwait City, and Dubai.

As mentioned above, all tourists must either be residents from a neighboring country (Croatia, Montenegro or Serbia) or from a European Union or Schengen nation. Exceptions are for those who have been traveling in Europe for at least 2 weeks on a multiple-entry Schengen visa.

Additionally, all people entering the country must have taken and passed a Covid-19 test within 48 hours prior to arrival. (Croatian citizens and those returning home to Bosnia and Herzegovina do not have to meet this requirement.)

They must wear a mask and are required to have travel health insurance that will cover the cost of any care they need due to Covid-19. They must also submit to a temperature screening upon entering the airport.

Tourists are only allowed in the country for a maximum of 90 days.

Safety Standards for Tourists

In order to keep both the populace and visitors safe, the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has instituted social distancing requirements.

This means that while hotels, restaurants, bars and other businesses that cater to tourists will be open, they will have more limited hours and capacity.

All businesses have been asked to follow enhanced safety procedures.
Everyone must wear masks when out in public.

Additionally, people are asked to maintain social distance and to wash their hands frequently. Tourists are asked to be patient as social distancing requirements may add delays in certain venues.

Top Reasons to Visit Bosnia and Herzegovina

Many Catholic pilgrims come from all over the world to visit Medjugorje where, 39 years ago, a group of teenagers claimed to see the Virgin Mary. There are also many beautiful old cathedrals throughout the country, as well as mosques.

To better appreciate the wonderful architecture, you can take a free walking tour in Sarajevo and Mostar. Local guides will provide historical and cultural context to the main sights and will share their experiences of the war that once ravaged the country.

There are also medieval villages with cobblestone streets and many other historical sites to explore.

The landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina is gorgeous and attracts hikers and nature lovers. Mountains rise above gleaming sapphire rivers and panoramic waterfalls. The landscape provides opportunities not just for hiking but also for climbing, rafting, paragliding, and mountain biking.

The bazaars are great fun to visit. Hand-hammered copper vessels and delicate hand-made lace can be found here as well as luxurious fabrics, rugs, and jewelry. The prices are surprisingly cheap for the level of craftsmanship.

Eating out here is also a bargain. You can get a delicious meal for about $5 and you’ll know the ingredients are all fresh and locally sourced. After your meal, you’ll be able to delight in a local tradition by having a cup of Bosnian coffee. Similar to Turkish coffee, it is served with sugar cubes.

Conclusion

Bosnia and Herzegovina is well worth a visit if you love nature, history, shopping, good food, and coffee. It’s a beautiful country full of friendly people.

Here you will find a culture where East truly meets West, as there will be both mosques and cathedrals in the cities.

Whether you choose to hike through the countryside or tour the architectural wonders of the cities, you’ll be surprised at how little a wonderful vacation here will cost.