A land where turquoise rivers run swift and sheep huddle on steep hillsides, Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of Europe’s most visually stunning corners. With muezzins calling the faithful to prayer under a backdrop of church bells, it also provides a delightful fusion of East and West in the heart of the Balkans. Appropriately, the country is now marketing itself as the “heart-shaped land”, unintentionally revealing more perhaps than just the shape of its borders: this remains a country cleaved into two distinct entities, the result of a bloody war in the mid-1990s. However, while Bosnia-Herzegovina was not too long ago making headlines for all the wrong reasons, it’s now busily, and deservedly, re-etching itself on the world travel map as a bona fide backpacker magnet of some repute.
Most travellers spend their time in the country’s two major draws: Sarajevo and Mostar. Sarajevo has shrugged off its years under siege to become one of Europe’s most likeable capitals, while the delightful city of Mostar is focused on an Old Bridge that, meticulously rebuilt after destruction during the war, must be the most photographed object in the Balkans. There are also some beguiling smaller towns to choose from, such as Bosnia’s Jajce, or Herzegovina’s Blagaj, while outdoor enthusiasts will be in their element in Bihać, one of Europe’s foremost rafting destinations. Trebinje is easily the pick of the towns in the Republika Srpska.