1) Our short visit to Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina were some of my favorite travels. Highly under-rated travel destinations!
2) The car rental starting in Croatia was a heck of a deal! And one ways are the same price.
Bosnia & Herzegovina is unique and culturally rich, I think, above and beyond the rest of eastern Europe (with the exception of Bulgaria). It’s at the intersection of great empires, making it both multi-cultural and unfortunately the center of conflict in the 90s.
And while it’s obviously a great place to visit now, it still doesn’t have anywhere near the level of tourists you’ll see all over Croatia.
When you can do a oneway car rental for under $10 a day and visit so many different cultures so close together… It’s a no brainer vacation, no matter your interests.
Yes. This is very similar to my trip reports on our road trip through Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Slovenia from two years ago… But it’s just such a great deal and trip.
And this is a trip I wish we did. We just sort of wandered around the area because it was last minute and unplanned. This post is about what I wish we had done.
Car Rental Suggestions
I simply searched on Kayak and found a car rental.
I notice when I’m not searching at peak times (mostly summer) car rentals are super cheap – like under $10 a day.
Even when searching one-ways, the prices were usually the same.
Here are some examples of rentals I’d recommend (we’ll talk about routes in a minute):
- Roundtrip starting and ending in Dubrovnik
- Dubrovnik to/from Split
- Dubrovnik to/from Zagreb
Sometimes a roundtrip out of Dubrovnik is cheaper, but it could be better one way. If you only have a week, you can see the most sites in an hour or two of Dubrovnik.
Destinations of focus:
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
- Trebinje, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Kravice Falls, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- + Blagaj
- Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina (adds two hours)
- Jajce, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Split, Croatia
Trebinje, Bosnia & Herzegovina:
Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina:
- Krka National Park is a Croatian alternative to Kravice Falls, and it would add an hour if you’re going from Banja Luka to Split. But if you’re going from Split to northern Croatia (like Zagreb), then it is pretty much on the way. Either way could be a good alternative.
- National Park Una is way more out of the way (closer to Plitvice Lakes)… but it looks amazing. Plitvice was cool but it was $40/pp and you couldn’t swim!
- As mentioned Sarajevo adds two hours… two hours of Bosnia & Herzegovina driving.
- Lots of small stops in Bosnia you can add:
- Počitelj, Bosnia & Herzegovina (near Kravice Falls)
- Konjic, Bosnia & Herzegovina (going NW of Mostar)
- Travnik, Bosnia & Herzegovina (east of Jajce)
- Sveti Stefan
- Northwest side of Skadar Lake looked awesome.
- Rijeka Crnojevića area. (picture here)
- Fantastic mountains in Montenegro, and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
- The problem is that the mountains take up disproportionately more time, and take more driving time than what Google tells you.
(Note that I haven’t really been in the mountains here. Been to Theth in Albania, which shares a hiking trail with NE Montenegro).
- Durmitor National Park
- Nacionalni Park Prokletije
Bosnia & Herzegovina has beautiful rivers flowing right through many of their towns. You’d see lots of places to stop on your way anywhere.
Miles & Points
- New SPG (Four Points) hotel in Kolasin, Montenegro = 10,000 SPG points
- Sheraton Dubrovnik = 7,000 SPG points
- Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik = 70,000 Hilton HHonors points
- Courtyard Sarajevo = 20,000 Marriott points
- Residence Inn in Sarajevo = 20,000 Marriott points
- Le Méridien Lav, Split = 10,000 SPG points
- Radisson Blu Resort, Split = 50,000 Club Carlson points
- Ramada in Podgorica. Don’t know if it’s worth going to. Probably not worth the points.
- Also a hilton which I can only find for 26,000 HH points. Seems BRGable though, and cheap enough with cash.
- Airbnb is currently giving $40 for signing up now! Here’s my $40 referral link.
You can look up flights to Croatia.
- Miles from a OneWorld airline:
- Dubrovnik: BA (watch the fuel surcharges), Finnair, Niki, and Iberia (requires calling when using AA Miles).
- Split: BA, Finnair, and Iberia.
- Zagreb: BA, Iberia (requires calling for AA miles).
- Sarajevo: n/a
- Miles from a Star Alliance airline:
- Dubrovnik: Tons of options! Just search United.
- Split: Tons of options!
- Zagreb: Tons and tons of options!
- Sarajevo: Lots of options.
- Dubrovnik: n/a
- Split: Italia, and KLM,
- Zagreb: KLM, and AirFrance
- Sarajevo: n/a
Also, if need be, check Skyscanner.com for discount airline flights.
All are possible routes pricing car rentals on Kayak. All routes, including all the oneway routes, can be near $10 a day. All you have to do is book your tickets into one city and out of the other (if doing a oneway).
Luckily, most all miles program make oneway tickets half price, or allow open-jaws.
Also, if I start in Dubrovnik and end in Zagreb, as an example, the example could just as easily be start in Zagreb and end in Dubrovnik. It likely won’t matter but if some flight or hotel availability is better the other way it’s the same / same.
The first two routes I’ll share are perhaps better for longer trips since they cover more ground. The first would be my favorite option… Followed by number 3, if you have less time.
Remember to see my detour suggestions
1) Dubrovnik to Split
- Link to map
- Route: Dubrovnik – Kotor – Trebinje – Kravica Falls – Mostar – Sarajevo – Jajce – Bajna Luka – Split
- 15.5 hours of driving
2) Dubrovnik to Zagreb
Same as # 1, just returning in Zagreb.
- Link to map
- Route: Dubrovnik – Kotor – Trebinje – Kravica – Mostar – Sarajevo – Jajce – Bajna Luka – Zagreb
- 14 hours of driving
3) Dubrovnik to Sarajevo
Oddly enough returning the car in Sarajevo still has the cheap car rental price on most weeks. However, flight availability may or may not be harder to find for Sarajevo rather than Dubrovnik.
- Link to map
- Route: Dubrovnik – Kotor – Trebinje – Kravica – Mostar – Sarajevo
- 7.5 hours of driving
4) Start and End in Dubrovnik
Same as above just returning to Dubrovnik.
- Link to map
- Route: Dubrovnik – Kotor – Trebinje – Kravica – Mostar – Dubrovnik
- 8 hours of driving
To sum up:
- Bosnia & Herzegovina (and Montenegro) is an amazing place to visit.
- Cheap car rental (even on a oneway). Cheap food. Cheap everything.
- Easy country to travel in (although, drive slow…)
If the pictures of crystal clear rivers flowing through old-towns and greenery doesn’t convince you… I don’t know what will.