Yes. You can travel to Bosnia with full peace of mind because visiting this country is safe. However, the scars of war are still visible, so you will have to keep that in mind as you move around.
There is some crime, but it usually doesn’t affect tourists. The primary concern most visitors have when coming to Bosnia and Herzegovina is the war.
From 1992–1995, Bosnia was engulfed in a bloody war after it voted for independence from what remained of Yugoslavia. The capital city of Sarajevo was under siege for four years.
In many other towns, Bosnian Serb extremists killed and forcibly expelled Bosniak Muslims in a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing. Perhaps the most brutal incident was in Srebrenica, a UN safe haven that fell to the Bosnian Serb army, which then massacred over 8,000 men and boys.
The war may have ended almost 30 years ago, but its legacies are still very visible. It’s estimated that about 100,000 people were killed during the war, and millions were displaced.
The country is under a fragile peace and still very ethnically divided — it has two semi-autonomous entities divided by ethnicity and three presidents, one from each major ethnic group.
The war and ethnic divisions are still a sore subject for many, so don’t bring it up with your new Bosnian acquaintances unless they start the conversation first. The biggest legacy of the war that might concern visitors to Bosnia is the high prevalence of unexploded landmines.
According to statistics shared by the Irish government, an estimated 2% of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territory is still covered with landmines and unexploded ordinances.
They are primarily located in rural areas, not big cities such as Sarajevo and Mostar. The mapped-out minefields are marked with red signs bearing a white skull and crossbones. However, there are many unlocated landmines, so never wander off of marked paths when exploring the Bosnian countryside.
The landmines are the primary reason most countries tell their citizens to exercise increased caution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For example, the United States State Department put Bosnia under its Level Two travel advisory, citing landmines as well as the threat of terrorism.
Landmines are definitely a threat in Bosnia, but terrorism is not, although the United States and other foreign governments cite terrorism as a potential risk.
The risk is no greater here than in the rest of Europe and, in fact, might be lower — one of the most recent reported attacks was all the way back in 2015. The few attacks that have occurred were targeted firearm attacks on government officials and buildings, not directed at civilians.
Some of the fear of terrorism in Bosnia probably has to do with stereotypes about Muslim countries, but radical Islamic terrorism is barely present in the country. There is some crime in Bosnia, which other countries warn about in their travel advisories.
Common crimes include:
- Vehicle break-ins
- However, there are few violent crimes affecting tourists. The Bosnia of the present is a very safe place to visit.