Is it safe to drive inland through Bosnia???

My husband and I are touring Slovenia and Croatia the last 2 weeks of May 2013. We will spend one night in Mostar, Bosnia and then will need to drive back to Zagreb. Driving inland through Bosnia is about 6 hours according to viamichelin.com....but is it safe??? It woudl be much longer to go back through Croatia. Safe inland through Bosnia??? Many thanks!!!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Liz, You may wish to have a look at this information from the U.S. State Department: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1070.html#traffic_safety Another website with good information is the U.K. government site: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/europe/bosnia-herzegovina One section to note is this: "Although roads themselves may be clear on major routes, there are many landmines close to the edge of roads. Don't stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide." Note that an International Driver's Permit is compulsory for driving in Bosnia. Happy travels!

Posted by Liz
Tarpon Springs, FL, USA
8 posts

land mines...WOW!! 37mph mostly....50 mph at most!!! WOW!! We drove around the main island of Fiju in 2011 and the speed limit was very low, but land mines close to the edge of the road... I just don't know about that!!! thanks so much for your info!!! We'll have to talk about this! Liz

Posted by Matthew
Kihei, HI, United States
112 posts

Most areas near major thoroughfare roads that Liz would be driving through are cleared or marked. In a a several day pass through the country I saw only one small minefield that was clearly marked and delineated. Is the threat zero? No. But if you act like a normal person - stay on a road and stay in a town - the threat is pretty much zero. It's not hard to do. Fun fact - Croatia has as many mines as Bosnia does (although slightly less per square mile), so if you are not worried going there - which you shouldn't be - you shouldn't worry about Bosnia either. As far as the speed limit it is slow because it is a mountainous country. You should drive the route you want - you will have a good time in Bosnia, you will have no problems, and you will get to see a part of Europe many people don't. Also, people there seem sincerely friendly to tourists in a way they aren't in more heavily touristed areas like Croatia.

Posted by Liz
Tarpon Springs, FL, USA
8 posts

Matthew and Ken, thank you both very much for sharing your knowledge. I was going to check the US State Dept. web site for travel advisories, but Ken, you gave me that info already. We most likely will drive inland through Bosnia back to Zagreb but I will probably also be scared the whole day!! I've always had an adventurous spirit but land mines.....that's about the limit for me!! Again, many, many thanks to both of you!! Liz

Posted by Erich
Piedmont, OK
52 posts

I agree with Matthew. We've driven around Bosnia several times. FYI, If you are going to Mostar there is a spectacular waterfall called Kravice Falls that is very close and worth a visit.

Posted by Matthew
Kihei, HI, United States
112 posts

One more point on Bosnia. This is a pretty normal and typical SE European country. The war was about 20 years ago already and though there are signs of it everywhere the people have for the most part moved on and are going about their daily lives. You will feel tense for 30 mins after you cross the border "because its Bosnia" but then you will see tractors in the fields, cars on the roads, people walking around, just normal life and you will realize your apprehension was misplaced. Just do what the people around you are doing and you will be fine. Unless you are getting really off the beaten track (and if your road starts with "E" that is not the case) with some common sense you have nothing to worry about.

Posted by Liz
Tarpon Springs, FL, USA
8 posts

Trust me....we will stay on the roads!! Nor will we be venturing off the micheln route!! It is still scary to me but I do SO much appreciate all of your comments!! And Kravice Falls near Mostar....I will check that out!! Again, thank you all so much!!! Liz

Posted by Liz
Tarpon Springs, FL, USA
8 posts

Hi Ann. Your trip is similar to what my husband and I are doing. We fly into Zagreb and get a car. Then we are driving north to Bled, driving through the Julian Alps, then down to Lipica to see the Lippanzer horses (we've seen them in Vienna and in Spain now we want to see where Gen. Patton and his army rescued them from the Russians in WWII). Next is Istria and Pula....I too love those Roman ruins!! Then on to Plitvice Lakes, Split, Dubrovnik, and finally Mostar. When we leave Mostar we'll drive back to Zagreb to fly out of there the next day. AFter reading all these replies and then reading the travel advisories from the US State Dept. and the UK...I think we're driving back via the motorway in Croatia. I didn't like the idea of land mines just off the roads, but what tipped it for both of us was the statement in the UK travel advisory to travel through Bosnia in convoys. That was it! There is only us. If something went wrong w/ the car apparently there is very little help in the interior of Bosnia. Just seems safer and smarter to take the safe way back through Croatia. We might change our minds but the travel time is about the same. I know it will be a great trip and again, many, many thanks to all of you for your replies!! Liz

Posted by Ann
Summerfield, F:L, USA
71 posts

In 2009, I flew into Lubjuiana (sp), Slovenia and stayed there three days. I took a day trip north to Bled and the lake. It was wonderful! Also, I took a day trip to Trieste, Italy on the bus. Different city. Never have I seen so many motor cycles! But, the Romans had been there, and I will always go to see a Roman ruin. Then, I went to Zagreb for two days. Next, I rent a car and drove to Tito's bithplace and made a loop around to various sites for 3 days. After returning the car in Zagreb, I took a bus to Pula and spent 3 days on the Isterian penisula. I went by train to Split for several days. Next, onto to Dubrovnik for five days. I took several days trips out to sites, islands, and Herzagovina. After that, I took the bus to Mostar. I don't think I would wnat to drive on those roads although perhaps they have improved in the recent years. I stayed in a very nice 4 stars hotel for $60 in Mostar, but the building next door was a bombed out shell. I walked all over Mostar and loved it. From there, I took a bus to Sarevijo. This city has been restored better than Mostar. Took a walking tour in English and a tour of the tunnel from the war with Serbia. I took a bus to Graz, Germany and a train to Frankfurt. Flew home from there. The trip was a month long. Sorry for the spelling errors.) Enjoy!

Posted by Tiffany
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 posts

Liz, We live in Bosnia because we are in the Foreign Service (US Department of State). We have been here since August 2012. Yes, the mines are scary, but as mentioned before, the areas are labeled. Simply be smart and never drive off of main roads. Also keep in mind that Bosnia was just recently rated in the top 10 most friendlies places to visit! Yay! =) Another good thing I learned is "if you didn't it, then don't pick it up." Another little mine tip for you. ;) I feel very safe here, but again we just use our smarts, follow main roads, and enjoy the views. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Matthew
Kihei, HI, United States
112 posts

Liz, on your point about the convoy, and with no disrespect to the fine work they do, I have noticed over the years that the US State Department travel advice can sometimes be a tad dramatic, and I get the feeling that the advisories vary wildly based on who is writing them. I think looking at the UK, Australian, Canadian and US advisories, averaging them and throwing out the outliers is best. So if you see four advisories that talk about a single problem or region, then you know that is a legitimate problem. If you have a single errant sentence like "drive in convoys" then to me that can just be thrown out. It is probably true that is safer to drive with someone else if you break down, but that could be said anywhere, for example driving across Arizona. Also, I have road tripped all over this region, and my car has broken down in some remote areas, and we have never had a problem getting help, and I have helped others as well. People in these countries are much more willing to help out strangers - it is almost expected - as everyone is in the same boat.

Posted by Erich
Piedmont, OK
52 posts

Tiffany, who voted Bosnia top ten most friendliest places? Just curious. My last european trip which included several countries was the same impression. I really enjoyed the Bosnian people they were very friendly and it made my trip thru there memorable.

Posted by Liz
Tarpon Springs, FL, USA
8 posts

Again, thank you all for your input. I get the part about averaging the comments on a country from all the different sources. Some of it does sound a bit dramatic. And I do believe that most people in this world are good and willing to help others. I've also noticed that most of the hotel people I've been emailing back and forth for reservations throughout Slovenia, Croatia and also in Mostar have all seemed very helpful and friendly. Nor would we venture off of the main roads back to Zagreb. My husband and I both love to travel (both previous airline people)and we both have adventurous spirits. All that being said, it is still a little scary to me. Here in the US we are all so spoiled and have no idea what living in some countires is like. We take for granted so much that other people don't even have a chance to experience. Even countries like the UK, France, Germany, and many others throughout the world do not have the standard of living that we have here in the US. But a 3rd world country like Bosnia....that's another whole set of problems. To be honest, whether we drive back through Bosnia or return to the motorway in Croatia will probably depend on how we feel that day and the information we get from the hotel people in Mostar. Again, thank you all so much for your thoughts. I know we will have a great trip through a region neither of us has ever been to. Thanks again!!