Bosnia and Herzegovina

Practical & Modest Outfits for Bosnia and Herzegovina

The great thing about Bosnia and Herzegovina is that I didn't feel out of place with my modest wear. Lots of local Muslim females were dressed similar to me, which meant that everyone is used to it. It felt great. It's good to be accepted like that. Here are some of the outfits I wore there during early Fall in September. It was surprisingly warm! Hope they give you some ideas for your next trip!  

Modest Fashion Idea

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Modest Fashion Idea for Travelling

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Swimming Modest Fashion Idea

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Modest Fashion Look Idea

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Croatia and Bosnia Trip itinerary  

Fall 2016 was the first time for me to go to Eastern Europe and I am very happy I did. I have been speaking about my trip to Croatia and Bosnia for MONTHS! I recommend these two amazing countries to everyone I see. I originally only wanted to do one or the other, but going to both happened because of my Saudi visa requirements. I had to visit a country in the Schengen area (Croatia) to be allowed entry to Bosnia.

Croatia and Bosnia Trip Route: 

Zagreb (1 night) > Plitvice Lakes (1 night) > Split (few hours) > Dubrovnik (three nights) > Mostar (three nights) > Sarajevo (two nights)

Croatia and Bosnia Trip itinerary  

I started with a direct flight from London to Zagreb the capital, which was fabulous. I only stayed there a night. I took the first bus from there to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. I spent the day at the park and then spent the night at one of the parks hotels. In the morning I headed to Split where I stopped to spend few hours before heading to Dubrovnik. I spent three nights in the very touristy but pretty old town of Dubrovnik.

old town of  Dubrovnik.

old town of Dubrovnik.

After spending three nights in Dubrovnik, we got the bus to Mostar.

It was around three hours. It was a very rainy day and the bus was so crowded and even leaked a little. I stayed at Isa's family run Pension .

and really loved it. Such kind and hospitable people. It was a great location because it was ten minutes from the beautiful old town, but also five minutes from where the locals hangout. I wouldn't recommend eating in the old town because it's slightly over priced. I really enjoyed the food in Mostar. The first day in Mostar was dedicated to the old town tour, market and food. The second day, we arranged a trip with our host family to see three spots outside Mostar. You can just to the old town and find day trips from the tourist information desks. We wanted to take the train from Mostar to Sarajevo for the stunning views, but the train was in repairs, so we got the bus instead. The three days we spent in Sarajevo passed so quickly and I got to meet some Bosnian friends from Instagram and go on the free walking tour. There are so many things to do and see. Here are 15 things to do in Sarajevo

Mostar 

Mostar 

Tips for Muslim Travellers in Croatia and Bosnia: 

Hijab: I didn't get any problems travelling with my hijab in Croatia even when I was solo. People were very nice and helpful with me. In Bosnia, no one even glanced at me since it's a semi Muslim country and I was dressed like many locals.

Hijab in Croatia

Halal food in Croatia: there is only one halal restaurant in Dubrovnik and all the halal food was sold out by the time we arrived. There are so many vegetarian options though.

Halal food in Bosnia: Every restaurant I went to served halal meat. I trusted the owners confirmations. 

Mosques in Croatia: I didn't actively look for mosques in the spots I visited Croatia. My friend found one in Dubrovnik. It was within the walls of the old town. It was tucked away with a little mosque sign. I loved how it fitted with all the other buildings. It was convenient having it because we just got to pray there during the day.

Mosques in Croatia

Mosques were scattered around Mostar and Bosnia. Friday prayer for women in Bosnia: My friend and I thought it would be a nice idea to join the Friday prayer in the mosque in the old town in Sarajevo, but since it's very busy on Friday, men occupy the whole mosque space. They even extend to the court yard. I spent a lot of time on buses, but it was still fun. I managed to take early buses and just slept there.

mosques in sarajevo

mosques in sarajevo

Note: I booked all my buses from London and printed my tickets. Make sure you have 1 euro with you for every bag that's going in the bus luggage storage. 

PS. I did Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes and Split solo. Then I joined my friend in Dubrovnik and we carried on to Mostar and Sarajevo together. 


More posts from Croatia: 

More Posts from Bosnia:

Eight Reasons to Visit Mostar

Mostar was a beautiful and an unexpected surprise.

I booked my bus online on Get By Bus from Dubrovnik to Mostar (East) on the Globtour bus. The trip was just a little over three hours.

Tip: Make sure you are there by the bus stop on time or even before time because the bus gets busy sometimes and if the seats have been taken you will just have to stand or wait for another bus. Also have some change with (1-2 euros) for your luggage.

When we arrived to the Bosnian boarders, the police came in to check the passports. The policeman took my passport and a few others with him for a check outside. I felt so unsettled when the bus moved without my passport getting back to me, but it turns out the policeman gave it to the driver and took few minutes till I got it. The very heavy rain outside made the bus leak on my head so that wasn't too cool, but other than that the trip was smooth. 

I think everyone should at least stay two days in Mostar. I really wanted to stay longer, but my time was limited. Here are some reasons to inspire you to visit. 

Eight Reasons to Visit Mostar

Reason 1. The old Bridge

I know this is the most obvious thing, but it is seriously stunning and feels like a view from a fairytale. It was first built in the 16th in the Ottoman period. It survived the second world war, but it was destroyed in 1993. I am so proud that the city managed to rebuild its old centre and the bridge after the war.

Photo Tip for Mostar: Go up to the mosque's minaret for a beautiful bridge photo and a 360 of Mostar. 
Old Bridge Mostar Stari Most

Reason 2. The stunning views

As we walked around Mostar we enjoyed the nature, architecture and the turquious river. 

The view of Mostar

Reason 3. Shopping in the old town centre  

This might be the most tourist thing to do in Mostar and the first thing most people do, but it gets really quiet after the day-trippers leave. 

The shop keepers and the touring offices are not pushy and they let everyone wander around without pressure or any comments. They are very helpful when I asked them for directions.

Shopping

Reason 4. The Islamic Heritage

The Ottoman influence is still present especially inside the mosque and it's good to see it up close. I liked the colour combinations there.

Islamic Heritage in Mostar

Reason 5. The Delicious Fresh FOOD!

The first thing my friend and I did when we got to Mostar was EAT! The food was delicious and halal! (double plus!) Their baby kababs aka (civapis) were so fresh and just thinking about them now makes me hungry! I liked them much better in Mostar than Sarajevo

We had most meals at Ašćinica Saray because it was just next to the place we stayed in Pension Isa. We also had amazing Cevapis at Grill Centar. It was amazing! The flavour was spot on and the meat was cooked to perfection. It was served with onions and bread. I got salad and fries with it but the locals had yogurt. This place was truly where the locals ate and it wasn't that far from the old town. Basically the places in the old town -where there is grovel- are too pricey, but when you go the opposite directions prices drop to half.

Bosnian Food Civapi

Reason 6. Visiting the Darvish house (Blagaj)  

This is less than an hour drive from Mostar. There are groups in town that would take you for a day trip to all the spots around town. We were lucky and were taken by our host. We started with the dervish house.

Dress Code Tip for Blagaj: You have to dress decent to enter. Men have to wear pants and ladies have to cover their skin and hair (basic Islamic dress code). Don't worry if you aren't wearing that already because they have scarves and long wraps.

It's the burial of two popular darvishes that impacted the society in that area and helped the spread of Islam. It was a nice house and the river was so pretty.

Reason 7. Going up the fort

This one was a bit of climb to get up there, but the views were stunning! The stairs in the fort itself are super steep and some areas were really dark (in the middle of the day). So many gorgeous photo opportunities though. 

fort

Reason 8. Taking a dip in the lake under the waterfalls

The Kravica waterfalls were the most fun of the whole trip because there were three of us and everything was funnier and sillier. The water was freezing! But once you are fully immersed in the water your body gets used to it. I only swam for half a meter & I was too scared & cold to carry on.

Tips:  
- There is a little changing curtain.
- Be carful of the rocks under the water. 
- No halal food too eat there but there are overpriced fish options.
Kravica Waterfalls around Mostar

There are more things I haven't mentioned around Mostar. There are few museums and traditional houses to visit, but these were my favourite spots. 

15 Things to do in Sarajevo

I loved Sarajevo and I wish I stayed longer than three days. There is so much to see and do. Here are my top 15 things I did and loved in Sarajevo. 

1- Get the train or the bus to Sarajevo

I started my Bosnian adventure in Mostar and I really wanted to get the train from there to Sarajevo, but it was under construction, so I got the bus instead. It was ok because I still got to see the picturesque nature.   

View from the bus

2- Go on the free walking tour

I think going on the free tour (on tip bases) is the best way to see any city and get the main highlights. The tour lasted for two hours and we learnt so much about the city, culture and the painful war history. There were lots of laughs and fun still. The group was full of young travellers, so it's a good way to find travel buddies too.  

The tour is at 4:30pm everyday and run by Insider Tours. Their office is conveniently located in the corner in front of the Museum of Sarajevo 1878–1918

Around Sarajevo

3- Drink from the Sebilj Brunnen (Fountain)

The local legend says if you drink from the Sebilji (pronounced Sabeel (سبيل), Arabic for public fountain) you are destined to return to Sarajevo. I wouldn't recommend the touristy restaurants directly around it though. 

Sebilj Brunnen (Fountain)

4- Pray in the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque

This is the most popular mosque they have. It was built in the 16th century and it represents the Ottoman style. It is located in the old town 

Note: There aren't available spaces for women to pray on Fridays. 

Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque in Sarajevo

 5- Explore the Austro-Hungarian architecture

The Austro-Hungarian period came after the Ottomans and you can clearly see that in the motifs and the style. It is interesting to see the mix of styles in the city hall. The city hall was rebuilt and reopened in May 2014. 

"On 25 August 1992, Serbian shelling during the Siege of Sarajevo caused the complete destruction of the library; among the losses were about 700 manuscripts and incunabula and a unique collection of Bosnian serial publications, some from the middle of the 19th century Bosnian cultural revival. Before the attack, the library held 1.5 million volumes and over 155,000 rare books and manuscripts. Some citizens and librarians tried to save some books while they were under sniper fire, at least one person died. The majority of the books could not be saved from the flames."

Read more about the rebuilding stages here. 

 

Austro-Hungarian Architecture

6- Visit the heartbreaking Gallery 11/07/95.

I don't think I ever cried that much in a gallery before. It was just really heartbreaking and implacably done. If you want to just do one related war activity I would highly recommend this one. I even bought the printed book of it. 

 

Gallery 11/07/95

7. Spin & Go

The great thing about Sarajevo is the culture mix it houses. This is a sign to represent that. If you stand there you can see the Muslim, Christian and Jewish heritage. I really hope they stay in peace and harmoney. 

8. Walk through the War Memorial and Cemetery Kovaci

The soldiers of Sarajevo and the late president Aljia are buried there.

War Memorial and Cemetery Kovaci in Sarajevo

9. Hike up to the yellow fortress

You can get to the yellow fortress by going through Cemetery Kovaci. The hike is only 20 minutes. You can see the city from there.  There is a really cute cafe just 50 meters from there called Cafe Kamarija. It's a nice way to relax with a drink and the beautiful view. The decor is done in the old style of Sarajevo. I love the glass walls with the nature around it. I wish we have a cafe like this in London.

View from the yellow fortress sarajevo

10. Make friends

I loved unplanned surprises. When I arrived to Sarajevo I got the sweetest message from Bedrijaa on Instagram. She offered to take me around and I am so happy that I said yes! How crazy is it that I have an insta follower from Bosnia? Another lovely lady also approached me, but sadly timing and wifi didn't work.

If you get the opportunity to make friends then go for it (PS. use your common sense and be careful who you say yes to). 

Making friends in Bosnia

11. Get on the tram and explore the rest of Sarajevo

The tram between the city centre and the old city is easy and quick. It was five stops from the sbijl. It wasn't bad and the driver was helpful. It's not that far to walk, but why not try this anyway. 

public transports in Sarajevo

12. Go up the Avaz Twist Tower

The elevator goes pretty quickly to the top and it's part of the fun. You can get a nice view of the whole city. The bars ruin the photo though if you want to take one of you with the view, but photos of the view itself through the bars are really good.

You can go down to caffè 35 on the 35th floor. The cafe has so much potential, but everyone there was smoking and there was no ventilation so it was difficult to breath. 

View from Avaz Twist Tower

13.  Check the Sarajevo Memorial for Children

This is a memorial for the children who were killed during the siege of Sarajevo. The names of all the children that were lost is written there. This sculpture represents the mother and her shielding her child. 

Sarajevo Memorial for Children Killed during Siege

14. Vječna Vatra (Eternal Flame)

This memorial is for those who liberated Sarajevo during World War II. 

"This simple yet beautiful monument is the work of architect, Juraj Neidhardt. It was installed at the front of one building in the heart of Sarajevo’s walking zone, at the junction of Mula Mustafa Bašeskije, Titova and Ferhadija Streets." source

Vječna Vatra (Eternal Flame)

15. Explore the many cafes around the city

I really loved the Franz Sophie teahouse. The owner was a medical doctor, but his love for tea made him start this teahouse. There are so many delicious tea options and adorable tea accessories

Try their house blend: Sarajevo tea. 

franz-sophie tea house in Sarajevo