Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful country located in southeastern Europe. With its rugged mountains, medieval towns, and picturesque villages, it’s no wonder Bosnia and Herzegovina has become an increasingly popular tourist destination. However, while there are certainly optimum times to visit for pleasant weather and fewer crowds, there are also periods that are considered the worst times to go. Here’s an overview of when to avoid visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Winter in Bosnia and Herzegovina runs from December through February. This is considered one of the worst times to visit the country for several reasons:
- ❄️ Extremely cold temperatures – Average highs are only around freezing (0°C/32°F), with overnight lows dipping well below. Add in wind chill, snow and freezing rain, and it can feel brutally cold. If you don’t handle cold weather well, you won’t enjoy wandering historic towns when you’re bundled in layers and shivering.
- ⛰ Heavy snow – Mountains like Jahorina and Bjelašnica will be buried in several feet of snow. While great for avid skiers and snowboarders, heavy snow can make road conditions hazardous and block key mountain passes. Even cities and towns in lower elevations can get heavy snowfall, making it difficult to get around.
- 🏨 Limited tourist infrastructure – Many hotels, restaurants and tourist activities limit their openings or close down entirely for the winter once the holiday crowds depart. You’ll have fewer options and availability.
- 🌧 Rain and gray skies – Winter tends to be the wettest time of year, with frequent rain, sleet and snow showers. Skies are often overcast and gloomy. With fewer daylight hours, it can feel depressing.
- 🥶 Unpleasant attractions – Outdoor attractions and sightseeing are far less enjoyable in frigid temperatures and precipitation. And even indoor attractions like museums stay cooler without central heating.
Early Spring ⛈️
Early spring in Bosnia and Herzegovina runs from March through mid-April. While temperatures are starting to rise, it’s still not an ideal time to visit:
- ☔️ Lingering wet weather – While snow starts melting in the lower elevations in March, the higher mountain elevations stay snowy. Combined with plenty of shower activity as the seasons shift, you’re likely to encounter rain and wet snow, especially if visiting higher elevations.
- 🥶 Chilly temperatures – Even though sunshine increases in March and April, average temperatures are still on the cooler side across most of the country. It’s not uncommon to still need winter coats and layers outdoors.
- ⛰️ Limited mountain access – Higher elevation mountain towns and passes like those around Jahorina and Bjelašnica will likely still be inaccessible due to heavy snow accumulation. Hiking trails and scenic lookouts will also be snowpacked.
- 🚗 Muddy, damaged roads – The transition from winter to spring means snow starts melting, leaving dirt roads muddy and damaged. Potholes also start forming on asphalt roads, making driving around the country more challenging.
- 🏡 Low season for hotels – Like winter, spring is still low season for hotels and lodging. Options are fewer and prices stay lower until the summer tourist season picks up.
July and August are the hottest and busiest tourist months. Here’s why they aren’t the best time to visit:
- 🥵 Extreme heat – Average high temperatures now soar well into the 80s Fahrenheit (above 30°C). Combined with intense sun and limited air conditioning, the heat can be oppressive and draining, making outdoor sightseeing uncomfortable.
- 😫 Humidity – These hot summer months also bring sticky, humid air to the country. The combination of heat and humidity can make you feel like you’re suffocating.
- 👥 Peak crowds – From the Adriatic Coast to Sarajevo to Mostar, tourist crowds peak in July and August. Attractions are packed, lodging prices are highest and reservations are mandatory.
- ⛰ Forest fire risk – Hot, dry conditions also increase the risk of forest fires in Bosnia’s mountains and national parks. Fires can cause poor air quality, trail closures and damage the beautiful scenery.
Shoulder Season Sweet Spots 🎯
To avoid the worst times, aim to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina during the shoulder seasons of late spring (May-June) or early fall (September-October). Here’s why these are the sweet spot times to go:
- 🙂 Pleasant weather – Average temperatures are mild and comfortable, ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10s to 20s Celsius). Rain is limited as well.
- 😎 Warm enough for swimming – Ocean and lake temperatures are warm enough for swimming and water sports during these months too.
- 🍃 Scenic beauty – Spring comes alive with blooming wildflowers and trees, while fall foliage provides a colorful display in mountain areas. Both are a treat for photographers.
- 👫 Decent crowds – Shoulder seasons attract fewer tourists than summer, so attractions are less crowded. But there are still enough visitors that tourist infrastructure is open.
- 🏨 Good lodging values – Since peak summer rates haven’t hit yet, lodging and airfare will be cheaper in shoulder season.
No matter when you can make it to Bosnia and Herzegovina, this resilient country offers inspiring history, culture, cuisine and natural beauty. But aim for late spring or early fall to maximize your experience without extreme weather, crowds and costs.