I spent 1.5 days in Sarajevo, capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lies in the Sarajevo Valley. I recommend staying the old city…most of the sites you’ll want to see are situated here, plus it has a cool vibe. There are a few attractions that will require a bus/taxi ride from the old city. Or better yet, why not book a private tour with Sarajevo Urban Adventures with my friend Muhamed?! He is fantastic!
Unfortunately, I needed one more day here to see everything I wanted to see. But really, I’d spend a week here. It’s just that great of a city!
I spent just a few of hours in Mostar…I think that is plenty of time, but a full day wouldn’t be a bad option either! It makes for a very easy stop on your way out of Bosnia and on to either Montenegro or Croatia. Tourism has become a huge contribution to the economy, and I highly encourage everyone to visit this amazing country.
Pansion Kod Keme, Sarajevo – run by a family, this place is small and sweet and their hospitality is amazing. Rooms are clean. The location can’t be beat, as its right in Old Town. Book early; it can fill up fast.
Things to See:
The spot where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, the start of World War I – see it from the outside, or visit the museum. Admission fee applies
Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque – the largest and main mosque in the country. You may enter at certain times only, and make sure you’re dressed modestly. Free
Sacred Heart Cathedral – a pretty Roman Catholic church
Cathedral of Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos – gorgeous Serbian Orthodox church
Sarajevo Tunnel(Tunnel of Hope) – the tunnel that connected the city under siege to Bosnian and UN territory close to the airport. You can walk through a part of the tunnel, and the museum offers videos and artifacts. Admission $8
Yellow Fortress – walk up to this bastion high above the city for amazing panoramic views. Free
Vjecnica(Town Hall) – admire from the outside, or have a peek inside. Admission $8
Academy of Fine Arts – view from the outside or venture inside.
Eternal Flame – a memorial to the military and civilian victims of World War II in Sarajevo.
Stari Most – the famous bridge in Old Town, Mostar. It is a fairytale image, and one of the most popular sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If you’re lucky, you’ll see one of the professional jumpers leap off the bridge!
Kriva Coprija- the small crooked bridge, that was a test run before they built Stari Most
Koskin Mehmed Pasa Mosque – look around inside, then climb to the top of the minaret for stunning views of the town and bridge. Small fee to climb the minaret.
Things to Do:
Walk around Bascarsija– the Old Town. Take in the atmosphere, stop at the Sebilj in the main square, find the marker on the street that separates the eastern part from the western part, do some souvenir shopping….easy to spend a few hours.
Search for Sarajevo Roses – remainders of mortar shell explosions, filled in with red resin to memorialize victims of these explosions. There are many scattered around the city.
Coppersmith’s Alley – you’re sure to find a cool souvenir here to bring home. Even if you’re not buying, it’s worth a look
Urban Adventures – operated by Intrepid. You can choose from the two they offer, or you can create your own! My good friend Muhamed will be your guide.
Places to Eat, Things to Eat:
Nanina Kuhinja – a traditional restaurant located in the Old Town. Get a seat outside. We ordered a few types of dishes to share for the table.
Barhana– great food and atmosphere at this traditional restaurant. Cozy and welcoming. Or try to grab a table outside if weather permits
Pivnica HS – a restaurant attached to the Sarajevksa Brewery. A great place to sample the beers, and have a nice meal
Miris Dunja – a quaint café, the perfect place to try Bosnian coffee
Inat Kuca – this restaurant has an interesting history – it was a house belonging to a man that refused to have his house destroyed for the building of the City Hall. He finally gave in, but demanded they move his house brick by brick to the other side of the river! Serves traditional Bosnian food
Cevapi – mini sausages served in a pita with onions. The best version I tried was in Mostar.
Shopska salad – similar to a Greek salad, with cucumber, tomato, onion and white brine cheese
Burek – a phyllo pastry filled with meat and sometimes cheese
Bosanski Lonac – a stew with chunky meat and veggies
Dolma – fermented vegetables stuffed with meat and rice
Things to Drink:
Sarajevsko beer – light and fresh
Bosnian coffee – strong flavored, and there’s a special way to drink it
Rakia – a very potent fruit brandy….consume with caution!
Things to Buy:
Olympic memorabilia – I found an old pin from 1984, and a stuffed version of the mascot – he’s a wolf named Vucko!
Copperware – coffee pots, plates, etc.
Wooden box – many styles, hand carved
Art– I’m a big fan of any kind of paintings of local scenery, by local artists. If visiting Mostar, you MUST get a painting of the famous bridge!
Things I missed, but would do the next time in Sarajevo and Mostar:
Olympic bobsleigh and luge track – it was damaged in the war; the Serbs used it as an artillery position, drilling holes for shooting. It has since been covered in graffiti. They are working to restore the track for training.
Avaz Twist Tower – the tallest skyscraper in B & H, with amazing views of the city below. Small entrance fee
Svrzo’s House – a well preserved traditional house built by a Muslim family in the 18th century
Despic House – old merchant house that belonged to a wealthy and prominent family.
War Photo Exhibition – a collection of photos, located in one of the towers overlooking the bridge in Mostar.
Old Bridge Museum – climb the bridge towers for great views, learn about its history. Audio guide available.
Sniper Tower – although closed to the public, I’ve heard it’s possible to sneak in. Only in daylight – too dangerous otherwise. It’s a derelict building that was used by snipers to shoot civilians below.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country full of wonder, rich history that has been glorious and also devastating, and kind and friendly people. It has been one of the most interesting places I’ve visited and I hope you will all consider visiting this marvelous country!