Bosnia and Herzegovina – Are the Balkans Safe For Women?

Are the Balkans Safe for Solo Women

Have you seen amazing pictures of the Balkans on Instagram? Do you have doubts about the level of safety in Bosnia or on the Balkans for women traveling alone?

I found myself asking this question, and hoping for the best after booking my ticket to Sarajevo! Having chatted with other solo traveling women on Instagram, I knew it should be fine. After visiting it myself, I knew I needed to write this post to inspire women who like traveling and adventure!

Can I Feel Secure as a Solo Female Traveler on the Balkans?

Are the Balkans Safe for Solo Women

A firm yes. Learn why I felt at the right place in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Valuable insights to follow below, so keep reading. 

 I visited Sarajevo in high season (July), and it was very hot, not super crowded which also added to the overall feeling of safety. On my journey, I tend to stay in the center of the city, in this case, an old town. As a single woman traveling and being a newbie to Balkan solo traveling, I felt it is most logical to stay where the majority of tourists stay.

Sarajevo offers a palette of activities to delve into, so staying at least 3 nights is an absolute must. If you plan on visiting Mostar, then stay an extra day. There is so much to see all around Bosnia, so if you have the time use it here.

How to Get Around Safely in the Balkans

Getting to the old town of Sarajevo will approximately take 30 minutes by taxi, depending on traffic. As buses are infrequent, I would highly recommend taking a taxi that is rather affordable, ranging between 15 and 20 euros.

Talk to the taxi driver in advance, as some might try to charge you more since you are not a local. Another option is to find out whether your hotel could organize an airport pick-up, which may bring you peace of mind, as a solo traveler.

Women Safely Exploring Malta The Academy of Fine Arts Sarajevo

Best 6 Things to Do in Sarajevo

If you are visiting Sarajevo alone, there are plenty of attractions you may want to see and experience. I glided around all of these locations on my own and felt perfectly safe and taken aback by the beauty of Sarajevo.

  1. Visiting the Bašcaršija! Here is the old town market place, filled with shops and eateries. Traditional Bosnian food and local shops could be found throughout this area. If you are a woman traveling alone who likes cooking, your resources lie within this heaven of aromas throughout this area. 
  2. Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque– This is the 16th-century mosque located in the heart of Sarajevo. It is the largest mosque in all of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Worth visiting regardless of your religious beliefs. It is a piece of art – and we, women, love art!
  3. Taking pictures of the Latin Bridge. I strolled along the river Milijcka with my selfie stick and tripod and took a million pics! You could never feel lonely in such an atmosphere!
  4. Cable Cars! There is a wonderful viewpoint of the entire city, accessible by riding the cable car. It costs approx 10 euros. It’s well worth the fare. 
  5. Visiting the Sacred Heart Cathedral. This magnificent church is also in the center of Sarajevo. It’s an impressive Neo-Gothic Style Church.
  6. Sarajevo Brewery! I will be honest with you, I travel to eat and drink. So I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out this Brewery, built-in 1864! You can feel safe as a solo woman checking out this Brewery!

More to Do in Sarajevo! 

Every traveler is different. I am not a single woman traveling who loves museums. Especially when they are war museums. I don’t need to re-live or be reminded of the horrors that somewhat recently was the reality. If you do enjoy museums, Sarajevo has some good ones:

For the Museum Lover

Stay Safer in the Balkans

Best Accommodations in Bosnia for Solo Women

Accommodations are very important when traveling solo. I understand that a hotel can be the most expensive part of the trip, so you want to keep it in the budget. Personally, spending more on a hotel in the city center is always worth it.

If you end up staying further from the center it can majorly impact your trip altogether. Staying in an area that has few shops, bars, and restaurants can make you feel lonely and isolated.

A Single Woman Traveling – Top Sarajevo Hotel Picks

  • Hotel Old Sarajevo– I stayed in this wonderful Bosnian boutique hotel located in the old town. It came with free wifi and a delicious breakfast. They serve real cooked egg omelets and these amazing potato pasties. Traditional breakfast is also an option on the table. The staff are incredibly helpful. If you want to feel spoiled in Sarajevo, go for it! I highly recommend this hotel. 
  • Malak Regency Hotel – If you are looking for a fancy luxury hotel in Sarajevo, this is the one for you. It’s located centrally and has lots of amenities. It’s not overly priced for a 5-star hotel. I have heard a couple of fellow solo travelers praising it, so I have decided to give you this tip.
  • Hotel Old Town This upscale hotel is sitting on the edge of the Old Town of Sarajevo. Enjoy the onsite restaurant and nearby shops.
Boutique Hotel Old Sarajevo
Hotel Old Sarajevo

Best of Where to Eat in The Balkans

Bosnia, in general, might pose some challenges for vegetarians and even more so, for vegans! Personally, I eat fish and no other meat, so I had no problems finding delicious food. Be mentally prepared if you a woman who enjoys veggie-based cuisine! Another local insight is payment culture. Most places only accept cash.

Restaurants in Bosnia for Solo Female Dining

  • Karuzo is the best and vegan-friendly restaurant in Sarajevo. It’s cash only and you NEED a reservation. If you don’t have one, you will be turned away. This place has fresh and delicious home-cooked meals. 
  • Klopa is a nice choice for a healthy and casual meal. The pizza is very good! You will find this place in the center of the old town, very close to the Cathedral.
  • Apetit is a highly reviewed restaurant on the edge of the old town. The stylish interior adds up for an even more exquisite experience. Food portions are enormous, so hungry female solo travelers – this is your place!

A Safe Solo Day Trip to Magical Mostar! 

More Safe Destinations in the Balkans

As read above, Sarajevo is more than safe for women traveling solo. But how about the rest of the unexplored Bosnia-Herzegovina? Is it safe outside of Sarajevo?

My journey continued from Sarajevo to Mostar, taking advantage of the local public transport. This is a unique experience in itself, as you get to know so much about a country’s ways.

People on the bus speak less and less English as you get further away from the old town. But instead of feeling threatened in any way, you actually start feeling safe and at home. If you are a beginner solo female traveler, perhaps you wish to arm yourself with Google Translate, just in case you are too curious.

Mostar is terrific! I highly recommend the day trip. Sadly, I didn’t give myself enough time! Learn from my mistakes and be prepared! 

I took the bus, which is a very affordable way to travel. It was approx 10 euros one way. I booked this online, but still needed to have the ticket printed. My hotel was happy to print this for me. 

The bus takes 2 ½ hours depending on the bus you take. There is no bathroom, and they only stop once approx in the middle of the drive. The roads can be a bit rough if you get motion sickness. 

There is also a train to Mostar, also about 2 ½ hours in transit time. It is meant to be a beautiful way to see the countryside. I personally wish I had taken the train. 

Once you arrive in Mostar, by bus or train, you can walk to the city center in under 15 minutes. Mostar is beautiful! I also felt very safe here as well. 

You could easily see Mostar in a day. I hadn’t planned my time very well and was only able to spend about 3 hours. It would have been ideal to have at least 5 hours. 

Safely Exploring the Balkans as a Solo Female

If you are looking to continue traveling through the Balkans, check out Slovenia. How safe is Slovenia for a Woman Traveler?

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1 Comment

  1. elizabeth
    August 26, 2019 / 10:52 am

    Great dining tips! Super helpful information

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