24 hours in Sarajevo
Written by Jennifer Walker
Narrow streets interwoven with mosques, madrassas, and historic caravanserais juxtaposed against Habsburg-era boulevards express Sarajevo’s cultural and religious diversity.
While evidence of the mid-1990s conflict still remains, Sarajevo is a city that celebrates life. Its cafés pulse with people in conversation over a strong Bosnian coffee amidst the coiling smoke from nargila water pipes and the hammering of the coppersmiths in the craft shops. But what makes Sarajevo memorable is the warmth and hospitality of its locals.
Start the day with a burek, a flaky Bosnian pastry filled with meat or local white cheese, at Buregdzinica Bosna, a favourite in the heart of Bascarsija bazaar. Try it with a yogurt drink.
Stroll around the narrow, historic streets of Bascarsija. Take a look at the hand-made copper crafts and workshops before stopping in a local café for a dose of strong Bosnian coffee.
Visit the Gazi Husrev Begova Mosque and Madrasa, the country’s most significant Islamic building and the finest example of Ottoman architecture in the Balkans.
Have lunch with the locals at Cevabdzinica Petica. Try their grilled Bosnian meat dishes, like cevapcici or sudzukice beef sausages or pljeskavica beef/lamb patties, with freshly baked bread.
For a slice of Sarajevo’s past, Svrzo’s House is a museum, set amongst white-washed walls, vined timbers, and cobbled courtyards, that portrays domestic life in the 18th century for local Muslim families.
Grab a taxi to the city outskirts to the educational and interactive Tunnel of Life Museum. During the 1990s siege, this tunnel running under the airport offered Sarajevo a lifeline for supplies and food.
Return to the city centre for refreshment at Zlatna Ribica. This eclectically decorated café creatively decked out with vintage items from the 1920s to the 1940s is a favourite with local artists.
Visit the Eternal Flame, a memorial to those who liberated Sarajevo in the Second World War. Then stroll down Ferhadija boulevard, and admire its grand Habsburg-era buildings.
Dine at Inat Kuca, a classic Ottoman house on the riverside filled with antique curiosities and playing traditional music. Try the Bosnian pot, a slow-cooked stew layered with meat and vegetables, or Bey’s soup.
The network comprises an eclectic mix of streetcars donated from all over the world after the war.
With a compact city centre, walking offers the best way to take in Sarajevo’s details.
Pick up a taxi with fixed rates from the central ranks, or call Paja Taxis.
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Distance: 3,614 km
Flight Time: 5 hours, 25 minutes
Frequency: 3 flights a week