Bosnia and Herzegovina

Money & Shopping

Money & Shopping

The official currency is the konvertibilna marka (convertible mark), at a fixed rate of 1.95 for one euro (€1 = BAM1.95).

There are two sets of banknotes, with distinct designs for the Federation and the Republic of Srpska. However, both sets are valid anywhere in the country.

Before you leave the country, be sure to convert back any unused currency into something more common (euros, dollars) as most other countries will not exchange this country's "convertible marks".

Credit cards are not widely accepted - ATMs are available in the most cities (VISA and Maestro). Try to not pay with BAM100 bills, as smaller shops might not have enough change.

Most towns and cities will have markets and fares where any number of artisans, sellers, and dealers will offer any kind of stock. Different foods are readily available, both fresh and cooked, as well as clothing, jewellery and souvenirs. At the markets you are able to negotiate with the seller, although that may take some practice. Like in most such venues prices may be inflated for foreigners based on a quick 'means test' made by the seller. Often those who look like they can afford more will be asked to pay more.

You'll find large shopping centres in most cities and towns.

Sarajevo is fine for buying clothes and shoes of cheap quality at a relatively cheap price. The main shopping streets of Sarajevo are also great for black market products including the latest DVDs, video games and music CDs. Most tourists who visit Sarajevo no doubt leave with a few DVDs to take back home.

Visoko and the central Bosnia region are very well known for their leather work.

Banjaluka has seven big shopping malls, as well many small businesses, and you will be able to find a large variety of goods.

Mostar has an excellent shopping mall on the Croatian side with some typical European-style clothes shops and jewellers.


Tax-free shopping

If you have a temporal (tourist) residency status and you buy goods worth more than BAM100 you are entitled to a PDV (VAT) tax refund. PDV consist of 17% of the purchase price. The refund applies to all goods bought within three months before leaving, except petroleum, alcohol or tobacco. At the shop, ask the staff for a tax-refund form (PDV-SL-2). Have it filled out and have stamped (you need your identity card/passport). Upon leaving BiH, the Bosnian customs can verify (stamp) the form if you show them the goods you bought. A PDV refund in Marks can be obtained within three months, either at the same shop where you bought the goods (in that case the tax will be refunded to you immediately), or by posting the verified receipt back to the shop, together with the account number into which the refund should be paid.

Be aware that upon entering another country you might be obliged to pay VAT over the goods exported from Bosnia. But there is always a free amount, mostly a few hundred Euros; EU: €430. Also, the procedure at the border might take a bit of time, so it is not wise to try this when travelling by train or bus, unless the driver agrees to wait.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina - Travel guide

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