Road from Sarajevo to Mostar

Is Bosnia Landlocked? Almost But Not Quite

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful country located in Southeast Europe, known for its stunning mountains, scenic rivers, and historic cities. Many people might ask, is Bosnia landlocked, because, at first glance at the map, it appears to be so. But if you have a closer look at the map you’ll see Bosnia and Herzegovina is not entirely landlocked. The country has a 20 km long coastline.

Screenshot of Google Maps, showing Southeast Europe
At first glance it looks like Bosnia and Herzegovina is landlocked

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What is a landlocked country?

A landlocked country is a country which does not have access to an ocean or a sea which is connected to an ocean. So is Bosnia landlocked? No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not landlocked because it has access to the Adriatic Sea which is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the Mediterranean Sea.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a very short coastline. But it doesn’t matter how small the access to the ocean is, as long as there is access it is not a landlocked country.

Second shortest coastline in the world

The country with the shortest coastline in the world is Monaco with a coastline of 2.5 miles or about 4 km. Bosnia and Herzegovina follows in second place with a coastline of 12.4 miles or 20 km. Even though the coastline of Bosnia and Herzegovina is so short, it’s a popular beach destination for tourists. There are many resorts and hotels in the beach town of Neum.

Neum is the only town in Bosnia and Herzegovina with access to the sea, this is why the coastline of Bosnia is called the Neum Corridor. And because of the Neum Corridor the answer to the question, is Bosnia landlocked, is no.

Map of Bosnia and Croatia showing the answer to the question, Is Bosnia landlocked? is no
The coastline of Bosnia and Herzegovina in between Croatia

Short history of the Neum Corridor

The so-called Neum Corridor is the reason you have to answer the question: Is Bosnia landlocked? with no. So let’s have a quick look into the history of why a small Bosnian coastline splits the country of Croatia in two.

In the 17th century, Dubrovnik was not part of Croatia but a separate city-state. The city-state was allied with the Ottoman Empire. After the Great Turkish War, the Ottoman Empire had to give a lot of land in the Balkans to the Habsburg Empire and Venice in the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz.

Dubrovnik gave a bit of land to the Ottoman Empire to create a buffer between itself and Venice. This made Neum a permanent part of the Ottoman-ruled provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And the Neum Corridor is still part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

What to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Even though Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a landlocked country and there are holiday resorts in the beach town of Neum, Bosnia is not known as a beach destination. The two most visited places in Bosnia are its capital Sarajevo and the town of Mostar. Both towns have a beautiful old town center and a lot of things to do. I would recommend staying in Sarajevo and doing a day trip to Mostar.

In Sarajevo, you can visit the location, where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed which started the First World War. You can also visit the abandoned bobsleigh track from the 1984 Winter Olympic Games. It’s the perfect place to learn much about the country’s history.

In Sarajevo, you can also find the only vegetarian and vegan restaurants in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mostar old bridge
Most beautiful bridge in Mostar

Mostar is best known for the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stari Most, a stunning old bridge. In summer you can even see professional bridge jumpers dive into the river below.

Kravice waterfalls
Stunning Kravice Waterfalls

Bosnia and Herzegovina is also known for its natural beauty. It’s a great place for hiking and mountain biking. One natural beauty which should not be missed are the Kravica Waterfalls close to Mostar.

FAQ about the Bosnian coastline

Why doesn’t Bosnia have any coastline?

Bosnia has a coastline, with 20 km it’s the world’s second shortest coastline in the world.

Does Bosnia have access to sea?

Bosnia has a very short access to the Adriatic Sea. Its coastline is only 20 km long, which is the second shortest coastline in the world.

Why does Bosnia and Herzegovina have a coastline?

In the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz the coastline around Neum was given to the Ottoman Empire. Since the fall of Yugoslavia, the Neum Corridor is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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