Bosnia and Herzegovina
History and adrenaline in Europe’s most diverse country
How to roll big on the cheap: Bosnia is an amazing slice of the past in present-day Europe, a glimpse of a time before the homogenized nation-states we know today became the norm. Its eclectic mix of religions and cultures fascinates with the exotic, and then surprises with the familiar. It’s cheap, too: Dorms in hostels go for $10, and a restaurant meal will set you back $5 or $10, with street food costing significantly less. Beer is about a buck, and you can get excellent local wine for similar prices. That is, if you pay at all -- Bosnians are notoriously friendly and thrilled to have visitors, so don’t be surprised if they try to treat you.
It’s also filled with natural wonders and amazing, tragic history. Sarajevo has ruins from the 1984 Olympics that are freely explorable (just watch out for landmines -- I’m not kidding) and a great river canyon for hikes. An ancient, rickety train threads its way through the mountains between Sarajevo and Bosnia’s other great city, Mostar. For a terrifying early morning voyage, part history lesson, part slow-motion roller coaster, pack into dirty-windowed wooden cabins with cigarette-smoking laborers, eat your börek (basically a Bosnian sausage roll), and watch the Balkan Mountains fall away beneath you.