I’ve just returned from Sarajevo, again. It was my 5th or so visit there and I know I will be still returning to the city over and over again, enjoying all my favorite things to do in Sarajevo.
This place is like a drug to me, with each visit I want to spend more and more time there and every time I leave I do it with a heavy heart. I even had tears in my eyes when I was about to board my plane to Sarajevo a few days ago – even I was surprised with this reaction as I’m not a very emotional person. But that’s what Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, does to me! While there are many great places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina it’s always Sarajevo that is my number one spot.
Table of contents
- 1 My first visit in Sarajevo
- 2 Senses of Sarajevo
- 3 My favortire things to do in Sarajevo
- 3.1 Walking from one world to another
- 3.2 Wandering around Bascarsija
- 3.3 Sipping Bosnian coffee and watching the street life
- 3.4 Visiting one of the museums and learning about the recent Sarajevo history
- 3.5 Walking up Logavina street, trying to imagine the life in the besieged city
- 3.6 Admiring the architecture from the times of Austria-Hungary
- 3.7 Climbing up to one of the viewpoints to see the city from above
- 3.8 Shopping for delicious food at one of the local markets
- 3.9 Eating burek at buregdzinica
- 3.10 Finding as many Mr.Chats as possible
- 3.11 Listening to the call for prayer from the Yellow Bastion
- 3.12 Visiting Vijecnica
- 3.13 Standing at the spot where World War 1 began
- 3.14 Finding the Olympic remnants
- 3.15 Take the cable car up to Trebevic mountain
- 3.16 Walk down the abandoned bobsled track
- 3.17 Wandering aimlessly up and down around random streets
- 3.18 Visiting the Jewish Cemetery
- 3.19 Looking at the city from AVAZ tower
- 3.20 Drink the local beer in the beautiful brewery restaurant
- 3.21 Delving into modern-ish Sarajevo
- 3.22 Ride the funicular in Ciglane
- 3.23 Relaxing in Ilidza
- 3.24 Going for a day trip to Mostar
- 4 Visiting Sarajevo – practical information
My first visit in Sarajevo
Funny thing, when I visited Sarajevo for the first time I didn’t fall for it. Quite the contrary actually. It was at the end of my first proper Balkan trip (I visited Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina then), I was probably tired of all the travelling, or overwhelmed with the beauty of Kotor or Mostar.
I didn’t also prepare very well for visiting Sarajevo. It’s the kind of place you need to know the history of to fully understand it and I failed here, big time. Even after visiting the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina and learning more about Sarajevo siege I still didn’t fully appreciate Sarajevo.
I was walking the streets of Bascarsija, looking at the city and surroundings from the Yellow Bastion and still didn’t know why people were so crazy about Sarajevo. It is not the most beautiful city you will ever see, there are not too many exciting things to do in Sarajevo and as much as I wanted to feel something for it – I couldn’t.
But just like with Yerevan, Armenia I needed the time. The city had to grow on me. I started reading more about it, watching movies, learning. About the history (mostly the recent one but not only), the culture, the society. It didn’t take me long to understand that Sarajevo is special, it’s not the city like any other.
I started my returns there, using every opportunity to visit Sarajevo again. Every minute spent there felt like bliss, literally, like I’m on cloud nine. I can’t even describe my feelings when I’m in Sarajevo, I can’t explain properly why Sarajevo has such a special place in my heart. It’s a mix of small things that make this city so incredible and so special to me.
I don’t know any other place like that. Only in Sarajevo, I can stand in the Jewish cemetery, listening to the bells from the Catholic church, followed by the call for prayer from the mosque. Only in Sarajevo I can feel and see history on every step. Only in Sarajevo, I feel like I’m in some exotic destination only to feel a few minutes later like I’m in a very familiar one.
Senses of Sarajevo
Sarajevo is a city of senses for me. When I close my eyes and think of Sarajevo I can smell the grilled meat (that I don’t eat anyway but still like the smell of) or freshly baked bread, I can see yellow sunsets that look amazing from every spot in the city, I can taste thick as tar Bosnian coffee, served in dzezva – a traditional coffee pot, I can hear the sound of blacksmith’s hammer creating yet another amazing piece or the muezzin calling for a prayer.
The moment I arrive to Sarajevo and experience one of those I feel like I’m back at home. And even if some of my worst travel accidents happened in Sarajevo too (like the stolen passport) I don’t blame the city and I still adore it.
My favortire things to do in Sarajevo
After spending so much time in Sarajevo it may seem like there’s not much for me to do. Well, I keep returning to the same places, doing the same things but that’s because I enjoy them. And I still have a list of places to see in Sarajevo so I have more reasons to return there.
But let me reminisce a bit about my favorite things to do in Sarajevo – maybe they will inspire you to (re)visit this amazing city too! At the end of the post, you will find the map with all the places mentioned below, you can download it and use it when visiting Sarajevo.
Walking from one world to another
I remember when I was walking the main pedestrian street in the Old Town in Sarajevo for the first time. Suddenly I felt something was different yet I couldn’t name it. It took me a few hours and three more walks to realize it – the architecture around me as well as the vibe has changed, a lot.
It takes one step to move from the Austria-Hungary to Ottoman Empire, from grand, multi-storey houses to small shops with wooden shutters. Now it’s easy to see the difference as there is a big sign on the sidewalk: “Sarajevo – meeting of cultures“, a symbolic point where East meets West.
Every time I walk this line I need to stop for a second and look back to the other world as I still can’t believe such a mix really exists, in the middle of the city!
Wandering around Bascarsija
Bascarsija – the Ottoman part of the Old Town – is a pure magic for me. The small wooden houses hide all kind of local businesses – cozy cafes serving thick coffee, blacksmiths selling hand-made souvenirs or metal kitchen utensils, little shops selling sweets, buregdzinicas and cevabdzinicas with delicious freshly cooked food.
Even if this is probably the most touristy part of Sarajevo it feels the most local at the same time. The smell of grilled meat and fresh coffee and the sound of little blacksmith’s hammers fill the area. Bascarsija doesn’t feel like the heart of the capital city at all, it’s more like a far away, exotic world where the time has stopped.
Sipping Bosnian coffee and watching the street life
While in Bascarsija one of my favorite activities is to sit outside one of the small cafes, on the tiny foot-stool, sip the delicious coffee and watch the world go by. The best place to do so is along the Saraci – the main pedestrian street that runs through Bascarsija and is lined with cafes. Locals blend with tourists here and there is always something going on. I can spend hours there, doing nothing really and I’m never bored!
Visiting one of the museums and learning about the recent Sarajevo history
I believe that if you want to get to know the place you’re visiting properly you must learn about its history. And, although Sarajevo history is much more twisted and interesting, the city is defined mostly by the 1992-1996 siege and the Balkan war.
There are a couple of museums telling about the tragic recent past and I strongly recommend you visiting at least one of them (as seeing them all might be a little bit too much to handle):
- Galerija 11/07/95 that tells about Srebrenica – the biggest genocide since World War 2. There are also short movies about Sarajevo siege.
- War Childhood Museum that – through toys and personal items of kids – tells the story of childhood in the besieged city
- Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide 1992-1995 – tells the history of the Bosnian war
- History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
– with slightly chaotic yet still worth seeing exhibition about Sarajevo siege
If you need to choose only one museum it has to be either Galerija 11/07/95 or War Childhood Museum. Just prepare yourself as they are not easy places to handle and you will most likely have to deal with lots of emotions through your visit. But I believe it is essential to see those museums and learn about Sarajevo history, to see why the city is so unique.
Walking up Logavina street, trying to imagine the life in the besieged city
If there is one book you need to read prior visiting Sarajevo it is “Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood” by Barbara Demick. I read it three times now. It shows how the residents of one street – Logavina – dealt with life during the siege and how much they had to struggle.
Once you are done with the book you can walk up Logavina – I bet you will look at it from another perspective, with all the stories on your mind. It’s actually a very pretty street, not far from Bascarsija, and you will most likely walk it anyway as that’s where War Childhood Museum is located (Logavina 30-32) but it’s always better to know the background of the place too.
Admiring the architecture from the times of Austria-Hungary
As you might know I’m a huge fan of Austria-Hungary. And what I like the most about places that used to be part of the monarchy is the architecture. No matter if I’m in Brno, Chernivtsi or Zagreb – the cities look more or less similar.
And it’s the same with Sarajevo. Parts of it, especially along and around Ferhadija street and along Milijacka river, are a fine example of grand architecture from the turn of 19th and 20th century.
Climbing up to one of the viewpoints to see the city from above
Sarajevo is the city of amazing views and incredible sunsets (if you’re lucky). Only a very narrow strip of the city is located in the flat terrain, you need to walk up to get almost everywhere. But even if it is challenging, especially that most of the streets are rather steep, you will be rewarded with the spectacular view of the city.
The best ones are from Yellow and White Bastions as well as from the Alifakovac cemetery. If you feel like eating with a spectacular view then head to Kibe, Vidikovac or Park Princeva restaurants. The prices there are more expensive than in the center but I think the view is worth paying extra for.
Shopping for delicious food at one of the local markets
For me food in the Balkans is among the most delicious ones. And the best things I can eat there are fresh products straight from the local markets.
As soon as I arrive to Sarajevo I go to Gradska Trznica to buy local cheese and especially kaymak and then cross the street to Markale market to get fruits and vegetables. Everything is so fresh and tastes like I remember from my childhood. There is no better food for me in the Balkans than local products!
Eating burek at buregdzinica
Burek is the most Balkan pastry you can get and in Sarajevo, you can get it in bakeries (“pekara”) like everywhere else or you can buy it from buregdzinica – a small shop specializing in bureks only. And while in other countries you order burek with some fillings in Bosnia and Herzegovina all kinds of pastry have different names: burek for the meat one, sirnica with cheese, zeljanica with spinach and cheese or krompirusa with potato. They are usually served with the yogurt. In some buregdzinicas you can even see how the pastry is prepared.
There are also places called “cevapdzinica” specializing in cevapi – grilled minced meat served with onion, bread and sometimes kaymak. Everybody loves them but I can’t say much as I don’t eat meat, the smell of grill is really good though. You can see lots of buregdzinicas and cevapdzinicas in Bascarsija.
Finding as many Mr.Chats as possible
Street art in Sarajevo isn’t spectacular but it has its moments. One thing you can spot all over the city is Mr. Chat – a grinig cat created by the French artists. I’ve seen it already in Pristina and Lisbon, it is present in numerous cities all over the world too.
In Sarajevo, I’ve found at least 15 Mr. Chats all over the city and I know there are still more of them that need to be discovered by me. Walk around with eyes wide open and I’m sure you will spot it too! Two hints from me: Radiceva street and Obala Kulina bana near Delikatesna Radnja.
Listening to the call for prayer from the Yellow Bastion
Since the majority of Sarajevo citizens are Muslims you can hear the call for prayer. At certain times of the day and especially at sunset it’s best to be at the Yellow Bastion. As soon as the sun is down the minarets light up and the beautiful sound spreads all over the valley the city is located in. This is a truly magical moment and gives me shivers every time I witness it.
Sarajevo is the only place I’ve actually seen the muezzins standing on minaret during the call for prayer, and I’ve seen them on numerous occasions at different mosques. I was more expecting to observe such a scene in places like Iran or Lebanon!
One of the most unique town halls I’ve ever seen is located in Sarajevo – Vijecnica. It was designed in 1891 by Czech architect Karel Parik whose work we can now find all over the city.
Vijecnica was built in the pseudo-Moorish style that doesn’t really fit to Sarajevo but that’s what makes the building so special and distinctive. When looking at the city from above Vijecnica is the place that catches your attention first.
Vijecnica played an important role during the Sarajevo siege. The building then served as the National Library and was home to thousands of important and unique Bosnian books. Very quickly, on August 25th 1992, Vijecnia was set on fire due to the shelling – during the snipers’ attacks citizens tried to save books as an invaluable cultural good. Afterwards the famous cellist of Sarajevo – Vedran Smailović – played in the destroyed building. His picture from Vijecnica is one of the symbols of Sarajevo siege.
You can visit Vijecnica inside and I can definitely recommend it! The restored interior is just stunning and all the details will definitely impress you. The ticket isn’t the cheapest, 10 BAM, but it’s definitely worth it.
To have the full image you should remember how badly destroyed the building was and how exceptional it looks now. During my visit in September 2018 at the lowest level there was an interesting exhibition about the 20th-century history of Sarajevo.
Standing at the spot where World War 1 began
The first time the world has heard about Sarajevo was on June 28, 1914 when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated next to the Latin Bridge. This event is known as the final cause and the actual beginning of World War 1.
Now you can easily find the very spot where everything happened, the plaque commemorating the event is located on the wall of the Sarajevo Museum, next to the Latin Bridge. Every time when I walk there I have small chills – how come this very random place in the outskirts of Europe played such an important role in the world’s history…
Finding the Olympic remnants
The second time the world has heard about Sarajevo was in 1984 when the city was the host of the Winter Olympic Games. I’m a huge fan of WOG and even if I can’t remember those in Sarajevo as I was born few months after finding some of the Olympic remnants in the city has brought so much joy to my heart!
As soon as you leave the train station, next to the tram stop you can find the old Olympics map with all the venues and Vucko – the mascot – inviting you to the games. The most obvious place to head for Olympic remnants is the Kosevo stadium where opening/closing ceremony took place (and parts of which afterward were turned into the cemetery during the Siege…) but there are signs of this sports event all over the city!
Take the cable car up to Trebevic mountain
Trebevic mountain used to be one of the most popular recreational areas in Sarajevo but the cable car connecting the area with the lower parts of the city was destroyed during the 90s war. Finally, in April 2018 it was reopened, becoming a popular attraction for locals and tourists. The ride takes 9 minutes one way and along the way you can enjoy spectacular views of Sarajevo and surroundings.
Unfortunately there is still not much of the infrastructure at and near the upper station but it is a good starting point for some hikes around. One way ticket costs 15 BAM, return 20 BAM. The cable car operates every day, on Monday and Tuesdays from 10.00 to 20.00, in other days from 9.00 to 20:00.
Walk down the abandoned bobsled track
One of the most popular alternative Sarajevo attractions is the abandoned bobsled track. It was the venue of the Winter Olympic Games in 1984 and numerous competitions afterwards but the tragic events of the 1990s had a different scenario for this area. Mount Trebevic was where the snipers’ positions were located during the Sarajevo Siege and the bobsled track was on the front line as well.
In recent years the abandoned sport venue has become a popular place for more adventurous travelers who hiked all the way up to walk on the long, concrete tube where the athletes used to race. Now the abandoned bobsled track is a street art gallery (rather poor one if you ask me).
I visited the bobsled track only recently, when the cable car was opened. I’ve been planning to do it for years but to be honest, no matter how much I enjoy exploring abandoned places, I was always too lazy to hike all the way up (it is very steep), the safety report didn’t help either. Fortunately the situation has improved, now the starting point of the bobsled track is some 10 minutes walking down from the upper cable car station.
When I visited, around noon in the weekday in September, there were few other tourists around but I did felt a bit uncomfortable walking down on my own. I blame the place for this feeling – its location and dark recent history played tricks with my mind a bit. But fortunately nothing happened and I really enjoyed the place (I mean concrete + street art are among my favorite things so I was sure I will love it). The bobsled track is over 1 km long, walking it takes 20 minutes maybe.
Once you are at the lower point you should also see an abandoned observatory (destroyed during the war) 5 minutes away as well as few destroyed houses with big Mr. Chat painted on. From here you either have to hike up back to the cable car or keep walking down – it is a bit challenging (hence I praise everyone who hiked all the way up from the center) but doable in one hour or so – maps.me app on the phone was a real life saver here!
Wandering aimlessly up and down around random streets
That’s probably one of my favorite things to do in Sarajevo and doesn’t need much of the further exploration. I just like wandering around without a plan or a map, taking the random streets right or left, up or down, whatever I feel like at the moment.
That’s how I found many Mr. Chats around, some beautiful old, wooden mosques or beautiful buildings like Faculty of Islamic Studies or Faculty of Catholic Theology. The general rule is if you go down you will eventually end up in Bascarsija / center so as long as you want to wander around don’t head down.
Visiting the Jewish Cemetery
I still don’t understand how come this is not the popular tourist attraction in Sarajevo! If it wasn’t for the movie (“Twice Born” with Penelope Cruz) it would have taken me much longer to find the Jewish Cemetery (as no doubts I’d end up there eventually). But when I saw the scene when Penelope Cruz is walking up between the graves I knew I have to go there as soon as possible.
I have a thing for Jewish cemeteries anyway, I find them incredibly beautiful and try to visit them wherever I am. The one in Sarajevo is special – not only it is the second oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in Europe, after Prague, but also the tombs are unique as they are different than anywhere else.
The Jewish cemetery and especially its upper part is also a great viewpoint of Sarajevo – that’s why during the siege it was used as the observation point for the snipers (it is said the first victim of the Sarajevo siege and the Balkan war – Sauda Dilberović was shot from there).
Looking at the city from AVAZ tower
Probably the best place to admire whole Sarajevo – both the older parts, the houses with red rooftops as well as the blocks – is AVAZ twist tower. With 172 meters height, it is the tallest skyscraper in the Balkans and the view from there is spectacular, especially before the sunset when the golden light embeds Sarajevo.
To get to the observation deck you need to take the elevator (on the right side from the entrance) to the 35th floor from where you need to take the stairs one more floor. To enter the deck you have to have a 2 marks coin (even if the machine says it accepts also 1 mark coins – it doesn’t) but don’t worry if you don’t have one – there is the cafe on 35th floor: sometimes you can simply change the money there, sometimes you have to sit down for a coffee (regular prices so why not).
The views are spectacular, really! From this perspective, you can see how stunning this city is and how amazing the location it has! After each visit, I end up in the 35th-floor cafe to enjoy the view some more.
Drink the local beer in the beautiful brewery restaurant
Sarajevska Pivara (Sarajevo Brewery) is another beautiful building you can spot from numerous upper parts of the city. Located across the river from Bascarsija, painted red, it stands out from the buildings of the city. The brewery played a very important role during the siege as that was one of the very few sources of fresh water in Sarajevo, therefore, it was often the sniper’s / shelling target.
The building of Sarajevska Pivara is home to the Pivnica HS restaurant. It’s one of the fanciest restaurants in the city and prices are slightly higher than everywhere else (and especially in comparison to Bascarsija) but the food is really delicious.
There are, however, two other reasons why you should visit this place: the interior is really beautiful, bringing back the good, old times and the local beer – Sarajevsko – tastes the best here! Beer costs 3,50 marks here which is a really fair price in such a great place.
Delving into modern-ish Sarajevo
Most of the tourists visiting Sarajevo don’t venture any further than Veliki Park on Titova street (with the exception of AVAZ Twist Tower). Huge mistake as even if other parts of Sarajevo might be not that pretty they are still very interesting, especially those built in the 1970s.
I really enjoy delving into random areas full of blocks of flats, especially Ciglane or Alipasino Polje. There you can see how life outside the center goes by, you might also get some curious looks as tourists hardly ever reach these parts of Sarajevo. If you are a fan of modernism or brutalism you will appreciate those areas even more!
Ride the funicular in Ciglane
While we are at the random areas of Sarajevo, Ciglane has one more huge attraction – the most unique funicular I’ve ever seen! The neighborhood is built on the steep hillside and getting to the upper parts might be tiring. That’s why the funicular was installed there.
It’s really rusty and sometimes it’s surprising it still works (kind of like cable cars in Chiatura, Georgia) but it does! Not on every day though. I’ve been to Ciglane three times and managed to ride the funicular only once, the other two days were Sundays so that could have been the reason why it was not operating. But if it works you should definitely take it, it’s so much fun!
Relaxing in Ilidza
It took me numerous visits in Sarajevo but I finally made it to Ilidza recently. Getting there is really simple – you just take the tram no 3 from Bascarsija or the center all the way to the last stop. From there it’s just a short walk to the beautiful park with some old, charming hotels or villas and beautiful mountains around.
The main reason why it’s worth visiting Ilidza is Velika Aleja – the tree-lined, 3 kilometers long alley that leads to the spring of River Bosna. When walking sometimes you need to jump away as the horse carriages rush along the alley. This is the perfect and the easiest green getaway from Sarajevo.
Going for a day trip to Mostar
Sarajevo is amazing and you can spend days there but the city also makes a good base for some day trips around.
The most obvious one is to Mostar. I adore Mostar and I think it’s good to stay there overnight to see the Old Bridge in the evening, with hardly any people around. But if you’re short on time you can easily go to Mostar for one day from Sarajevo too. It takes around 2,5 hours to get there and the scenery along the way is breathtaking so be sure to sit next to the window, no matter on which side.
I usually take the 9 am bus from Sarajevo and 3 pm bus back from Mostar, in March 2018 the return ticket was 31 marks. These 3 hours there are enough to see Mostar’s main attractions (which is the Old Bridge and the area around, the park with Bruce Lee statue and the sniper’s tower with some good street art around) as well as to have a delicious lunch there.
You can also go for a day trip from Sarajevo to Travnik, the distance and travel time is similar to the one to Mostar. The town is really pretty, with the ruins of the fortress that offer amazing views of the surroundings, the ornamented mosque and apparently the best cevapi in Bosnia. Being a vegetarian I can’t vouch for it but the smell of the grilled meat was floating around the center of Travnik.
There are other interesting places in Bosnia that can be done as the day trips from Sarajevo. If you don’t have your own car you can take one of the tours offered from the capital and you can combine the two places mentioned above with other interesting destinations.
Click on each link and check out the following tours departing from Sarajevo:
- Day Trip to Herzegovina: Konjic, Mostar & Blagaj
- From Sarajevo: Full Day Jajce & Travnik Tour
- Sarajevo Bosnian Pyramids Mystery Tour
- From Sarajevo: Full-Day Višegrad Tour
- From Sarajevo: Full-Day Lukomir Village Private Tour
Visiting Sarajevo – practical information
How to get to Sarajevo?
Now, finally, visiting Sarajevo is so much easier since Wizziar opened the route there from Budapest (the flight time is less than 1 hour and the tickets are really affordable, starting at 10€ one way). When looking for cheap flights I always use either SkyScanner or Momondo as I find them the best websites for searching flights. Click for each link to check them out and look for your flights to Sarajevo!
If you fly to Sarajevo getting to the center might be easy or might be a bit challenging but still doable, everything depends on the timing. I recently did both of these options. There is a direct bus connecting the airport with Bascarsija and the hours should match the flights time. The bus stop is on the right side when you exit the airport and the ticket costs 5 marks one way / 8 marks return.
If there is no bus to serve your flight (that’s what happened to me when I was departing) you can take the trolleybus no. 103 from Trg Austrije (the park across the Latin Bridge) in the direction to Dobrinja. The ticket costs 1,60 mark and can be bought in the newsstand (important: you can’t use the same ticket as for the tram, you need to buy a special trolleybus ticket).
Your stop for the airport is the 18th one, called Dobrinja III. From there it’s some 10-15 minutes walking to the airport. I highly recommend downloading “maps.me” application for your mobile phone with an offline map and using it to see which bus stop is yours and how to get to the airport – for me it worked perfectly fine!
If you take the bus to Sarajevo you might arrive to either the main bus station (in the center, close to AVAZ tower), from where you can get to the Old Town with tram no. 1 from in front of the nearby train station or tram no 3. which is 5 minutes walk away at Zmaja od Bosne Street, the tram ticket is 1,60 mark and can be bought in the newsstand) or the bus station in Lukavica – East Sarajevo (Istocno Sarajevo) that is part of Republika Srpska. Most of the buses from Belgrade (Serbia) as well as some buses from Montenegro are served by the station in East Sarajevo. To get there from the center / Bascarsija you need to take the trolleybus no. 103 (like to the airport) to the last stop and then walk some 5-10 minutes to Lukavica. Again, “maps.me” are highly recommended!
How to get around Sarajevo
You will most likely walk everywhere, it’s not such a big city after all. If you want to visit AVAZ Twist Tower best would be to take tram no.1 to the train station (Zeljeznicka stanica) or no. 3 to Tehnicka skola and walk a bit. For Ilidza take tram no.3 to the last stop and walk a bit to the park.
Where to stay in Sarajevo?
If you’re looking for a hostel I can definitely recommend Franz Ferdinand Hostel with the score of 9.1/10 on Booking! I stayed there during one of my visits and it was great! The location is awesome, in the heart of the Old Town, 2 minutes walking to the Cathedral. The whole hostel (including rooms) is decorated with the pictures of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie which might be a bit creepy but still cool. I especially appreciated the big, vintage map of Europe in the kitchen that let me daydream while eating my breakfast. Click here to check availability and prices!
If you want to stay in the heart of Bascarsija but you’re looking for the budget-friendly option I suggest you looking up M’Ali Rooms. The guest house, with the score of 9.5/10 on Booking, is located in the old house clearly from the time of Austria-Hungary, just few steps away from the main square of Bascarsija. I stayed there once too and all was good, I can’t say a bad word about this place. When I walked up early in the morning one day I could just go out in my pajama to take pictures of empty streets of Sarajevo, that’s how close I was to everything. Click here to check the availability and prices!
Recently I stayed twice in the apartment, the same one, at Apartments Dijana (with the score of 9.3/10 on Booking). This place is perfect, so cozy and charming, I instantly felt like at home there. It’s located just a short and a bit uphill walk from the old town and the owner is so friendly and hospitable. Click here to check the availability and prices!
I actually wrote the whole post answering “where to stay in Sarajevo” question, where I cover Sarajevo accommodation for all budgets. Click here to read the post and find your place to stay in Sarajevo.
Where to eat in Sarajevo?
The most typical food in Sarajevo is cevapi – a grilled minced meat served with bread and onion. In Bascarsija, especially on Bravadziluk street, you will find numerous cevabdznica serving this dish, the most famous are Petica, Zeljo, Mrkva and Zmaj. At the same street you will also find the best burek in Buregdzinica Bosna or ASDŽ.
If you are looking for a wider selection of Bosnian dishes I can recommend you Dzenita – a small restaurant just one street away from the main Bascarsija square, next door from M’Ali Rooms. I went there randomly when I visited Sarajevo last time and I can say it was my best restaurant discovery in the city. The place is small, only few tables, so sometimes it might be difficult to score the seat as it fills up quickly, mostly with local people. The restaurant offers the variety of dishes, also vegetarian, and the prices are very fair! This will be always – go -to place in Sarajevo from now on!
If you’d like to get a quick sweet bite there’s a good shop with baklava, halva and other goodies at Abadziluk street.
Where to drink coffee in Sarajevo?
Coffee is one of the most important thing in Sarajevo. You will find numerous cafes all over the town: in Bascarsija they are more Ottoman style while in the other parts of the city they are more European. No matter where you go you can get a good coffee for 2-3 marks, either Bosnian style (super thick and strong) or regular ones.
You will find best cafes in Bascarsija and the Old Town, along Ferhadija street, as well as at Radiceva street. For more modern places you can go to Espressolab or Delikatesna Radnja and for a funky one the Goldfish is a must. If you feel like having a cup of tea head to Čajdžinica Džirlo – it’s on the way to Yellow Bastion on the really steep street up from Bascarsija, you will see it for sure.
One hidden place that you should visit too, if not for the coffee then for amazing views, is the cafe on the top floor of Hotel Hecco Deluxe. Just enter the hotel next to the eternal flame, take the elevator to the hotel and then walk up one more floor. The cafe is ok but you will go there for the views, and those are really good!
Where to shop in Sarajevo?
For souvenirs, especially craftwork, Bascarsija is your obvious choice. If you’re looking for more modern and funky Sarajevo souvenirs there’s a small shop, at Trgovke, between all the shisha bars.
For English books, also about Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkans, go to Buybook at Radiceva. They have some of those funky souvenirs too.
The most convenient supermarket is Konzum, just behind the tram stop in Bascarsija. There’s also a good bakery nearby, you will see it.
If you’re looking for a shopping center you should go to Sarajevo City Center, close to Vrbanja bridge. You will find literally everything there.
What to do if your passport gets stolen in Sarajevo?
For the end I left the not so pleasant story that happened to me in Sarajevo in March 2017. During the evening walk in the old town my passport got stolen – someone just opened my small backpack and brought out the sponge bag I had, with all the crap in one place: pens, medicine, extra batteries and… my passport.
I think I know where and when it happened but I didn’t catch anyone and I’ve realized my things are missing only on the next day in the morning. I stayed surprisingly calm as my breakdown wouldn’t have changed a thing, the passport was still missing.
I was leaving Bosnia on the next day but luckily Polish citizens can cross Bosnian border with the national ID so I didn’t have to get the new passport right there. I still called the Polish consulate to tell them about the issue, just in case as you never know what might happen with your document and who may use it. They told me to go to the police to report this incident too.
The closest police station from the old town / Bascarsija (where it happened) is at Logavina street but – as the consul have told me – they are not too keen to deal with tourists and they pretend or don’t speak English. And that’s exactly what happened to me. The consul also told me about another police station, in the center of the city at Augusta Brauna street (close to AVAZ Twist Tower) where I can go too, just I shouldn’t mentioned where I think the passport was stolen and that I was already at Logavina as they would send me back there.
That’s where I went, the police officer spoke some decent English, enough for us to communicate and deal with the issue. Some half an hour later I could go, with the paper saying what happened and that the police knows about the stolen passport – I needed this paper just in case I had problems at the border or when I applied for the new passport back in Poland.
So to sum up the passport issue. If this happens to you (not only in Sarajevo, everywhere) you need to do these two things: call your embassy to tell them about the problem (they will tell you if there are some extra things you need to do or what to do if you have to have a new passport issued right there) and report the incident to the nearest police station to get the confirmation protocol.
And here is the map with all the places mentioned in the post. You can use it offline during your trip to Sarajevo! You only need to open it in the new window, download it as the .kmz or .kml file, upload it to you phone and the open with “maps.me” application (you need to install it first)! All the points will be marked on your map!
I think this is the longest post I’ve ever written on this blog. But Sarajevo can’t be described in few basic sentences only, the city is too complex for that. I didn’t really touch the subject of multiculturalism in Sarajevo or I didn’t talk properly about the history of the city but you can read more about that in other posts I’ve written previously.
I know I still haven’t covered all the best things to do in Sarajevo but these mentioned above are my favorite ones. I’m really glad I could share with you my passion for this city and I hope I could inspire you even a bit to visiting Sarajevo. And if you’ve already been there I’d love you to tell me about your favourite things to do in Sarajevo – maybe I will be able to do them next time I’m around!
For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:
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