Driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The roads in Bosnia vary in quality from newly laid to completely disintegrated, and everywhere in between. There are very few highways, the majority of roads in the country are two lane country roads, twisting and turning through the mountainous landscape.

Be prepared to drive for a long time, distances between town may seem small, but can end up taking far longer than you anticipated. While in Bosnia, we had to detour into Serbia in order to get to Sarajevo as a road had collapsed! It added many hours onto our journey, which we had not anticipated. Longer explanation of the problem here.

Petrol / Gas stations are not as frequent as one might expect, but the country is quite small, as long as you have a quarter of a tank left, you’ll be able to get to the next fill-up stop without worrying.

bosnian_road_sign
Road sign with graffiti

It is common to see road signs defaced in this way. Graffiti are politically motivated; in this example, it is clear that there is a negative attitude to Serbia (which uses only the Cyrillic writing system).

Road Signs

Most of the road signs are in both Latin and Cyrillic script, which helps those who do not real Cyrillic. The signs for towns are generally frequent enough to be useful for navigation, especially if you are traveling to one of the larger conurbations like Sarajevo or Mostar, although at night they are not illuminated, making them quite hard to read.

bosnian road sign
Here you can see the Cyrillic and Latin scripts on the road sign

Vehicle Requirements

Between the 15th of November and the 15th of April you are legally required to fit your vehicle with the following:

  • all tyres must have an MS, M+S or M&S mark and a stylised symbol of a snowflake; the thread should be at least 4 mm deep
  • snow chains should be carried as their use is compulsory in winter conditions or if the relevant sign is displayed.

LOOK OUT FOR MINES!!

Yes, you read that correctly, many of the rural roads in Bosnia still have Mines by the side of them. Many areas are signposted, but there are still many undiscovered and unexploded mines left over from the civil conflict of the 1990s. If you must leave you car, stick to well worn paths and obey any signs that warn of mines, they are not there for decoration.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 13.14.47

Drivers in Bosnia, like most drivers in the Slavic nations, tend to be either very aggressive or very slow and inattentive. If you expect them to behave like drivers from your own country, you will probably not fare well. Here is a video with a few tips on driving in Bosnia.

 License Requirements

You must have your driver’s license on you at all times. If you are renting a car within Bosnia, you will require an international driving license / permit in order to do so. As one might expect, you are required to have valid insurance in order to drive in Bosnia. As it is outside of the European Union, you may need to check with your insurer to see whether you are covered. You will also need to have ALL of the vehicle’s original documents (copies will not usually suffice) if you are intending to cross borders or in the event you are stopped by the police.

 Languages

You may find that the police do not speak English as a second language. If you do not know any Serbian, Bosnian or other slavic languages, you may find that police officers speak German.

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