Bosnia & Hercegovina

Craggily beautiful Bosnia and Hercegovina is most intriguing for its East-meets-West atmosphere born of blended Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian histories filtered through a Southern Slavic lens. Many still associate the country with the heartbreaking civil war of the 1990s, and the scars from that time are all too visible. But today's visitors are likely to remember the country for its deep, unassuming human warmth, its beautiful mountains, numerous medieval castle ruins, raftable rivers, impressive waterfalls and bargain-value skiing.

Major drawcards include the reincarnated historical centres of Sarajevo and Mostar, counterpointing splendid Turkish-era stone architecture with quirky bars, inviting street-terrace cafes, traditional barbecue restaurants and vibrant arts scenes. There's plenty of interest to discover in the largely rural hinterland too, all at prices that make the country one of Europe's best-value destinations.

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