If you’re visiting beautiful Bosnia and Herzegovina, you’ll likely want to bring back some wonderful Bosnian mementos to remind you of your trip. This small but beautiful Balkan country is full of incredible handicrafts and artisan work that makes it nearly impossible to leave Bosnia without gifts for loved ones back home (or let’s be honest – for yourself).
Whether its practical things that are easy to pack, like sachets of Bosnian lavender grown locally or a lovely Bosnian coffee set, or slightly larger things such as Ottoman-styled lanterns and full tea sets, you’ll want to save some room in your suitcase for all your Bosnian souvenirs!
Here are just a few ideas of traditional Bosnian crafts, souvenirs, and gift ideas that make a wonderful memory of your trip to the Balkans.
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Best Bosnian Souvenir & Gift Ideas
Bosnian Coffee Sets
If you’re only going to get one souvenir from Bosnia & Herzegovina, let it be a traditional Bosnian coffee set.
Composed of a džezva (a stovetop coffee pot, typically copper, with a small mouth and long handle), cups, and saucers, a full Bosnian coffee set is a bit much to fit in your suitcase but it is one of the most beautiful gifts from Bosnia you can bring.
Coffee from Bosnia
While Bosnia doesn’t necessarily grow its own coffee, it does have a very specific grind for its coffee, one that is not necessarily easy to replicate back home unless you have a fancy grinder that is capable of creating extremely fine coffee grains.
Buy your coffee in Bosnia if you’re buying a coffee making set to bring it home with. Ground coffee loses its flavor faster than whole beans, so store in the fridge for as long as possible to keep it fresh.
Similar to Turkish delight, this Bosnian candy is almost always served alongside Bosnian coffee. If you want to truly complete the Bosnian coffee experience for your loved ones back home, you really shouldn’t go home without some lokum.
Copper and metalwork
This Bosnian handicraft is one of the country’s most distinguished art forms, and if you have an affinity towards design inspired by the East – particularly Turkey – Bosnian crafts will suit you perfectly. Metalwork, particularly copperwork, is one of these art forms, and you will find it everywhere in Bosnia.
Centuries of Ottoman occupation were harsh on Bosnia, yet the Ottoman years left in its wake a sense of hybridity between Bosnian and Ottoman culture, which can be seen today in its art, design, religion, coffee, and food.
Why is that Provence gets the monopoly on lavender fields in our minds? There are countless lavender fields all throughout the Balkans, where it has been an important crop for centuries.
You can purchase dried lavender sachets in many places in Bosnia – these were, obviously, designed for the tourists visiting Mostar.
Knit house socks
In Bosnia, shoes are generally not worn inside the house. Usually, if you visit a Bosnian’s house, you will be given a pair of rubber or foam slippers that are designated house slippers, designed only to be worn inside.
I’ve taken to not wearing shoes inside the house as well and in the winter, I love having a fluffy, woolen pair of house socks to keep my feet nice and warm as the cold winds whip outside. Hand-knit socks make a lovely souvenir from Bosnia, and buying locally means you keep their specific hand-knit designs going even in the face of modernity.
A cozy pair of Bosnian slippers is a fantastic gift to bring home from the region, and it’s one that you know you’ll enjoy as the colder winter months creep up on you.
These traditional Bosnian winter house shoes make a great souvenir for that friend of yours who just loves being cozy in their own home.
Frankly, as far as I can tell, these are not traditional Bosnian souvenirs and are likely bought en masse from the same vendors who sell to places like Turkey and Morocco to sell in their bazaars.
However, if you have a deep love for the Eastern aesthetic, and you’re looking to liven up your home and you don’t necessarily care for authenticity – you should definitely snap up a lantern or two, as you’ll likely find them cheaper (and the haggling process far more laid-back) than anywhere else in the world.
Metalwork isn’t limited to housewares in Bosnia, but also intricately crafted necklaces, bracelets, and other forms of jewelry.
While some of the designs may be a bit much such as this giant necklace above, generally, you can find some understated and beautiful Bosnian jewelry pieces for reasonable prices, especially if you can get off the main tourist drag.
Always inquire about the materials made and the artisan who crafted it before paying a premium for any piece of jewelry, and shop around for the best price.
Rakija is ubiquitous in the Balkans and every country likes to claim their version is dramatically different than their neighbors.
Frankly, I’m not so skilled in the art of stomaching rakija to confirm or deny that, but I do know that a bottle of rakija makes a fantastic Bosnian souvenir. Plum, quince, apricot, and grape are some of the most common rakijas you’ll find in the Balkans.
Traditional kitsch like magnets, etc.
This is definitely not my personal first choice for Bosnian souvenirs, but if you have a collection or someone you know does – then buying a specific souvenir to fit that collection is a no-brainer!
You’ll find all the traditional tourist kitsch in Bosnian bazaars and markets, from magnets to keychains to postcards to small paintings.
Where to Buy Souvenirs in Bosnia
If you’re keen to do some shopping in Bosnia, we’ve got a few suggestions on the best places to do it.
Mostar Old Town
If you cross the Old Bridge, you’ll come to a mega open-air bazaar of souvenir stands galore, especially as you cross from the Muslim side of town into the traditional Old Town.
While these wares won’t be the most authentic, nor will they have the best prices, these Bosnian souvenirs will be tantalizingly tempting to buy as you walk by.
The old bazaar of Sarajevo is touristic, yes, but it’s a good deal less so than Mostar. Why? Because Sarajevo simply doesn’t have the same number of Dubrovnik day-trippers as Mostar does.
While the Bosnian crafts and souvenirs here will still be aimed at tourists rather than locals, they are more likely to be authentic or vintage rather than newly mass-produced.
Informal Open-Air Markets
While the Old Towns of both Mostar and Sarajevo are major points for shopping in Bosnia, there are several open air mini markets in Bosnia that also sell things at a much fairer price. This small market in the mosque courtyard in Mostar is one such example.
Bosnian souvenirs online
If you are just aching to take home a Bosnian souvenir or two but don’t have the room in your suitcase (and can’t justify buying a new one) you can find some Bosnian crafts and souvenirs online on Amazon or Etsy.
More Bosnia Travel Resources
If you’re planning a trip to Bosnia, we have a ton of resources with you! First of all, check out our guide to the most beautiful places in Bosnia so you can start planning your itinerary.
If you’re planning to visit Sarajevo, we have even more for you. We have a guide on all the best things to do in Sarajevo, the best Sarajevo tours, a guide on where to stay in Sarajevo, and finally a Sarajevo Instagram guide.
Finally, Don’t Go to Bosnia without Travel Insurance!
Make sure you always travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While Bosnia & Herzegovina is safe, accidents can happen anywhere. If you experience an accident or theft, travel insurance will help you recover your costs and enjoy the rest of your trip.
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.