Sarajevo has become one of Europe’s most delightful and cosmopolitan cities. Besieged in the past, it is a remarkable, resilient place and is well worth a visit.
Top things to see and do
- Take in the sensory delights of the 15th-century Baščaršija – the Ottoman market place – with its winding side streets. Smell the Turkish coffee and watch the silversmiths hammering out plates and pots to a soundtrack of modern Balkan pop music coming from the many little shops and stalls.
- Reflect on the First World War at the Latin Bridge and Museum. It was on this spot that Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, sparking the conflict.
- Hop on a rattly tram to explore the city. Sarajevo boasts Europe’s first ever electric tram system and it’s perfect for shuttling between the bus and train stations, the brutalist concrete Soviet-era suburbs and the exotic Old Town.
- Take a leisurely day trip to Vrelo Bosne, springs that are the source of the River Bosna, and part of a beautiful, green national park. You can get there by tram, then taxi or even horse-drawn carriage.
- Make sure you try Bosnia-Herzegovina’s national dish – Ćevapi – grilled beef sausages in pitta bread with chopped onion, kajmak (a type of cheese), and a side salad of tomato and cucumber. Perfect for a quick lunch.
- Experience what it is like to live under siege at the unmissable Tunnel Museum. An 800m hand-dug tunnel under the airport runway was the only supply line into Sarajevo during the siege of the 1990s. This museum retains part of the tunnel, with an exhibition on the conflict.
Tips for travellers
In just under two hours you could be exploring The Old Bridge Area of Mostar, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an hour later you could be standing on the medieval city walls of Dubrovnik, smelling the sea breeze.