Posts in Bosnia and Herzegovina

My Top 7 Hostel Experiences As A Nomad In Europe

Would you go for money or experiences when booking accommodation for your next Europe trip? Think twice – you can have it all here! Take a glance at some of the most unique, quality and affordable hostels in Europe below. After 7 months of nomading throughout the continent as a solo female,  here are my top 7 hostel experiences for low-budget travelers who can now be thrilled to spend approximately 5 to 10 EUR per night in one of these selected places during low season.

Celica Art Hostel (Ljubljana, Slovenia) – No.1 hippest hostel in the world 

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Located not very far away from the historic centre of Ljubljana, in the city of Metelkova, the ex-prison Hostel Celica was rated by lonely planet as the No.1 hippest hostel in the world. Experience the night behind bars from 20 former prison cells. These are some of the most fantastic artworks in town, designed by 80 local an international artists who renovated the previously abandoned building and transformed it into a social centre for travelers nowadays. Celica is located in the underground hippy city of Metelkova – an alternative culture community with plenty of art gallery, artists studios, LGBT spaces, cultural organizations and clubs featuring different types of alternative music. Celica has a space for art exhibition and some thrilling underground areas, both of which I could entered for free.

Read more about Celica Art Hostel here.

Franz Ferdinand (Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina) – Yugoslavia history and art in one place

 

-5While strolling around the capital city of Bosnia & Herzegovina that survived the war 50 years ago and is now growing drastically as a top destination in the Balkans area, one must consider spending a night at Franz Ferdinand. This first and only boutique hostel of Sarajevo is known for its interior designed by young  architects who transformed the Austro-Hungarian building into story-telling spaces. Nowadays, you can enjoy versatile art concepts through massive artworks on the walls that embed aspiring history of the country during the 1st World War.

Charlie Rockets Hostel (Bruges, Belgium) – bustling bar found in a classic movie theatre

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In what used to be the biggest movie theatre in Bruges, Charlie Rockets Hostel is now one of the most trendy cafes and hostels with a very unique interior design that differs itself from other cafes and bars. The walls are wrapped artistically with newspapers, a massive chandelier along with various Christmas decorations are hung from the ceiling in the main lounge. This creates a colourful, yet medieval atmosphere for the hostel. Charlie Rocket has an indoor bar, a pool room with five tables and lively on-going atmosphere.

Read more about Charlie Rockets here.

United Hostel Frankfurt (Germany) – impressive art and lightning

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One of the most impressive things about United Hostel Frankfurt is their versatile collection of artworks, all of which were bought by the owner from a French artist, displayed throughout the whole building. Dont be surprised to find an Old English Theatre on the ground floor of United Hostel Frankfurt, just by the corner. Yes you have not read it wrong! This stunning theatre with a dazzling LED lightning system can hold up to over 100 people, hosting a wide range of events such as movie nights, live bands’ performances and discotheques.

Read more about United Hostel Frankfurt here.

Old Town Kotor (Kotor, Montenegro)

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The most impressive, eye-catching feature about the Old Town Kotor is its interior design. From the moment you walk in, you will be immediately attracted to the stone walls, vintage looking furniture, antiques and typical classic artworks of Montenegro. Experience spending a night within old walls of Montenegro, enjoy delicious dinner and breakfast served only at 4 EUR in total, and the vibrant atmosphere of both premises ran by Old Town Kotor.

Read more about Old Town Kotor Hostel here.

We-Bologna (Bologna, Italy) – a stunning modern hostel and residence

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Built based on the concept of bringing guests and students to live together, We-Bologna is one of the newest accommodations in town. Is is run as both a hostel and a dormitory. The student-friendly environment is one of the things I liked the most about We-Bologna. With 250 beds located in a highly modern premise, We-Bologna did not cease to amaze me with its mini cinema room on the ground floor, a contemporary style study room, and the open-air green surroundings.

Read more about We-Bologna here.

Urban Garden Hostel (Lisbon, Portugal) – my favourite of all

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Among all of these unique experiences, my favourite of all was the night spent at Urban Garden Hostel in Lisbon. After leaving my couchsurfing host due to an unexpected incident, I changed my accommodation to the nearest hostel where I was warmly welcome with a free beer. And every guests can get a free check-in beer, yay for that! They serve free breakfast with pancake (not those typical boring cereals packages and bread with jam), and decent vegetarian dinner offered at only 3 EUR. Keep in mind that though Portugal is the place to be for foodies, it is not easy to find vegetarian dishes around!

Read more about Urban Garden Hostel here.

Source: Trip101

Debunk The Myths About Bosnia & Herzegovina

Bosnia & Herzegovina together with its capital are still off-road destinations for most of the travelers to Europe. It’s a country of around 3.8 million people while during the last war over 1 million of people had to find their home in other countries and the same number of people were internally displaced. In this post, Emina – a local travel guru will guide you through the country while busting the myths of this undiscovered must-see in the Balkans region. 

Is there still war?

image05If you ask this to some of the locals, if they don’t punch you in the face, probably you are good friends with them. The most common myth existing about this country in the South East of the Old Continent is that there is still an armed conflict going on or that it’s hard or expensive to reach. War ended over 20 years ago and although people were back to their everyday lives, this very event marked the modern history of the country, leaving it in a difficult economic state, corruption in public institutions and high unemployment rate. However, if you meet anyone who has ever been to Bosnia and Herzegovina, they will most likely tell you about the exquisite food, cheerful people ready to share a good laugh at any time and an interesting influences in architecture.

Bosnia and Herzegovina also isn’t 2 countries

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Bosnia is an inland part of the country, with often snowy mountains and the region where the capital is located. Predominantly mountain areas and great climate made it an ideal place for 1984 Winter Olympic Games. Herzegovina, on the other hand, is an area more on the south with Mediterranean climate. There, you might come across palm trees, lemons and take a dip in the sea. It’s not unusual for barometer to hit +40 in summer months. However, people use only “Bosnia” because it’s shorter and therefore more convenient. Most of the tourists are left wondering how different places of worship such as churches, mosques and synagogues and people praying in them, were living side by side for centuries, sharing the same culture and language.

Getting around by bus

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If you got used to having extremely cheap bus or train tickets in the rest of Europe, in Bosnia it’s not exactly that way, at least according to the local standard. Ticket fees are fixed but luckily for most of the bus lines, you can check and buy tickets online and they are more convenient to travel by than trains. Centrotrans is supposed to bring you to pretty much any destination within the country. If you decide to travel to neighbouring Croatia, Serbia or Montenegro, there are also options available. To Montenegro you can, so far, travel only by bus whereas to Serbia and Croatia you can choose among bus, train, taxi van or plane from Sarajevo International Airport. From the same airport you can fly also to Slovenia, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Sweden, Norway, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, and seasonally to some other destinations.

The historical significance and beauty of Mostar

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Have you ever seen a picture of that tall stone bridge over an emerald green river that left you breathless? It was probably one in Mostar, a city 2 hours away from capital where you can find cheerful people, great food and wines and a lot of sun. The Old Bridge (originally called Stari Most) is under UNESCO protection and it definitely is in top 3 things to see in South Eastern Europe. Although it resisted to many external factors since it was built in 16th century, this bridge was entirely destroyed in war in 1993. It was re-built and solemnly opened in 2004.

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Not so far away from Mostar, on the way to Neum, a coastal city, you should visit Blagaj. Apart from its old town, located on the high cliff, the most important landmark is so-called “tekija” which is essentially a Dervish house/monastery. If you go to house’s balcony, you’ll be able to see the well of Buna river hidden in the deep and dark but beautiful cave. Do enter the house itself and visit its rooms and hallways. They will bring you back to some other era and wake up some mystical feelings in you.

Food culture in Sarajevo

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Just about anyone in this country will tell you they like food and good drinks. As someone who really likes to eat, I have to say Sarajevo is one of those cities with strong food culture. You’ll notice there are no popular fast-food or beverage chains here, such as Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks. Surprisingly, I’d say this city doesn’t really need them. You can find a wide array of homemade food in the very center of the city, ranging from meaty dishes to iconic cheese/spinach pastries and delicious vegetable soups.

If you’re a passionate meat-eater, you’ll appreciate a visit to Željo – a traditional fast-food restaurant where you can find ćevapi, probably the most famous food in this country. In case you like vegetarian food, unfortunately, choices are a bit more limited but I’ve heard it’s getting a bit better. Place I would recommend are Klopa and Superfood. They both have a diverse menu, Klopa is a non-smoking restaurant (many aren’t) and they’re both very affordable. Ćevapi (photo above) is probably the most popular dish from Bosnia & Herzegovina. They’re essentially grilled minced meat rolls stuffed in pita bread and served with milk cream (also known as kajmak). If you’re not vegetarian, enjoy this every single day.

You’ll want to grab a nice coffee and dessert too. There are some places you have to visit! Although you’ll have to go a bit out of the city center, Mrvica cafe bakery will make you literally drool when you see their desserts. And, a place where you MUST go for a coffee or a tea is called Zlatna Ribica. I promise you, you still haven’t seen a place like that. Why? You will have to go and see.

Other must-see but less touristy places

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Going up from the capital area, following the flow of Bosna river (no, it’s not misspelled) you’ll come across many interesting places. Definitely one of them is Travnik. This is a mid-sized city (according to Bosnian standards) and its center point is the Old Town located on the hills. Besides offering a medieval feel and a taste of some old times, it will also give you an excellent view of the whole city.

Continuing on the same road, you will arrive to Jajce. This city has one of the world’s biggest waterfalls in its city center. Even more interestingly one river makes a waterfall but water falls into the other river, flowing just beneath and continues further as that river. Quite unique, right?

Bihać, a city you also probably heard of if you’ve ever shown interest in traveling to this country, has one of world’s cleanest rivers Una. You can have a lunch or coffee break somewhere on the river bank and enjoy the nature to the fullest in this small city, just next to the border with Croatia.

Pro-tips from a local expert

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I will tell you something that rarely any tourist site will. Reserve 2 extra days in Bosnia and visit Prokoško lake. It’s a lake in central Bosnia, located on the Vranica mountain. Not only will it be unbelievable for you that this place actually exists but you’ll also enjoy peace, fresh air and homemade food. Your experience will be unbeatable once you spend a night in an old Bosnian house, or in a tent under a starry sky- as you wish.

The source of inspiration

The whole Bosnia and Herzegovina is definitely worth visiting, especially in the summer when everything is more lively and you can even take a day-long hike to some of the thousand hills. Once you come and visit, you will understand why so many poets, musicians and artists in general, found an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Although torn apart, wounded and destroyed for so many times in the past, this country still has a seductive charm of a grown man and heart and energy of a girl. And once you visit, you’ll always be coming back.