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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Hidden Countries

A Balkan country better known for bomb sites and bullet holes than holidays

A Balkan country better known for bomb sites and bullet holes than holidays, **Bosnia and Herzegovina** is making a welcome return to the tourist trail after a decade of absence.

bosnia.mostar.bridge.JPGWhy? Forget images of burning bridges and bullet ridden buildings; it’s high time to remember that Bosnia and Herzegovina has just as much on offer as any western European holiday destination, and at a far lower cost.

It’s now over a decade since the war that wounded Bosnia ended and though remnants of the fighting are still evident, Bosnia is back on the Bloc as a tourist destination.

Capital city Sarajevo has been described by Balkan expert Alan Grant, creator of as “the most likeable capital in the Balkans” – with an lovely old Ottoman quarter complete with narrow cobble streets.

Outdoor enthusiasts will love the hiking, biking and kayaking in the Sutjeska Niotnal park, and skiers and snowboarders can take advantage of Bosnia’s ski resorts which hosted the winter Olympics games in 1984.

For the more culturally minded, there’s the Sarajevo Film Festival in August, and there are also many sights of historic interest such as the extremely elegant Ottoman bridge that spans the Neretva River in Mostar, as well as the fascinating, though sometimes unsettling scars of war that can be seen around the country.

There’s even a tiny stretch of coastline which gives Bosnia and Herzegovina access to the Adriatic Sea.

Danger and Difficulty: in terms of street crime, Bosnia is a safe country and foreign visitors are highly unlikely to have any problems – though of course, normal common sense rules to safe travelling apply.

The most high profile danger of travelling in Bosnia are the landmines left over from the war; the country is still in the process of clearing up some half a million of them. This won’t cause any problems for the average tourist visiting city settlements, but wandering around the countryside at random is certainly not recommended, as not all mine fields are marked.

Should I visit Bosnia and Herzegovina? Yes you should. At one time the whole of Yugoslavia was a holiday hotspot for the Brits – before war put an end to that – but the time has come to start exploring this fascinating and rewarding country again and giving it the attention it deserves.

Find cheap flights to Sarajevo

Read more from the Hidden Countries series