One country - four perspectives: Bosnia & Herzegovina

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    A matter of perspective: Travel advice for Bosnia from four different governments

    You’re planning a trip and wondering how safe the location is that you have in mind? An obvious port of call may be government travel advice.

    What is government travel advice?

    Government travel advice refers to the recommendations provided by a government to its citizens regarding travel to specific destinations. Its purpose is assist travelers in making informed decisions about their safety and security when visiting other countries or regions.

    Government travel advice typically covers various aspects related to travel, including political stability, security threats, health risks, natural disasters, entry requirements, local laws and customs.

    That being said, not every country necessarily has the same view of your chosen destination and therefore travel advice can vary between countries. Today, we would like to take a closer look at travel advice from four different governments, namely the US, the UK, Germany, and Austria. Let's take a look how these countries assess Bosnia and Herzegovina from a safety perspective.

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    Travel advice for Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Bosnia and Herzegovina, a nation nestled in the heart of the Balkans, experienced a devastating war from 1992 to 1995 that left lasting impacts on its safety landscape. Although significant progress has been made since then, landmines remain a considerable safety concern.

    Travel advice about Bosnia from the US

    When it comes to travel advice about Bosnia and Herzegovina, the US government assigns the country a Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. The advisory focuses on terrorism and land mines as primary concerns. The US warns of the risk of terrorist attacks using less sophisticated methods and highlights incidents of local criminals using firearms and explosives to settle disputes, particularly in Sarajevo. The LGBTQ+ community is also mentioned as potentially being targeted in violent incidents. Additionally, the advisory highlights the high crime rate and rampant theft in the country.

    The US advisory addresses the issue of landmines, emphasizing that over 600 people have been killed in landmine explosions since 1995. Recommendations to avoid this danger include staying on hard-surfaced areas and avoiding abandoned buildings. The advisory also mentions demonstrations, cautioning travelers to avoid areas around protests due to traffic congestion and public transport closures. Surprisingly, the advisory includes a segment dedicated to football matches, warning of potential fights between rival fans resulting in property damage and injuries.

    Another noteworthy aspect mentioned in the US advisory is the presence of feral dogs and the occurrence of pack attacks in both urban and rural areas. The recommendation is for travelers to receive pre-exposure rabies vaccinations before visiting. This specific concern is not addressed by the other countries' advisories. Overall, the US travel advice on Bosnia and Herzegovina presents a dramatic and bleak outlook compared to the other governments' assessments.

    Safety Advice

    • Exercise increased caution and awareness of surroundings, particularly in crowded or tourist-populated areas.

    • Stay on hard-surfaced areas and avoid abandoned buildings to minimize the risk of encountering landmines.

    • Consider receiving pre-exposure rabies vaccinations before traveling to protect against feral dog attacks.

    • Stay away from football matches to avoid potential confrontations and injuries.

    Travel Advice from the United Kingdom

    The UK government's travel advice on Bosnia provides the longest assessment compared to the other countries. The advisory begins with a relatively positive outlook, describing crime in the country as "generally low." Although there is a mention of a risk of pickpocketing in public transport and tourist areas, the overall portrayal is less alarming than the US advisory.

    The UK advisory highlights an increase in car thefts, specifically mentioning the tourist area of Mount Trebevic. Interestingly, the UK advises travelers to ensure their belongings are not visible, while Germany recommends never leaving any valuables or travel documents in the car.

    The advisory acknowledges the presence of land mines, which are remnants from the Bosnian War. Travelers are advised not to stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide. Furthermore, the advice recommends avoiding the open countryside, destroyed or abandoned buildings, villages, and neglected natural areas that may still contain hazards from the Bosnian War.

    The UK considers the political situation in Bosnia as complicated and notes that political protests are "not uncommon." The advice is to avoid all protests, presenting a slightly more negative picture compared to Germany and Austria.

    The advisory also mentions a "small risk of isolated violence" that may occur due to arrests of war crime suspects or similar incidents.

    Under local laws and customs, the UK advisory discusses LGBT rights, similar to the US. It warns that public displays of affection are likely to be frowned upon and may attract unwelcome attention, advising travelers to exercise discretion.

    Austria's recommendations when traveling to Bosnia

    The safety advice provided by Austria for Bosnia and Herzegovina is unexpectedly concise. The advisory primarily focuses on the presence of landmines, emphasizing that minefields are largely uncleared along roads, with warning signs often being invisible. Leaving paved roads can be life-threatening, even near the capital. Additionally, the advisory mentions that the medical care in Bosnia and Herzegovina may not meet Austrian standards, and access to medical services outside major cities may not be guaranteed. It highlights cases of meningitis and the potential unavailability of certain vaccines, such as rubella.

    Germany's recommendation

    Germany's travel advice for Bosnia and Herzegovina is notably shorter compared to its advice on Mexico, presenting a generally less alarming perspective. Germany considers the domestic political situation in Bosnia as "basically stable," acknowledging occasional tensions driven by political, religious, or ethnic factors. Protests in the country are typically peaceful, according to the German advisory. It also warns visitors to avoid areas around football matches, highlighting potential risks associated with such events.

    The advisory includes specific guidance on landmines, advising hikers to check with the Mine Action Center before venturing into remote areas. This mention of the center sets Germany's advice apart from the other countries. Germany views the overall crime rate as low, but also cautions against petty crimes like pickpocketing, particularly in tourist areas. Lastly, the advisory emphasizes the vulnerability of vehicles with foreign license plates or rental cars to theft and burglaries, recommending travelers to never leave valuables, travel documents, or luggage unattended in parked vehicles, even for short durations.

    What a Vigilios community member says about Bosnia

    As part of our exploration of travel advisories and safety in Bosnia, we reached out to one of our Vigilios community members who recently traveled to the country. Sarah, an avid traveler, embarked on a journey to Bosnia and Herzegovina to discover its rich history and breathtaking landscapes. Despite initial concerns prompted by various travel advisories, Sarah's experience in Bosnia was both enlightening and rewarding.


    According to Sarah, her visit to Bosnia exceeded her expectations in terms of safety. She found the locals to be warm, welcoming, and always willing to help. Sarah explored the historic streets of Sarajevo, indulged in delicious local cuisine, and marveled at the stunning natural beauty of places like Mostar. She felt a sense of tranquility as she wandered through the cobblestone alleys, visited ancient mosques and churches, and witnessed the resilience of a country emerging from its turbulent past.

    Bosnia revealed itself as a hidden gem, defying the safety concerns mentioned in travel advisories. The warmth and kindness of the people and the captivating beauty of the country left me in awe.

    Sarah, Vigilios Community Member

    Sarah's experience challenges the preconceived notions of safety in Bosnia. As she immersed herself in the local culture, Sarah found that the country offered a unique blend of history, natural wonders, and a deep sense of community. Despite lingering reminders of the past, Bosnia has transformed into a destination that offers travelers a chance to engage with its rich heritage and enjoy its breathtaking landscapes.

A profile picture of Ana-Marija Autischer
by Ana-Marija Autischer
The visionary Founder & CEO of Vigilios, where her extensive research into travel safety over the past two years has positioned her at the forefront of the industry. With a keen eye for innovation, she translates complex safety concepts into practical advice for travelers worldwide.

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