When I told family and friends I was going to Bosnia for a holiday, the reaction ranged from “Why?” or “Is there not a war going on over there?”.

I explained that the current war taking place in Europe was in the Ukraine and the armed conflict in Bosnia ended in 1995.  According to the Foreign and Commonwealth website 'around 9000' British nationals visit the country every year with most visits being “trouble free.”

I flew to Sarajevo with Wizz Air (£55 return) from London Luton Airport. My flight left at 6:20am and I arrived three and a half hours later. The international airport (Butmir) is six miles from the city centre.

The Hungarian budget airline has now stopped the route.  There is speculation that Ryanair will offer direct flights to the Bosnian capital, but at the time of writing nothing has been confirmed.

Without a direct option, the most convenient and economical way to travel to the country, will be to fly to neighbouring Croatia (Dubrovnik) hire a car and then drive across the border. Bear in mind that in Bosnia they drive on the right-hand side!

One thing that struck me at the airport was that the signage was not only in the local language and English but also in Arabic. Literally a sign of how popular Bosnia is with those from the Middle East.

Several Bosnians told me that Arabs find it a novelty to visit in a majority Muslim nation in Europe. It’s a 'home away from home' due to the easy access to mosques and availability of halal food.

The journey to Bascarsija (Old Bazaar and the heart of the city) took approximately 25 minutes on a bus at a cost of five Bosnian Mark. Buses were running one an hour.

The siege of Sarajevo lasted 1425 days. The devastation inflicted on the city is still evident, despite the war ending almost three decades ago.  Damaged buildings, mostly residential tower blocks, located amongst gleaming hotels and apartments.

Once arriving at my destination, the priority was getting something to eat.  I had heard much about the Bosnian kebab (Cevapi).

After lunch I made the short walk to the office of Meet Bosnia travel agency, as I had signed up for their four hour 'Fall of Yugoslavia' tour. The highlight was exploring the Tunnel of Hope, which was the only link Sarajevans had with the outside world during the near four-year blockade. Its creation allowed food, aid and weapons to be brought into the city.

I had an early start the next day as I was visiting Srebrenica, this time with Funky Tours. The town in eastern Bosnia is synonymous with Europe’s largest massacre since World War 2, when over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men were killed by the Bosnian Serb Army, despite the United Nations (UN) declaring the area as a 'safe zone'.

The first action upon arrival at the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery was to recite Al Fatiah for those martyred in July 1995.  I had seen footage of the graves on television and social media, but when you witness the thousands of headstones in person, the true scale of the atrocities hits home.

Across the road in the memorial centre, various exhibitions allow visitors to learn the personal stories of the victims, as well as viewing some personal belongings which include shoes, clothing and personal effects such as a copy of the Quran and a tasbih (prayer beads).

Before departing I was introduced to a survivor of the massacre who now works at the centre, who gave me an insight into future projects.

Given the lack of restaurants in the town, Funky Tours had organised lunch at a home of a Bosnian Muslim family. I had initially thought of contacting organisers and suggesting I cancel this part of the itinerary. I didn’t want to come across as a 'privileged tourist' from western Europe who felt pity on the locals.

Srebrenica is a deprived town where communities live parallel lives. From an outside perspective it’s unimaginable how some Muslims can move back and live there again, especially when some Bosnian Serbs deny the genocide ever took place and glorify those who orchestrated it.

Upon reflection I’m glad I didn’t cancel as spending time with the host family was a hugely humbling experience. They along with staff working at the memorial centre seemed genuinely appreciative that non-Bosnians, still visit Srebrenica especially when the focus of the international community and media has moved on to other conflicts.

The next day I had intended to participate in Funky Tour’s free walking tour of Sarajevo but was unable to partake due to a meeting with a Bosnian friend.

Afterwards I made my way to the historic Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, to perform afternoon prayers.

Next stop was the Sarajevo Cable Car, which connects the Old Town with Trebevic mountain.

Asian Image:

If you are considering going on holidays such as Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco then I would recommend going 'off the beaten track'.  (Picture: Visit Sarajevo)

In the late afternoon there was a leisurely stroll to the city’s premier shopping complex, Sarajevo City Centre (SCC). I was strictly window shopping as my main priority was the food court in particular Mama Burgers.

What comes evidently clear after a short time in Bosnia is the complete lack of American and UK fast food or coffee chains.  Although there is a KFC in the SCC.

Last on the agenda was a 20-minute walk to Café 35 at the Avaz Twist Tower for a cheeky dessert as well as taking in the views from the observatory. 

For my penultimate day in the country, I had arranged a tour to Mostar with Meet Bosnia. The scenery on the way to Mostar is breath taking. There are several stops before you get to your destination including the spectacular Kravice Waterfalls. Entrance fee is not included as part of the tour cost.

When you arrive in Mostar the first sight you will be taken to is the world famous 16th century Stari Most (Old Bridge).  It was destroyed by Croatian forces in 1993 before being rebuilt 11 years later.  In addition you can enjoy great views of the city from accessing the minaret of the Koski-Mehmed Pasha Mosque.

In conclusion if you are considering going on holiday to the familiar destinations such as Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco then I would recommend going 'off the beaten track'.  I suspect Bosnia is only going to grow in popularity as a tourist destination.

Moreover, from the Bosnians of a certain age, who I interacted with, there is an affinity towards Pakistanis. Such admiration stems from the crucial assistance provided by the Pakistani Government to the Bosnian Army during the war.

The only negative is the lack of desi food in Bosnia. There is only one Indian restaurant in Sarajevo but it doesn’t offer halal food.

I stayed at the Villa Harmony hotel for four nights including breakfast at a cost of £188, which was excellent value for money.