Have you ever heard of Herzegovina? Now follow up, do you know how to pronounce it? Well, if you were like me before I got invited to tour this beautiful country, you’d have answered no to both questions above. However, if you’re like me and the curiosity of travel piques your interest, you’re going to want to stick around to find out the undiscovered beauty of this country, from vast landscapes to a rich history, the diversity of its people and activities will keep you entertained long past your intended stay.
First off, you might have noticed that I only asked about Herzegovina. Perhaps you’re more familiar with Bosnia than Herzegovina? If so, good on you because I was in the dark for both places. However, to briefly summarize, Bosnia and Herzegovina are one country. They border the Adriatic Sea right across from Italy, believe it or not. It’s a country or two north of Greece and borders Montenegro and Croatia. I feel this is important because it is in the heart of one of the more beautiful regions in Europe. A beautiful European region not flooded with tourism and a culture very unique to what one might expect.
Now, the reason I specifically want to highlight Herzegovina as opposed to the entirety of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is simple. It’s where I spent most of my time in the country and is vast enough to deserve its article, although you’ll notice I use BiH and Herzegovina interchangeably throughout this article. To explain why the focus is on this country, I was invited by a few different organizations (outlined below) to discover and explore this region and help determine what they can offer to the international community. Not so reluctantly, I agreed to determine if it was a suitable destination for the readers of Citizen Remote to explore with me. I am always happy to be a guinea pig, especially when I leave my comfort zone and learn about a region I’ve never heard of. Spoiler alert, it’s a suitable destination for anyone reading this article!
Why Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Before I dive into the program in a bit more detail and the amazing work INTERA is doing to make Herzegovina known to the international community, I wanted to talk about why Herzegovina (Mostar specifically) now sits in my most recommended Europe destinations list.
First off, when you’re traveling consistently or occasionally, there always comes a point where you think money in and money out. Hopefully, if you’re in the occasional category and on vacation, you err to the side of treating yourself. However, money will creep into the back of anyone’s mind, and that’s why Herzegovina is such an amazing destination. It’s incredibly affordable!
One might assume with lower costs comes lower quality. However, regarding the food in this country, you’d be completely wrong. While you can find vegetarian options, they’re known locally for the excellence of their meat dishes. I can’t describe how amazing the food was and my shock and awe in the first few days. From delicious burgers and steaks to side dishes of gnocchi with red wine-based gravy, they’ve been influenced from the Mediterranean to Italy to Austria and it shows in the flavors of their cuisine. Don’t forget to try some traditional Turkish coffee!
Calling all wine lovers. It shouldn’t be surprising considering the proximity of its neighbors, but this region will no doubt be soon known for its incredible wine. I’ve lived in Italy, and I currently live in Spain, and the wine there is, of course, renowned worldwide, and for good reason. What I found very interesting about this region was that the wine resembled more new world flavors. Whereas the aforementioned countries orient themselves around their earthy flavors pairing perfectly with the sauces they’ve crafted in centuries past, I found that the wines from the Herzegovina region resemble full-bodied, fruit-forward new-world wines. A good wine tasting goes a long way here for those wanting to test their pallet.
Now, if I figured out one thing from my adventure in BiH, it would be that they don’t have a lack of just that. If you’re into extreme sports, this is your place. Olympic mountains for biking, skiing, snowboarding, red bull diving competitions off the famous Mostar bridge, rafting, paragliding, ziplining, horseback riding, ATVs, outdoor ariel silk, archery, and hiking in places that so closely resemble the highlands of Scotland you’ll get goosebumps. This place seriously has everything you need. While they only have about ~25 kilometers of beachfront, the town of Neum is a great place to kick back and recharge from all the adrenaline. Need I go on?
A Closer Look at Bosnia and Herzegovina
What makes a place special is who you’re with and what you all do together. As much as you can find all the best things to do and places to go, it comes down to those with you during those times. That is why I was blown away by the people I encountered on this adventure. I was lucky to be with some great colleagues during the program who discovered the country with me and made this experience unforgettable. A special thank you to the hosts of the program, INTERA Technology Park, along with many local business owners participating, many of whom I’ll detail below, and lastly, the European Union and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Chamber of Economy of the Federation of BiH. When this many organizations come together and work towards a. common goal, it’s truly beautiful to see what can be accomplished. I was blown away by everyone’s hospitality and collaborative efforts, participants and organizers alike. I have a feeling the spirit of the community rubbed off on us all.
That’s what surprised me most of all–how kind the people of BiH were on an individual level. I truly appreciated the openness of the locals and their willingness to have a genuine conversation with an outsider. I’ve rarely been to many places in Europe where you’d be ordering a drink in a small bar, and people would engage with you and begin asking about where you’re from and what you’re doing unless, of course, that person was a traveler themselves. The friendliness of the communities in Herzegovina is on par with the best in all my worldly travels. I was blown away by not only the kindness of the people but the passion they have for their country’s diversity and history. Everyone was open and excited to engage with whatever you may have asked, usually with a laugh because their history is.. complex.. to say the least. With traces of Austria and Turkish rule of old, they now share their unique past with internationals alike, from architecture to amenities–the culture is contagious.
If you’re looking for a good tour and are a history buff and enjoy a city tour, I recommend booking a tour with Sasa where you explore all that Mostar is and was.
A Shared Vision
Herzegovina is catching on to the potential of the future of remote work and how it can drive serious economic value to local communities. They’re hosting annual events, such as the Cross Border Coworking Conference, opening co-working spaces such as Code Hub in Mostar, and working to provide faster wifi connectivity to accommodate this shift in the way we work around the world. They’re not new to this lifestyle as they’ve got major companies like ZenDev and Nsoft, both cutting-edge software-centric companies. This region is on the edge of being a very attractive spot for remote workers, and the month I’ve spent touring the country has done a great job highlighting the potential they have for those remote workers and nomads. Investors, entrepreneurs and freelancers alike should seriously consider this region if they’re looking for growth in the EU.
What Bosnia and Herzegovina Offers
As BiH is a country that can offer many things to people, I believe that the biggest pull of this country is what you can do as an adventurer or “adrenaline junky.” I wanted to highlight the pull of this country to those who don’t need a beach but prefer some lakes, rivers, and mountains.
Bring your wetsuit! Rafting is probably the first thing I’d recommend doing in Herzegovina, and they’re known for having one of the coldest rivers in the world bring, spring fed. While it’s refreshing in the heat of summer, during the rest of the year, prepare for the chill. The colors are unforgettable, so it’s an experience you must consider when staying in the region.
Horseback and ATVs
Take a ride. Whether it’s on the back of a large friend, or the seat of a four-wheeler, you need to check out the beautiful views this mountainous countryside has to offer. In a country where it feels like you’re never 10 minutes from a breathtaking view off the edge of a mountain overlooking some beautiful valley below, there’s no better way to experience it than while on a ride. But, of course, if you prefer to trek it yourself, they have plenty of hiking trails and parks you can explore.
A new way to go to the gym. Ariel silk is a fun and unique activity, and it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a great workout and a fun way to explore nature once you’ve got the skills. Mostar has a great school that is always happy to bring in and teach those willing to brave the silk. Often they’ll head out on the weekend to some eye-popping destinations to throw some silk over a cliffside, only to climb back up it. I highly recommend testing your skills.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Do you remember the 1984 Olympics? They were hosted in Sarajevo, which was then Yugoslavia, and today, BiH. A great capital city is next to the mountains and a ski town called Jahorina. If you’re looking for a cool place to visit in summer or winter and are in Sarajevo, this is only a 30 min drive and is great for resetting and relaxing. With Alpine vibes and Olympic rings, it’s a place that will no doubt look different in the years to come as it builds toward its true potential
So Why Should You Travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Affordability 💰 – The affordability is unmatched compared with the surrounding countries. For eastern European vibes, this is a great experience all around.
Cuisine 🍜 – From having never heard about it before, it’s unforgettable. A mix of, Mediterranean, Austrian and Italian with an array of meats and cheeses, it doesn’t get much better.
Wine 🍷 – Soon to no doubt be renowned in the region; it already is among its people, and rightfully so. You can immediately tell it’s a stone throw away from some of the most renowned wine regions in the world.
Adventure 🏕️ – When you’re looking for something to do outside, this is the country to do it!
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, they have sunshine 🌞 for almost 300 days of the year!
From waterfalls to rivers, mountains to valleys, lakes to beaches, and colors that change from green to orange to a golden brown, no matter the time of year, you’ll have something to do and people to do it with in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
If I were searching for a country to set up for 12+ months, Bosnia and Herzegovina would top my list of those considering the region of Eastern Europe. For either travel or work, Herzegovina will be a hotspot in the coming years, with places like Mostar, Nuem, and Sarajevo leading the charge.
The Future of Remote Work Today
BiH has serious potential when you think about the future of remote work. While they still have their work cut out for them in regards to connecting major transportation hubs like railways and airports and generally improving infrastructure for faster Wi-Fi connectivity, you can see they’ve taken major strides to get prepared for the new wave of work.
They have some great initiatives in the pipeline that are about to lift the entrepreneurial environment, and the Work ‘n’ Sunshine project is doing a great job of highlighting that. With facilities like INTERA Technology Park, that have an entire floor dedicated to 3D Printing, to the blossoming companies full of software developers, those looking for inexpensive prototypes or new apps should have BiH on their radar. It is home to a fantastic network ripe for the innovations that international collaboration and its entrepreneurs inherently bring.
Where Can I Learn More About the Future of Remote Work?
If you’re looking to know more about where to go and what to do for the future of remote work, travel, and a vast network of freelancers/ex-pats/remoters/nomads, check out Citizen Remote’s app! Where you can connect with those traveling the world and also get informed about the upcoming hotspots like Herzegovina in great detail! With many tools still to come, there’s no better time to join our growing international remote community.
Special thanks to the Work ‘n’ Sunshine program
Made possible by INTERA Technology Park, the European Union (EU), and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany (BMZ). The content of the publication is the sole responsibility of Citizen Remote LLC and does not necessarily reflect the views of INTERA Technology Park, the EU, or BMZ.
Rafting guide – instagram ↗
City Tour – instagram ↗
Ariel Silk – instagram ↗
Wine- instagram ↗
Museum & Restaurant – instagram ↗
Blidinje Lake – instagram ↗
Bar & Resto – instagram ↗
Resort Zlatni dol Goranci
Quad & Horseback – instagram ↗