The Bosnian capital is a unique place. On arriving, it is a strange sight – literally a city in the mountains, and has grown to the extent that its suburbs begin to creep up the mountain slopes. Sarajevo is also a complex city with a mixture of cultures ; Mosques and Churches are short walks from each other, while the Turkish old town and imposing Austrian buildings are near neighbours. It feels like an intriguing melting pot. Known as the ‘Jerusalem of Europe’, it doesn’t take long to understand why. If you want to understand the rich diversity of the Balkans area, Sarajevo is one of the better places to visit.
Street food is easy to come by – the smell of cevapi kebabs lingers from the doorway of many fast food take outs. A kebab or burek from a bakery are unlikely to cost you more than €1.5. Go to the old town for a sit in meal at a cafe, it’s usually better value and arguably tastier than restaurants in the more modern districts.
There is a good selection of hostels in the city at good prices – you shouldn’t need to pay more than €9 for a bed. The city has a water restriction policy during the night, and toilets cant always be flushed until the morning…. so couples may prefer using a hotel or guesthouse with non sharing bathroom facilities!
Hopping on a tram is an easy way to get around the city and to the bus station, but make sure you purchase a ticket before you get on – the ticket inspectors are very unforgiving and will fine you without hesitation. The main bus station is a couple of minutes walk from the train station. Trains go to Croatia and Serbia, while buses go to all of the bordering countries. There is a separate bus station for buses to Montenegro and Serbia called Lukavica bus station. It’s a long walk so is better to use public transport to get there (use Dobrinja bus 103 or 107 from Austria Square). Lukavica is a two minute walk after the bus terminates.
• Visit the National History Museum – the museum gives a good account of what happened during the siege of Sarajevo, a must visit for those wanting to learn more about the recent past.
• Explore Bascarsija – the old Turkish part of the city with most of the history. The Clock Tower and Mosque are the most famous attractions. A bustling area full of small shops, stalls and people!
• Go to the Sarajevo Brewery Pub – Located right next to the colourful brewery, it’s an old style large pub with decent prices, good food and great beer.
• See the War Tunnel – this ramshackle tunnel was a life saver to Sarajevo residents during the war, as it allowed food and also weapons to be smuggled in. It ran under the airport runway, although only a small section is now visible. Next door, a house museum tells the story of the tunnels importance to the city.
• Visit Mostar by train – the ride is dramatic with great scenery, and a mass of tunnels through the Bosnian Alps. Mostar is a good destination with plenty to do. You can make it a day trip if you set off early.
• Relax at Vrelo Bosne – A park that surrounds the source of the River Bosne. There are springs and streams among the trees, with plenty of paths to walk on. It is a peaceful, beautiful place that’s popular with locals. To get to the park, catch a tram to Ilidza, then walk a few minutes.
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