Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country with huge potential for growth in ecotourism, with the European nation having continued its recovery from the strife of the war torn 1990s in the region.
This new industry has been created around the country’s beautiful capital city, Sarajevo, which is one of few European capitals that remain relatively undiscovered by mass tourism.
Located in a country that still enjoys almost 50% forest coverage, Sarajevo is a hidden jewel for tourists willing to explore such a young nation, whilst Bosnia beyond the walls of its main city is also one of Europe’s undiscovered ecological delights.
When one thinks of Winter sports in Europe their mind will almost certainly be drawn to the Alps – but alpine adventures are also on offer just outside the city of Sarajevo. The mountains of Jahorina and Bjelasnica hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984 and, whilst much of the complex was destroyed during the Balkan War, it is now close to being rebuilt and offers both a top class and relatively underpopulated option for skiing. Traversing the mountains also offers stunning views of the city of Sarajevo below, making the trip worthwhile even without pulling on your blades.
Visit Sarajevo’s Old Town
As with most major European cities, Sarajevo has a fascinating old town that hides many of the city’s cultural and historical treasures. Perhaps the biggest attraction in this area of Sarajevo is the Latin Bridge, which has a significant place in history as the scene of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, the event that trigged World War I.
Sutjeska National Park
Located to the south of Sarajevo, Sutjeska National Park is one of the oldest in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a sprawling mass of green set over some 17,500 hectares. A mountainous nation, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s highest peak, Maglić, is located within the park – but there is far more than high peaks to Sutjeska. A stunning ribbon of blue, in the form of the Sutjeska River, carves the park into two – and it is a wonderful landscape for the intrepid explorer to tread.
Reflecting Bosnia and Herzegovina’s status as a young nation, Sutjeska does not yet boast the levels of organisation that one might ordinarily expect, but this makes it one of southern Europe’s genuine ecological delights. Whilst there is a park hotel located in Tjentište, as well as restaurants and mountain huts, this hasn’t diminished from visitors’ opportunities to catch a glimpse of wild goats, bears and wolves.
In the last decade Sarajevo has grown as a cultural hub for the region, with major film and music festivals now held annually in the city. Established in 1995, just after the Balkan War, the Sarajevo Film Festival was established and has flourished as one of the premier cultural festivals of the Balkan region.
In terms of wider culture, the annual Baščaršija Nights festival draws together performances from diverse strands of the nation’s culture and has established itself as the biggest event of its kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Location – Central Bosnia, west of the border with Serbia
Area – 141.5 square kilometres
Population – 369,534
Currency – Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark
Time Zone – Central European Time (GMT +1)
Photos: [all via Bigstockphoto.com].