Culture and etiquette
It’s imperative to note that there are three distinct ethnicities in Bosnia-Herzegovina – Bosnian Serb, mostly Orthodox; Bosnian Croat, mostly Catholic; and Muslims known as Bosniaks. Of course, all were constituent parts of the bloody war of the mid-1990s; this affected every single person in the country, and reverberations can still be felt today – it’s never too far away from people’s minds. Some locals are more than willing to talk about their experiences, particularly in Sarajevo, but of course it’s best to let them make the first move.
Also worth noting is the geographical split evident in the country’s name – you’ll find yourself using “Bosnian” as an adjective most of the time, and this is accepted, though in Herzegovina it’s a tiny bit of a faux pas to tell locals how much you’re “enjoying Bosnia”.
As for the more regular facets of travel etiquette, you should dress conservatively around religious buildings, leave small change or a little more as tips in a restaurant, and be aware that for all the ethnic rivalry, smoking is perhaps the country’s dominant religion. Note, too, that most hostels will require you to remove your shoes before entering.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Travel offers; book through Rough Guides
Planning your trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
6 reasons why Sarajevo is the coolest city in the Balkans
For many visitors, Sarajevo means two things: the setting for the outbreak of WWI, and, from 1992–95, being subjected to the longest siege in the history of m…27 Jul 2016 • Norm Longley insert_drive_file Article
What the WWI centenary means for Sarajevo
With the WWI centenary coming up, Jonathan Bousfield looks at what it means for Sarajevo, the city where it all began 100 years ago. With its fantasy-novel-mee…09 May 2014 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
Ten central & Eastern European sites to mark the WWI Centenary
Most of us know that World War I started with the assassination of an Austrian Archduke in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. For the English-speaking world, howe…02 Apr 2014 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article