A Day Trip to Sarajevo

A day trip to Sarajevo.

Sarajevo is my hometown. It is where I was born and where I spent the first 5 years of my life. Sadly, because of the war, in 1992 we had to flee to a safer place. And because of the war, some people are still ignorant about whether or not it is safe to travel there. It is safe. Sure there are still wounds left from the war, but every time I go back to Sarajevo, I see more and more progress being made to improve the buildings around the city. If Sarajevo is a place you want to visit, there is no better time than the present.

Streets of Sarajevo.

Sarajevo is the capital city of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lays in a valley, surrounded by five mountains: Treskavica, Bjelašnica, Jahorina, Trebević and Igman (the last four were used for the 1984 Winter Olympics). Because of these mountains, it can get cool even in the summer evenings, so always bring a light jacket or sweater with you (you can thank me later).

Example of the smog from the wood burning ovens. Unfortunate, but it is the reality.

There are four distinct seasons, and although Sarajevo offers beautiful scenery on snowy winter days, this has also proved to be my least favorite time of the year to visit as many people still use wood burning ovens to heat their homes, and the air pollution from this is not fun to deal with. Also, there can be very dense fog, making getting around near to impossible on the foggiest of days. But don’t let any of that stop you from visiting. The mountains offer the possibility to enjoy winter sports and activities so be sure to take advantage of that if you are visiting the city.

In the summer months, this street is filled with people enjoying their coffee with friends.

If you only have a day to spend in Sarajevo, be sure to head to the city center. Here is where you will find a lot of beautiful architecture, delicious food, and signs of the Ottoman Empire. The city center is always filled with people. One thing you will notice is that Bosnians love to enjoy a coffee and a cigarette in one of the many cafes found around the city.

Turkish coffee, Bosnian style.

Any cafe I have randomly walked into didn’t disappoint me, and although I don’t drink coffee, I would recommend to anyone visiting the city to at least try one of Sarajevo’s Turkish coffees. If you are a lover of sweets and treats like I am, I would recommend a dessert shop called Egipat. My recommendation? Anything really but Baklava and Tufahija are Bosnian treats worth trying…but so are the Šampite, Krempite, Tulumbe, Hrumašice, and everything else you see displayed. I’m sorry I don’t have any photos to prove how delicious these treats look. I was too busy stuffing my face.

Hodzic 2 off in the distance.

But before you spoil yourself with delicious treats, be sure to eat some delicious ćevapi or a burek. Best place for some delicious ćevapi would have to be Hodžić 2 in the city center, although locals have their personal preference so it is always worth asking for a recommendation.

Ally ways of Sarajevo.

As for the touristy things to do, be sure to walk around Bašcaršija and walk through the tiny alleyways to see and hear silversmiths making their products.

Silversmith engraving a coffee pot for me.

Also be sure to stop by the most famous and popular mosque in Sarajevo called “Gazi Hrusev-Begova Džamija” (Begova for short). Be mindful that this is still used a religious place of worship so be sure to be respectful and not to interfere with any prayers that are taking place. As Sarajevo is a predominately Islamic city, you are likely to witness at least one of the five prayers that happen during the day.

Begova Dzamija

Across from the fountain at Begova Džamija, there is a hidden bakery that is (in my opinion) one of the best in the city. Here you can get a variety of pastries, but my personal favourite would have to be the “perec” (pretzel). You will not be disappointed!

Underground bazaar.

Around the corner from Begova Džamija, you can find an underground bazaar. I have not been to Turkey before, but I have been told that it closely resembles bazaars that you can find around Turkey. There are a variety of stores where you can by gifts to take home with you.

Vijecnica from the outside.
Vijecnica from the inside.
Can you see me?

From there, head over to Vijećnica. It has recently been restored and it just as beautiful inside as it is outside. The entrance fees are really cheap for Western standards so there are no excuses to miss out.

The famous Gavrilo Princip Bridge

From there walk further down to the city center and walk all the way to the Eternal Fire. On your way from Vijećnica to the Eternal Fire, be sure to stop by Gavrilo Princip’s Bridge where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.

Avaz Tower

After you have finished browsing around the heart of the city, hop on a bus or street car and head over to the Avaz Tower to capture beautiful views of Sarajevo and its beautiful mountains.

The view towards downtown from Avaz Tower
Another view from Avaz Tower

The entrance fee is very cheap and well worth the elevator ride up. It can get pretty windy up here so be sure to wear the appropriate clothing.

The beautiful Vrelo Bosne.

If time allows, and if you happen to have a car, be sure to go to Vrelo Bosne. It is a beautiful park found on the outskirts of the city where you can find many locals enjoying the nature, especially on the weekend. It is my favourite part of the city, probably because we went here a lot of when I was a kid, but it is a nice place to get away from the city life and enjoy nature within the city. I would also recommend going early in the day so that you can enjoy the park during daylight hours, or taking a full day to enjoy.

Old ruins.

Are you a local from Sarajevo and have anything else to add? Please do so in the comments below!

Happy Travels!


3 thoughts on “A Day Trip to Sarajevo”

  1. There's something immediately dignified about this venue – it is beautifully designed, tasteful, and understated. Went to these comfy venues recently, just the right temperature, good food and great experience.

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